One of the more exciting changes American Express made to their Platinum card was the 5x on airfare. The way this works is that the American Express computers look up the merchant code and add 5x if they see an airline. It does not have to be a ticket (though credit card issuers get detailed ticket data in the credit card transaction – which is amazing).
Now United has a surprising app called United Mileage Plus X (or MPX) which is many things United is not. It’s slick, always works and is quite innovative.
It allows you to buy gift cards for a rather long list of merchants online and offline. Gift card purchases are breeze and it’s all electronic. This is already a great tool and you earn up to 10x United miles per dollar.
But now people are reporting (unsurprisingly) that the MPX app also gets the 5x from the airfare bump AMEX added. That means even Amazon (which is just 1x) gets you an 6x (5x American Express Membership Rewards and one United mile per dollar spend) – many other store purchases will get you a 10x.
Since transactions post so quickly (and effortlessly) there is no need to buy gift cards much in advance – you can do it for the amount you are about to spend anyways and it takes just a few seconds.
Keep in mind that some of the credit card guarantees (like extended warranty and theft insurance) will not apply when buying gift cards. But for many purchases this isn’t an issue at all.