Dining programs are usually hassle free and a good way to rack up extra miles. Virtually all U.S. airlines participate in a dining program. All you need to do is register for their dining program (links found below), register your credit/debit card and go out and dine! Most of you are probably still asking yourselves, “Do I need to have the airlines credit card?” and the answer is No. All you need to have is a card, period.
Step 1: Choose an airline. You should first think of an airline which is convenient for you. This article may help you choose the right one.
Step 2: Register (free) for the airlines respective dining program by visiting their website (links below). Most dining programs offer you a 500-1,500 mileage/points bonus if you register and dine out within your first 30 days, meet their minimum spending requiremen(~$30) and write a review about your experience. Make sure to confirm your email – if you do not confirm your email you will only get 1 mile per $1 spent, whereas if you’re a confirmed online member you will get 3 miles per $1 spent, including taxes and tips. In addition to this, if you dine at 12 or more participating restaurants within the same calendar year you will become a VIP member and earn 5 miles per dollar!
Step 3: Once you register for the program, you must add your debit/credit cards to your account. As simple as that. You will earn miles by using any card on your dining profile at participating restaurants. So, lets say you have a Discover card but want AA miles and your 5% cashback, you would use your registered Discover card to get the bonus miles of 3-5 miles per $1 spent and Discover will still give you your cashback bonus as well. Debit cards AND credit cards qualify – there is no limit to how many cards you may add as long as they are valid. Once you add a credit card you can begin to dine at any participating location immediately!
Step 4: Dine out and earn miles! Each program website has a location search engine where you can enter the city or zip code of the area in which you would like to dine around. There is even a map feature available. If you are logged into your account you will also be able to see how many miles the restaurant offers and when (some do not offer miles on certain days). Once you dine out you do not need to do anything, their system will automatically know you used your card at that restaurant and credit your account within 3-10 business days.
Step 5: A few days after dining at the participating restaurant you will receive an email informing you that your miles are on your way! At this point, you should review the restaurant to give them feedback. Reviews only count towards miles for your signup bonus, afterwards you do not need to review your experience to get miles but its a nice gesture.
Airline Dining Programs:
- American Airlines AAdvantage Dining Program
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Dining Program
- Delta Skymiles Dining Program
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining Program
- United MileagePlus Rewards Program
Hotel programs like Hilton HHonors also offer a dining program but hotel points are usually less valuable than miles, so I recommend sticking to airline miles since you can use them towards hotel stays anyway.