A Complete Guide to the AAdvantage Dining Program

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If you eat out a lot, one of the easiest ways to boost your AA mileage balance is by signing up for the American Airlines Dining Program. Registering with AAdvantage dining requires almost no effort, yet the program allows members to easily earn bonus miles for meals at their favorite restaurants—without spending any extra money!

Among all the ways to rack up AA miles, my favorite methods involve passive streams of inflowing miles that are quickly set up and forgotten. And although the mileage amounts may not be quite as generous as a new credit card sign-up bonus, they can easily add up to a free flight or two over the course of a year.

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 of the lucrative bonuses available, and share some pro-tips to keep the miles coming.

aadining supports local restaurants

AAdvantage Dining Program Basics

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

In a nutshell, any airline offering a dining program has established a network of partnerships with restaurants across the country. 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 in the form of bonus miles.

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

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.

To sign up for the AAdvantage Dining Program, you'll need to provide some basic information, including your name and American frequent-flyer number. The AAdvantage dining login (sign in here) is separate from your American Airlines login, so if you haven't already set up an AAdvantage account, you'll need to start there.

advantage dining has a 1,000 mile bonus for new members

The next screen will ask you to link a credit card. Your first thought might be: “I thought this was free!?”. Never fear, AAdvantage Dining will never charge your card. It's merely required so AA can track when you've dined at a partner restaurant. When you make a purchase, you'll receive bonus miles based on how much you spent, including the tax and tip.

aa rewards dining by tracking the credit card you use to pay

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

  • Basic members — Earn one AAdvantage mile per $1 spent if you elect to not receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining.
  • Select members — Earn three AAdvantage miles per $1 spent if you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining.
  • VIP members — Earn five AAdvantage miles per $1 spent if you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining AND have already completed 11 qualified transactions in the calendar year. (Members start earning at the VIP level on their 12th eligible transaction.)

AA Dining Program Sign-up Bonus

aa advantage dining is offering 1,000 miles after spending $25 in 30 days

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

The current offer is 1,000 bonus AAdvantage miles to new members who spend $25 at a partnered restaurant within the first 30 days of joining AA Dining rewards. If you were planning to eat out at least once in the next month, that's a pretty terrific return on your spend!

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 ‘Explore' button at the top of the screen, and you'll be taken to a search page with a map feature powered by Google Maps. The exact link changes, but you can find it by searching for “AAdvantage dining near me”.

AAdvantage dining near me?

You can search using your current location, a general area, an address, or by restaurant name. The map also allows you to 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.

aadvantage dining restaurants map view

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

Hugo's is part of the American Airlines dining program

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 (1–5 miles per dollar, depending on your membership level) will later be deposited in your AAdvantage account.

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 one 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. The majority of the partners appear to be 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, be sure to 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 bonuses 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 to set it up with all your credit cards, 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 simply earn the bonus miles organically.

Maximize Your AA Dining Purchase

Bonus miles earned through American Airlines dining are in addition to any credit card rewards; choosing the right card to use for the restaurant purchase is important to maximizing your earnings.

American Airlines Credit Cards

If you're specifically interested in maximizing your AAdvantage earnings, you may want to 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 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $3,000 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.

Even better, this card gives you access to Reduced Mileage Awards, which can save you up to 30% on the miles required for domestic awards. 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
  • Reduced Mileage Awards can save you 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver Awards
  • 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 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, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. Some of the best Marriott Bonvoy cards currently available include:

Bank Rewards Cards

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

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual Fee$550
Welcome Bonus Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 spent 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. But with incredibly cheap award redemption opportunities becoming more and more common, every added mile counts. You'd be surprised how quickly they add up!

Any well-grounded points strategy involves utilizing all mileage earning opportunities, including shopping portals and dining programs. Considering it's free and takes minimal effort to use, the Advantage 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?

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Comments

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • How do restaurants in your area operate now?

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

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

  • Jose Luis Hernandez Hardisson says:

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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