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Earn up to 3,000 bonus miles when you join United MileagePlus Dining

June 18, 2022
7 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


Who doesn't enjoy a nice meal out?

While using credit cards is a great way to earn bonus rewards on dining, there are many opportunities to stack multiple earning sources together and turbocharge your returns. Just like you can use a shopping portal to earn bonus rewards when shopping online, many airlines offer dining rewards programs that let you double dip when eating out.

Today, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about United’s MileagePlus Dining program.

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United MileagePlus Dining overview

United MileagePlus Dining lets you earn United MileagePlus miles when visiting participating bars, restaurants and clubs. These rewards are in addition to what you’d normally earn from spending on your credit card.

(Screenshot from dining.mileageplus.com)

You’ll need to register and link at least one credit or debit card before you can start earning miles. You'll earn bonus miles when you pay your bill at participating establishments with a linked card.

You’re allowed to link up to 12 cards, but you can only link each card to one dining reward program. For example, you can register your Chase Sapphire Reserve with MileagePlus Dining or AAdvantage Dining, but not both.

Related: Choice Privileges launches new dining program, offering 2,000-point bonus

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How to join United MileagePlus Dining

As long as you have a United MileagePlus frequent flyer account, you can register for MileagePlus Dining at no cost via this link. As an incentive, you can earn 3,000 bonus miles on your first dining reservation where you spend $25 or more within 30 days of joining.

To register, simply log in to the MileagePlus Dining website with your United MileagePlus login info and fill out some basic personal information, including your name and contact details. Once you link at least one card, you’ll be good to go.

Related: Ways to earn miles with the United MileagePlus program

How to earn miles through MileagePlus Dining

(Photo by Morsa Images/Getty Images)

Three different earning rates are available depending on your status in the MileagePlus Dining program. Basic members earn just 1 mile for every $2 spent, a rather poor return. However, all you need to do to upgrade from Basic to Select membership is to opt in to receive email communications. Doing so boosts your return to 3 miles for every $1 spent.

If you dine out more frequently and can complete 11 qualifying transactions in a calendar year (and opt in to receive email communications), you’ll become a VIP member. VIP members earn 5 miles per $1 spent beginning on their 12th transaction. You'll keep VIP status for the year in which you earn it, plus the entire following year, as long as you continue to receive email communications by opting in.

As you may have picked up, electing to receive email communications during the registration process is very important. Doing so will boost your earning rate by a multiple of six. If you forget to opt in during the sign-up process, you’ll see a prompt on individual restaurant pages reminding you to do so.

No one likes getting unnecessary marketing emails, but when there’s such a good return for receiving them, it’s worth doing. Here’s an overview of the earning structure:

  • Basic members: 1 mile per $2 spent if you opt out of email communications from MileagePlus Dining.
  • Select members: 3 miles per $1 spent if you opt in to email communications from MileagePlus Dining.
  • VIP members: 5 miles per $1 spent if you opt in to email communications from MileagePlus Dining and have already completed 11 qualifying transactions in the current or previous calendar year. (You'll start earning at the VIP level on your 12th qualifying transaction.)

Related: How to get maximum value from the United MileagePlus program

How to use United MileagePlus Dining

There are two different approaches you can take when it comes to dining programs. The first is to “set it and forget it.” Register for your airline or hotel dining program of choice, link your cards and wait for the rewards to appear if and when you dine at participating venues.

The other approach is actively seeking out eligible restaurants near you to maximize your earnings. You can search for restaurants near your city or ZIP code and even use the built-in map view to find the ones closest to you. You can also search for specific types of cuisine, like sushi or pizza, and filter by price.

(Screenshot from dining.mileageplus.com)

Once you select a restaurant, you can read reviews and ratings, check hours and confirm that the restaurant offers benefits every day of the week. Not all locations do, like this one, so be sure to double-check this.

(Screenshot from dining.mileageplus.com)

Which cards to use with United MileagePlus Dining

One of the best things about dining rewards programs is that they don’t change how your transactions are billed, meaning you can stack these bonus United miles with the rewards you’d normally earn from your credit card spending.

So, you’ll want to use a card that offers strong rewards on dining — the same cards you’d use if you were eating at a restaurant that didn’t participate in a dining rewards program. Here's what you can expect to earn when using some of the best cards for dining:

While you might assume that it’s a good idea to use a United card with the United MileagePlus Dining program, you have no incentive to do so. If your goal is to earn the most United miles possible, you should use the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred for all your dining purchases, as Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to United at a 1:1 ratio. If your goal is to get the highest total return, you’d be better off using the Amex Gold Card.

I switch back and forth between using my Amex Gold and Chase Sapphire Reserve for dining, depending on whether I’m trying to earn more Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards at the time. I’ve made sure to link both cards to my MileagePlus Dining profile so I won’t miss out on bonus miles just because I switched cards.

Related: Expert stacking: How I earned $80 in cash back and rewards from one dinner

Bottom line

United offers its customers many additional ways to earn miles beyond flying, including an online shopping portal, the United MileagePlus X app and MileagePlus Dining.

If you dine out and are interested in earning United miles, it’s worth setting up an account with MileagePlan Dining now so you can automatically earn bonus miles any time you dine at a participating restaurant.

Additional reporting by Kyle Olsen.

Featured image by Getty Images
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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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023