How to earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles on your next restaurant meal
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There are many different ways to earn points and miles, from the obvious ones (like flying or spending on a credit card) to some that aren’t as well known (like online shopping portals). One of my favorite ways to “double-dip” and earn a higher bonus on purchases I was planning to make already is by signing up for airline dining rewards programs.
Almost every airline has a dining rewards program that allows members to earn bonus miles for registering their credit cards and using them to dine at participating restaurants. It’s a very low-effort way to score extra points on dining, in addition to rewards earned from your credit card.
Today, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know to maximize the American Airlines AAdvantage dining rewards program.
AAdvantage dining overview
One of the best things about AAdvantage dining is that you can set it and forget it, and reap bonus miles whenever you happen to eat at a participating restaurant. Simply head over to www.aadvantagedining.com to register and link your credit card and AAdvantage account.
You’ll want to be careful about the timing of your registration because new members can earn 1,000 bonus miles (worth $14 based on TPG’s latest valuations) after signing up and spending $25 in your first 30 days.
You’ll only earn miles when dining at participating restaurants, but you can find a list pretty easily on the website. You can search for specific restaurants by name, but I find it easier to simply type in a zip code and scroll through the list of nearby options.
You can link as many cards as you want to your AAdvantage dining account, but you can only link each card to one airline’s dining program. In other words, if you have an American Express® Gold Card and want to earn 4x back at restaurants, you can’t link it to both the United MileagePlus dining rewards program and AAdvantage dining rewards.
If you have the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you can also double-dip by taking advantage of the $20 monthly dining credit at U.S. restaurants and registering the card with AAdvantage dining. With that offer, you can earn points for not spending any money at all.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
It costs nothing to join AAdvantage dining and your membership will stay active as long as you have at least one qualifying dine every 36 months.
Aadvantage dining earning rates
There are three different membership tiers in the AAdvantage dining program that affect how many miles you’ll earn per dollar:
- Basic members earn 1 mile per $1 spent if you elect to not receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining.
- Select members earn 3 miles per $1 spent if you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining.
- VIP members earn 5 miles per $1 spent if you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining AND have already completed 11 qualified transactions in the calendar year. (Members start earning at the VIP level on their 12th qualified transaction.)
It’s worth noting that these earning rates are in no way connected to your American Airlines elite status, which means that a general AAdvantage member who only takes one flight per year could earn more miles than a Concierge Key member who lives in the skies, if they dine more frequently with AAdvantage dining.
Miles will appear in your AAdvantage dining account as soon as the transaction is finalized by the restaurant — usually within 5 days — and should post to your main AAdvantage account within six to eight weeks.
Through June 30, 2021 AAdvanntage dining is running a sweepstakes for 250,000 AAdvantage miles. To enter for a chance to win, you need to do one of the followinng:
- Dine at an AAdvantage restaurant and review your experience using #SweepstakesEntry in the comments = 1 entry
- Spend at least $100 total in the month = 3 additional entries
- Add a credit or debit card to your dining account = 1 entry
Takeout during COVID-19
Or course, many dining establishments across the U.S. are currently closed or restricted to take-out orders only in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Thankfully, to-go orders from participating restaurants will still earn you bonus miles.
However, these rewards programs are taking things one step further. Typically, using an online food-delivery app — like GrubHub, Seamless or Uber Eats — to order from a participating restaurant wouldn’t earn you bonus American miles. However, the AAdvantage dining program is temporarily allowing you to still earn 1 mile for every dollar you spend in this fashion. Simply save your receipt and complete this form with your full order information.
While this won’t get VIP or Select members the elevated earning rates as ordering directly will, it’s still nice to see this change to support local businesses during these challenging times.
Two ways to earn
As the COVID pandemic begins to slow, restaurant dining is becoming normal again. However, some dining establishments across the U.S. are still restricted to take-out orders or you may not be quite comfortable heading back to eat in a restaurant yet. Thankfully, to-go orders from participating restaurants will still earn you bonus miles.
With AAdvantage dining, you still have the opportunity to earn by dining in at participating restaurants. However, if you don’t quite feel comfortable eating out yet, online ordering will earn you bonus points. Make sure to note that participating online ordering locations and participating physical earning locations may differ, so double check before you choose where to go.
What cards to use
Depending on your status within the AAdvantage dining program, you’ll earn anywhere from 1 mile (a 1.4% return) to 5 miles (a 7% return) per dollar spent at eligible restaurants. The good news is that these bonus AAdvantage miles are in addition to any card rewards you’d earn on the purchase. Your transactions will still be processed by the restaurant at which you’re eating, which means you’ll want to pick a card with a great bonus category for dining. Some popular choices include:
- American Express® Gold Card: Earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x), an 8% return based on TPG’s valuations. Terms apply.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining and travel, a 6% return
- Citi Prestige® Card: Earn 5x ThankYou points on dining and airfare, an 8.5% return.
Meanwhile, if you’re focused solely on earning American Airlines miles, you can also consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® which offers 2x miles per dollar at restaurants — though this represents a lower return than the other options on this list.
The information for the Citi Prestige and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If you have more than one card that you regularly use when dining out, you’ll want to make sure you link them all to your AAdvantage dining account, so you won’t have any issue when it comes time to pay the bill. I frequently switch between my Amex Gold and Chase Sapphire Reserve (depending on whether I’m more interested in earning Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards points), and so I keep both cards linked to my account.
Whether you choose to sign up with American Airlines or another carrier, airline dining rewards programs like this offer an amazing opportunity to double dip and earn even more miles when dining out. If you eat out regularly, and/or a restaurant you frequent is one of the approved partners, you may have an easy time earning select or even VIP status and boosting your earning rates significantly. It is also a great way of extending the life of your miles if they are going to expire!
Additional reporting by Ryan Patterson.
Featured photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images
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