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Earn Delta miles at your favorite local restaurants with SkyMiles Dining

July 09, 2022
7 min read
Sushi in Miami
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Delta Air Lines miles can provide surprisingly good value on some redemptions. Luckily, if you need to boost your Delta SkyMiles balance, one easy way is through the SkyMiles Dining program.

This guide shows you how to earn Delta miles with the SkyMiles Dining program. We’ll consider the best dining credit cards to use. We’ll also help you decide whether (or not) the SkyMiles Dining program is the right dining rewards program for you.

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How to join the SkyMiles Dining program

You can join the SkyMiles Dining program online. Just provide your name, zip code, SkyMiles number and email address.

You’ll also need to create a password for your account and opt in to the terms of use and privacy policy. I recommend opting in to receive program emails, too. This will make you eligible for elevated earnings and the new member bonus (more on this below).

(Screenshot from skymilesdining.com)

Once you join the program, you’ll need to enroll at least one credit or debit card. When you use your card at participating restaurants, bars and clubs, you’ll earn bonus miles through the SkyMiles Dining program.

New member bonus

The best part about SkyMiles dining is that you can snag a new member bonus if you join by July 31, 2022, and begin using the program. Specifically, you can earn the following bonuses for activity within your first 30 days:

  • Earn 1,000 bonus miles (worth $14 based on TPG’s valuations) after spending $30 or more at any participating restaurant.
  • SkyMiles Medallion members earn 1,500 bonus miles (worth $21) on their first visit.
  • Earn 500 bonus miles (worth $7) after spending $30 or more on your second, third and fourth qualifying visits.

However, to earn these new member bonus miles, you must complete an online review within 30 days of each restaurant visit (you don't need to review restaurants listed as online ordering only).

You must also pay the check with a credit or debit card linked to your SkyMiles Dining account. Finally, you must remain opted in to receive emails from the SkyMiles Dining program.

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Related: 15 restaurant loyalty programs that are worth joining

How to earn miles with the SkyMiles Dining program

To earn miles with the program, you must dine at an eligible restaurant, bar or club. Search for an eligible location using the SkyMiles Dining website. Specifically, enter your city or zip code to see what nearby restaurants participate.

(Screenshot from skymilesdining.com)

Once you’ve found an eligible restaurant, ensure that the day of the week you plan to dine is eligible. Pay with an enrolled card and your miles will post to your dining account within five days. Meanwhile, your miles should appear in your SkyMiles account within one to two weeks.

How much you earn depends on your level within the SkyMiles Dining program. These levels are completely independent of Delta Medallion elite status tiers. Specifically, here are the levels within the SkyMiles Dining program:

LevelHow to reach this levelEarning rate at this level
MemberJoin the SkyMiles Dining program but don’t elect to receive email communication.1 mile per $2 spent.
SelectElect to receive email communication from SkyMiles Dining.3 miles per $1 spent.
VIPElect to receive email communication from SkyMiles Dining.

Complete 11 qualified transactions in a calendar year.

5 miles per $1 spent.

Earned VIP status is valid for both the year you earn it and the subsequent year, as long as you remain opted in for email communication.

Related: How to get value from 5,000 or fewer Delta SkyMiles

Which cards to use with the SkyMiles Dining program

You can enroll almost any card in the SkyMiles Dining program, except for Diner’s Club and internationally-issued JBL cards. To maximize your earnings, you’ll likely want to enroll and use one of the best credit cards for dining. Specifically, here are some of the best cards to consider:

If you want to earn even more Delta miles, enroll and use a cobranded Delta credit card.

For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card each earn 2 miles per dollar spent on dining at restaurants worldwide (and for takeout and delivery in the U.S.).

However, this only equates to a 2.82% return based on TPG’s valuations. So, you’ll usually be better off enrolling and using one of the top cards for dining instead.

Related: Can I earn points and miles from 2 dining rewards programs at the same time?

Is the SkyMiles Dining program worth it?

(Photo by Michael Berman/Getty Images)

It’s certainly worth enrolling the cards you use when dining at restaurants in a dining rewards program. After all, it’s easy to enroll and you might as well earn bonus rewards when dining at select restaurants.

Many other loyalty programs allow you to earn rewards at select restaurants, bars and clubs. American Airlines AAdvantage, Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards have dining rewards programs.

Some of these programs may provide a greater return than the SkyMiles Dining program. This is especially true if you don’t plan to opt in to email communications or dine frequently enough to earn VIP status.

It’s worth noting that you can only enroll each card in one Rewards Network-operated dining rewards program, so consider whether the SkyMiles Dining program is the best dining rewards program for you.

For example, you may choose to use the SkyMiles Dining program if you need more SkyMiles for an upcoming redemption or tend to get outsized value from your Delta SkyMiles.

Related: Best sweet spots with Delta SkyMiles

Bottom line

The SkyMiles Dining program is just one of many dining rewards programs. If you’re looking for more ways to earn Delta SkyMiles, this program can help.

Specifically, you may want to enroll some of the credit cards you use at restaurants in the SkyMiles Dining program. After all, enrolling is quick and free. Also, you may discover a new favorite restaurant among the program’s participants.

Featured image by (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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