The fastest way to pad your points and miles balance is by picking up a welcome bonus on a new travel rewards credit card. But there are also many ways to earn rewards on everyday purchases.
While many travelers are familiar with online shopping portals, fewer are familiar with dining rewards programs. In short, dining rewards programs let you earn extra points or miles when you use an enrolled card to pay at select restaurants, bars and clubs.
You can’t earn rewards from two dining rewards programs simultaneously. But you might wonder whether you can simultaneously earn rewards with a dining program and a credit card. We’ll look into this common question in this post.
Dining rewards programs
Many major airline and hotel loyalty programs offer a dining rewards program that lets you earn points or miles when you dine out at participating restaurants. For example, here are some of the most popular dining rewards programs:
Rewards Network runs most dining rewards programs. So, you’ll find that many of the programs feature very similar terms.
Generally, it would be best if you waited to sign up for a program until it’s offering a new-member bonus. You’ll need to link at least one credit or debit card to the program when you join.
Then, you’ll automatically earn points or miles through the dining rewards program when you make eligible purchases at participating bars, clubs and restaurants with your linked card.
Your exact earning rate will vary by program. You’ll often earn more rewards if you opt in to emails from the program and frequently dine with the program.
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Note that you can only link each credit card to one dining rewards program. So, you’ll need to choose which program you prefer and register your favorite credit card for dining with that program.
You can register different cards with different programs, though. For example, you could enroll your American Express® Gold Card in Delta SkyMiles Dining and your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in Marriott Eat Around Town.
Related: 15 restaurant loyalty programs that are worth joining — including a ‘pancake bank’
Can you earn rewards with a dining rewards program and a credit card?
Yes, you can simultaneously earn rewards with a dining rewards program and a credit card.
For example, if you enroll your American Express Gold Card in Delta SkyMiles Dining, opt in to receive email communications and then dine at a participating restaurant using your card, you’ll earn the following:
- 3 Delta miles per dollar from SkyMiles Dining (or 5 miles per dollar if you snag VIP status).
- 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar from your card since the Amex Gold earns 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide.
This kind of “double dipping” is a great way to speed up your earning rate and earn more rewards without spending any more money.
Related: Expert stacking: How 1 TPG staffer earned $80 in cash back and rewards from 1 dinner
Stacking a dining rewards program with a credit card bonus category is a great way to enhance your earning rate.
There’s no catch to this at all. Simply sign up for the dining program of your choice, link your preferred credit card(s) and watch your loyalty program balance climb.
Additional reporting by Ehsan Haque and Katie Genter.