New series: TPG Quick points — How to earn more United miles on the run

Sep 3, 2021

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TPG is known for its highly-detailed, comprehensive coverage of various frequent flyer programs, hotel loyalty promotions, credit card rewards and travel reviews. But sometimes you don’t have the time to scroll through an entire guide to benefits.

Instead of that four-course-meal’s worth of information, maybe you’re just in the mood for a snack-sized tip that will make it easier for you to earn points, redeem miles or maximize your travel. And if that’s what you are looking for today, you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to TPG’s newest series: ‘Quick Points,’ where we’ll highlight a new, buried or easily forgotten way to travel more for less in roughly 500 words.

To kick off this series, here’s how — with a few taps on your phone — you can turn your lunch, clothing purchase, a Home Depot run and plenty of other shopping experiences into bonus United miles.

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Today’s quick points

Not every travel app is worth downloading, but if you enjoy earning and using United MileagePlus miles, you need to download the MileagePlus X app.

We have a whole guide dedicated to that app if this is the first you’ve heard of it. But the short version is that you use the app to pay for your charges in the participating restaurant or retailer of your choice to earn anywhere from 0.5 miles to 10 bonus United miles per dollar spent.

The app has literally hundreds of popular outlets from which to choose, ranging from AMC Theaters to West Elm. When you know the final dollar amount of your purchase, type that number into the app, and use the credit card you have registered in the app to purchase what is essentially an e-gift card for exactly the amount of the transaction.

It sounds more complicated than it is. Once you have it set up, it adds mere seconds to any transaction.

Related: Guide to United MileagePlus 

How I use this in real life

I most frequently use MileagePlus X as quick way to earn extra United miles when I order lunch from Panera.

First, I head to Panera’s website and select my pick-two salad-sandwich combo as usual. When I’m on the check-out screen I can see exactly what the order will cost.

(Screenshot courtesy of Panera)

In this case, my family’s order comes to $39.12. Next, I head to the MileagePlus X app before I pay for the order. I enter that amount as the total needed for this Panera order.

(Screenshot courtesy of MileagePlus X app)

Once I hit ‘Pay now’ the credit card in my account will be charged for $39.12, and an e-gift card will be created. I can then enter those details under the gift card section to place my order.

(Screenshot courtesy of Panera)

Why it’s worth it

In this case, I’d earn 5 United miles per dollar for placing the order via the MileagePlus X app — plus a 25% bonus for being a United credit cardholder.

That comes to a total of 243 miles from the app. That’s even in addition to the 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining I earn by having paying with one of the best cards for dining charges, my Chase Sapphire Reserve, which is the card I have linked to my MileagePlus X app. All in, I’d earn about 360 miles to go with my family’s meal of sandwiches and salads.

It’s a small total of miles by itself, but this quick step really adds to your annual haul of points and miles once you make it a part of your shopping and dining routine.

Featured image by Christian Petersen-Clausen/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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