A Complete Guide to the AAdvantage Dining Program A Complete Guide to the AAdvantage Dining Program

A Complete Guide to the AAdvantage Dining Program

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If you like to eat out, one of the easiest ways to boost your AA mileage balance while doing so is signing up for the American Airlines Dining Program. Registering for the AA dining rewards program requires almost no effort. The program allows members to earn bonus miles for meals at their favorite restaurants — and without spending extra money!

This post walks you through all of the details of the AAdvantage Dining Program. We'll demonstrate the basics of using a dining program, illustrate some lucrative bonuses available, and share some pro tips to keep the miles coming in.

AAdvantage Dining Program Basics

If you're familiar with online shopping portals, then AA dining rewards will look familiar.

List of eligible restaurants for AAdvantage Dining in Seattle, WA.
Credit: AAdvantage Dining

In a nutshell, any airline offering a dining program has established a nationwide network of partnerships with restaurants. As a member of a dining program, when you dine at one of these partnered restaurants, the restaurant pays a small commission to the airline. Then, the airline's frequent-flyer program shares this revenue with you as bonus miles.

"How it Works" graphic showing the three steps to earning miles while dining with AAdvantage Dining: finding a restaurant, dining, and paying.
Credit: AAdvantage Dining

One of the great things about dining programs is that they don't typically cost anything to join. Even better, signing up only takes a matter of minutes.

Check out our beginner's guide to dining programs to learn the basics and see which frequent flyer and hotel programs offer dining rewards.

Signing-Up for AA Dining Rewards

To sign up for the AAdvantage Dining Program, you'll need to provide some basic information, including your name and American Airlines frequent flyer number. You'll log into the dining program separately from your AAdvantage account for checking your elite status or redeeming miles. However, you still need an AAdvantage number; if you don't have one, you can sign up here.

The next screen will ask you to link a credit card. Your first thought might be: “I thought this was free!?” Fear not; AAdvantage Dining will never charge your card. This step is only required so that AA can track when you've dined at a partner restaurant.

When you make a purchase using the credit card in your profile, you'll receive bonus miles based on your spending, including the tax and tip.

AA Dining membership levels

AA Dining rewards you for your restaurant spending based on your membership level; the higher your level, the more bonus miles you earn.

  • Basic members: Earn one AAdvantage mile per $1 spent if you opt out of receiving email communication from AAdvantage Dining.
  • Select members: Earn three AAdvantage miles per $1 spent if you opt in to email communication from AAdvantage Dining.
  • VIP members: Earn five AAdvantage miles per $1 spent if you opt in to email communication from AAdvantage Dining AND have already completed 11 qualifying transactions in that calendar year (members start earning at the VIP level on their 12th eligible transaction).

Program guidelines state that there's no maximum amount of miles you can earn through AAdvantage Dining, but you may find that certain restaurants impose limits on how much you can earn in one transaction.

AA Dining Program Sign-up Bonus

From time to time, you can earn bonus miles for joining American Airlines dining and making your first purchase within a specific time period. These bonuses fluctuate up and down, so different members may receive different bonuses.

Earn 500 bonus miles in your first 30 days after signing up for the AAdvantage Dining program.

The current offer is 500 bonus AAdvantage miles to new members who spend $25 at a partnered restaurant within the first 30 days of joining AA Dining rewards. This offer runs through January 6, 2024. If you plan to eat out at least once in the next few months or order takeout or delivery, that's a terrific return on your spending! Simply sign up no more than 30 days before you visit a participating restaurant.

How To Find AAdvantage Dining Near You

Now that you've joined the program, it's time to figure out which restaurants qualify for bonus miles. Click the “Browse Restaurants” button at the top of the screen, and that will take you to a search page with a map feature powered by Google Maps. The exact link changes often, but you can find it by searching for “AAdvantage dining near me” or clicking the “locate me” button.

Map showing eligible AAdvantage Dining restaurants in Seattle, WA.
Restaurants available in Seattle. Credit: AAdvantage Dining

You can search using your current location, a general area, an address, or a restaurant name. The map lets you filter your results based on price range, restaurant type, and daily bonus availability. As you zoom in, you'll see the locations of partnered restaurants, and selecting them will display the restaurant's name.

Map showing an eligible restaurant for AAdvantage Dining in Seattle, WA.
Credit: AAdvantage Dining

Selecting the restaurant will redirect you to a page containing reviews, bonus terms, and other helpful information for planning a visit.

Restaurant landing page for Pike Place Chowder in Seattle, WA.
Credit: AAdvantage Dining

Once you've pinpointed a restaurant you like that participates with the AA dining program, all that's left is to buy your meal using the credit card linked to your account. That's it! Your bonus miles should post to your AAdvantage account automatically within a few weeks.

Earning Loyalty Points With AAdvantage Dining

Aside from earning miles that you can redeem for flights on AA and its many partners, you'll also earn Loyalty Points. With the “reimagination” of American Airlines' loyalty program, the airline introduced Loyalty Points as the only metric to earn status.

Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every eligible mile earned through AAdvantage Dining.
Credit: American Airlines

When you make a purchase using AAdvantage Dining, you will earn an identical number of Loyalty Points. Collecting Loyalty Points can be highly lucrative for reasons other than gaining status with the airline. For instance, once you accrue 60,000 Loyalty Points, you'll earn a 20% Loyalty Point bonus on AAdvantage Dining purchases, plus a 30% bonus when you hit 100,000 Loyalty Points.

With AA's Loyalty Point Rewards, you can earn bonuses on AA dining purchases after reaching 60K loyalty points.
Credit: American Airlines

These rewards for reaching certain Loyalty Point milestones are part of AA's more extensive Loyalty Point Rewards system. American Airlines will thank you for your loyalty at these milestones by letting you choose your rewards, which could be as basic as preferred seat coupons and as lucrative as systemwide upgrades or gift elite status to someone.

Even if you don't spend heavily through the AAdvantage Dining program, simply enrolling in the program and earning miles here and there could get you closer to status and other rewards sooner than you may expect.

Related: Your Complete Guide to American Airlines Advantage Loyalty Points

American Airlines Dining Program Pro Tips

Thankfully, earning AA Dining rewards is a relatively straightforward process. With that said, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid any confusion or missed bonus opportunities.

  1. Don't expect to receive bonus miles from more than one dining program for a given meal. Restaurants typically remit one commission per transaction, so if you have the same card linked to multiple programs, you'll only get a bonus from one — generally the program where you most recently added the card.
  2. Don't assume all locations of a restaurant chain participate. Most partners are local establishments, with a few chain restaurants sprinkled in. But just because one Pizza Hut participates in the program doesn't mean they all do. If it matters to you, double-check before making a purchase.
  3. Pay attention to the limitations of each restaurant. For instance, Hugos, the restaurant I used in the above example, only provides a bonus on one visit per month. If you don't check, you might plan weekly dinners there and be in for a world of disappointment.
  4. The best way to utilize any dining program is linking all of your credit cards to it and then forget about it. In most cases, the bonus offered isn't significant enough to sway your restaurant choice; it's best to dine out as you please and earn the bonus miles organically.

Maximize Your AA Dining Purchases

Bonus miles earned through American Airlines dining are in addition to any credit card rewards earned when you pay. Choosing the right card for the restaurant purchase is important to maximizing your earnings.

American Airlines credit cards

To maximize your AAdvantage earnings, consider using an AA co-branded card for your meal purchases. One of the best options could be the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, as it earns 2X bonus miles per dollar spent at restaurants.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Annual Fee$99, waived for first 12 months
Welcome Offer Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
The AA Platinum Select card is a great choice for anyone who travels at least a few times per year with American Airlines. Cardholders get a free checked bag on domestic itineraries, priority boarding and a 25% discount on in-flight purchases.

With these perks, it's easy to justify the annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months.
  • Free checked bags for you and up to 4 companions on domestic itineraries
  • Priority boarding to help you win the race for overhead bin space
  • A 25% discount on inflight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases
  • Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent at restaurants
  • Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent at gas stations
  • Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1X mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Some of the other AA credit card options include:

Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

Another angle worth considering could be to use a Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card to pay for your dinner. While no major bank currency currently transfers to AA, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to AAdvantage miles at a ratio of 3:1. Some of the best Marriott Bonvoy cards currently available include:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 Marriott bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Earn three bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Redemption level up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points for each bonus Free Night Award, at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Bank rewards credit cards

Lastly, if you're interested in maximizing your earnings regardless of currency, you'll probably want to use the best card for dining purchases. There are a lot of great options, but some of our favorites include:**

  • American Express® Gold Card: 4X Membership Rewards points when you dine at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: 3X Ultimate Rewards points on dining at restaurants.
  • The Bilt Mastercard® (Rates & Fees): 3X Bilt points on dining, which can be transferred to American Airlines AAdvantage. Plus, earn double points on the first of the month with Rent Day promotions. (Note: You must use this card at least five times each statement cycle to earn points.)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual Fee$550
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Chase's flagship Ultimate Rewards card. You get a $300 travel credit, airport lounge access courtesy of a Priority Pass membership and industry-leading travel insurance benefits. New cardholders earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC
  • 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase
  • 10X points on Chase Dining (including prepaid reservations and prepaid takeout purchased through Chase)
  • 5X points on airfare purchased through Chase
  • 3X points on all other travel
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Final Thoughts

Unless you spend an outrageous amount of money at restaurants every month, dining programs aren't likely to make up a substantial percentage of your mileage earnings. However, you'd be surprised how quickly miles add up if you earn them from multiple methods!

Any well-grounded points strategy involves utilizing all mileage-earning opportunities available, including shopping portals and dining programs. Considering it's free and takes minimal effort, the AAdvantage Dining Program is a terrific tool to add to your belt while building your stash of AA miles.

Have you joined the American Airlines Dining Program yet? How has your experience been?

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Bilt Mastercard® (Rates & Fees)

4.3 / 5 - (48 votes)
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  • “the restaurant pays a small commission to the airline. Then, the airline’s frequent-flyer program shares this revenue with you as bonus miles” I have checked into having my small business offer airline miles to customers and found out that “small commission” is actually 20%. Versus the airline shopping mall commission is usually 10%.. That said, I have earned LOTS of miles (and Loyalty points too) by going to Aadvantage Dining to find a place to eat any time I am not sure what I feel like eating.

  • If I’m doing the math right, once you hit VIP in the dining program – and have 60,000 LPs….

    You can earn 7Miles/LPs per $1 spent in the dining program.

    5 from VIP Dining
    1 Bonus point from 60,000LP bonus rewards (20%)
    1 from charging to an AA credit card.

  • Lisa LaPorta says:

    AAdvantage dinning program is a horrible and does not keep track of customer’s dinning. I dinned at a listed restaraunt 3 times and never got credit. I was told to send in all my documentation so that I would get credit for the dinning. I sent in the documentation and was told I waited to long to get the credit. I am appauled that I even have to babysit this program. You should be on the ball and give credit to your customers when they have it comming. AAdvantage Dining Program is terrible and I would not recommend to anyone. You have to keep track of your dinning or they will not give you credit.

  • Marcia Kirby says:

    My last two dining experiences have not been credited to my American account. One was earlier this summer, and the other about 2 weeks ago.

  • One caveat I didn’t see mentioned is that AA doesn’t allow you to enroll the same card for AA Dining and a different dining program. I have a credit card that rewards restaurant purchases with double the points, and when I enrolled that specific card in a second dining program I received a notification from AA that the card was kicked off the AA dining program since they detected I had registered it with a second dining program. Just something to be aware of when deciding which card to enroll with which program.

  • While this is aa convenient way to extend the expiry of my AAdvantage miles by aanother 18 months, it’s been aannoying that the Rewards Network keeps requiring me to update my password. I’ve had to do this for dining rewards with Delta, Southwest, Hilton and AAmerican. It’s especially aa pain with the latter two, because both of those programs have expiry dates with their points/miles.

    P.S. I’ve missed deliberately using double-H both in writing and in stutter since Hilton changed from Hilton HHonors. I aam hopeful that AAmerican AAirlines’ loyalty program will continue as American AAdvantage.

  • Jose Luis Hernandez Hardisson says:

    I didn’t know this way to Earn Miles!… very good, thanks a lot.

  • wow, i will be use aa when i have dinner.

  • This is a great way to keep your American Airlines Frequent Flyer points from expiring. It works similar to other dining rewards. However, I noticed that in my area, there are less restaurants participating than other dining rewards networks. In fact, there is only 1 restaurant within 20 miles of my home where others have approx. between 5 and 10 restaurants. I wonder why? Maybe they are in the process of renewing some memberships or something like that?

    • Oh wow! That’s surprisingly low. I’m guessing that the restaurant rewards portal that powers the backend needs to get some sales reps to visit your area!

    • What city do you live in? Is United’s network the same or larger?

  • I enroll every card I get in one of the Rewards Dining programs. It is a way to make keep your miles from expiring. You can only have a card in one Airline (Or hotel) program but if you want to change them, it’s pretty easy to do. When I am specifically earning toward a specific redemption, I switch my favorite dining card (Amex Gold usually) to whichever program I need.

  • It’s a great way to avoid expiration of points in all the accounts that I manage for my family. They can’t be bothered, so I enroll each one of them with a different card, and make sure that as I dine, they all earn a few points during the 18-month period. I used to rely on AwardWallet for that but I don’t seem to be getting points for commenting anymore.

  • Dining rewards programs are a great way to add a little points boost!

  • How do restaurants in your area operate now?

  • I hope this offer lasts for a while until dining becomes more regular again

  • This guide also applies to almost all of the other airline dining programs as well. Earning structures might be slightly different, like Southwest’s, but for the most part they are identical.

  • I have been a member for years, just wish there were more participating restaurants where I live.

  • I’ve been a member of AAdvantage Dining for years, and really just forget about it. It’s great to see miles pop up unexpectedly. Also, the miles keep my account for expiring.

  • This program is nice and I would encourage AA travelers to join as an easy way to keep the account active. The one thing that would be nice is to be able to recommend other restaurants to join.