How to Use the United MileagePlus X App to Earn 3X More Miles

I downloaded the United MileagePlus X app last year but never really used it since it was all the way on the second page of my phone screen. I’m not a big shopper anyway and prefer to buy things online, where I make use of shopping portals to earn extra miles on my purchases. However, this weekend I had to go to the mall – something I dread. There was just no way around it, so I was determined to at least earn lots of points and miles. The MilagePlus X app helped me earn over 1,000 bonus miles. While these miles won’t get me to Bali, every mile counts.

mobile apps on a touchscreen phone in a cafe setting
Use the United MileagePlus X App to earn lots of bonus miles on everyday purchases

How Does the MileagePlus X App Work?

If you’re wondering how the MileagePlus X app actually works, it’s a little different from traditional shopping portals. I assumed it would work like a dining rewards program: Register your credit card, shop at a participating merchant, and earn bonus miles. Instead, you buy a merchant gift card through the MileagePlus X app and then use that towards your purchase. To give you a better idea of how this works, here’s a visual account:

Step 1: Open the MileagePlus X app and either scroll through the list of merchants or type your merchant name into the search box. When you’re ready to pay for your purchase, select “Pay now”

United MileagePlus X App Merchant List.
Earn miles with the United MileagePlus X app

Step 2: You’ll find a brief summary with a profile of the merchant, including location. There is an option to change the store location if it isn’t set correctly. I don’t know if it makes a difference, but I still recommend changing it, just to be safe.

United MileagePlus X App Location
You can change the store location in the United MileagePlus X App

Step 3: Type the total amount of your purchase and choose your payment option. You can actually redeem United miles for gift card purchases but that is a terrible value (and counterproductive, since you’re trying to earn more miles for travel). Again, you’re purchasing a gift card through the MileagePlus X app. Make sure it is the exact amount the cashier asks for. The downside of this is that if you return an item purchased through the MileagePlus X app, your refund will be issued in the form of a store gift card. 

United MileagePlus X App Payment Screen
United MileagePlus X App – payment screen

Step 4: Have the cashier scan or type in the gift card code. You’ll receive both a gift card number and a PIN, which you can use for online purchases. During almost every transaction, the cashiers simply scanned the barcode. At HomeGoods, the scanner didn’t work so the cashier typed in the gift card number.

United MileagePlus X App GAP Gift Card
United MileagePlus X App Gift Card code and PIN

Step 5: Your gift card will be stored in the app for future use. If you’ve used the balance, simply mark it as redeemed. You’ll also receive an email receipt for the gift card, containing your git card number and PIN.

United MileagePlus X App Gift Card Redeemed
Mark your gift card as “redeemed” on the United MileagePlus X App

How Long Does it Take for Your Miles to Post?

The great thing about using the MileagePlus X app is that the miles post to your account almost immediately. The MileagePlus X app FAQ does state that with certain merchants, the miles don’t appear until after you actually use the gift card for a purchase. In my case, when I logged into my United MileagePlus account at the end of the same day I used the app, my miles had already posted. That’s incredibly fast! In fact, if your United miles are ever on the verge of expiring, using the United MileagePlus X app is a great way to keep your account active on short notice.

United MileagePlus Credit Cardholders Earn a 25% Bonus

In addition to miles earned from the app, United MileagePlus credit cardholders are eligible for a 25% bonus. This bonus can be combined with the United MileagePlus X app and the MileagePlus Shopping portal to generate even more miles. Factor in the 1-1.5 miles per $1 earned through the United credit cards and you’re looking at a major point haul.

That’s pretty much all there is to the United MileagePlus X app. It’s an easy way to generate extra United miles on everyday shopping. All you have to do is make it a habit and remember to use it consistently in-store and online. And while the earnings may not seem substantial, when combined with credit card category bonuses, and online shopping portals, the app can make a substantial contribution towards your mile-earning goals.

Have you used the United MileagePlus X app yet? How many miles have you earned by using it?

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  1. There are some stores that are BOTH on the United Milage X app AND on the shopping portal so an extra dip that way too! I use it during Christmas when Sephora is 5x miles on the app and 21x miles on the portal. Plus I use my United credit card so I get the miles for the purchase and get the 25% bonus. Quadruple dip!

    • I love the idea of ‘quadruple dip’. I’m going to be using this a lot as I just downloaded the app and all of the stores I usually go to around me, showed up as being part of it. I’m pretty excited!

    • How did I miss the 21x bonus at Sephora?!?!? A lot of portals also offer spending bonuses during the holidays, so you can earn even more miles on those purchases.

  2. You have to be careful to always use the United app as a gift card; the first time I used it at Staples, the clerk told me that lots of customers use it, and to just hold my phone near the credit card swipe, like Apple Pay. That charged not only the Ink Bold card I wanted to use, but also my Freedom Unlimited card. I had to jump through a lot of hoops with Chase to get that squared away. It’s a great app; I hate shopping too, but when I do, I get a my United points!

    • Thanks for the tip. I haven’t used it at Staples and had no idea that would happen. So far, cashiers have simply used the scanner (the one they use for merchandise) to scan the gift card. Or entered the numbers manually.

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