One of my favorite ways to earn miles is at restaurants. Virtually every airline has a free program that allows you to earn miles for eating at participating restaurants. The proposition is simple: You simply attach your frequent flyer number to a credit card and earn miles for every dollar that you spend. Consider it a win-win-win: Airlines sell miles to the restaurants who use them to attract customers. That’s you, and when you use your linked credit card, you earn miles based on how much you spend. Each airline has slightly different rules regarding how much you need to spend and how much you earn, but the basics are all the same, since they are almost all administered by the company Rewards Network. Note that you can only have one airline per credit card, but you can switch it at any time. And, of course, you can have different airlines on different cards if you have multiple credit cards. Here are the links, as well as a few of the terms:
Alaska Airlines: 500 mile sign-up bonus if you sign up in 2013 and spend $30 at a restaurant within 30 days of sign-up. You also need to complete a short review of the restaurant. You earn anywhere from one to five miles per dollar spent, based on how many transactions you have annually. The range of offers is found here.
American Airlines: 1,000 mile sign-up bonus if you sign up in 2013 and spend $30 at a restaurant within 30 days of sign-up. You also need to complete a short review of the restaurant. You earn anywhere from one to five miles per dollar spent, based on how many transactions you have annually. The range of miles offered is found here. Sound familiar? See, I told you that the basics were all the same!
Delta Airlines: The sign-up bonus is 2,000 miles, although you need to spend $40 within 30 days to be eligible. The one to five miles you earn have similar qualifications as the above airlines, but you can read about them here.
United: United spices it up a bit, offering 1,500 miles for each of your first two dines, as long as you spend at least $40 within 40 days of signing up for the program. That’s a potential, um, er, (whips out calculator) 3,000 bonus miles. Enjoy your dinner! Similar criteria to the others for earning levels.
US Airways: Sign-up bonus of 1,000 miles for a $40 dine within 30 days. Hmm, that’s not so good. On the plus side, you know the drill now on how to earn points.
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