Quick Points: How to earn extra miles with United Mile Play promotions

Jan 7, 2022

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With the price of award flights continuing to increase, we need to find easy opportunities to earn more miles. Not everyone has a million dollars in credit card spending every year or 100,000 miles to fly on paid first-class tickets. If you’re like the rest of us — and you find value in United Airlines Mileage Plus miles — you should pay attention to its Mile Play promotions. They are easy opportunities to earn extra miles on flights you’re going to take anyway.

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United Airlines Mile Play stealth promotions

Every few months, United Airlines will roll out these “stealth promotions.” These are targeted offers that allow travelers to earn extra miles for completing a certain number of requirements. The promotions are targeted and will generally fit your travel patterns. For instance, members who haven’t flown United much recently tend to be targeted for more compelling offers. You won’t get rich from Mile Play but it can help you get to that next award faster without any cost to you.

These offers will sometimes pop up on the home page of the United app or in your email.  However, more often than not you’re going to need to check online periodically to see if you’re targeted. United has a webpage dedicated to Mile Play. All you need to do is enter your Mileage Plus number to see if you’re eligible and register.

It’s important to dig into the terms and conditions of any offer. As a general rule, award flights are not eligible for Mile Play promotions. Also, there will frequently be a minimum spending requirement for these promotions, whether overall or per flight.

In the past, TPG staff members have received a variety of offers, including earning 2,500 to 8,000 bonus miles just for booking one round-trip ticket on United Airlines. While I don’t have any current Mile Play offers, I have been targeted three times over the past year:

United mile play activity
(Screenshot from united.com)

Clearly, I need to be better at practicing what I preach. While I wasn’t traveling very often in April of this past year, I was back to a pretty heavy business travel schedule in September. I never bothered to check Mile Play and missed out on an easy 5,000 miles. According to TPG’s current valuations, that’s roughly $57 worth of miles that I left on the table. Hopefully, that’s a mistake I won’t make again.

Related: What is United Airlines elite status worth?

Bottom line

There are very few “free” miles out there. Generally speaking, you’re going to give up earning miles or points somewhere else or forego earning lucrative cash back on purchases. Mile Play is a unique opportunity for loyal or even occasional United fliers to earn extra miles for flights you were planning to book anyway. Set a reminder in your calendar to check once a month to see if you’re targeted for an opportunity to get closer to your next award flight.

Featured photo by Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

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.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • 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 up to 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 in the U.S., 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 $80 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 PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • 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
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