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Maximize Dining Spend: Updated List of Current Dining Rewards Programs Bonuses

by on July 25, 2013 · 29 comments

in Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Dining Programs, Hilton, IHG Rewards, OpenTable, Southwest Airlines, United, US Airways

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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.

Sign up now and get

Sign up now and get 1,000 AAdvantage miles for one meal.

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.

Earn 1,500 bonus Delta SkyMiles when you sign up for Dining Rewards.

Earn 1,500 bonus Delta SkyMiles when you sign up for Dining Rewards.

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.

Hot Deals

Alaska Airways as a Hot Deals For Double Miles bonus.

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.

The Southwest First Step Bonus allows you to earn 500 more miles.

The Southwest First Step Bonus allows you to earn 500 more points.

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.

Earn 1,000 bonus miles with MileagePlus Dining.

Earn 1,000 bonus miles with United’s MileagePlus Dining.

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.

The U.S. Airways Mastercard provides 10,000 U.S. Airways miles every year just for having the card.

US Airways Dividend Miles has a dining program.

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

Hilton HHonors has an expansive dining program.

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.

Priority Club Dining

The Priority Club Dining allows you to earn 8 points per dollar spent.

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.com has restaurants in most major cities.

OpenTable.com has restaurants in most major cities.

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

The Chase Sapphire 3X First Friday Program.

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.

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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  • Guest

    Can you register one card to multiple programs or are you only allowed to pick a single one?

  • guest2

    you can only register each card with a single program

  • Ali

    Only one :) I tried at one point registering my credit cards on a second program and the same cards on the first dining program got automatically unregistered.

  • Mjodotcom

    With the TYP devaluation, is the CSP the better play now for dining out rewards?

  • http://saverocity.com/ Matt from Saverocity

    I reviewed the Upromise program yesterday – revenue based Dining rewards with top tier paying 8% Cash back, stacked with the Upromise Mastercard for 12% Cash Back. Not as good as the CSP as that works everywhere, but if you are dining in a ‘in network’ restaurant as per all the above I think Upromise is better value than anything in that list.

  • Fanfoot

    1,000 Hilton Points for new members @0.005 per point is exactly $5. Whereas 1,000 miles on United are worth 0.02 each or $20. Be aware that not all currencies are worth the same amount.

    Similarly 3 UA miles per dollar is 3x.02 or 6% back. Ish. While 8 HH points per dollar is 8×0.005 or 4% back. Ish.

    I’m not sure the Hilton bonus is enough to make this worthwhile honestly. But hey, if you’re going to eat at these restaurants anyway…

  • Fanfoot

    BTW, when I signed in to United I saw an ad in the lower right corner for 1,500 miles for new dining members so you may get a better deal if you login to your account and look around first. The standard offer is 1,000 miles.

  • http://www.suncoastroofingsolutions.com/ Doug F.

    These dining point cards sound great, but the problem is, that in the “metro” area we live in, there are very few of these types of restaurants available. What do you recommend in this case?

  • levander

    When you sign up for these dining rewards programs, don’t they make you let them send you a bunch of junk mail?

    How well does giving them an alternate email address work? That wouldn’t change your email address associated with your miles account itself would it?

  • G67

    If you are already a member of the program, is there a way to get the bonus?

  • Guest

    I signed up for AA’s program because it was an easy way to “save” 15,000 AA miles that were about to expire. AA sends out an email about once a week: the frequency and content aren’t too intrusive.

  • hc

    Do any of these dining programs have participating restaurants OUTSIDE the United States?

  • levander

    Well I posted a reply to this comment earlier, but it’s gone now… Not sure if I messed up or what.

    The 1,500 mile promotion for dining club is if you already have a Chase MileagePlus credit card. To find the promotion, login to united.com (it didn’t work for me not logged in), at the top hover your mouse over “Deals & Offers”, in the menu that pops up click on “MileagePlus News & Offers”, then in the page that comes up toward the top click on the “Other” tab. The promotion is down in there.

    This makes my decision harder because I’m probably going to get one of those credit cards in the next few months… Should I wait for an extra 500 miles? So annoying over such a little amount…

  • Fanfoot

    No. Just create an account now with some card. Get the bonus 1,000 miles. Then repeat later when you get the Explorer.

    Yes. Be ethical. No point to cheating for so little.

    Your call.

  • levander

    Okay, my first thought was that because these promotions are for enrolling in the programs, to take advantage of a second promotion, I would have to create a 2nd dining rewards account… And I was wondering if United would let me link a 2nd dining rewards account to my frequent flyer account…

    But I just went and looked at the details of the promotion. They say it’s valid for existing members without a profile. So what do I do, just erase my profile and then do my 2nd dining rewards promotion?

    You know anyone who’s tried that? Does it really work?

  • levander

    It looks to me like Points Guy got the details wrong of at least the United and American promotions. You have to spend $40 at not “participating restaurants”, but “one participating restaurant”.

  • Fanfoot

    Certainly for each program, say UA Dining vs. US Air Dining vs. AA Dining, etc you can create a new account, like one credit card to it that isn’t linked to any other accounts, and use a new email (get an Outlook.com account, you can easily create new aliases for each… aamyname@ … uamyname@ … etc) and get the bonus for each program by spending the required $40 or whatever and filling out your review.
    That’s all perfectly ethical.

  • Fanfoot

    Just give them a different email address. No it doesn’t have to be the same one you have on file for United or American or whatever.

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  • Faithful Skeptic

    …is it just me, or is it painfully obvious that all these sites are run for the airlines by the same company?

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  • Tarek

    Can you sign up to multiple program with the same credit card?

  • thepointsguy

    No

  • James

    Is anyone aware of any programs that offer points for dinning at restaurants outside the US? I am an expat in Singapore and travel all over South East Asia. I use the United Club Card and AMEX Platinum.

  • Derf

    So can I get points for both the dining program and my regular Marriott points on a Chase VISA card?

  • thepointsguy

    Yep!

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