Reminder – Join a Mileage or Points Dining Program

by on June 29, 2011 · 29 comments

in American, Beginners Series, Delta, Dining Programs, Hilton, Points Guy Pointers, RBC Rewards, United, US Airways

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I’ve gotten a bunch of new credit cards recently (thanks to some amazing sign-up bonuses) and it dawned on me the other day that I hadn’t registered them all to a dining program.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Rewards Network is a company that will automatically give you miles and points every time you spend money at a participating restaurant. Once your card is registered with a program, there’s no need to collect receipts – you’ll automatically get points deposited in your account about a week or so after your dine. I know what many of you are thinking right now and no,  you cannot join multiple programs – the system only allows a credit card number to be associated with one program. Registration is free, so I see no reason not to have each of your card associated with at least one program – you can join as many as you’d like.

The participating airlines are: American, Alaska, Delta, Southwest, United, US Airways. Other travel dining programs are: Hilton, Priority Club and RBC Rewards (if you are an Avion rewards members you points can be transferred to British Airways, American and Cathay Pacific). Many of these programs have decent sign-up bonuses happening, so don’t put off getting in on the action.

The general earning is 3 miles per dollar spent, but once you hit 10 dines you get VIP status where you earn 5 miles per dollar. To quickly get VIP status, simply go to a participating bar/ restaurant/ fast food place and order 10 cheap items and ask them to swipe them separately. They may look at you weirdly, but that often happens to me when I’m doing things related to obsessive mileage collecting.

And of course, you should use a mileage/point earning credit card so you get the double dip – miles from the dining program plus the miles earned on your credit card.

As I say, every mile counts!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mike L

    Got any recommendations for NYC spots? I always look through the directory and none of the participating locations sound good to me.

  • Matt

    I don’t see what restaurants the rewards network has involved in the program where is a link for this?

  • Mike L

    @Matt – You have to go to the particular partner’s site. e.g.

    There you can search… and the participating restaurants are all the same no matter what the partner.

  • Eric

    Looks like the American Airlines program is even offering a 1,000-point bonus if you sign up as a new member before June 30, spend $30 on a single meal within 30 days, and then write up a little review. Signing up now!

  • Andy

    @Mike L – If you ever find yourself in times square (broadway or something) The Long Room is a great bar with actually decent food.

    Baluchi’s is really good Indian food, and Sunburst is an AWESOME breakfast spot. Also Cavatappo is a great wine bar. They were 4 places I frequent a lot so this was a big win for me when I found it a few months ago.

  • Elizabeth

    United is also offering a 1,000 mile welcome bonus after $50 spend at participating restaurant.

  • Mommy Points

    @Elizabeth, yes, plus United has a promo going that gives 1,000 bonus miles for every $100 spent. It is about it end, but ran May – June 30, so hopefully they will do it again soon. I have only been a dining member with United since mid-May but between the welcome bonus and the promo I easily racked up 5,000 miles. Yum, yum, :)

  • David

    Great post and great advice.

    For the iPhone users, I suggest getting the RN Dining app. I think it is designed to work with the DL program, but since the restaurants are the same, I use my DL ID but always pay with a CC linked to my AA account. So even if you have no interest in DL miles, it pays to sign up and use the app. It can search by your location which is how I found Cucina di Pesce (LES).

    I must say, the value of this program has changed from the days when you could get 10 miles per dollar and they had bonuses where if you spent $1,000 in a month, you could get 10,000 bonus miles. I received nearly 50,000 miles through this program (in addition to the SPG points earned through my AMEX).

    But, at least it’s something…

  • Kaiser

    If you participate in AA eShopping or Priority Club Shopping you can also register your cards in those programs to get miles for retail purchases. In my area a restaurant participates in both Delta Rewards Network Dining and AA eShopping and I was able to get miles via both for the same dine along with credit card miles for a triple dip!

  • http://[email protected] gregillinois

    Just registered for dining points on new Alaska card and when I registered my AA card I got an instant email that I was kicked out of the AA dining program. Beware aand take your pick.

  • Charlotte

    For many years I did not register for any dining programs since I live in a small town that does not have any of the options (and the closest option on any list is about 100 miles away and not that great of a place to eat). But I finally did register for three of the options since I do travel a bit. I do not pay close attention if where I eat is part of the dining programs while I am traveling (unless there is a really good promotion going on), but I have earned some points here and there when I travel.

  • Taylor

    Thanks for all of the comments. Does anyone have the links to the Continental or United Rewards Network sites as well?

  • Mike L
  • Michelle

    For the American and Delta programs, you need 11 dines (not 10) to get to VIP status. Starting with the 12th dine, you get 5 miles per dollar spent instead of 3. This may be true of the other programs as well.

  • Sean

    I just spoke with a representative at AA’s dining program and he said I have to both sign up AND dine by 6/30 although the review can be up to 30 days later.

    Since I don’t plan on eating at the one place in my town that is apart of the network (I travel occasionally so signing up still makes sense) I didn’t sign up today.

    The rep did say there is likely another signup bonus right around the corner. His exact words “I’ve been doing this for about three years now and they introduce bonuses about every month to month and a half”.

    I guess I’ll wait for July’s bonus to come out.

  • akgw

    Do point earned thru this dining program expire, sorry for the newb question

  • Anonymous

    It depends on the frequent flyer program. For example, Delta miles don’t expire but AA miles do if you don’t have any activity within 18 months. Its very easy to extend the life of miles.

  • Anonymous
  • Pingback: How to Maximize the Delta 100% Transfer Miles Bonus Promotion | The Points Guy()

  • Jmbrn90

    As a Canadian, I am unable to apply for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card although I am a Gold member of Hilton HHonors.

  • Stuart Walters

    I’m just now catching up to the thread here, but thanks for the feedback. Just downloaded the RN Dining app as well.

    One thing I did find out, though – if you have more than one Rewards Network account (e.g. Delta and Hilton), each credit card can only be listed on one Rewards Network account. So, decide which account you would rather earn points on. I was hopeful that I could double- and even triple-dip on points, but no such luck. :)

  • Merice107

    How do you transfer the points to the BA Avios program? Do you just sign up for the American points system?

  • Avocado

    Thanks for the great blog/info. I just did a quick search for participating restaurants in LA via the United link and the Southwest link and it looks like they have the same (uninteresting) restaurants so I did a search for 10 of my favorite places to eat but nothing – is there any point searching the other airline/hotel dining programs or do they all use the same participating restaurants?

  • Jill

    Do these points expire?

  • Ravi Pardesi

    Does subscribing show any transaction on your card statement? cCan you subscribe your business credit cards?

  • Pingback: Triple Dip On Points With NYC Restaurant Week | The Points Guy()

  • Michael Paul

    For anyone using Southwest, seems they don’t do the 10 dines ’till VIP status thing. They have three bonus options, all of which seem to have worked around this 10-dines-to-VIP thing.

  • bibbsrd

    I have 100K+ points on delta and united; how do I maximize them.

  • MS

    I´d rather support small businesses, local restaurants.

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