Click, Click, Award Flight! The Easiest (Free!) Way to Collect United Airlines Miles

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Click, Click, Award Flight! The Easiest (Free!) Way to Collect United Airlines Miles

Million Mile SecretsClick, Click, Award Flight! The Easiest (Free!) Way to Collect United Airlines MilesMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Did you know you can earn bonus United Airlines miles on lots of everyday purchases?  Or reset the mileage expiration date with just a few bucks?

The MileagePlus X app lets you add free (and valuable!) United Airlines miles to your usual credit card rewards!

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
Use Your Extra United Airlines Miles to Explore the Portuguese Coast

I’ll show you how it works!

Free United Airlines Miles With the MileagePlus X App

Link:   MileagePlus X App

Link:   How to Use United Airlines Miles

Several Million Mile Secrets team members use the MileagePlus X app to earn extra United Airlines miles when they shop or go out to eat.  With the app, you purchase gift cards to use at dozens of merchants.  And you can use them for your purchases.

Plus, you’ll earn between .5 and 5+ United Airlines miles on every $1 you spend!  If you have a United Airlines credit card, like the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card or United MileagePlus® Club Card, you’ll earn 25% more miles – and they’re instantly applied to your United Airlines loyalty account.

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
Extend the Life of Your United Airlines Miles for $5

And considering you can purchase gift cards through the app for as little as $5, this is an unbeatable way to keep all your existing miles from expiring!

Step 1.   Find Your Merchant

The first time you download the app, you’ll need to log-in with your United Airlines username and password – the same one you use to access the United Airlines website.

The default start screen shows merchants sorted by distance.  That’s handy if you’re standing in a store and want to pay right then!

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
The Default View Is Sorted by Distance

Once you find the store in the app, tap it to continue.  Let’s say you’re at Kona Grill and ready to pay your bill.  Find Kona Grill in the list and choose “Pay Now.”

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
Get an Extra 5 United Airlines Miles per $1 at Kona Grill!

You’ll currently earn 5X United Airlines miles – and that’s in addition to any other credit cards rewards you earn!  For example, team member Harlan bought a Kona Grill gift card through the MileagePlus X app.  He earned 5 United Airlines miles per $1 spent.  And an extra 5% in cash back rewards for paying with his Discover It card when restaurants were a quarterly bonus category!

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
Most Merchants Still Code Correctly Even When You Buy Gift Cards Through the App

This is an easy way to double dip United Airlines miles with other miles or points you’d earn!

Note:   Some merchants do NOT code correctly (like Kohl’s), but most do.  I recommend making a small purchase first to make sure it codes in the proper bonus category!

Step 2.   Select Your Payment Card

On the next screen, choose the card you want to use.  Or enter a new one.

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
Pick the Card You Want to Use for Payment

Tap the card to continue.

Step 3.   Buy the Gift Card

Next, select or enter the amount for your gift card.  Some merchants let you enter any number between a certain minimum and maximum.  Others require you to choose from a set number of denominations.

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
Get Ready to Buy Your Gift Card

Once you select or enter your total, tap “Pay Now” to see your shiny new gift card!

Step 4.   Use Your Gift Card to Pay

Now you’ll have a gift card fully loaded with payment funds.  You can use it right away to pay.  Or save it for later!

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
Your Gift Card Is Ready Instantly

At this point, you can show your card number to pay for a purchase on-the-spot.  Or if you’re shopping online, enter the number on the checkout page.

You can also share the card if it’s a gift.

Keep in mind, once you click “Mark Redeemed” you can NOT access the card number again.  If you think you’ll make a return, or if you split your purchase into 2+ transactions, do NOT hit this button – this is very important!

You can always access the gift cards you purchased later.  As an added precaution, you can take a screenshot of the gift card number.  If you’re actually done with the gift card, you can mark it redeemed to avoid confusion.

Step 5.   Enjoy the Bonus Miles

That’s it!  The extra United Airlines miles appear in your account instantly!

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
It’s Easy to Find Which Merchants Participate in the MileagePlus X App

You can earn bonus United Airlines miles with dozens of popular retailers, like AMC Theatres, Gap, and Starbucks.  And you can filter the list by distance.  Or browse the entire catalog, sorted by merchant type or alphabetically.

Just tap the 3 horizontal lines in the top left corner to explore and sort.  It’s worth a look, because some of the stores on the list might surprise you!

Are There Drawbacks?

Extra miles and points are always a good thing.  But there are some important limitations to understand when you pay with gift cards.

Some credit cards offer terrific purchase and price protection when you use them to pay.  But when you pay with gift cards, you typically won’t get a price adjustment if the price drops.  And you won’t get extended warranties like you would with some cards.  We’ll have a post on this soon!

How To Get Discounts With The MileagePlus App
If You Break It, You’re out of Luck. Gift Card Purchases Are NOT Eligible for Purchase Protection or Extended Warranties

So I would NOT recommend using the MileagePlus X app for big purchases, like electronics.  But if you’re paying for a meal or inexpensive item, it’s worth it to rack up some extra miles!

Bottom Line

Next time you’re shopping or dining, consider opening the MileagePlus X app to see if you can earn free bonus United Airlines miles on your purchase!  The miles are instantly added to your account when you purchase store-specific gift cards through the app.  And that keeps your existing miles from expiring!

Keep in mind, when you pay with gift cards, you give up credit card protections like extended warranties.  You should be fine if you’re eating out or seeing a movie.   But I wouldn’t use a gift card to pay for an expensive electronic item, for example.

With most merchants, the United Airlines miles you earn are in addition to other miles or points you earn with your credit card.  And you can save them to use for your next big vacation!

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  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Always get a kick out of the salesclerk’s reaction when they inform me that I have $0 remaining on my GC after this purchase. They’re amazed that I had the exact odd amount left on the card. What are the odds? haha

Love this app. But, one other thing to consider. If you return an item purchased via this app gift card, you’ll be given a gift card. While I’m fine with that for stores I frequent, not excited to get one from stores I don’t. So, in those cases, if I’m not confident I won’t be returning the item, I pass on the app. That’s just me though.