American Airlines AAdvantage Dining guide

A great way to rack up bonus miles while dining out

American Airlines AAdvantage Dining guide

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If you’re trying to earn the most possible American Airlines AAdvantage miles, then you should look beyond the skies to one of the mileage offers available on the ground. One of the easiest ways to earn extra miles is through the AAdvantage Dining program which automatically credits miles to your account when you use your registered credit or debit card at a participating restaurant. 

What is AAdvantage Dining?

AAdvantage Dining is a travel rewards program offered by American Airlines in partnership with a company called Rewards Network. Any member of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program can join AAdvantage Dining at no cost.

You can register up to five different credit or debit cards. When you use your registered credit card at a participating restaurant, you will earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles.The number of miles you earn will vary based on the restaurant you choose, the day of the week and any eligible promotions, but you generally earn up to 5 miles per dollar. Also, the miles you earn from the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program are in addition to any points, miles or cash back that you earn from your credit card.

To receive the miles, you don’t have to do anything when you eat out. Neither your waiter or anyone else at your table will realize that you are earning miles from your purchase.

How to join AAdvantage Dining

Signing up for AAdvantage Dining is a simple process that allows you to start earning miles on the spot:

  1. Create an account by providing your name, address, phone number and email at this page on the AAdvantage Dining website.
  2. Register up to five credit or debit cards you plan to use at restaurants, bars or clubs.
  3. Immediately start earning miles when you dine at a participating location. 

How to use the AAdvantage Dining program

After you’ve registered your credit cards, there’s not much that you need to do to use this program. First, you need to make sure that you are dining at a participating location. The American Airlines AAdvantage Dining Program’s website offers a directory that you can use to search for participating restaurants by city, state, or ZIP code or by name. The listing will show the restaurant’s address along with its neighborhood, member rating, average entree price and the days of the week you can earn rewards. Some participating restaurants don’t offer rewards on the weekends. 

Next, you need to make sure that you are using a registered credit card when you dine. That’s all you have to do -- your frequent flyer miles should automatically be credited to your account within six to eight weeks. If you are missing rewards, you can log in to your account and fill out a missing reward form.

How many miles can you earn with AAdvantage Dining?

AAdvantage Dining members are separated into three tiers, depending on whether they opt in to email communications and how frequently they use the program. Your earnings rate depends on which tier you fall into:

 
 If you don’t opt in to receive emails 1 mile per $2
 If you opt in to receive emails 3 miles per $1
 If you opt in to receive emails and complete 11 qualified transactions in a calendar year 5 miles per $1

How to maximize the AAdvantage Dining program

  • Make sure you opt in. The key to earning the most miles from the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program is to ensure that you are signed up to receive email communications. You can send those emails to a separate folder, or even delete them, but without opting in you’ll only earn 1 mile for every $2. Once you opt in, you’ll receive 3 miles per dollar at eligible restaurants. Better yet, you’ll earn 5 miles per dollar if you’ve opted in to receive email communications and you’ve completed 11 qualifying transactions in a single year.
  • Get familiar with the list of qualifying restaurants. After opting in to receive email communications, the next most important thing you can do is to search the listing of local restaurants to find which ones qualify. If you frequently visit those restaurants, you’ll quickly perform the 11 transactions needed to reach VIP status and start earning 5 miles per dollar. Look for eligible restaurants when you go out with friends, take clients out for lunch or host company functions. So long as you charge the meal to your registered credit or debit card, you will earn the miles. When going out as a group, you can earn more miles by charging others’ meals to your card and having them reimburse you.
  • Keep an eye on your email. Finally, it pays to read the promotional emails that the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program sends out. You may find offers for bonus miles throughout the year for reaching certain a threshold in a particular month, or for dining a certain number of times. 

AAdvantage Dining sign-up bonus

Another great reason to give the AAdvantage Dining program a test run: The program offers a sign-up bonus to new members. At the moment, you can earn up to 3,000 AAdvantage miles in your account’s first 30 days. You earn 1,500 bonus miles for your first qualifying visit, and another 500 miles for up to three additional qualifying visits.

Best credit cards to use with AAdvantage Dining

You can use any credit or debit card that belongs to the Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover payment networks. The rewards you earn from the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program will be the same no matter which credit or debit card that you use. However, to maximize your earnings, you should use a card that offers you the most possible rewards for eating out. 

Here are some credit cards that offer bonus rewards when dining out:

Credit Card Rewards for Dining  Annual Fee  
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x points $450
Chase Sapphire Preferred 2x points $95, $0 first year
Uber Visa 4% cash back $0
Capital One Savor 4% cash back $95, $0 first year
Citi ThankYou Preferred 2x points $0
Citi ThankYou Premier 2x points $95, $0 first year
Citi Prestige 2x points $450
Discover it chrome 2% cash back (on up to $1,000 combined gas and restaurant spending per quarter, then 1%) $0

Eligible AAdvantage Dining restaurants

The restaurants that participate in the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program vary by location. The majority of restaurants are locally operated or are regional chains. You can search the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program website to  find restaurants in your area. You can sort your list by distance, name, neighborhood, member rating, user favorites, user reviews and average entry price. You can also view the list on a map and restrict your search to new locations. Finally, you can choose to hide locations not currently offering rewards. 

Here’s a sample of eligible restaurants: 

  • Jack in the Box
  • Buca di Beppo
  • Brio Tuscan Grille
  • Souper Salad
  • Fogo de Chao

These are major restaurant chains, but you may be surprised to find that the list includes many local hangouts and gourmet eateries. You should visit the AAdvantage Dining website to see if any of your favorite restaurants qualify for dining rewards.

Related stories: New bonus categories for Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, Ready for your first airline card? Ask yourself these questions first


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Updated: 11-14-2018