United Airlines MileagePlus Shopping guide

By visiting the MileagePlus portal before you shop, you can earn extra miles on your online purchases

MileagePlus Shopping guide

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Staying loyal to one particular airline and using co-branded credit cards aren't the only ways to save money on travel, earn free flights or enjoy upgraded amenities while traversing the skies. Shopping rewards programs, like United MileagePlus Shopping, are another way to boost your mileage earnings and take that fabulous beach vacation sooner than you thought.

As the MileagePlus Shopping website says, it’s your chance to "earn miles faster than you can say Mele Kalikimaka" – which, in case you're wondering, is the Hawaiian phrase for "Merry Christmas."

What is MileagePlus Shopping?

United MileagePlus Shopping is United Airlines' shopping rewards program, which lets you earn miles simply by shopping at hundreds of online stores. All it takes to get started is your United MileagePlus frequent flyer number and your most-used credit and debit cards.

With no additional fees to participate and no shortage of available retailers – including Bloomingdale's, Walmart, Restaurant.com and Foot Locker – the MileagePlus Shopping program is an easy and convenient way to accelerate your mileage earnings using purchases you'd make anyway. 

How to join MileagePlus Shopping

  1. Enroll in MileagePlus. If you haven't already, you'll need to sign up for United's MileagePlus rewards program. Simply enter your name, contact information and create a password to get started.
  2. Log in to MileagePlus Shopping. Access the MileagePlus Shopping program using your MileagePlus account number and password.
  3. Register your cards. Before you can start earning miles, you'll need to register the debit and/or credit cards you're most likely to use with the MileagePlus Shopping program.
  4. You're all set! 

How to use MileagePlus Shopping

Once you've registered your cards, it's time to go shopping at shopping.mileageplus.com. (This is how the program knows where you've shopped, so it can credit your MileagePlus account with the correct number of miles.) Once you're logged in, use the search box to find your favorite retailers or the particular product you're looking for. You can also find stores offering extra miles, as well as featured deals like free shopping and special bonus offers to accelerate your mileage earnings even faster. 

From there, just click on any store, product or offer. You'll be redirected to the store's website to complete your purchase using one of your pre-registered debit or credit cards. Don't visit another site in between MileagePlus Shopping and completing your purchase at a store site – it could prevent you from receiving your miles. Going directly to a retailer's website or physical store location won't work, either. 

Once award miles are added to your MileagePlus account, they're redeemable for travel just like the miles you earn when flying with United or any of its partner airlines. 

How many miles can you earn with MileagePlus Shopping?

Like most shopping rewards programs, your potential earnings with MileagePlus varies by store and how much you spend. However, a quick review of the shopping portal shows that most purchases are worth anywhere from 1-6 miles per dollar. Per the program's terms and conditions, there's no guaranteed number of miles; both participating retailers and mile offers can change daily. 

Once you make a purchase, you'll receive a rewards summary email (usually within 3-5 days, but it can take up to 15 days in some cases) confirming the exact miles you earned. 

How to maximize MileagePlus Shopping

  • Register all of your debit and credit cards. That way, you won't miss out on accruing miles by accidentally using a card you didn't register with MileagePlus Shopping.
  • Opt in to marketing emails to receive the latest MileagePlus Shopping deals and discounts.
  • Make sure your browser settings are not blocking cookies.
  • Install the MileagePlus Shopping button to get reminders to activate miles at store sites. The button also lets you see mileage offers in your search results and view your recent mileage earnings.
  • Check the MileagePlus Shopping website before buying anything online to see if that particular retailer participates in the program.
  • Only use coupon codes from MileagePlus Shopping. Using outside coupon codes will make your purchase ineligible for award miles.
  • Do not click out to another website in between MileagePlus Shopping and completing your purchase at a store site.
  • Keep your MileagePlus Shopping account up-to-date with your debit and credit card numbers, including any replacements you've requested if one was lost or stolen.
  • Check your MileagePlus account regularly to ensure your miles are properly credited. If your award miles don't post to your account after 15 days, contact MileagePlus Shopping for assistance. (Note: The program can only obtain missing award miles for purchases made within the previous 180 days.) 

Best credit cards to use with MileagePlus Shopping

Although you can use any Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover card with MileagePlus Shopping, certain credit cards can help you amass miles at a quicker rate when used in conjunction with the program. (Such cards often offer attractive sign-up bonuses for new cardholders, too.) 

Some examples include:

Credit Card Rewards for Shopping Annual Fee  
United Explorer? Card
1 mile per dollar $95, $0 first year
United MileagePlus® Club Card
1.5 miles per dollar
United TravelBank Card
1.5 miles per dollar
MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card
  • 1 mile per dollar when you select the annual fee
  • 1 mile per 2 dollars when you select the monthly fee plan

$85/year OR $5.95/month

Uber Visa Card
2 points per dollar


MileagePlus Shopping partners

More than 900 retailers participate in the MileagePlus Shopping program. This includes national chains like Gap, Walgreens and Best Buy, as well as specialty stores such as L'Occitane and Edible Arrangements. Merchant categories include: 

  • Apparel (Bloomingdale's, Lululemon, JoS. A Bank)
  • Shoes (Converse, Foot Locker, Finish Line)
  • Beauty and Health (Lancôme, Clinique, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics)
  • Electronics (Best Buy, Canon, Abt Electronics)
  • Magazines and Newspapers (National Geographic, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal) 

Visit the MileagePlus Shopping website to view the full list of categories and retailers. 

Bottom line

Using the MileagePlus Shopping program is really a no-brainer for any United Airlines enthusiast, current MileagePlus member or would-be globetrotter. Check out the MileagePlus Dining program for another easy way to build up your MileagePlus balance and get to that next reward flight quickly.

Related stories: How much are United miles worth?, Best United Airlines credit cards12 ways to earn United milesBest ways to redeem United milesUnited Airlines partnersUnited Airlines elite status benefitsA guide to United Club loungesHow to book a United flight with miles

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Updated: 03-23-2019