Can I earn points and miles from 2 dining rewards programs at the same time?
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Many airline and hotel loyalty programs offer dining rewards programs. Popular options include Marriott Eat Around Town, United MileagePlus Dining and Free Spirit Dining, but the list goes on. In short, your favorite loyalty program likely offers a dining rewards program.
Dining rewards programs allow members to earn points and miles at participating restaurants, bars and clubs. These venues pay a commission to Rewards Network (the company that administers these dining rewards programs). Then, Rewards Network pays airlines and hotel companies to reward its members with points and miles.
On the customer side, all Rewards Network dining rewards programs work similarly: You register for free, add at least one credit or debit card to your profile and then use one of your registered cards to pay your tab at a qualifying venue.
The points and miles you earn through Rewards Network are in addition to what you earn from the credit card you use to pay your bill. Bonuses are automatically applied to your loyalty account after you make an eligible purchase, so there’s no extra work required.
But this raises a question: If you add the same credit card to multiple dining programs, can you earn rewards from several loyalty programs simultaneously?
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Can you stack dining rewards programs?
In short, the answer to the above question is “no.” While it would be fantastic on the customer side if you could earn multiple types of points and miles from Rewards Network on each meal purchase, it wouldn’t be sustainable in the long run. And the Rewards Network system is set up to prevent you from linking your card to multiple programs.
When signing up with any Rewards Network dining rewards program, you must link at least one credit or debit card to your account.
You can sign up for as many Rewards Network dining rewards programs as you like, but you can only link each card to a single program. Rewards Network will automatically unregister your card from the first program if you attempt to register your card with a second program. So you’ll only earn rewards from whichever program you linked your card to most recently.
For example, I recently added a credit card that I’d previously linked to Alaska Mileage Plan Dining to AAdvantage Dining. I wanted to earn Loyalty Points (toward AAdvantage status) through AAdvantage Dining.
I received an email from Alaska Mileage Plan Dining moments after linking my card to AAdvantage Dining. This email noted I’d no longer earn Alaska miles when using my card.
While you can’t earn rewards from two programs at once, you can link different cards to different programs and earn bonuses based on which card you use. For example, you could link your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to United MileagePlus Dining and your American Express® Gold Card to Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining.
Other ways to double dip on dining
While you can’t double dip your rewards through multiple Rewards Network dining rewards programs, there are many other ways to earn points and miles on your meals out.
Of course, a discussion of restaurant rewards would be incomplete without mentioning that credit cards are probably the best way to earn at restaurants. I like to use my American Express Gold Card when dining out since it earns 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (plus on takeout and delivery in the U.S.). If you’re not sure which credit card is best, check out our post on the best credit cards for dining.
Additionally, Dosh allows you to link a credit card to its platform and earn cash back. Our tests have shown that you can earn Dosh cash in addition to points and miles accrued through dining rewards programs managed by Rewards Network. Once you have accumulated $25 in Dosh cash, you can transfer it to your Venmo or PayPal.
American Express and Chase often run offers where you can earn bonus points or statement credits for qualifying purchases. Historically, we’ve seen Amex Offers and Chase Offers for restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s Little Italy. If you find an Amex or Chase offer for a restaurant that participates in a dining rewards program, you can double dip as long as you link the same card to both.
In general, the best strategy is to link one or more of the best cards for dining to your dining program of choice. That way, if you happen to dine at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn extra rewards without even thinking about it.
But, you may also want to utilize some of the bonuses that dining rewards programs often provide to new members. Most dining programs give new members an incentive to register and dine within a set period. For example, AAdvantage Dining offers 1,000 miles to new members who spend $25 on eligible dining within their first 30 days. Those bonuses change from time to time, so keep an eye out for the best offers.
Between dining credit cards, dining rewards programs and mobile apps, it’s easy to double and triple dip when earning rewards. You just can’t register the same card with multiple Rewards Network dining rewards programs.
Additional reporting by Brian Kelly and Ariana Arghandewal.
Featured photo by Oscar Wong/Getty Images.
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