United’s MileagePlus® Shopping site ( https://www.mileageplusshopping.com) is a must, especially if you make online purchases. The list of participating online retailers is robust; regular retail stores not so much.
The MileagePlus® Shopping site is informative and the process is pretty intuitive. I would suggest spending some time studying it to see how it works and to note participating retailers. Once you are confident and there’s something you want/need to buy, give it a try. Make sure you follow the rules and login using your MileagePlus® account number.
The recently introduced MileagePlus® Shopping Assistant makes it even easier to use. Once downloaded the Shopping Assistant alerts you when you visit participating online retailers during your regular browsing and prompts you to click an “Earn Miles” button that logs you into the MileagePlus® Shopping site automatically. There’s no need to start your shopping via the MileagePlus® Shopping site anymore.
Stores usually offer X miles/$ though some stores offer a set number of miles. For example, at the time of this writing, Office Max is offering 2 miles/$, drugstore.com offers 4 miles/$, while DIRECTV.com is offering 4300 miles to sign up.
You can maximize your earnings by also using your Chase MileagePlus® or Explorer credit card to pay for your purchase. Let’s say you purchase $100 worth of merchandise from Office Max. At the time of this writing you would earn 2 miles/$ or 200 miles for the transaction regardless of what credit card you use to pay for it. By using your MileagePlus® or Ultimate Rewards card you will earn additional miles depending on the card, 100 miles, 200 miles if the card earns double miles on office supplies, or even 500 miles for using the Chase Ink Bold business card which offers 5x points for office supplies. Offers change regularly as stores have temporary promotions. This is when you can really rack up some miles.
The miles earned are included in the monthly totals shown on your credit card statement, and as “Card Purchases” in your MileagePlus® account activity. The miles earned for using the MileagePlus® Shopping site will post to your MileagePlus® account in a few weeks with the description “Cartera” in your MileagePlus® account activity. A purchase from Victoria’s Secret shows up as “Cartera” as does a purchase from Drugstore.com, but you can go to My Shopping Account from the MileagePlus® Shopping site to see individual detailed transactions for the past 120 days.
Since I like to confirm that I actually earn the miles I usually log a reminder in my To Do list to watch for them to post, noting the date and approximate number of miles I’m expecting. It’s not an exact science and the miles I get are usually slightly lower than the miles I calculate – probably due to not earning miles for taxes and/or shipping. So far the miles have always turned up. I’m not sure what recourse is available if they don’t. Their FAQs say to contact them.
REGULAR RETAIL SHOPPING
You can also earn miles by shopping in store or by phone at participating retailers. You must register your credit cards online in order to earn extra miles.
Note: The MileagePlus® Shopping site always refers to registering your MileagePlus® credit cards, but you can register any Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card and they will earn miles at participating retailers. Of course, only your MileagePlus® credit cards will earn miles based on your spending in addition to the miles given by participating stores.
Unlike the online shopping program, few, if any, of the local stores I shop at participate in the MileagePlus® program. If I’ve ever earned any miles this way, it was purely coincidental.