Does MPX Carry Over the Merchant Coding for Rewards?

The MPX app from United is convenient way to rack up bonus United miles for purchases you’re making regardless. You’ll net an extra 1-5 miles per dollar (sometimes more) by paying with a gift card bought via the app instead of paying direct.

The question often arises whether the category bonus from the credit card will carry over on an MPX purchase.

I conducted a bunch of experiments to learn more, and here are the results.


Update: Seems Chase is now coding MPX as generic purchase, and it stopped earning any category bonuses.

  • CSP Starbucks  – earned 2x as restaurant


  • INK, Office Max – earned 5x as office
  • INK, Staples – earned 5x as office (There are conflicting reports about this on Reddit here and here; my recent experience is that it worked; I’d guess that it used to not work and now does work.)



  • Hyatt, Papa John’s – earned 2x (heard from  a friend)
  • CSR, Red Robin – earned 3x as restaurant (heard from a friend)
  • CSR, Domino’s – earned 3x as restaurant (heard from a friend)
  • Freedom, Panera – earns 5x for rotating restaurant category



  • Prestige $10 Starbucks gift card – earned double points for dining



Amex lags a month with issuing rewards, so I won’t know for another few weeks whether these worked (I don’t think they will). I’ll update when the results come in.

  • Platinum personal, Staples – pending (waiting to see if it gets 5x for Airfare)
  • Business Gold, Staples – pending (waiting see if it gets 2x for Airfare)
  • SimplyCash, Staples – a friend confirms this did not earn 5%


  • Discover, Kohl’s – didn’t work.
  • Discover, Amazon – didn’t work
  • Discover, Sears – worked



  • Sallie Mae, Amazon – does not earn 5% (pic)

Final Thoughts

As a rule of thumb, it appears that MPX accurately captures the category coding, but won’t get the store coding. So generally, you’ll get the bonus category for dining or department stores and similar, but you won’t get the coding of a specific store (e.g. Discover or Sallie Mae for Amazon). There are exceptions, such as Kohl’s, which is usually considered a department store, yet MPX doesn’t consider it as such.

It’s impressive that MPX gets the category coding correct, something we don’t typically see. I’ll update the Amex and Discover experiments when the results come in, and please add your own data points in the comments!

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Ruan Li
Ruan Li (@guest_504635)
October 31, 2017 22:50

What are the merchants one can use to max out the 3x earnings on the chase business preferred card?

William Charles
October 31, 2017 23:01
az (@guest_449512)
July 30, 2017 18:31

My PRG shows 3X on any MPX purchase, so amazon GC will earn 3X MR + 0.5X miles * 1.25.

David T
David T (@guest_466948)
August 28, 2017 01:38

Curious where you see this on Amex website? Before I saw this article, I was trying to see if it works work for plat and I don’t see any bonus points. :'(

Charlie (@guest_360267)
February 25, 2017 15:08

Uber GC codes as local commuter transport on Chase Freedom and therefore for 5x “Bonus 1Q 5% cat: Local Commuter Transport.” I made the purchase on Feb 23.

Gaurav (@guest_360622)
February 26, 2017 14:50

Nice, thanks for the data point. So you earned 1 United mile and the 5 UR?

Charlie (@guest_360670)
February 26, 2017 16:07


Gaurav (@guest_311976)
November 3, 2016 18:48

There’s no way to buy VGCs at Staples this way right since you get a staples gift card and they can’t be used for gift card purchases?

Gaurav (@guest_312100)
November 4, 2016 01:17

And no way to do it online correct? Thanks Chuck!

Div (@guest_310489)
October 30, 2016 00:08

I am going to try some other gift cards through MPX and see if it still gives 3x UR or not?
Any idea of which category from MPX gives 3x UR points?

Div (@guest_310434)
October 29, 2016 20:07

On my CSR for the first time it gave me 3x UR points on Panera, but afterwards it gave me only 1x points on Panera.

Div (@guest_310490)
October 30, 2016 00:09

I am going to try some other gift cards through MPX and see if it still gives 3x UR or not?
Any idea of which category from MPX gives 3x UR points?

Pete (@guest_310371)
October 29, 2016 13:03

I believe the Freedom’s 5X deparment store category this year is based on store coding and not category coding. The fine print sure makes it look like the bonus is only available at the specifically listed stores, as opposed to most other Freedom categories where the list if stores is referenced as an example.

That would explain why the pass through for Khols doesnt work.

puja (@guest_309956)
October 28, 2016 02:02

Amex platinum purchase of amazon giftcard at MPX did not give me 5x MR points……$25 amazon card gave only 25 MR points….

Jamie (@guest_310409)
October 29, 2016 17:24

That seems incredibly stupid. Believable but stupid on the part of MPX 🙂

Hari (@guest_318822)
November 23, 2016 20:01

Same here tried for two days it didn’t work then used VPN and changed location to somewhere apart from my primary location and it worked the very first time…… may be try this way and see if it works…..

Swiggie (@guest_309886)
October 27, 2016 21:17

You show Citi AT&T getting 3x at Staples. Was that in-store? I don’t think this store is typically a 3x category for the card.