Home Food & Beverage Earn Airline Miles When Eating Out: Airline Dining Programs Master List

Earn Airline Miles When Eating Out: Airline Dining Programs Master List

by joeheg

If there’s a single easier way to earn airline miles without flying on an airplane than signing up for a dining program, I’m not aware of it. For those of you who still don’t know about these programs, I’ll provide some information about them, links to their respective websites and what you’ll get to sign up and how much you’ll earn down the line.

The best thing about a dining program is that it’s truly a set it and forget it type of thing. Sure, there are ways to maximize your earnings that I’ll touch on but this is more just a starter (or reminder) for everyone on all the different programs that are out there.

To sign up for any of these dining programs, you’ll first need to be a member of their frequent flyer program. Here’s a link to our article on how to sign up for each one, if you haven’t already done so.

AAdvantage Dining

This is the dining program for American Airlines. https://www.aadvantagedining.com

After joining, new members will earn 1,000 miles if they spend over $25 with a linked credit or debit card at a participating location in the first 30 days.

For ongoing visits:

  • Basic members earn 1 mile per dollar
  • When opting-in for receiving emails from AAdvantage dining, you’ll earn 3 miles per dollar
  • VIP members (who have 12 qualified visits in a calendar year and receive emails) earn 5 miles per dollar starting with the 12th visit.

Mileage Plan Dining

This is the dining program for Alaska Airlines. https://mileageplan.rewardsnetwork.com

After joining, new members will earn 1,000 Mileage Plan miles by spending over $30 with a linked credit or debit card in your first 30 days and reviewing your experience within 30 days of your visit.

For ongoing visits:

  • Basic members earn 1 mile per 2 dollars spent
  • Select members who elect to receive emails from Mileage Plan Dining program earn 3 miles per dollar spent
  • VIP members (who have 12 qualified visits in a calendar year and receive emails) earn 5 miles per dollar starting with the 12th visit.

SkyMiles Dining

This is the dining program for Delta Airlines. https://skymilesdining.com

After joining, new members will earn 500 SkyMiles by spending over $30 at any participating restaurant and paying with a registered card within 30 days of signing up (Delta Medallion members earn 1,000 miles). For your second dine within the first 30 days, you’ll earn 1,000 bonus miles and 1,500 bonus miles for your third dine. All visits must happen within the first 30 days and you must complete an online review of each restaurant within 30 days of the visit to earn bonus miles.

For future visits:

  • Basic members earn 1 mile per 2 dollars spent
  • Select members who elect to receive emails from SkyMiles Dining earn 3 miles per dollar spent
  • VIP members (who have 12 qualified visits in a calendar year and receive emails) earn 5 miles per dollar starting with the 12th visit.

TrueBlue Dining

This is the dining program for JetBlue. https://truebluedining.com

There is no signup bonus for TrueBlue dining at this time.

In order to earn points with TrueBlue Dining, you have to provide your email address and opt-in for email communications. All members earn 3 TrueBlue points per dollar spent at a participating location.

Rapid Rewards Dining

This is the dining program for Southwest Airlines. https://www.rapidrewardsdining.com

After joining, new members will earn 1,000 Rapid Rewards points by spending over $25 with a linked credit or debit card in your first 30 days, opting in for emails and reviewing your experience within 30 days of your visit.

On subsequent visits:

  • Earn 1 point per 2 dollars spent when you don’t opt in to receive emails.
  • Earn 3 points per dollar when you sign up for weekly email notifications from Rapid Rewards dining.
  • 500 bonus points the first time you reach 1,500 points from dining and reviewing your experiences
  • 300 bonus points every time you earn another 1,000 points
  • 10 bonus points every time you complete an online review

Free Spirit Dining

This is the dining program for Spirit Airlines. https://www.freespiritdining.com

After joining, new members will earn 1,000 Spirit bonus miles by spending over $30 with a linked credit or debit card in your first 30 days and reviewing your experience within 30 days of your visit.

For ongoing dines:

  • Members earn 1 mile per 2 dollars spent
  • Online members who elect to receive emails from Free Spirit Dining earn 3 miles per dollar spent
  • VIP members (who have 12 qualified visits in a calendar year and receive emails) earn 5 miles per dollar starting with the 12th visit.

MileagePlus Dining

This is the dining program for United Airlines. https://dining.mileageplus.com

After joining and opting-in to receive emails, new members will earn 500 miles by spending over $25 at any participating restaurant and paying with a registered card within 30 days of signing up. For your next three visits within the first 30 days, you’ll earn an additional 500 bonus miles for each visit (max of 1,500 bonus miles). All visits must happen within the first 30 days and you must complete an online review of each restaurant within 30 days of the visit to earn bonus miles.

For ongoing spending at participating restaurants

  • Basic members earn 1 mile per 2 dollars spent
  • Select members who elect to receive emails from MileagePlus Dining earn 3 miles per dollar spent
  • VIP members (who have 12 qualified visits in a calendar year and receive emails) earn 5 miles per dollar starting with the 12th visit.

Observations

If you’ve noticed, while there are subtle differences in between programs, the offers are generally the same. Sign up, dine within 30 days, provide email, maybe do a review and get your points.

Just looking at the bottom of each page, you’ll see that every program is administered by the same company, Rewards Network.

Screen Shot 2019-10-24 at 3.45.53 PM

This leads us to the unfortunate part of these dining programs. Since they’re all run by the same company, you can only register a card with one of the programs. If you try to sign up a card with a second airline, it will automatically remove that card from the other profile. Was worth a try, right?

This also means that participating restaurants and bars are almost identical for all of the programs. Depending on where you live, you might have great choices or pickings can be kinda slim. For us in Orlando, I don’t have any places on the list that I visit at all. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised when places we visit when on vacation end up earning us some extra miles.

Some tips:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to sign up or add a card to your profile. It can take several hours for a card to show up in the system so you don’t want to miss out on miles just because you were too lazy to update your information.
  • While a location may be on the list, it might not be for all dates and times. A popular restaurant might not award bonus points on Fridays and Saturdays.

Final Thoughts

I view dining programs as found miles because there’s just not enough local places we visit to make it worthwhile to devote any extra time to try and maximize the program. If you’re going to sign up, it makes sense to provide your email to earn the extra miles. You can just set your email program to send the message to a separate folder if you want, just don’t give a fake address because that will make you ineligible for the extra miles.

Now I know of someone who had a coffee shop around the corner from his work on the program and he’d charge a small amount to his cards just so he could get VIP status and earn the extra points for any other times he visited a participating location.

Miles from dining programs are a good way to keep frequent flyer programs from going inactive. However, they’re not a good way to this at the last minute because the points can take a while to post to your account.

Right now, I have cards set up to earn either Alaska or Delta miles but I might sign up for another program right before going to a location I know is on the list to pick up an easy extra 1,000 miles. Every little bit counts.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

6 comments

George October 25, 2019 - 10:55 am

Rakuten has one as well, with 5%/5X (!), but only available on the iPhone app at the moment. I realize there are a bunch of non-airline programs on Rewards Network, but I think Rakuten is worth mentioning because:
(1) MR are transferable to SkyMiles (1:1), TrueBlue (5:4), and a ton of international airlines;
(2) Amex often has transfer bonuses; and
(3) 5 cents can buy 2-3 miles when there’s a sale, albeit with minimums (e.g. UA today = $1050/55,500 = $0.05/2.64 mi).

Reply
Christian October 26, 2019 - 3:18 am

I don’t understand about Rakuten only working through the iPhone app. Is it like the MileagePlusX app where a gift card is generated?

Reply
George October 27, 2019 - 2:23 am

Nah, it’s a regular Rewards Network program. But you can only join it, add cards, and find restaurants using the app. Almost like they want people to install, use, and keep their app.

I’m sure it has nothing to do with collecting, using, and selling data…

Reply
mhenner October 25, 2019 - 12:53 pm

At one time some programs had more restaurant choices than others. eg Alaska’s program had more in Alaska.
Is this still true?

Reply
Connie Cerne November 2, 2019 - 6:46 am

Where do you leave the online review?

Reply
joeheg November 2, 2019 - 11:48 am

After the visit posts to your account, you’ll receive a link from the dining program to leave a review.

Reply

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