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Beginner’s Guide: Join a dining program to earn extra points
Our Beginner’s Guide is dedicated to not only getting you started in points and miles, but also to drop a tip, hint, tutorial, or trick that maybe you’ve missed or haven’t heard before. If you’re an expert in this field, some of these may be things you already know, but a helpful reminder never hurts, and to those who haven’t heard of it – I gotchu baybay!
You probably already know about cards like the Amex Gold ( an absolute beast ) that have incredible category bonuses for dining.
But…did you know that you can sign up for a dining programs that will earn you another set of points when you eat at partner restaurants? Yes, you can earn your credit card points and airline or hotel points at the same time. Let’s dig into it.
You may not be able to pour two teas at one time, but you can earn two kinds of points and that is still pretty cool in my book.
What are award dining programs?
These are partnerships that loyalty programs have struck with restaurants to reward you with their points when you dine with them. You don’t have to do anything besides sign up for the program and enter your credit card details. This pairs that card with a dining program and each time you use it at a partner restaurant you’ll earn points. I use the Alaska MileagePlan dining program, so when I dine at a partner restaurant I earn both Alaska Points and my credit card points. No fuss, just pay and earn two kinds of points.
There is NO reason why you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s more mindless than watching the Kardashians. WAYO!
Here are a few links to Dining Programs
Almost every program has an offer between 1000 and 3000 points to sign up. Great opportunity if you haven’t done so yet.
- Alaska Airlines
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta SkyMiles
You can Double Dip: Earn Credit Card points + Airline/Hotel Points
I use my Amex Gold all the time for dining because it earns 4x points on every dollar I spend.
Read More About Amex Gold here
Every program is different, but my Amex Gold is linked to Alaska’s dining program. If I use it 11 times in a year, I get 5x at partner restaurants. That’s pretty awesome.
Link your credit card
This is so it knows when you use it. They don’t keep the security id, billing information, etc
How do you find partner restaurants?
Super easy. Each program has a search function. Here’s a look at my search for Studio City, CA
To Recap and more thoughts
- Keep your points alive – it’ll put activity in your account.
- It costs you nothing
- No thought or extra time after you’ve linked.
If I eat out enough I’ll be enjoying some Cathay First Class again. Only 70k from the U.S. to Asia.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.