My goal whenever I spend any money is always to get as many airline miles as possible. I figure if I am spending money, I might as well be getting closer to my goal of free travel.
One of the ways that I earn extra points is by dining at restaurants that are part of an airline affiliation. I go through United since that is my preferred airline, but every major airline has their own site. While the list of restaurants that participate is not vast, there is a pretty good mix of restaurants that you can choose from, especially in a large city.
One thing that I love is that there is no limit to the number of cards that you can link to your account. As far as I can tell, the cards linked to the account don’t need to match the account owner. I have all my credit cards linked to my account as well as my debit card and my work card. I also linked Andy’s credit cards so we can get extra points should he dine out using his card.
I am currently a VIP member through the United dining program. I earned VIP status by opting into email communication and having 12 dines over the past year. By being a VIP member I get 5 miles per dollar spent vs. the 3 miles per dollar members earn.
I learned unintentionally that there is a loophole in the system to earn a certain number of dines towards VIP status. While waiting for a table at Kuma’s Corner Andy and I enjoyed a few drinks at the bar. Once our table was ready, we closed out our tab. In splitting our bill, we earned 2 dines towards VIP status in 1 visit.
I opt into emails which aren’t sent too frequently. Mostly they are emails reminding you to dine out or showing your account balance. There are sometimes promotions to earn bonus airline miles by dining at certain restaurants or during a certain time period. Last fall I participated in a fall harvest promotion and earned 500 bonus miles for 1 dine.
Once you dine, there is another chance to earn airline miles. Some restaurants will give you a bonus 25 airline miles for filling out a review of your dining experience. The reviews are 5 questions and take less than 2 minutes to complete. You get the opportunity to complete these surveys for all dines you make, just not all will give you additional miles.
One of my favorite things is when I dine out and get what I like to call “surprise airline miles.” I have had several meals out, not realizing that they were part of the airline dining network.
I piggyback the 5 airline miles per dollar that I earn through the airline dining affiliation with the 2 miles per dollar that I earn using my Chase Sapphire card. Should I dine on the first Friday of the month, I can earn an additional mile per dollar, bringing my total bill up to 8 miles per dollar. Not too shabby for something that I am planning on doing anyway.
As with all points earning programs, not everything posts as it should and the lead time is quite long. Make sure that you track your earning and follow up with the airline dining program if your miles don’t post. With a copy of your receipt, they should be able to get everything credited to your account.