How to Use American Airlines AAdvantage Dining to Earn More Miles

Takeout food

Full Disclosure: We may receive financial compensation when you click on links and are approved for credit card products from our advertising partners. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. We appreciate your support!

There are some cheap and easy ways to earn additional frequent flyer miles that you probably don’t know about. One of the best ones is through airline and hotel dining programs!

This article walks you through American Airlines’ AAdvantage Dining program by explaining how it works and what types of bonuses you can earn.

How to Join/Log in and Program Basics

AAdvantage Dining Registration
You’ll need to create a login and provide a little more information to complete your enrollment for the AA dining program. Image Credit: AAdvantage Dining

AAdvantage Dining requires that you enter some basic information about yourself to join the program (name, email, and zip code). On the next page, you’ll set up a username, choose a password, and enter your AAdvantage number and address.

You will also need to link a credit card to your profile when you join, but don’t worry… this card won’t be charged for anything! Using the linked card at participating restaurants is how you earn bonus points.

Whenever you dine at an applicable restaurant with your linked credit card, you’ll earn bonus points based on the cost of your meal, including tax and tip! You don’t have to do anything after eating to earn the bonus.

Different membership tiers earn different amounts of bonus miles. You’ll earn 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent as a VIP member, 3 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent as an online member, and 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent as a member.

To be promoted from a member to an online member, you only need to opt-in to receive emails. To be upgraded to a VIP member, you need to have at least 12 transactions in the program within a calendar year.

Introductory Bonuses

American Airlines AAdvantage Dining Program Bonus Offer
American’s standard intro bonus is 1,000 miles after completing a couple of requirements. Image Credit: AAdvantage Dining

Sometimes it’s possible to earn an introductory sign-up bonus when you join AAdvantage Dining. These vary from time to time, but will usually require completing certain tasks.

The bonus available at the time of writing is 1,000 extra AAdvantage miles after visiting a participating restaurant and spending at least $25 within 30 days of joining the program.

This is the typical introductory bonus for AAdvantage Dining, but it may go higher on rare occasions.

Example Restaurants

As mentioned above, you’ll earn the same ratio of bonus miles to dollars spent wherever you dine, as long as the restaurant you choose participates in the program. The number of miles earned only depends on your membership level.

Keep in mind that the available restaurants will be different depending on which city you’re dining in… they can vary widely and may have hundreds of different options.

If you searched for restaurants near Los Angeles, CA, the dining portal listed 511 participating restaurants within 30 miles. Most restaurants were smaller local establishments rather than chains.

AAdvantage Dining Los Angeles
There are over 500 restaurant options near Los Angeles, CA where you can earn bonus AAdvantage miles through dining. Image Credit: AAdvantage Dining

In addition to local restaurants, there were a few chain options. It’s important to note each restaurant’s address since not all locations of a chain will be participating!

Using Credit Cards to Earn Extra Points

The miles you earn through AAdvantage Dining are in addition to any credit card points you will earn by paying for your meal.

If you are mainly interested in earning American Airlines AAdvantage miles, you should consider getting an AAdvantage credit card to earn AAdvantage miles directly.

Most of the credit cards that earn AAdvantage miles come with a high sign-up bonus. And although there’s usually an annual fee, the benefits normally outweigh the costs if you use them smartly!

You could also look at other credit cards that offer dining as a bonus category if you’d like to earn points/miles outside of the AAdvantage program.

Hot Tip: We’ve covered American Airlines credit cards extensively, uncovering the major differences between all of the cards.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points and transfer those to American Airlines at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 AAdvantage miles bonus.

Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 5 Free Nights after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn 6X points per $1 at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 3X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Earn 125,000 bonus points! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 1/13/2021.

Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

Final Thoughts

By joining American Airlines’ AAdvantage Dining program and linking a credit card or 2, you can easily increase the number of miles you are earning in a fast, easy, and convenient way. It’s possible to earn 100k miles in just a few months if you’re disciplined!

Once you’ve got the 100k AAdvantage miles, you should definitely read up on the best ways to use them! 

Even more, you could use the AAdvantage shopping program to really maximize rewards.

Try to use the dining portal with a credit card that earns a category bonus on restaurants or a card that earns American Airlines miles so you can book your next award reservation using AAdvantage miles even sooner!


Frequently asked questions

Is there a limit to the number of miles I can earn through AAdvantage Dining?

No, there is no limit to the number of AAdvantage miles that you can earn.

How many AAdvantage miles can I earn through American Airlines AAdvantage Dining?

You can earn up to 5 bonus AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on your dining purchases at participating restaurants. You will earn bonus miles for the tax and tip portion of your meal, too!

Do miles earned through AA Dining count toward status?

Unfortunately miles earned will not count toward status. You will only earn redeemable miles that can be used for award tickets.

Do I need to save my receipt and submit it to AAdvantage Dining to earn miles?

No. After you link your credit card to your profile, mileage earning will be automatic so you don’t need to save your receipt.

When will AAdvantage miles be added to my account after dining?

Miles will be added to your account as soon as the transaction is registered by the restaurant. This usually happens within 5 days. These miles will be available for redemption in your AAdvantage mileage account within 6 to 8 weeks of dining.

Caroline Lupini

About Caroline Lupini

Caroline Lupini always enjoyed traveling, but it became her goal to do as much as possible after a 3-week trip around Europe in 2011. In March 2014, Caroline left her job and embarked on nearly full-time travels.  As a frequent traveler, frequent flyer miles have played a large role in planning her trips. Caroline has enjoyed discovering the ins and outs of how to maximize different types of miles, hotel points, and transferable points currencies.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

14 comments

  1. David Barlin January 23, 2018

    Would like to use my 40,000 points for a restaurant in the Ft. Lauderdale / Miami area. Alternative is a Hotel Sanford / Orlando or Lorton Va. Please reply as soon as possible, I am leaving later this week from NJ. Thank you. D.Barlin

    Reply

  2. We have a grandson’s wedding to attend in N. PA. I have 15,535 AAdvantage Dining Miles and my husband has 79,035. Could we use them to purchase r/t tickets there and back to AZ? Please advise soon so we may book. Thank you.

    Reply

    • I’m not sure where you’re departing from, but that’s a lot of points for a domestic flight so you should have more than enough. Head to AA.com and search for award flights for your route and you should quickly see whether it’s doable or not. I suspect it is though 🙂

      Reply

  3. I am trying to go from PHL to Orlando in Jan 2019 and I am 4,100 miles short. Is it best to the buy the miles or is there another way? I have 45,000 miles currently. Thank you!

    Reply

  4. Do you know if you are required to use your own credit card when signing up for a dining program? The reason I ask is, I am trying to figure out a way to effortlessly keep my kid’s mileage from expiring. He is too young to open a rewards credit card, so I am thinking that if I can sign up for American Airlines dining, but use my credit card, at least his AAdvantage account will maintain some minimum activity so that his miles won’t expire. Thoughts?

    Reply

    • Hey Samuel,

      Your child will have to use a credit card with his name on it at all establishments. If they check ID, they may deny him from using your credit card. We suggest adding him as an authorized user and signing up for the dining program with the new card.

      Reply

  5. Jamie Young November 6, 2018

    Does the VIP status roll over from one year to the next if you have your 12 qualified visits by the end of the year? Or do you have to start over getting the 12 to achieve VIP again for the next year?

    Reply

    • Hi Jamie! According to the AAdvantage Dining Program rules, there are two requirements for VIP status 1)”You elect to receive emails from the AAdvantage Dining program and provide a valid, deliverable email address.” 2)”You have already completed 11 qualified transactions* in the calendar year. (Members start earning at the VIP level on their 12th qualified transaction.)” So, it appears you receive VIP status once you complete your 12th qualified transaction each calendar year. You can access all of the details of the program here: https://aa.rewardsnetwork.com/howitworks.htm

      Reply

  6. Stanley Habersham July 3, 2019

    Even though it doesn’t count toward status, does the accrual of miles in the Dining Program extend your overall mileage expiration date (which, to my knowledge, is two years)? In other words, if I don’t fly or accrue miles in any other fashion, but I do earn miles in the program, does that keep my mileage balance active?

    Reply

    • Hi Stanley,

      Any mileage activity, so in this case earning through the dining program, resets the expiration clock and keeps your miles active!

      Reply

  7. Charlene Stabbs August 30, 2019

    How can I redeem miles/points for other than travel?

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. Click here to see a list of advertisers that we work with.