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What are dining rewards?
Rewards—usually in the form of airline miles or hotel points—that can be earned for every dollar spent dining at the participating restaurants of a dining rewards program.
Dining rewards programs, offered by many major airline and hotel groups, are one of the easiest and most underrated ways to accumulate points for simply dining out. Airline programs generally offer up to 5 miles per dollar spent at a participating restaurant, and hotel programs offer as high as 8 points per dollar. To start earning rewards, all you have to do is sign up for the program, connect your credit card, and that’s it! The whole process takes two minutes.
The programs don’t require a specific credit card to claim points—you could use your Delta Airlines credit card on the American Airlines dining program, for example—and let you register multiple cards in the program (although each card can only be active on one program at a time). Additionally, as a way to get new users, the programs will typically offer sign-up bonuses, such as 3,000 miles for signing up and dining 3 times at participating restaurants within 30 days as United's MileagePlus Dining program is offering new users:
The beauty of dining rewards programs is that they don’t interfere with the points earned on your credit card, but rather are additional points you can earn on dining. So, for example, if you had a Chase Sapphire Reserve card (which grants 3 points per dollar on dining) and used it to dine at a participating restaurant, you would earn the 3 points from Chase in addition to the points the program awards you. It’s an amazing double dip opportunity!
Hotels and airlines want you to spend all your money with them via their network of partners, which is why they’ve created incentive-driven programs like dining rewards, shopping portals, and a variety of other ways to maximize how much of your spend goes to them. If you’re planning a trip and already know which airline or hotel you’ll be redeeming at, check if they have a dining program and sign up to help reach your goal faster.