Friday, February 26, 2016

Use MPX to Almost Immediately Top off Your United Balance

Yesterday, I shared the story of my upcoming trip in which I used hundreds of thousands of miles (still hurts) to save thousands of dollars from leaving my bank account.

One interesting tidbit is that I made a math error while trying to book.

I had 357,993 Ultimate Rewards points and I had 108,993 United Miles.   That's 466,998 miles I could have since I can transfer UR points into my United account.

I needed 510,000 United miles to make the trip happen so I calculated that I was 43,002 short.  I decided that the cheapest and fastest way (I needed to book that day) to get the extra miles was to buy them from United.  They only allow you to buy in 1,000 mile increments so I bought 44,000 miles so I now had 152,993 United miles.  More than enough, right?

Dead wrong!

You can only transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United in 1k increments as well!  I knew this but I forgot.

However, there is an easy solution if you know about it.  One - you could pay the difference. In my scenario an extra 7 miles would be $37.  Holy cow!

Come on United!  That's a steep price for 7 miles!

After I booked I found out a different way to get the extra miles quickly.

You can use the United Mileage Plus App (MPX).  It is an app that allows you to buy eGift Cards to many stores in any denomination you want from $5-$500 and earn extra United miles.

One of those stores is  You earn 2.5 United Miles for every dollar you spend on Amazon gift cards on top of your regular credit card earnings.  It's really quite nice when you are in a bind so I bought a $5 Amazon gift card and added it to my Amazon account.

The extra special thing about it is that the miles post almost immediately to your account.  Even if it doesn't reflect it online, when I called in 20 minutes later, they saw that in their system that I had already been credited the miles and hopefully can reverse that $37 fee.

So there you have it: You can use the MPX app to top off your miles if you need them in a big hurry!