After almost 6 months of using MileagePlus X, I thought I’d provide an update on this awesome app!
Long story short: I love it.
Using MileagePlus X
There are a few things that stand out about the MPX app. First, it offers users the ability to earn miles on purchases they wouldn’t normally be able to, or earn extra miles on purchases they could have already. You earn anywhere from 1 to 5 extra MileagePlus miles per dollar for routing the spending through the MPX app, which gives you an electronic gift code to redeem. You can then check out at the store using the code as if you purchased an e-gift card from the merchant themselves.
This also means that if you’re comfortable using the MPX gift codes, you can stack them with portals. Just navigate to the shopping portal and checkout using the gift codes. I’ll outline this further down below.
MPX also handily stores the gift cards you buy. If you buy an MPX gift code and change your mind about that big purchase, you can always save the MPX code for later. It won’t disappear or lose value.
The United Chase card Bonus
As you know, United has a partnership with Chase for its portfolio of credit cards.
Luckily for us, that means Chase and United are willing to give you a little bonus on your MPX app purchases.
As you can see to the right (in the small blue text), when looking at the activity on my MPX account, I receive a 25% bonus on all my miles earned. That’s simply because I hold a Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card.
You don’t even have to pay with that card! Most of the purchases you see in the screenshot were made with my AmEx SPG Business card, because they were business purchases. I’ve also used my Southwest cards, and my new AmEx Platinum on the app (and still get the Chase bonus miles).
Year to date, I’ve earned enough miles for a short roundtrip flight on United in the US, just by using the MPX app!
What’s the catch?
There’s a few things you have to be mindful of if using the MPX app frequently.
For one, it doesn’t track the gift card balances very accurately. If you can’t keep track of the balances on your cards, it’s not a good call. I tend to only buy on MPX at the register. I wait for the cashier to ring up my total, and then I punch the numbers into the MPX app for that exact amount, and check out with the gift code. With a good data connection, the process only takes a few seconds.
Once you’ve used the gift code, you can pull it up, and “Mark as Redeemed.” This is an all out nothing move though, once you select it, the gift code disappears from “My Purchases.”
Remember that you’re technically buying gift cards. Gift cards don’t come with the same consumer protections as credit card purchases. If you’re a fan of extended warranties, or features like the Citi Price Rewind, you should continue using your credit card. You have to physically pay with your card for those features, and it won’t cover purchases made through an MPX gift code.
MPX app purchases may code as travel. Use this to your advantage, but remember that if you buy an MPX code for Legal Sea Foods, it might not count for your restaurant category bonus. However, it may count for extra spend in the travel category on your card. On my American Express cards, I can confirm that MPX purchases definitely code travel.
The app does store your credit card info. Rather, it will if you ask it nicely. I always bring this up, because some people are wary of storing their credit card information anywhere, let alone on their phones. MPX will prompt you for your password before making a purchase or editing credit card information. Any cards stored on the MPX app are reciprocated on your United online login.
Purchasing MPX Gift Codes
Very simple. Select your merchant, punch in an amount, pick your card, and hit “Pay now.” Don’t you just love technology?
Most merchants have a minimum and maximum value of somewhere between $10 and $300. If you’re making a purchase over the amount allotted, you’ll just have to buy multiple gift codes. Some merchants only allow fixed denominations of gift codes. Pep Boys, for example, only lets you purchase gift codes in the amount of $50.
Here’s the fun part. And yes, that’s coming from a guy who genuinely enjoys rolling pennies into coin rolls on his weekends. “Stacking” refers to combining or using multiple ways to save, earn miles, get cashback, you get the idea. MPX lets you:
- Earn miles on the actual credit card purchase,
- on the MPX gift code,
- with the Chase United card bonus (if you have one),
- save (or earn miles) through portals,
- AND save with any store coupons or promotions (usually).
Consider a $100 MPX purchase for an Ebay gift code. Ebay earns 2 MileagePlus miles on the MPX app. I’m going to go ahead and buy the code with my new AmEx Platinum. After all, I have to hit that minimum spend!
$100 on my Amex Platinum = 100 Membership Rewards = about $1.90 in value
On MPX, Ebay gift codes earn 2 MileagePlus miles per dollar. So, I’ll earn 200 miles on a $100 purchase:
200 MileagePlus Miles = about $3.50 in value
But wait, there’s more! 25% Chase cardholder bonus:
50 extra MileagePlus miles = about $0.75 in value
As any good consumer knows, online shopping portals offer an excellent way to get cash back, extra miles, or other rebates. At the time of writing, TopCashback is offering 1.1% cashback, and Ebates is offering 1% in most categories, while MileagePlus Shopping and AAdvantage eShopping are offering half a mile and 1 mile per dollar, respectively. Assuming I can get good value out of those AAdvantage miles, the AAdvantage eShopping portal will offer me the best value right now:
100 AAdvantage miles = about $1.50 in value
And finally, I can still save with most in-store promotions, coupons, and loyalty programs, since I’m simply paying with a store gift card! Ebay Bucks typically offer 2% back in bucks, good toward future Ebay purchases:
Ebay bucks earned = $2.00
My total savings are:
$1.90 + $3.50 + $0.75 + $1.50 + $2.00 = $9.65
Almost 10% off on regular, everyday items from Ebay, that’s great! Plus, 2 miles per dollar is on the low end of things over at MPX. Plenty of stores offer 4 or 5 miles per dollar, representing a value of 6-7.5% by itself, and even more with a Chase United card in your wallet!
The MPX app has allowed me rake in MileagePlus miles over the past few months, and I’ll continue to use it as much as possible. It’s simple, straightforward, and offers an amazing earning opportunity. If I keep using MPX at the current rate, I’ll have over 40,000 additional miles to burn! That’s a roundtrip to United’s destinations in the Caribbean or Central America, just for buying gift cards through MPX!
With any luck, I’ll be going to Europe in the next two years. Once my Companion Pass is up, I’ll be able to use all these AAdvantage and MileagePlus miles I’ve been stockpiling. Here’s hoping there aren’t any more devaluations coming soon!