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Earn rewards every time you drive (no passengers required)

Free app MileUp awards you points for every mile you drive, and those points can be redeemed for gift cards. Plus: two bonus deals!

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MileUp includes challenges you can complete to earn extra points. Drive, drive, drive!

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Want to make money behind the wheel? Sure, you could become a driver for a service like Lyft or Uber, but there's another way: MileUp.

This free app [Android|iOS] from mobile-services company Agero uses your phone to log your miles, awarding points as you drive. Once you rack up enough, you can cash them in for a gift card.

In other words, it's a shot at earning free stuff in exchange for something you're already doing. (Sounds not unlike Microsoft Rewards.)

What's up with that? The reason for MileUp's existence is a little grisly: Agero is hoping to gather data on its crash-detection technology. That data comes from your phone's GPS and accelerometers; various algorithms use those inputs to detect if you've been in an accident, the ultimate goal being to shorten the time to notify emergency services.

In fact, if the app detects a crash, and you're able to verify it, you'll receive a $250 bonus.

Mostly, however, you'll just drive around like always. Currently, the app gives you two points for every mile, meaning you need to log 1,000 miles to earn a reward. It's not uncommon for a commuter to rack up that many miles in a month.

Once you've earned at least 2,000 points, you can get a $5 gift card for Amazon, Domino's, GameStop, iTunes, Nike, Regal Entertainment or Target. Update: Erk! The company recently changed the requirement to 4,000 points for a $5 gift card. Grrr.

Nice rewards, but obviously you have to be willing to share your GPS data -- not ideal for those who value their privacy. What's more, because the app necessarily keeps GPS running in the background, battery life will take a hit.

No doubt some users will balk at those conditions. But if you log a lot of miles and feel like you wouldn't mind a little bonus for your trouble, give MileUp a try. In fact, if you have an old phone lying around, you could turn it into a dedicate mileage tracker.

Your thoughts?

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