I don’t know about you, but I was suprised to learn that there’s a way to earn miles to use for FREE flights by shopping IN a store, not just online.

I’m certainly very familiar with all the airline — and other travel — shopping portals that allow you to start at their sites and earn miles for your online shopping, but I can earn miles by shopping IN a store — at no cost? News to me!

Mileage Plus X app

In case it’s news to you, too, I wanted to share this handy tip the next time you’re doing some shopping.

While we all love the ease and convenience of shopping online, sometimes we will find ourselves inside an actual store ;-). United Airlines has 2 ways that allow you to earn miles when shopping inside several retailers.

While I never fly United, if no other airline allows me to earn miles shopping in a store, I might as well earn United miles! You never know when you might need or use them!


MileagePlus In-Store Shopping

MileagePlus In-Store Shopping is simple to use.

First visit the in-store shopping page within United’s MileagePlus Online Shopping portal.

Then, you need to link a particular store AND offer, say 1.5 miles per dollar spent at Bed Bath and Beyond, to a specific debit or credit card you will use to pay for a purchase.

It only works with Visa or American Express cards, and when using debit cards, you’ll need to choose the CREDIT option (don’t enter your PIN).

Enter your mobile number when linking the cards above, so it can notify you that your miles are pending. 

Then you’ll automatically earn between 1.5 to 4 miles for every dollar you spend.

Participating stores include:

  • American Eagle
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Charming Charlie
  • Express
  • Macy’s
  • New York & Company
  • Shoe Carnival
  • Tervis Tumblers
  • UGG
  • Under Armour


MileagePlus X App

There’s yet another simple way to easily earn 2-4 United miles per dollar spent on your in-store shopping by utilizing United’s MileagePlus X app!

It also allows you to shop online at some merchants including Amazon.com, which earns .5 miles for every dollar spent!

As far as I know, that’s the ONLY airline that lets you earn miles at Amazon.

United MileagePlus X app in-store shopping

Here’s the process step-by-step:

  1. Load the MileagePlus X app on your smartphone by searching for it in iTunes or the Android app store.
  2. Sign in with your MileagePlus account and search for participating retailers.
  3. When you shop in store at the retailer, enter in the amount of your purchase, and add a payment method (a credit or debit card).
  4. This will generate a code for the cashier to scan. What is happening is that you are purchasing a gift card for the amount of your purchase.
  5. Have them scan the code, which will use the gift card to pay for your purchase.

Note: Because you are purchasing a gift card, this could impact your ability to return the item (ie you may only receive store credit), so double-check with the cashier about this.

The app automatically displays retailers near your location. Participating retailers  include:

  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Papa John’s
  • Starbucks
  • Lowe’s
  • OfficeMax
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Applebee’s
  • Petco
  • Best Buy
  • Marshalls
  • HomeGoods
  • Kohl’s
  • Home Depot
  • AMC Theatres
  • Famous Footwear
  • Old Navy
  • Panera
  • Bed Bath and Beyond

Those are just the ones near me!

Don’t forget you can earn in-store miles on TOP of what you would earn by using a miles-earning credit card like Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or a United credit card!

This will allow you to “double-dip” on miles — always a good thing :).

Thanks for starting all your credit card applications at the CREDIT CARDS link in my main menu above. This allows me to earn a commission — at NO cost to you — to help support the blog. I sincerely appreciate it!

credit cards link

Did you know about this option? Happy shopping!


  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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