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Earn More United Miles for Holiday Shopping

You know you're going to spend money on holiday gifts. Probably hundreds of dollars.

And you know that much of that spending will be at online retailers. Why slog through the mall when many of the same retailers sell the same merchandise on their websites?

Since many of the largest retailers award frequent flyer miles through the airlines' mileage malls, why would you not earn miles for those purchases?

If that's not a compelling argument, perhaps a sweetener, such as these bonuses from United, will make the case for combining holiday shopping and mileage-earning.

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Offer Details

Through December 31, Mileage Plus members can earn 500 bonus miles when spending $500 or more through the Mileage Plus Shopping network of online retailers, plus double miles at select merchants.

Among the merchants offering double miles, and their mileage payouts including the bonus, are the following:

  • Lands' End - five miles per $1 spent
  • Barnes & Noble - four miles per $1 spent
  • Eddie Bauer - four miles per $1 spent
  • Sears - 3.5 miles per $1 spent
  • eBags - six miles per $1 spent
  • Macy's - four miles per $1 spent
  • Gap - four miles per $1 spent
  • Old Navy - four miles per $1 spent
  • Banana Republic - four miles per $1 spent
  • Walmart - two miles per $1 spent

Deal or No Deal

The 500 bonus miles for spending $500 is a classically weak combination: a small bonus coupled with a high hurdle to earn it.

On the other hand, the double miles could make for a compelling value proposition, especially with retailers that normally offer two or more miles per $1 spent.

Ideally, to maximize the mileage effect, you'd spend $500 at retailers that offer double miles, and charge the purchases to a Mileage Plus credit card.

As always, if you're not a committed United loyalist, check on the mileage payouts available from other airline mileage malls before pressing the "Buy" button.

Reader Reality Check

How much of your Christmas shopping have you planned around mileage-earning?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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