This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Dining rewards programs are a great way to double dip on earning miles and points by using a points-earning credit card to pay for meals while also linking it to your airline or hotel program of choice and earn multiple points or miles per dollar on top of that. When you sign-up a new card with a dining rewards program, the sign-up bonus tends to hover around the 500-1,000 mile mark, but Delta is currently offering 2,000 miles with your first dine.
This specific bonus offer is open to new SkyMiles Dining members or existing members without a dining profile at the time of registration. A dining profile includes creating a web login and opting in and remaining opted in to receive emails from SkyMiles Dining with a valid, deliverable email address. To qualify, your profile must originate through one of the links on the promo page. You must register by December 31, 2014, to qualify for this bonus and spend a total of $30 or more (including tax and tip) in one dine at a participating restaurant, bar or club after joining SkyMiles Dining (via the promo link).
You must dine within 30 days of registering for the bonus, and complete a post-dine review within 30 days of your dine. You may earn this bonus one time for a total of 2,000 bonus miles. To be eligible, the dine must occur during a valid reward period and be paid for with a credit or debit card registered in SkyMiles Dining. There is a limit of one Sign Up and Dine Bonus (consisting of one $30 dine) per member. Offer is not combinable with other SkyMiles Dining bonuses.
One of the most convenient aspects of SkyMiles Dining program is that once you have registered the credit cards that you most often eat out on, then you automatically earn points when you use them at member restaurants without having to do anything more than sign the check at the end of your meal. Whenever you sign up for a new credit card, you should also be sure to register it for your dining program of choice as well since you’re likely to be putting a fair amount of spending on it to complete the minimum spending requirements and score the full sign-up bonus of whatever card you sign up for.
You then earn 3-5 miles per $1 you spend at participating restaurants depending on how often you dine out. To reach VIP level and thus 5 miles per $1, you have to have at least 12 qualifying transactions (i.e. dines out at member restaurants) per calendar year.
As I have mentioned before, dining programs can be a great way to double dip by using 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) plus the 3-5 points or miles you earn from your airline or hotel program.
While Delta’s sign up bonus is far more lucrative than most – with the average offering 500-1000 miles at sign up – all of the major airlines have beneficial dining rewards programs that make the meal pay for itself. Here are the current sign-up bonuses for the major airlines and hotels.
Alaska Airlines: Alaska has their own Mileage Plan Dining program. Once enrolled, you will earn 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.
American Airlines: With the AAdvantage Dining Program, you can earn up to 5 AAdvantage miles for every dollar you spend at your favorite restaurants. 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.
Southwest Airlines: The Rapid Rewards Dining Program from Southwest’s 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: The MileagePlus Dining Program is currently offering 1,000 bonus miles when you sign up and spend $30 or more on a single dine at a participating restaurant, bar or club within 30 days.
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.
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 restaurants, along with a bonus of 1,000 bonus Hilton HHonors points for new members.
IHG Rewards: The Priority Club Rewards Dining program allows you to earn up to 8 points per dollar spent at select bars and restaurants, and new members can earn 1,000 bonus points.
In addition to signing up for a dining rewards program and using a linked credit card, you can also earn credit on each restaurant dine through 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. For detailed instructions on how to make OpenTable reservations and redeem rewards check out this post Maximizing Points on Dining Spend With OpenTable Rewards.
Credit Card Dining Category Bonuses
Another way to maximize the points you earn while dining is to use the right credit card for your purchases and several of the best ones out there earn multiple points per dollar on dining spend.
Chase Sapphire 3X First Friday: Along with earning you 2.14X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire , the Chase Sapphire program has partnered with OpenTable to offer 3X points per $1 on dining on the first Friday of each month now through the end of 2014 when you pay for a meal with your Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire cards.
Sony Card from Capital One: Earn 3 points per dollar on restaurants with no annual fee. Points earned are Sony Rewards points, which can only be redeemed for items from the Sony Rewards Catalog at 1 cent per point.
Hyatt Visa: Earn 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants and you can redeem points at 1.9 cents each. There is a $75 annual fee.
Marriott Rewards Premier: Earn 2 points per dollar at restaurants. There is an $85 annual fee that is waived the first year.
For more information on how to earn miles and points through dining, read my prior posts: