One of the easiest ways to earn points is by joining an airline’s dining program. It’s a simple, easy way to earn extra points for something that you already do! Yet, it’s often the case that people aren’t signed up for the programs.
Each of the airlines has a dining program that lets you earn miles for eating at certain restaurants around the country. Some of them include Delta, American, US Airways, and even Southwest. There aren’t a lot of restaurants in the program (at least that’s what I’ve observed), but it could be that your favorite restaurant is a participant. You can check to see which restaurants are in the program by searching on the airline program’s dining program website. For instance for Delta, you can go here and simply put your zip code into the search box.
After that, it will show you which restaurants are part of the program as well as which days they award points. For instance, if I put in my office’s zip code, I get 883 results within 30 miles of me.
While I certainly won’t be eating at all of them, there might be a few on that list that I visit. What makes these programs great is that once you sign up and register your credit card, you don’t have to do anything else. You’ll automatically get bonus miles whenever you eat at one of the participating restaurants.
It’s very easy to sign up for a new account and a lot of times you can get a bonus as well. For instance, you can get 1,000 US Airways bonus miles after spending $40 at a participating restaurant and writing a review. Once you sign up for an account, simply add all the credit cards you want. Whenever you use one of those cards at a participating restaurant, you’ll get bonus miles from the program. Keep in mind that you can’t register the same credit card with more than one dining program.
Each program has different levels of membership – similar to elite status with airlines and hotels. Each level earns a different number of miles per dollar spent. It’s easy to earn as many as 3 miles per dollar by simply electing to receive promotional emails. If you elect not to receive those emails, you can still earn at least 1 mile per two dollars spent! If you visit participating restaurants a total of 12 times in a year, you’ll be eligible to earn 5 miles per dollar! That’s some pretty significant earnings!
It really is as easy as that. I signed up a couple years ago and it’s always nice to get that email notification that I earned extra miles!
Do you participate in dining rewards programs?
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49