Reader Question: Can I earn miles from two dining programs at the same time?

May 3, 2021

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With Mother’s Day coming up, many TPG readers are already making plans to dine out that day. Many airlines and hotels have dining rewards programs that offer up to 10 bonus points per $1 spent when you dine at participating restaurants. Reader Eric reached out to use to ask whether it’s possible to earn points with multiple dining rewards programs:

“If I join the Southwest and United dining programs and register the same credit card with each one, will I earn points/miles with both airlines when I use the registered card on eligible dining expenses?”

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Dining programs offer an easy way to boost your points and miles by earning rewards for restaurant spending in addition to what you earn from the credit card you use to pay the bill. Bonuses are applied to your loyalty account automatically after you make an eligible purchase, so there’s no extra work required on your end.

There are dining programs affiliated with all the major domestic airlines, as well as Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards and more. It would be incredibly lucrative if you could earn points and miles with more than one program for a single purchase. However, that wouldn’t be sustainable in the long run, and the system is set up to prevent it from happening.

These programs are all administered by a company called Rewards Network. When you sign up for one dining program, you’ll be asked to link a credit card to your account. You can sign up for as many programs as you like, but you can only link each card to a single program. If you attempt to register your card with a second program, it will automatically be unregistered from the first, so you’ll only earn rewards from whichever program it was linked to most recently.

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 link your American Express® Gold Card to Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining, so you could earn extra rewards in either case.

Bottom line

In general, the best strategy is to link your go-to credit card for restaurant spending to your dining program of choice, as well as apps like Dosh (referral link). That way, if you happen to dine at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn extra rewards through multiple programs without having to think about it.

Make sure to take advantage of any bonuses offered to new members. Most dining programs give you an incentive to register and dine within a set period — similar to credit card sign-up bonuses. For example, AAdvantage Dining is offering 1,000 miles after you spend25 on eligible dining within the first 30 days. Those bonuses increase from time to time, so keep an eye out for better offers.

Between credit cards, dining rewards programs and mobile apps, it’s easy to double and triple-dip when it comes to earning rewards. You just can’t register the same card with multiple programs in the Rewards Network.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or send us an email.

Featured image by Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

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