Earn Dining Points and Miles During Coronavirus Shutdown

by John Harper

Brunch and dinner plans might be cancelled, and flights postponed, but it’s still perfectly possible to earn frequent flyer miles at home! Airlines are reminding customers that dining rewards programs apply to take-out and delivery orders, and are pushing these programs to help restaurants and bars that are closed or severely limited due to COVID-19 Coronavirus prevention measures.

Programs that allow diners to earn frequent flyer miles while dining out normally promote sit-down dining, but have long included qualifying purchases for takeout and delivery orders at many restaurants that offer direct delivery or takeout services, and delivery orders at many restaurants.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines frequent flyer programs all offer some version of dining rewards program.

American Airlines’ AAdvantage Dining Program Tuesday emailed some members details encouraging diners to earn miles through takeout and delivery services as many dining rooms close.

earn miles with takeout

AAdvantage Dining is extending flexibility to members to encourage takeout and delivery orders amid the COVID-19 Coronavirus shutdown.

It certainly seems a good time to help local businesses as they adjust to help increase social distance. For those of us left without other ways to practice our points and miles hobby, takeout and delivery could provide at least some semblance of a holdover.

A few reminders about taking advantage of airline dining programs:

  • It is possible to link multiple credit cards to a dining rewards account.
  • Diners (or for now, dine-outers) earn points on their credit card transaction in addition to bonus miles.
  • Airline dining programs only qualify specific restaurants for points earning, and all have websites where diners can search by location to find participating restaurants.
  • Many of the programs offer incremental earning/bonuses, such that those who dine more frequently will earn higher rates.

What makes these programs particularly attractive is the change to link multiple credit cards to one dining account. For example, I have my American Express Gold Card, which earns 4x points on dining, and my Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards, which earn 2x and 3x points on dining, linked to my airline dining accounts. In some cases I’m earning as much as 7 points/miles per dollar on meals when I use these cards.

Happy dining everyone.

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Jim F. March 18, 2020 - 10:36 am

You wrote, “In some cases I’m earning as much as 7 points/miles per dollar on meals when I use these cards.” One only earns miles or points on the card used to pay the restaurant. One may have another card with dining as a bonus category linked but unless it is used to pay for the meal, it won’t earn any miles or points, will it? Conceivably, one could split the bill between multiple cards but each card would then only earn points/miles on the amount charged to it? Am I missing something or misunderstanding the Dining Rewards Network rules?

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