Food & Wine

Earning the Most Points & Miles When Dining Out

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Many of you will be familiar with these options, although perhaps it will be a good reminder. But if you’re just getting into points and miles, there’s a few easy ways to make sure you’re earning more when dining out!

Dining Rewards — sign up for one of their partner programs, associate your credit card(s), use the card to pay your restaurant or bar tab and you’ll start earning miles or points. Most of the programs have a mult-tier earning option — the more times you dine at participating restaurants, the more miles you earn per dollar.

Note: Many of these programs offer periodic sign up bonuses for new members, so it might be worth waiting til one comes up. Also note you can only associate one program per card. So if you want to earn with multiple programs, make sure you register different credit cards.

American Airlines AAdvantage
Alaska Airlines
Delta Skymiles
Hilton HHonors
IHG Rewards
Club O ( — I didn’t even know this was possible!
Spirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT miles
Southwest Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
US Airways Dividend Miles

Credit Card Bonuses 

Some credit cards offer extra points for restaurant spend, like the Chase Sapphire which offers 2x points for all dining and 3x points on the First Friday of every month. Others offer periodic bonuses like the DiscoverIt card’s current 5% cashback bonus. Make sure you pay attention and register whenever these come up!

Open Table

A free reservation service that offers 100 points for every dine. 2,000 points = $20 dining rewards that can be used towards participating restaurants. Some restaurants offer 1,000 points (~$10) per reservation certain days or times to encourage dining during slower periods.

The best part about Open Table? They also offer a mobile app and reservations can be made even minutes before you arrive if there’s availability, so be sure to check any existing plans to see if your restaurant participates. There’s been a time or two when Jeanne and I have headed to a restaurant, seen the Open Table sticker on the door and made an immediate reservation to get 100 extra points. 🙂


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