October 27, 2017
United Shopping Portal is Now Offering Miles for In-Store Purchases

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Online shopping portals are a great way to earn extra miles and points for online purchases. You just login to the shopping portal, click the link to the retailer, and shop as you normally would. Online portals typically give 2X-5X points per $1 spent, though there’s often promotions like United’s current 10X miles per $1 offer for Macy’s. These portals have so far exclusively been for online shopping. United is now starting to offer similar bonuses for in-store purchases.

United’s online portal details how this process works. It’s a bit more complicated than the process for getting a bonus for online shopping. First, you have to link an American Express or Visa card, which you will be using for in-store shopping, to the United portal. Then you enter your mobile number into the United portal (you’ll get a confirmation text as soon as you shop). Finally, you have to link specific bonus offers from the online portal to your account. You can link as many as you want.

Twenty retailers are currently participating in this promotion. Some notable merchants include Under Armor, Ugg, Macy’s, Express, and American Eagle. There’s a few important details to keep in mind. Only American Express and Visa cards are eligible for this. Eligible debit cards must be run as a credit transaction to qualify. Do not enter your PIN number if using a debit card as a credit transaction. Once you add an offer to your account, you have between 30-45 days to make the purchase and get the bonus miles.

I think this is a great additional way to earn bonus airline miles. The process is a bit cumbersome and I wish United would simplify it. It’s much easier to earn bonus United miles for in-store shopping with the United MileagePlus X app. I found that retailers which are participating in both programs are offering a higher bonus on the app. For example, Under Armour is 5X on the app and 4X online, American Eagle is 5X on the app and 2X online. In those cases, you’d be better off using the app. But the online portal has some retailers which are not available on the MileagePlus X app (like Johnson and Murphy). In those cases, it’s better to go through the online portal for in-store purchases.