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

September 3 2021
4 min read
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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.

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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 photo by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees