Earn Airline Miles Without Paying for Flights – Part 1 (Dining)

Earn Airline Miles Without Paying for Flights – Part 1 (Dining)

One of the best feelings in my year is the satisfaction of redeeming a free ticket from an airline after I’ve collected enough reward miles throughout the year. Typically, the way to earn these miles is through actually flying with the airline itself enough times in a year to collect the necessary miles. However, what if there are other ways to collect miles without even flying? This article shows you how you can earn additional award miles without ever having to set foot on a flight.

A typical way of earning these award miles is by flying with the airline. You typically get credited a certain number of award miles based on a combination of how much you spent on the ticket and the actual number of miles you flew. For example, a round trip ticket to Rio de Janeiro from New York today would get you around 9,600 award miles on American Airlines if you flew in economy and much more if you flew in other classes (This is subject to change in 2H2016). The cheapest number of miles to redeem a free ticket is just around 12,500 award miles, which will get you a free one-way economy ticket on American Airlines within the 48 contiguous states, leaving you just slightly short of a free domestic ticket.

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However, what many people don’t realize is that for some major U.S. airlines such as American, Delta, and United, you can actually earn award miles without even flying on an airplane through other marketing channels. Today in this article, we’ll talk about one of them.

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This is through a system called Restaurant Network, which all 3 major airlines sign up for, along with some other hotel chains such as Hilton or IHG. The system is simple: once you sign up with a dining program linked to your favorite loyalty program, you can start earning miles whenever you dine at one of the Restaurant Network’s dining or entertainment locations (including bars and clubs).

Signing up is easy. For example, let’s say you’re interested in collecting American Airline miles so that you can start collecting award miles when dining. Simply log on to AAdvantage Dining (link) with your AAdvantage number and register any of your credit or debit cards with the program. Search for participating restaurants in your vicinity, pay for your meal using any of the cards you registered, and within a couple of weeks you will be credited with 3 miles per dollar spent at the participating restaurant – including tax and tips!

Here is a screenshot of my award miles earnings so far since I joined late last year – even without even setting foot on a plane:

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What’s more – once you’ve dined 10 times at participating restaurants within a calendar year, each dollar you spend will now be worth 5 miles (up from 3), making it that much easier to rack up additional award miles for your next free flight!

For example, since I started joining the program in late 2015, I’ve earned 1,360 additional miles simply by dining at locations in my neighborhood that I already was dining at. What’s more exciting is that these award miles are on top of any credit card points that you may already be earning by dining at these locations.

For example, when I went out to a bar called The Long Room in January, I paid for the drinks that night with my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which already gives me double points on dining and entertainment. These Chase Ultimate Reward points can then also be converted into airline miles such as United, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and a couple of other airlines at a 1 to 1 conversion rate. This is on top of the 3 miles per dollar spent that I will also be earning by being a part of the AAdvantage Dining program, making it ridiculous not to be signed up for this deal!

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