Earn miles when eating out

One of the great things about earning points and miles is that lots of businesses want a piece of the pie.  That works out well for travelers/consumers, because it means that we can earn miles for doing the things we do every day.  This is on top of the miles we earn through purchases made with airline credit cards. A good example of this is dining programs such as MileagePlus Dining.  How does it work?

Note: The higher-than-normal new enrollment bonus I’ve outlined below is no longer available, but at least check, there is a new enrollment bonus of some form or another on each of the dining programs I’ve mentioned below.

Easy–you sign up for the dining program online using your existing frequent flyer number, your name, address, and email address.  Once signed up, you need to register at least one credit card with the program, so that when you use that credit card to make a purchase at one a partner restaurant, they can credit it (automatically) to your account.  Eventually the points you accrue in your dining account get swept into your frequent flyer account (in this case, United’s Mileage Plus program)–if I recall correctly, it happens on a monthly basis, no minimum threshold needed to get your dining miles. Ordinarily, you’ll earn 3 miles per dollar spent, although that increases to 5 miles per dollar after 12 dines in a calendar year.  Better yet, from time to time they have bonus offers.  Right now is a great time to sign up, since they’re offering 500 miles for signing up before July 10, 2014.  And the current offer goes a step further–after signing up, for every purchase you make at partner restaurants within 30 days, you’ll get 500 extra points, with a maximum of up to 2500 miles for those dines on top of the 500 you receive for signing up.  If you sign you and your spouse up (and let’s say your two kids, too), and if you max out the bonus on everyone (which might be a stretch unless you eat out frequently at the restaurants on the list), you’d end up with 12,000 miles.  Not too shabby!

Mileage Plus Dining Bonus

Seize the day with the current sign-up bonus for United’s dining program, and you could find yourself with 3000 additional miles per person

You can check the program websites for participating restaurants–and I admit, there aren’t a ton around where I live.  In fact, near me, it’s mostly Jack-in-the-Box (where I try not to eat if I can help it, except for the occasional order of curly fries), but there are a few places where I regularly go, and I’d might as well earn miles for eating there. If United miles aren’t of much use to you, check out the other airlines’ dining programs (all run by the same 3rd party–pretty much the same program, but bonus offers generally vary).  Delta, American, and US Airways currently have sign-up bonuses of 2000 miles after your first dine of $30 or more within 30 days.  Southwest and Alaska both have smaller, more standard bonuses.

Here are those links in case you need them:

Delta Skymiles Dining
American Airlines AAdvantage Dining
US Airways Dividend Miles Dining
Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Dining

Bon appétit!

Interested in finding more ways to make frequent flyer miles work for you?  Check out Fly the Family for Free.

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  1. […] miles without actually flying.  I’ve previously mentioned dining programs that allow you to earn miles for eating out.  But what about the rest of the shopping we do–especially online shopping?  Great […]

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