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Let’s face it, COVID-19 has changed everyday life for everyone. Many people that have never cooked a day in their life have been forced to go to the grocery store and buy a lot of noodles and marinara sauce. If you’ve been eating that for more than a day, you’ve probably determined that to-go orders from restaurants (if they’re still open) are a better option.
But here’s where it gets good….if you want to earn more points this year without much thought or effort, and you’re eating out anyway, sign up for a dining rewards program.
DINING REWARDS PROGRAMS
All the big airlines and a few hotel loyalty programs have dining rewards programs that let members earn extra points when dining out.
All you have to do is sign up, register a credit card (preferably one that earns bonus points at restaurants) and you’ll automatically earn points for dining at participating restaurants. These points are in addition to the rewards you earn from your credit card.
It’s important to note that most hotel and airline programs are part of the same dining rewards network. In other words, you can’t register the same credit card with more than one program at a time and get United Miles and Delta Miles for the same meal.
The good news is that each program offers a first-dine bonus and you can take advantage of all of them. If you only have one rewards credit card, you can always sign up with one dining rewards program, take advantage of the first-dine bonus and then move on to the next one to earn additional points.
Here is a list of dining rewards programs affiliated with airlines and hotel rewards programs:
- AAdvantage Dining
- Alaska Mileage Plan Dining
- Delta SkyMiles Dining
- Eat Around Town by Marriott Bonvoy
- Hilton Honors Dining
- IHG Rewards Dining
- JetBlue TrueBlue Dining
- Southwest Dining Rewards
- Spirit Airlines Free Spirit Dining
- United MileagePlus Dining
Once you go to the program websites, you’ll find that the programs are self-explanatory but for simplicity this is the equation:
Let’s say that I am interested in accumulating Delta Skymiles. I register a credit card under the Delta Skymiles Dining Program, I look for restaurants that are associated with Delta Dining. When I eat at the restaurant, I will receive, say, 5 miles for each dollar that I spend at that restaurant.
It’s not A LOT of miles but you’re receiving miles for doing something that you were going to do anyway and there was no extra step.
Whatever your travel goals are in 2020 (or maybe 2021 at this point), you can get there much faster by increasing your earning ability. Earning more miles and points is all about diversifying your earning strategy. By maximizing your most common spending categories via dining rewards programs, you can (at least) double your earnings this year alone.