Picking up sushi or having coffee with a friend could bring you one step closer to your dream vacation if you sign up with United MileagePlus Dining.

The online portal helps you earn United miles whenever you eat out—whether you have a MileagePlus credit card or not.

All you have to do is register your credit cards on the website. After that, any time you pay your bill at a participating restaurant, bar or club, you’ll earn up to 5 miles for every dollar you spend.

United MileagePlus Dining is an excellent option if you want to earn travel rewards without applying for another credit card. If you already hold a United MileagePlus credit card, you’ll receive additional miles when you use United MileagePlus Dining.

How to join the United MileagePlus Dining program

Signing up for the program is simple and only takes a few minutes. Membership is free, and there is no charge to use the program.

Grab your United MileagePlus account number

If you have a United MileagePlus account, locate your account number on United’s website or in your welcome email. If not, you’ll need to join the frequent flyer program before you sign up.

Sign up on the United MileagePlus Dining site

Use your United MileagePlus number to sign up on the MileagePlus Dining website. You’ll be asked for your name and contact information as well.

Register at least one credit card

Be sure to register any cards that you might use to pay your bill at a restaurant. The system will automatically award you miles whenever you use a registered card at a participating restaurant.

You can register up to 12 credit or debit cards. Each card can only be registered with one program—so if you’ve already registered a card with another program operated by the same group, such as iDine, you can’t use the same card here.

Opt in to the United MileagePlus Dining email list

United has made it worth your while to join its email list. If your inbox can handle a few more marketing messages, you’ll earn 6 times as many points every time you dine out.

How to earn points with United MileagePlus Dining

Once you’ve set up your account and registered your cards, earning points is easy.

Every time you pay with a registered card at one of the 10,000 participating restaurants, bars and clubs, points will be credited to your MileagePlus account.

Search for restaurants

Searching the restaurant list is a great way to discover new eateries near your home or hotel. Search results give you photos, descriptions, reviews and average prices for each restaurant, as well as MileagePlus earning details. The site lets you search by city or ZIP code, explore a map view of restaurants around you or search for specific foods or cuisines. You can filter the results by distance or price.

Dine out as usual

But you don’t have to visit the website to earn rewards. Unlike most shopping reward sites, United MileagePlus Dining doesn’t require you to use an online portal. The system tracks your registered credit cards and gives you credit automatically any time you pay for a meal at a participating restaurant.

Earn bonus points

For a limited time, you can earn up to 3,000 bonus miles on your first few transactions.

When you spend your first $25 in the program, you’ll earn 1,000 bonus points.

If you’re a Mileage Plus Premier member or a MileagePlus cardholder, you’ll have VIP status for a limited time, and you’ll earn 500 additional bonus miles.

Your next three restaurant visits will each earn 500 bonus miles, as long as you spend $25 or more.

United MileagePlus Dining earning rates

The program offers three earnings tiers:

  • Basic: 1 mile for every $2 spent: This is the lowest tier and doesn’t offer a very high return.
  • Select: 3 miles for every $1 spent. To upgrade to Select, simply opt-in to receive emails from the program.
  • VIP: 5 miles for every $1 spent. To upgrade to VIP, you must opt into the email list and complete 11 transactions per year. The higher rate of return begins with your 12th transaction.

To get the highest number of miles possible, register as many cards as you can and sign up for the email list. Watch the emails for bonus mile opportunities.

Pro tip: When you share a restaurant bill with a group, use your linked credit card to pay the bill and let the others pay you.

Best credit cards for United MileagePlus Dining

United℠ Business Card: Best United card for small business

Chase’s new offering for business travelers is loaded with travel perks and bonus miles. New cardholders earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Cardholders also get perks like priority boarding, free checked bags and two annual lounge passes—all for a $99 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year).

*United Club℠ Infinite Card: Best for personal travel on United Airlines

The Infinite card qualifies you for a United Club membership, which gets you into United’s airport lounges. That’s a $650 value, which more than covers the card’s $525 annual fee.

Cardmember benefits like free checked bags, priority check-in and security screening and credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership are aimed at taking the sting out of frequent travel.

In addition, the card earns 4X miles on United purchases, 2X miles on dining, food delivery and non-United travel purchases and 1X on other purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best all-around travel card

For travel rewards that aren’t tied to a particular airline, it’s hard to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Chase offers an 60,000 point bonus with $4,000 in spending over the first three months—a $750 value if you redeem the points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more. Cardholders enjoy benefits like insurance for trip cancellation and baggage delays, as well as purchase protection and extended warranties.

This is also one of the few cards on the market that offers primary rental car insurance. The annual fee is $95.

Card name Rewards rate Bonus points Annual fee
United℠ Business Card
  • 2X miles on local transit and commuting (including taxis, tolls, ride-shares and more)
  • 2X miles on United purchases
  • 2X miles at gas stations, office supply stores and restaurants
  • 1X miles on everything else
Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. $99 (intro $0 first year
*United Club℠ Infinite Card
  • 4X miles on United purchases
  • 2X miles on dining, food delivery and travel
  • 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Complimentary United Club membership ($650 value)
Earn 120,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. $525
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases
  • 1X points on other purchases
60,000 Chase points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months $95

Bottom line

The United MileagePlus Dining program offers an opportunity to rack up miles without changing your credit cards or spending habits. Just register your cards, enjoy your favorite restaurants and watch the miles pile up.

*The information about the United Club℠ Infinite Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.