CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

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!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

Enlarge Image

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?

Bonus deal: Did you miss the debut of the BBC's "Planet Earth II"? Have no fear: Amazon is offering the first episode for free. I haven't seen it yet, but the first "Planet Earth" series (available for streaming on Netflix, just FYI) is absolutely breathtaking, and I can't wait to enjoy the second. It's the perfect salve for a bad day.

Enlarge Image

Create killer animations for $49 instead of $360.


Bonus deal No. 2: You know those cool "whiteboard animations" you see all over the Interwebs these day? Ever wished you had the tools to create your own? Animatron gives you those tools, but if you want the top-tier plan, it'll cost you $30 per month (billed annually, so $360). Or not, if you head to AppSumo, where you can grab a one-year Animatron Business Plan for $49. (Of particular interest, you can also renew at that same price, a rarity with deals like this.)