Do you earn miles for dining? Probably not.
Up until five or so years ago, that was a thing: earning frequent-flyer miles for eating out. It was a reliable source of substantial earnings for members of airline loyalty programs looking to boost their mileage-account balances, with dining-miles programs routinely awarding 10 miles per $1 spent at thousands of participating restaurants, and even more miles during regular promotions.
Today, however, the maximum payout has fallen to five miles per $1, and promotions are few and far between. As a result, dining miles have become more of an afterthought than a core earning tactic for many mileage-earners.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that many loyalty program members never even bothered to sign up for dining miles. Which makes this new promotion from American even more relevant than it might otherwise be.
Through October 31, AAdvantage members who sign up for AAdvantage Dining and register a credit or debit card can earn up to 3,000 bonus miles by completing the following within 30 days:
- Earn 1,500 bonus miles after spending at least $25 at a participating AAdvantage Dining restaurant
- Earn 500 bonus miles after spending at least $1 for each of up to 3 meals at other participating restaurants
The maximum of 3,000 bonus miles may only be earned once per AAdvantage member.
Deal or No Deal
So, a maximum of 3,000 bonus miles after dining out four times within the first 30 days of signing up for the program. Not bad. And of course you’ll earn up to five miles per $1 spent on the qualifying meals as well.
Long term, the modest earning rate remains a disincentive to actively pursuing dining miles. But if you eat out regularly, there’s no reason not to earn those five miles per $1 when dining at participating restaurants. And once you’ve signed up and have your credit cards registered, even the rather puny earnings will automatically extend the life of your AAdvantage miles, which expire after 18 months of account activity.
After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.