Turning dinner into dinero: Eat your way to your next vacation

February 12, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    Serious frequent fliers and mileage junkies already know how to rack up the miles when dining out -- using the proper credit cards, joining programs like AAdvantage Dining – but United Mileage Plus members have yet another way to turn their love of restaurants into frequent flier points.

    The airline's partnership with Open Table, a restaurant reservation website serving cities around the world, allows Mileage Plus members to earn 60 miles per meal, everywhere from your favorite neighborhood joint to the hottest tables in town.

    The system is more than simple to use; just log in to United's Mileage Plus Shopping site and click on Dining Reservations, where you'll find the same Open Table booking engine you may have already been using elsewhere. Click, book, eat, pay and watch the points pile up.

    Before you dig in, though, be aware of the program's limitations. Points can take quite some time to post to your Mileage Plus account – some patience may be required. In addition, using United's booking engine means sacrificing points from Open Table's own loyalty program, which issues dining dollars after users accrue a certain number of points. In cities like New York, however, where some popular restaurants do not issue any points whatsoever, booking through your Mileage Plus account becomes an even smarter move.