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United Airlines

How I Earned 10,000+ United Miles on A Single Online Purchase

How I Earned 10,000+ United Miles on A Single Online Purchase
Anya Kartashova

Shopping via online portals is one of my favorite ways to extra bonus miles without much effort. Nearly every airline program has a shopping portal, and so do some banks. You can earn cash back, airline miles, hotel points and bank points.

How I Earned More Than 10,000 Miles on One Purchase

Which portal I choose depends on which offers more points and also which points I’m most likely to use. To check the earning rates, I like to consult with CashBackMonitor. If you pay enough attention and watch out for promos, you can score big.

Not that long ago, United Airlines MileagePlus Shopping portal offered 5X per dollar spent on purchases at Apple Store, up from 1X mile per dollar spent otherwise, and most Apple products qualified for the promo. It just so happened that I already was looking to make a large purchase at the Apple Store.

My 10-year-old white MacBook has served me well for the past decade, but I desperately needed an upgrade. We’re talking about a laptop that couldn’t keep up with just a few open tabs at once and spun the multi-colored “wheel of death” for what seemed like eternity every time I did anything. It was bad! Since I work online and can’t afford to spend hours waiting for a single page to load, I decided to click “buy now” the day of the promo that so conveniently appeared out of thin air.

My shiny and new MacBook Pro arrived in the mail, and the miles have posted to my MileagePlus account—all 10,495 of them! It all depends on the value you personally assign to the miles you earn, but I value United miles at 1.5 cents apiece. So, my Apple Store purchase earned about $157 worth of miles.

How to Stack Multiple Promos on A Single Purchase

Although it didn’t work in my specific scenario, there are ways to increase your return even further.

Before making an online purchase, check MileagePlus X app for potential stacking opportunities. If the same merchant appears in the app and a portal, cash back or otherwise, you can triple dip, and possibly even quadruple dip with the right card.

Related: How to Triple-, and Even Quadruple-Dip, When Shopping Online

Simply buy a gift card to the store of your choice, then make a purchase via a shopping portal of your choice and use a credit card that earns points or miles to pay for it. Keep in mind that some merchants do not pay out a bonus on items bought with gift cards, but I’ve had luck with earning miles on such purchases in the past.

The reason I couldn’t triple-dip this time was Apple Store gift cards weren’t available in the MileagePlus X app.

In Conclusion

Online portals can earn you tons of miles. Even if you don’t earn large chunks of them on every purchase, lots of small purchases add up. I recommend checking CashBackMonitor and the MileagePlus X app every time you shop online for earning opportunities.


Do you use online shopping portals as religiously as I do? Which ones do you enjoy the most?

View Comments (7)


  1. Neodinium

    December 5, 2018 at 4:24 am

    It’s dumb as nuts to buy gadgets and electronics from these portal shopping sites because they’re always marked up to their FULL RETAIL PRICES. You only gained $157 in points off of a $2100 laptop?

    LMAO!!! Puhhhleeease.

  2. Marathon Man

    December 5, 2018 at 4:40 am

    based on pst experience, I dont trust online shopping portals to pay out large promo amounts —especially ones that are highly publicized on travel forums like this one where all the tips are laid out for even the marketer to see without hiccups and potential pull back or delay but hey if this works and yer buying something anyway it may have legs. I would say MMV

  3. alexmyboy

    December 5, 2018 at 5:54 am

    u really lost, it’s united tee hee

  4. animesh42001

    December 5, 2018 at 5:57 am

    I think if you would have bought Macbook from Best buy, you would have saved 200-300$. There were so many deals on Macbook from Best buy lately.

  5. FlyingHighlander

    December 5, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Lots of people, myself included, are having problems with MPX right now. Since the app update many users cant get transactions to go through.

  6. Scott Kiwi

    December 5, 2018 at 7:50 am

    All you did was get a discount on the product you bought. Comparison shopping might have saved you even more.

  7. Kalboz

    December 5, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Oh Anya, i should have known better! The least a $2100 spend can get you is the said 10K UA miles but your title conveys something more creative. This translates to around 7% rebate in value which is not bad but not earth shattering either!

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