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Almost every major airline has a dining program; what makes these great is that you can earn miles without flying. So why not pick up some miles every time you eat out?
AA has its own dedicated dining program, AA Rewards Network, which has plenty of participating restaurants; what you earn depends on your level of membership. The three levels are member, online member, and VIP member:
- Just join to become a member and earn 1 mile per dollar spent with AAdvantage Dining
- Provide a valid email address and elect to receive emails from AAdvantage Dining, and you will become an online member and will receive 3 miles per dollar spent
- Online members with 12 qualifying transactions in a year become VIP members and will earn 5 miles per dollar spent
Alaska's program, Mileage Plan Rewards Network, normally comes with a 1,000-mile signup bonus. Similar to the AA program, it has 3 membership levels where you'll earn at different rates. The following levels earn as follows:
- Become a member by providing a valid email and/or granting marketing permission, and you will earn 1 mile per dollar spent
- Become an online member by electing to receive fine dining emails to a valid email address, and earn 3 miles per dollar spent
- After 12 qualifying transactions, online members qualify as VIP members and will earn 5 miles per dollar spent
- Member, just join without providing any additional details, and you will earn 1 mile for every 2 dollars spent.
- Provide an email address and elect to receive fine dining emails, and you will be an online member, who will earn 3 miles per dollar spent
- Online members with 12 or more qualifying transactions, will become VIP members and earn 5 miles per dollar spent
- True Blue Mosaic members earn 2 points per dollar spent
- Regular TrueBlue members earn 1 point per dollar spent
Southwest’s Rapid Rewards dining is an excellent program from Southwest Airlines. The program is simple and to an extent similar to the JetBlue program. Members earn points depending on what they opt in for:
- Share your email and sign up for notifications and earn 3 points per dollar spent
- Opt out of sharing your email and you will earn 1 point per 2 dollars spent
The United Airlines MileagePlus Dining is very similar in structure to the Delta program. United Airlines has three levels with different earning rates depending on what information you are willing to share and how frequently you use the program:
- As a member, you do not need to supply an email or any other information, but you will only earn 1 point per dollar spent
- Online members share their valid email and sign up to receive emails from Mileage Plus Dining. Online members earn 3 miles per dollar spent
- Online Members will become VIP members after 12 qualifying transactions in a year, and will then be earning 5 miles per dollar spent
Not to be outdone by its competitors, Spirit Airlines also has its own program Free Spirit Dining. The program is very similar in structure to other airlines’ programs, with three earning levels determined by your use and how much information you share:
- Members do not need to share their email or any other information and will earn 1 mile per 2 dollars spent
- Online members need to share their email and opt to receive emails from Free Spirit Dining and will earn 3 miles per dollar spent
- VIP members are online members with 12 or more qualifying transactions and will earn 5 miles per dollar spent
Hawaiian Airlines does not have its own unique dining program, instead, it has partnered up with Mogl to reward its customers. The Mogl tie up allows members to earn cash back on their dining bills at participating restaurants. This cash is then automatically converted into Hawaiian miles at a rate of 40 miles per 1$ of cash back.
Before you jump in and join every dining program, keep an eye out for signup bonuses. These promotions are run regularly by the various airline dining programs and are a great way to pick up some extra miles. Another great advantage of joining a dining program is that the miles you earn count as activity on your account and could stop your miles from expiring, without the hassle of flying. Since you probably dine out more than you fly, why not earn miles for your experiences as well?
Remember, when dining out, make sure to use a credit card that earns you 2x, 3x, or 5x on your dining purchases such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Airline co-branded credit cards, while they'll earn you miles in their respective programs, won't earn you any special bonuses on your meals.
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