Earning Points with Hotel & Airline Dining Programs

Hotel and airline dining programs are a great way to earn extra points and miles on everyday spending. While not nearly as lucrative as maximizing earning with shopping portals, there’s no reason not at least sign-up.

Most domestic airlines and two hotels chains have programs that allow flyers to earn miles at select restaurants.

Basics of Hotel & Airline Dining Programs

Before we get started, it’s important to preface this by stating that all restaurants are not part of these programs. In fact, it’s a very select group of restaurants. However, it’s earning free miles or points on top of what you would earn by paying with your credit card.

All of these dining programs are operated by a company called Rewards Network. Because of this, many of the restaurants are the exact same across the different dining programs.

Once you enroll credit cards into the dining program, you don’t have to do anything. If you use your card at one of the establishments, you’ll be awarded points.

Even though it’s free to join, members will earn points at different rates based on membership level. Membership level is determined by the number of annual transactions you make at airline dining program restaurants and whether you sign up for promotional emails.

With the different airline dining programs, some restaurants don’t award points on certain days of the week as indicated by the red x.

Airline Dining Programs

Alaska Air Mileage Plan Dining

New member bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus miles after spending $30 in the first 30 days.

  • VIP Member (5 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails + 12 annual transactions with the dining program
  • Select Member (3 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails
  • Basic Member (.5 miles/$): Opt-out of promotional emails

American Airlines AAdvantage Dining

New member bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus miles after spending $25 in the first 30 days.

  • VIP Member (5 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails + 12 annual transactions with the dining program
  • Select Member (3 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails
  • Basic Member (1 mile/$): Opt-out of promotional emails

Delta Skymiles Dining

Delta is awarding new members up to 3,000 bonus miles for its airline dining program.
Delta is awarding new members up to 3,000 bonus miles for its airline dining program.

New member bonus: Earn 500 bonus miles after spending $30 in the first 30 days (Medallion members earn an additional 1,000 miles on the first visit). Members can earn 1,000 bonus miles after spending $30 in the second visit within the first 30 days, and an additional 1,500 miles after spending $30 in the third visit within the first 30 days.

Members need to complete an online review within 30 days of the visit to earn the bonus miles.

  • VIP Member (5 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails + 12 annual transactions with the dining program
  • Select Member (3 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails
  • Basic Member (.5 mile/$): Opt-out of promotional emails

jetBlue True Blue Dining

New member bonus: None.

  • All Members (3 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails

Southwest Airlines Rapids Rewards Dining

New member bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus points after spending $25 in the first 30 days.

Members need to complete an online review within 30 days of the visit to earn the bonus points.

They will earn 500 bonus points the first time they accrue 1,500 points. Members will also earn 300 bonus points every time they accrue 1,000 points by dining, as well as earn 10 bonus points every time a review is completed.

  • Tier 2 Member (3 points/$): Elect to receive promotional emails
  • Tier 1 Member (.5 points/$): Opt-out of promotional emails

United Airlines MileagePlus Dining

New member bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus miles after spending $25 in the first 30 days. Receive 500 miles on each of your next 3 visits to participating restaurants after spending $25 or more.

  • VIP Member (5 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails + 12 annual transactions with the dining program
  • Select Member (3 miles/$): Elect to receive promotional emails
  • Basic Member (.5 miles/$): Opt-out of promotional emails

Hotel Dining Programs

Hilton Honors Dining

New member bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus points after spending $25 in the first 30 days.

Members need to complete an online review within 30 days of the visit to earn the bonus points.

  • VIP Member (8 points/$): Elect to receive promotional emails + 12 annual transactions with the dining program
  • Select Member (5 points/$): Elect to receive promotional emails
  • Basic Member (2 points/$): Opt-out of promotional emails

IHG Rewards Club Dine & Earn

New member bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus points after spending $30 in the first 30 days.

Members need to complete an online review within 30 days of the visit to earn the bonus points.

  • VIP Member (8 points/$): Elect to receive promotional emails + 12 annual transactions with the dining program
  • Select Member (5 points/$): Elect to receive promotional emails
  • Basic Member (1 point/$): Opt-out of promotional emails

Keys to Hotel and Airline Dining Programs

While earning points and miles through hotel and airline dining programs likely won’t earn you enough to redeem for a free trip, it is a way to …..

  • You’re not allowed to use the same card with different programs. It would be too good to be true to earn points in multiple airline dining programs at the same time. Because all of these programs are run by Rewards Network, the system won’t allow duplicate cards. If you add your American Express Gold Card to the Alaska Air Mileage Plan Dining Program after having already added it to the Delta SkyMiles Dining, it gets removed from the older program.
  • Cardholders will still earn points and miles earned through credit card spend. Be sure to add your American Express Gold Card, which earns 4x points on worldwide restaurants, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns 3x points on dining.
  • Points earned through hotel and airline dining programs will keep points from expiring. It’s never fun to have points expire. Since any account activity typically extends the expiration of the points or miles, earning just a single point through a dining program will keep your account active. You can switch your card to a different program for one meal and switch it back when you done.

Final Thoughts

I’ve received multiple emails over the years telling me I visited an airline dining program restaurant that I didn’t realize was part of the network. This really underscores how easy it is to earn points and miles with hotel and airline dining programs, sometimes without even trying.

There’s no reason not to sign up and see what you can earn! XXX


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