Using the MileagePlus X app and changes for the new year

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A great way to earn United MileagePlus miles is the MileagePlusX app, where you can earn 3, 4, 5+ miles per $ spent on participating stores, restaurants and online retailers.  The app is very simple to use!  You start by registering your credit cards within the app.  Then, when at a participating merchant (or online), you enter the total balance of your purchase(or select from the options provided to you) and the app purchases a gift card for the chosen merchant with which you can pay for your goods or meal.

To remember: each merchant has unique terms nd conditions that you should be aware of; the most important for me is the fact that if I decide to return any goods, I’ll receive a gift card for the purchase amount, rather than having the money spent put back into my card.

Each merchant has an assigned X miles/$ spent amount and from time to time the amount of bonus miles earned change as MileagePlus negotiates with the merchants.  Well yesterday, first day of 2017, I noticed three significant changes:

  • Amazon – Earn rate changed from 1 mile/$ spent to 0.5 mile/$ spent.
  • Walmart (in store) – new participating store at 1 mile/$ spent.
  • Walmart (online) – new online merchant at 1 mile/$ spent.

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Although the Amazon earn rate went down by 50%, I’m more interested -and excited- about the new Walmart option, in particular the in-store option.  Visa categorizes Walmart Supercenters as grocery stores (and AMEX does too) and that’s a great reason to begin shopping at Walmart Supercenters as much as you can.  Remember that you won’t only earn the MileagePlusX miles earn rate, but you’ll also earn either cash back or miles/points from the spend on the credit card you selected to use with the app.  Just make sure that you use the right card to register.  You can leverage cards that earn you bonuses -be it cash back or miles/points- on grocery stores to double dip.  Here are some examples of credit cards you may consider to use with this new MileagePlusX merchant:

  • Chase Freedom – The Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back rotating quarterly on up to $1500 in purchases in that 3-month period, on several purchase categories, one of which is grocery store with no annual fee.  Be sure to use this card in the grocery store bonus period when shopping at Walmart, but also note that restaurant meals, online shopping, and department stores, (which you can find as merchants within the app) are some of the rotating categories. So there’s a great advantage into combining the MileagePlusX app with the Chase Freedom card.  In the specific case of Walmart, earn 1 UA mile + 5% cash back when using the app.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited – The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no annual fee.  In the specific case of any store/merchant, earn the 1 UA mile + 1.5% cash back when using the app.
  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred – The Blue Cash Preferred card earns 6% cash back at grocery stores in the US up to $6,000 in purchases per year, with a $95 annual fee.  In the specific case of Walmart, earn the 1 UA mile + 6% cash back when using the app.  *As an alternative, the Blue Cash Everyday card offers 3% cash back at grocery stores instead, with no annual fee.
  • American Express Everyday Preferred – The Preferred card earns 3x Membership Rewards points (which you can transfer to several United/Star Alliance partners to fly United or its partners) at grocery stores up to $6,000 in purchases per year.  It also carries a cool 50% points bonus if you use your card 30 or more times within a billing period, getting you up to 4.5x MR points at grocery stores.  In the specific case of Walmart, earn the 1 UA mile +3 or 4.5 MR points when using the app.  *As an alternative, the Everyday card earns you 2x MR points at grocery stores instead, with no annual fee, and a 20% points bonus if you use the card 20 times or more within a billing period.

In conclusion, the more we combine point earning tools and bonuses, the more value we get, and the MileagePlusX app is a great tool to combine with the right credit cards.  For example, use what we’ve discussed here and then purchase through the MileagePlus shopping portal to even triple dip on your spend!  Don’t wait to leverage these opportunities as soon as you can in 2017!  I know I won’t…

Here’s an example of how to maximize earnings with this app.

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