Loyalty & Rewards

United's Frequent-Flyer Mobile-Pay Play

United Airlines is testing a new mobile rewards program that awards as many as 24 travel miles for each dollar spent with a mobile app, Mobile Commerce Daily reported on Tuesday (Dec. 16).

"Last month, we began offering our MileagePlus X mobile app to a test group of members, enabling them to use their mobile devices to earn miles when making purchases at certain stores," said said Karen May, a United spokeswoman. Retailers in the program include Lowe's, Gap, Sears, AMC Theaters, and a total of more than 50,000 merchant locations.

To make a MileagePlus X purchase, customers enter the total purchase amount into the app, which creates a digital gift card. The store's cashier scans the barcode to complete the purchase and award miles instantly show up in the member account. Customers may also see any additional miles earned if they use a co-branded MileagePlus Chase credit card.

The iOS or Android app lets users find participating stores and determine in advance how many miles they can receive, browse merchants' catalogs or search for specific retailers.

United plans to roll out MileagePlus X to all its frequent-flier program members soon, and will be expanding retail options, including the ability to use miles for in-store purchases -- which is already available at some merchants in certain airports served by United.

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