Churning Dining Awards

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by gconnery, Jul 11, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Okay, maybe most people won't think this is worth the trouble. But to me 1,000 or 1,500 miles is worth a little bit of effort. Lots of airlines have dining awards where you can earn 1,000 or 1,500 miles with your first Dine out at one of their restaurants for $40 or more. You generally also have to post a review of the restaurant within a certain time frame.

    So I've got AA, UA, US Air, cards and the wife has the same. Seems easy enough to get 1,000 miles for each of these cards/accounts. Use a different email just in case (aliases in hotmail work well here). They all have different frequent flyer numbers so no problem. Credit card, email and FF# are all unique. Great.

    Do the same for the wife's cards--get yourself added as an authorized user on each of them, use that card to do the spend, but have the miles post to her account. Great.

    Okay, now... you get a new UA, AA or US Air card. You've already done say UA before. You create a new UA account you plan to merge with your normal FF# eventually. You're careful to make sure it has the same name and such so there won't be any issues with the merge. You start thinking about bckstgr and other ways of getting miles for new accounts and using that new FF# for those. Anyway, after a while you have a few miles in this account and you merge.

    Does UA give you any grief? Anybody ever run into issues doing this?
     
  2. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This is a whole lot of work for a long, slow con. And the payout isn't that great.

    Oh, and if they do catch you they just shut everything down and you forfeit all the points. Not worth it in my book for 3-5k points every now and then.
     
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  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    If leaving points on the table bothers you, then there is an even easier way around it, which United would actually encourage you to do. It is called United MileagePlus Dining and you will literally not be leaving any points on the table anymore. All you need to do is to register all of your EXISTING cards and whenever you eat at any one of a growing number of restaurants and use one of the registered cards, you get miles. After a certain number of dinners, you attain the VIP status (see my signature below, on the right) and start to earn 5 miles/$. The beauty of it is that you do not need to do anything; not even write reviews, although they are solicited. Just eat, pay and watch the miles grow. I got more than 3K miles between March and June of this year, without even thinking about it -- it beats the heck out of the contortions and CC gymnastics that you seem to have in mind;).

    UA-DINING.png
     
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  5. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    It seems pretty clear the OP was taking about the Reward.net dining program(s) which just happens to include the UAL MP Dining program ... no? :)

    I agree that the proposed the effort by the OP (which is borderline fraud) and the entire dining program in general is not worth much effort particularly after it was gutted a few years ago.

    Register you cards if you happen to dine at one of their places some measly miles will show up in your account.
     
  6. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    It could well be that it is the same program, which is why all the CC gymnastics are a puzzle. Just set it and get the miles.

    I would just like to add that at the MP Dining VIP level, the miles can add up quickly since they are on top of whatever one gets from the spend on the card. Let's say I throw a Xmas party for my research group at a participating restaurant that costs me $1000 and I pay for it with my UA Explorer card. As a MileagePlus Dining VIP I will get 5 miles/$ (= 5,000 miles) and then as a UA Explorer cardmember I will get 1 mile/$ (= 1,000 miles) -- 6K miles is about what one gets for a TCON trip...
     
  7. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    The OP was trying to get the multiple sign-up bonuses for each program.

    1) Up until a few years ago the VIP level gave 10 miles/$
    2) There were some 20 mile/$ restaurants
    2) There was additional miles granted for each dine review.
    3) There were many monthly bonuses and additional bonuses for increased spend.
    4) Promos involving decent bonuses for multiple dines within a set period.
    5) There seemed to be more "upscale" restaurants to chose from.. so easier to spend more.
    Really... who spends more than $20 at an I-Hop?:rolleyes:


    Between 2002-2008 ( when I believe they changed the program) I earned well over 100k AA miles ( plus about another 20k in other programs) doing with no more than an average of 25 dines annually.
    Since then I bet I have gotten a total of only about 15K for about 15 dines annually ... I just cannot be bothered to seek out places.. if I get miles by my normal routine.. fine.
     
  8. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    ...on the other hand, there are now hundreds of different ways to earn points/miles that did not exist before. The key in this game is to know how to adapt because change is inevitable. To bemoan what is no more is not how to survive...
     
  9. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I was simply trying expand on the OPs motives and intent which you apparently didnt (and still didn't) quite grasp.

    I don't buy at all the notion that there are more ways currently to earn miles as compared to when? 1960?
    In any event I have no intention of getting into discussion with you about it.
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    :confused::rolleyes: Exactly which part of the OP's post does this memory lane laundry list....
    ....refer to and what is it supposed to help me grasp? You are talking about earning 100Ks of miles, when the OP clearly stated "But to me 1,000 or 1,500 miles is worth a little bit of effort. Lots of airlines have dining awards where you can earn 1,000 or 1,500 miles with your first Dine out at one of their restaurants for $40 or more. You generally also have to post a review of the restaurant within a certain time frame," which is precisely what UA MP Dining is offering right now and not eons ago?

    I agree that any debate would be a waste of time and energy.
     
  11. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Sometimes this stuff gets soooo confusing...for some .:D
     
  12. Majikow

    Majikow Silver Member

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    I'd say get a bonus for each of the different programs once and then pick the card you use most and link it to the program whose miles you want the most.

    From what I've found the restaurants that actually participate in the dining programs aren't usually high on my list (though there are a few decent ones), so it's not worth going out of my way to get a few miles here and there. When they post it's like a bonus though.
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Excellent observation. There are many of the restaurants on the list I wouldn't eat at for $3 off the bill. Why would I go out of my way to eat there for $3 worth of points??
     
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  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I mostly concur, except for what seems to be missing here, so let me clarify once for all and then exit.

    What seems to be missing, at least in the way I am implementing the UA MP Dining program, is that I do not go to a restaurant because I know this would earn me miles. Rather, the restaurants come to me because 100% of the time I do not know that a restaurant participates in the UA MP Dining program until after I am notified days later that I earned miles from dining at this or that place.

    Conclusion: this is a much-a-do about nothing. Register all your cards (that is the most effort that it takes) and forget about it. Just go about your life as usual and miles will flow in. It has, in fact, turned out that a few bars/restaurants that I started frequenting regularly even before I or they joined the UA program subsequently joined, so that I am now earning miles for doing things that I normally did and still do with no expectation of earning miles.

    It is a no-brainer and, because after 12 dines I have made the VIP status and get 5 miles/$, I now earn more miles each time I hit one of these restaurants than I do with my UA Explorer visa -- this may, in fact, be more miles or points than one gets with most mile/point-earning CCs out there. Not only that, but the Explorer miles also will count separately but additively, if I use it to pay for the dinner, so it begins to add up. Like I said, it is truly a no-brainer.
     
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  15. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Well, thanks for all the feedback everybody. I guess I'll stick to the once per mileage/hotel point dining program that seems to be what was intended.

    Personally even with the sign up bonus, there are a LOT of restaurants I wouldn't eat at regardless. As it happens though there's a Black Angus steakhouse that I consider acceptable that is very local and costs me less for a steak than if I ordered it via room service (of course), and thus worth the little bit of extra effort for the 1,000 miles/points.

    BTW, looks like you can get 1,500 UA miles by logging into your UA account and THEN clicking on the dining awards ad that offers you 1,500 miles for joining, rather than the 1,000 miles that you would normally get.

    I think TPG had the most comprehensive post. Looks like there's Alaska, US Air, Hilton, and a number of others for me to churn through before I would need to play any tricks anyway, so I'll just do that for a bit.
     
  16. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    BTW: 1,000 miles for $40 is 25X. 1,500 miles for $40 is 37.5X

    Of course 1,000 HH points is 25X too, but really more like 10% back.
     
  17. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You mean 1000 miles for $40 is 4 cents per mile, right??
     
  18. Majikow

    Majikow Silver Member

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    That's basically what I was saying. Sign up for the programs, get the bonuses if you can/it makes sense, and then just be happy when a few extra miles roll in here and there. I think it's worthwhile to be signed up and be in the position to earn miles regardless. Some people actually might find restaurants they really like on the list and it could be very lucrative. Some people might not find many but be happy to grab a few miles here and there when they end up eating somewhere that's on the list. As long as you're not eating at crappy restaurants just to get a few miles, you're going to be OK.
     
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  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    We're on the same page.:)
     
  20. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    WA, I agree with your calculation. Yes if I tossed the meal out the points would have cost me more than they're worth. Unlike say BB/Vanilla churning where you manufacture spend out of nothing for a fee, and the fee needs to compute to well under a cent/mile to keep me interested. In this case, I also get a steak dinner. One I would have bought anyway, just at the hotel for slightly more, and without earning 1,000 miles in the process.

    Yes I think constantly emphasizing that you shouldn't buy things just because you're salivating over the points you'll earn is a good idea. I get distracted sometimes too.
     
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