There are many ways with which to earn Delta SkyMiles. You can fly on Delta or a OneWorld partner and have the points credited to your SkyMiles account. You can spend money on a Delta co-branded American Express credit card. These include the Delta Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Reserve. Third, you can sign-up for the Delta SkyMiles dining program. Dining programs are an opportunity for you to earn bonus miles by eating out. Pretty much every airline and hotel chain has one, and they’re all run by Rewards Network. If you’re interested in a deep dive on dining programs, check out the podcast I did on the topic.
How does SkyMiles Dining work?
Once you’ve got an account and linked a card (more on that below), you simply eat out at a restaurant within the program. Finding restaurants is easy, you just use the search feature on the SkyMiles dining website. Generally speaking you’ll find more restaurants if you live in bigger cities than if you live in a smaller one. Still, there should be something for everyone. As an example, heres what it looks like when I search for Chinese in New York, NY.
Each restaurant listed on the search results is a partner within the SkyMiles dining program. Meaning that once you complete a successful “dine” at their restaurant, you’ll be awarded bonus miles. Miles are added to your SkyMiles dining account within 5 days of the transaction at the restaurant. Those miles will then appear in your actual Delta SkyMiles account within 6-8 weeks of the transaction taking place.
Whats nice about the SkyMiles dining website is the additional information that it provides about each restaurant. Location, hours of operation, payment options, average entree price, meals served, and more. When you’re searching for restaurants on this website, you won’t need to consult a secondary source. Be advised that not all restaurants offer SkyMiles benefits everyday. Some prefer to only offer reward miles Monday thru Friday, while others may be weekends only. Its important to check the website prior to dining, just to be sure.
How do I get started?
You should start by heading over to SkyMilesDining.com and signing up for a free account. As of the time of this writing, you can earn 3,000 bonus miles within the first 30 days of signing up. We’ll get to the details of the bonus a little later. Signing up is free and the page should look something like this.
After signing up you’re going to be asked to add a credit card to your account. The credit card that you add is the one you must use to pay for all of your dines within the program. If you do not pay for the dine with the linked card, you will not be awarded any miles. Note, you can add more than one card which is actually a pretty safe move. If you opt to do that you can pay with any of the linked cards and be credited with the dine.
Cards that you might want to consider adding are the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Wells Fargo Propel, Uber Visa, and Chase Sapphire Preferred. Each of these cards offer greater than 2 points per $1 spent on dining, and they’re a great way to maximize your spend at any restaurant within the program.
How many SkyMiles can I earn?
Members earn 1 mile per $2 spent if you opt-out of the marketing emails from SkyMiles dining. If you opt-in, you’ll receive 3 miles per $1 spent. VIP members earn 5 miles per $1 spent, so long as they’re opted in to receive emails. In order to qualify for VIP you’ll need to complete 11 qualified transactions within the calendar year. You’ll then start to receive VIP benefits on the 12th qualified transaction. Once you receive VIP status you can maintain that status by dining 11 times per year and remaining opted in to receive marketing emails.
This year i’ve earned just over 800 bonus miles by using the program and am 7 dines away from reaching VIP status. These numbers should be better, but I often find myself ordering Grubhub as opposed to dining out. Still, if you live in a larger city and eat out with any kind of regularity, you can earn a ton of miles this way.
What is the sign-up bonus?
New members to the SkyMiles dining program are eligible (as of the time of this writing) for a 3,000 bonus mile offer. You’ll earn 500 bonus miles the first time you visit a participating restaurant and spend at least $30. Note, Medallion members will earn 1,000 for the first visit. You’ll then earn 1,000 and 1,500 bonus miles for your next two dines of $30 or more, respectively. In total Medallion members can take home 3,500 miles while non medallions can score a cool 3,000. All for eating out! This is of course in addition to the normal miles that you’ll earn through the course of the dine.
Given that its free, theres really no reason not to sign up for the SkyMiles dining program. If SkyMiles aren’t your preferred currency then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. For example, you can use iDine.com and get cash back, or sign up for the dining program at another airline to earn their miles. Unfortunately once you sign up for one program with a given credit card, you cannot use the same card on another site. Since RewardsNetwork manages all of these programs they’re able to police that rather easily.