What if I told you you could make miles by doing something that you do every day: Eating! Well you can! There are dining programs you can join that give you miles automatically when you eat at certain restaurants that you probably already go to! Restaurants you may probably been to in South Beach, like Rice House of Kabob, Sushi Siam, Moshi Moshi, The Playwright, Lucky Strike, David’s Cafe, Groovy’s Pizza and many more (such as El Cartel in downtown Miami seen above)! I have made thousands of miles this way, and you can too.
- Sign up for a free account with the dining rewards network where you want to get miles
- Register your credit or debit card that you usually use to pay for meals (my choice is the Chase Sapphire Preferred) on the rewards network web site.
- When you make any purchase (including tax and tip) at one of the participating restaurants (dine in or carry out!) you get miles!
Typically the programs start at a base level of 1 mile per dollar spent, but it jumps up to 3 miles per dollar if you allow them to send you promotional emails. There is another jump to 5 miles after you have 10-12 transactions in a calendar year and are considered a “VIP Member.”
When you click on whichever program you are interested in, don’t just sign up right away. Instead, click on the Bonuses banner along the top.
Let’s get started
Here are some of my favorite programs to get started. Remember to click on the Bonuses tab to see if there is a current sign on bonus!
- American Airlines
- US Airways (these will become AA miles)
- Alaska Airlines
- Upromise (get up to 10% cashback with every dine!)
Enter whichever cards you will be using, debit or credit
After you sign up, enter the account numbers of any credit, debit or prepaid cards you will be using for dining purchases. You can rest assured that your credit card info won’t be misused. I’ve been using these dining programs for years with no fraudulent activity. Plus you don’t give them the CCV code off the back or the expiration date so they couldn’t use it for online purchases anyhow. They need your account number because that is how they automatically find your transactions when the restaurants transmit their nightly credit card totals. This also means that you don’t have to do anything at the restaurant and they will never know that you are getting miles for that meal! Keep in mind that you can only have one credit card registered with one program but most people will only have one dining program they are working on at any given time. If you sign up for a different program with the same credit card, it will automatically remove you from the other program.
Get creative for even more miles.
You know how sometimes you go out with a group of friends and some of them pay cash and some credit? Why not take the cash and put it all on your debit or credit card then you get the dining miles for the whole purchase! You just have to make sure to not spend the cash but instead put it in the bank and pay off the card!
These bonuses stack with whatever rewards you get from your credit or debit card. If you have a Discover It card, they are giving you 5% cashback this quarter on all restaurant expenses! This means if you go out with your buddies and buy $100 worth of meals, drinks and tips (it all counts!) then if you put the whole bill on your Discover card, you can get $5 cashback as well as 500 Miles if you are a VIP member. What a deal!
This is one of the easiest ways to get miles and you should have all of your credit or debit cards always signed up for one of the Mileage Dining programs. Sometimes I get miles when I eat at a place I didn’t even know was part of the program!