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Airline and hotel dining programs generally are register and forget. Occasionally they come up with promos that are worth a closer look.
I received an offer today for AAdvantage Dining to earn 10,000 bonus miles for 10 dines of $40+ by August 15, 2014. I logged into my other dining accounts and had the same offer, but only for 5,000 miles through United MileagePlus Dining.
Delta and US Airways did not have this offer in my account. Other programs, which I don’t think I have ever gotten around to collecting the new member bonus are with Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Hilton and IHG. It looks like you at least need to be registered to see bonuses other than new member. Worth logging into your accounts to see what is there.
The play here, IF there are restaurants you frequent, is to buy 10 $40 gift cards for future use or split large bills into $40 charges, ideally with a credit card that bonuses restaurants such as Chase Sapphire Preferred on 3x First Fridays. Or if the restaurant is really friendly, first make 12 small transactions to get upgraded to VIP Status to earn 5x instead of 3x/1x for online member/general member (see levels here). Then once VIP, go back and make the bigger purchases.
The AA earnings can be something like:
- Register and opt in for marketing to earn 3x
- 12 $1 purchases x 3 miles = 36 miles
- 10 $40 charges x 5 miles = 2,000 miles
- Earn 2,000 new member bonus for $30 dine (if applicable)
- Earn 10,000 bonus
- Dining earnings = 14,036
- Card restaurant category bonus at 3x = 1,236 (there are better and worse cards and methods, but keeping it relatively simple)
Not bad if that fits in with your existing dining patterns. Not all participating restaurants earn miles at all times, so double-check the dining program website.
I have mourned the loss from dining programs of a favorite restaurant for several years. I see that another favorite, Hamilton Inn in Jersey City, just joined. It will take a lot of their Wed $1 oysters to cover $400 but I know my wife is up to the challenge.