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Bad news this time guys…

As reported on Doctor of Credit, Flyertalk, and Reddit (see here and here), looks like our AmEx Platinum cards are no longer earning 5x Membership Rewards on United Airline’s MPX app.

Just think of all those award seats we could have snagged!

United has something unique in the MPX app, enabling tech-savvy users to buy gift cards, earn United miles, and use their newly minted electronic gift cards to pay for their in-store and online purchases.  There are plenty of useful stores on the app, including some of the big names like Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart.  I find myself using it quite often, paying with my American Express Platinum card, and cashing in a decent number of points.

For quite some time, MPX was coding as an airline on AmEx cards.  It was a great deal stack, because Platinum cards from American Express earn 5x points on all airfare purchased directly from airlines.  Originally, you could also cash out your AmEx airline credits through MPX, adding another layer of profit!  The airline credit trick died a while back, but Platinum cards were still earning 5x on MPX purchases.  Unfortunately, that no longer appears to be the case.

While perusing Reddit and some private groups, there were rumblings of the 5x loophole dying out in the past week or two, but nothing too conclusive.  In recent days however, the reports have become widespread, and it looks like we’ve reached the end of the run.  Airfare purchased directly from airlines have continued to earn 5x Membership Rewards, as they should, while MPX has stopped earning 5x as of around the 10th or 11th of February.

I’ll likely drop my Platinum card when the annual fee hits because of this development. (Or at least close it and open a new one for a sign-up bonus!)

What should we do now?

If you didn’t ever really use the Platinum MPX tip, no use crying over split milk.  If you were a heavy user, I think there’s a couple actions to take here:

  1. First, make sure it’s still worth it to hang onto your personal Platinum card.  With the new $550 annual fee, you had better be getting a lot of value out of the card.  Without the extra MPX earnings, I’ll be rethinking my Platinum card when the annual fee comes up in October.  Consider switching to the business version, if it’s right for you.
  2. If you’re missing out on the bonus United miles, you might want to snag a MileagePlus Explorer card from Chase (watch out for 5/24) or pushing more spend onto your Ultimate Rewards earning cards.
  3. Uninstall the MPX app.  I’m kidding!  I think this app definitely still provides value, especially for store categories that don’t often earn bonuses.  I end up using it mostly at clothing stores – MPX has plenty of options, the gift cards are delivered instantly, and none of my credit cards earn a bonus on clothing stores anyway.  If you don’t have it yet, check it out!

Although it doesn’t always feel like it in this hobby, I try to remind myself that “When one door closes, another door opens.”  Keep an eye out for the next open door.  There’s always a good way to earn points and miles, just takes some creativity!

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