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New offer: The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is a great way to pad your IHG balance with 70,000 points after $2,000 spent within the first 3 months.
Dining programs can be a great way to double-dip with miles or points. Not only can you earn the points or miles you would normally earn on a points-earning credit card like the Starwood Amex, or even the category spending bonus points on a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2.14X per $1) or the Citi Forward (5X per $1) but you can also earn 3-5 points or miles in your airline or hotel program of choice by linking your credit card to that program’s dining rewards network.
Every single one of your debit and credit cards should be registered to a participating program–if not, take a couple minutes and sign-up for some. Once your credit cards are linked to a program, you’ll automatically earn miles every time you visit a participating restaurant. I often get random deposits of miles for eating at restaurants I didn’t realize were participating dining-for-miles establishments. It’s a quick, easy, great way to earn some bonus miles without even having to think about it…especially if you dine out as much as I do!
Often, dining rewards network sites offer sign-up bonuses of around 500-1,000 points or miles when you sign-up and then dine out and spend a certain amount of money at a participating restaurant within 30 days of signing up and then offer diners between 3-5 miles or points per dollar that they spend at participating restaurants. Look out for lucrative sign-up bonuses such as the ones being currently offered by Delta and American Airlines, which can really make your meal pay for itself.
American Airlines: With the AAdvantage Dining Program, you can earn up to 5 AAdvantage miles for every dollar you spend at your favorite restaurants. Right now, however, the AAdvantage Dining Program is offering a bonus of up to 1,000 miles for new members. Currently, you’ll earn 1,000 miles when you register for the New Member Bonus and create an online profile and spend $40 at participating restaurants within 30 days and complete a dining review within 30 days of your dine. You can search participating restaurant options based on distance, type of cuisine – from brunch spots to Brazilian steakhouses and everything in between! – or new versus well-reviewed establishments.
Delta: Right now, the Delta SkyMiles dining rewards site is offering a bonus of up to 1,500 miles for new members. You will earn 1,500 miles when you register for the New Member Bonus and create an online profile and spend $40 at participating restaurants within 30 days and complete a dining review (which is really minimal) within 30 days of your dine.
Alaska Airlines: Alaska has their own Mileage Plan Dining program. Once enrolled, you will up to 5 miles per dollar spent at the participating bars and restaurants. The new member bonus is 500 bonus miles after spending $30 in 30 days once you register. They also have a list of select eateries offering Hot Deals For Double Miles for all qualified transactions up to $600 per month. There is no minimum amount to spend and you don’t need to register, just dine and earn. Participating restaurants frequently change, so be sure to check the website here for updates.
Southwest Airlines: The Rapid Rewards Dining program from Southwest allows members to earn 3 points per dollar spent at participating restaurants. Their current sign-up bonus is 300 bonus points after spending $25 within the first 60 days. They also have a First Step Bonus, where once you have racked up 1,500 rewards from dining and completing your reviews, they will give you an additional 500 points as a reward. For full details, click here.
United Airlines: United offer their Mileage Plus Dining program, where you can earn up to 5 United miles for every dollar spent at select bars and restaurants. Currently, the Mileage Plus Dining Program is offering a bonus of 1,000 bonus United miles for new members. You’ll earn 1,000 miles when you register for the New Member Bonus and create an online profile and spend $40 at participating restaurants within 30 days and complete a dining review within 30 days of your dine. They again have a similar search option as AA to find a mile-earning meal choice.
US Airways: The Dividend Miles Dining program allows you to earn up to 5 US Airways miles for every dollar spent at select bars and restaurants. Currently, the Dividend Miles Dining Program is also offering a bonus of 1,000 bonus US Airways miles for new members who spend $40 at participating restaurants within 30 days and complete a dining review within 30 days of your dine.
It is not just airlines that offer great dining deals – credit cards, hotels and rewards sites all make eating out a points-earner.
Hilton HHonors: The Hilton HHonors Dining program allows you to earn up to 8 Hilton HHonors points for every dollar spent at select bars and restaurants. Currently, the Hilton HHonors Dining Program is also offering a bonus of 1,000 bonus Hilton HHonors points for new members who spend $40 at participating restaurants within 30 days and complete a dining review within 30 days of your dine.
IHG: The Priority Club Rewards Dining program allows you to earn up to 8 points per dollar spent at select bars and restaurants. Currently, the Hilton HHonors Dining Program is also offering a bonus of 1,000 bonus Priority Club points for new members who spend $40 at participating restaurants within 30 days and complete a dining review within 30 days of your dine.
OpenTable: Another Dining Rewards Program I have covered in the past is OpenTable, which allows users to make online reservations at over 25,000 restaurants around the world. Unlike booking directly with a restaurant, each online reservation made through OpenTable will earn you points that can then be redeemed for future dining certificates. The “standard” reservation will earn 100 points, while certain restaurants will occasionally offer 1,000 points specials on certain tables at specific times. OpenTable has access to each restaurant’s real-time reservation system, so any tables booked online should immediately appear to the maître d’. Upon arrival at the restaurant, be sure to check-in with him/her so your account can be credited.
For detailed instructions on how to make OpenTable reservations and redeem rewards check out this post Maximizing Points on Dining Spend With OpenTable Rewards. The great thing is you can double dip by making OpenTable reservations and signing up for Dining Rewards so you’ll earn airline miles, assuming the restaurant participates in both programs.
Chase Sapphire 3X First Friday: Along with earning you 2X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on dining (as does the Chase Sapphire), Chase Sapphire has partnered with OpenTable to offer 3X points per $1 on dining on the first Friday of each month now through the end of 2013 when you pay for a meal with your Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire cards. If you have the Sapphire Preferred or either the Ink Bold or Ink Plus cards, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to one of the program’s travel transfer partners including: British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, Ritz-Carlton and Amtrak. So by dining out on a first Friday, you’re potentially earning 3 United miles or Hyatt points for example, which I conservatively value at about 2 cents each.
For more information on maximizing your points on dining, check out this post on The Best Ways to Earn Points on Dining.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||16.24%-23.24% Variable||Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95||0%||Excellent Credit|