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If you’re not flying right now, but you’re still hoping to rack up miles for your next trip, there are plenty of options to consider. For example, you can sign up for an airline credit card to earn a big sign-up bonus and miles for each dollar you spend. You can also utilize travel shopping portals, which let you earn miles just for signing up and “clicking through” before you shop with participating stores.
Airline dining programs offer yet another way to rack up miles, and without any additional work or major hoops to jump through. After all, you may be dining out at restaurants that participate in airline dining programs already, but you’ll never know unless you check.
American Airlines AAdvantage Dining℠ is one such program, and you may be surprised at the number of eateries that participate in your area. If you are angling to rack up more American Airlines AAdvantage miles this year and you dine out frequently, read on to learn more.
What is American Airlines AAdvantage Dining?
The American AAdvantage Dining program offers a way for you to earn airline miles without actually flying a single mile. This program includes an array of participating restaurants, letting you earn airline miles whether you are trying a new eatery or dining at one of your favorite establishments.
Keep in mind that the rewards you earn in the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program are given out on top of any rewards you earn with a rewards credit card. This means that you could earn, say, 2 points per dollar using your favorite rewards card at a restaurant, plus additional airline miles through American Airlines AAdvantage Dining.
If you dine out often, you can even climb the tiers of this program until you become a VIP. We’ll go over the details on how to earn VIP status later in this guide.
How to sign up
Signing up for the American AAdvantage Dining program is free and easy. Simply head to the dining program home page and click the button that says “Join now.”
From there, you can set up an account by entering your name and the same email address and frequent flyer number you use in the American AAdvantage program. You are also required to link at least one credit or debit card that you plan to use when you dine at participating establishments.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use a co-branded American Airlines credit card to earn rewards with American Airlines AAdvantage Dining. You can use any credit card you want, including a flexible travel credit card or even a cash back credit card. It’s totally up to you.
How to earn and redeem points
American Airlines AAdvantage Dining has a portal that lets you search for participating restaurants in your area. Once you have created a free account and linked a credit or debit card you plan to pay with, you can start earning by finding out which restaurants participate near your home or in areas you travel to often. You can also earn by placing an online order for takeout for delivery via AAdvantage Dining.
For in-person dining, American Airlines AAdvantage Dining makes it easy to search by your hometown, a town you’re visiting or a restaurant name.
To start you off, the program even gives you 500 bonus miles when you spend $25 with participating restaurants (including takeout and delivery) within the first 30 days. From there, you’ll earn up to 5 miles for each dollar you spend at participating restaurants, depending on your level of membership.
Basic Members who elect to not receive email communications from AAdvantage Dining only earn 1 mile per dollar spent in the program. However, Select members who agree to receive email communications earn 3 miles per dollar spent.
You can even become a VIP in this program by agreeing to receive email communications and dining out 11 times by the end of the year. As an American Airlines AAdvantage Dining VIP, you will:
- Earn 5 miles for every dollar spent at participating restaurants
- Earn miles at even more restaurants than non-VIP members
- Have direct access to a VIP Member Services helpline
- Remain a VIP for the next full calendar year
You can redeem miles earned in the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program in any number of ways, including for flights, hotels and other travel.
Generally speaking, redeeming your miles for flights is going to be the best way to get more value. Fortunately, the American AAdvantage program lets you redeem miles for flights to nearly 1,000 destinations around the world, either with American Airlines or its oneworld partners.
Best credit cards for American Airlines AAdvantage dining
You can use any credit card you want in the American Airlines AAdvantage dining program. However, a co-branded American Airlines credit card can really help you boost your efforts if your goal is racking up miles in the American AAdvantage program.
Here are a few of the top credit cards for American Airlines AAdvantage dining along with the major card details you should be aware of.
- 2X AAdvantage miles at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases; 1X miles on all other purchases; 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage mile earned from purchases
- Get a free checked bag on American flights, preferred boarding, a discount on in-flight purchases and more
- $99 annual fee, waived the first 12 months
- 4X AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases. After spending $150,000 in a calendar year, cardmembers can earn a total of 5X AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases for the remainder of the calendar year.
- 10X AAdvantage miles on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars and eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels.
- Up to a $100 application fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck
- $595 annual fee
- 2X AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases; 1X miles on general purchases
- Get a first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries, preferred boarding, $25 in annual statement credits to cover in-flight Wi-Fi purchases on American flights, a discount on in-flight purchases and more
- Earn a $99 (plus taxes and fees) annual companion certificate every anniversary year when you spend $20,000 on purchases with your card (and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date)
- $99 annual fee
- 2X AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations; 1X miles on general purchases
- Get your first checked bag free on domestic American flights
- Earn a $99 (plus taxes and fees) annual companion certificate for a domestic main cabin flight when you spend $30,000 on purchases each cardmember year , renew your card membership and pay the annual fee
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99
The bottom line
If you’re on the fence about joining the American AAdvantage Dining program, try not to overthink it. The program is totally free to join and it’s possible plenty of restaurants you already frequently dine at are participating. Why not earn airline miles when you’re spending money at restaurants anyway?
With that said, it may also be worth considering dining programs offered by other airlines like Southwest Airlines, Delta and United Airlines. You may find different programs let you earn miles at different restaurants you enjoy, but you’ll never know unless you check.
For further reading, browse our latest rewards program guides.
*The information about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.