Points for Business Travelers is a series aimed at helping business travelers maximize miles and points without a lot of effort. Have a suggestion or question? Email roadwarriorette @ gmail.com.
We’ve talked about goals, loyalty programs, credit cards, and shopping portals. You may think we are running out of ways to earn points, but that’s not the case! Today’s topic is dining and other partner programs.
I heard about dining portals for the first time a couple of years ago. But I didn’t do anything about it because it all sounded so complicated! However, just like with shopping portals, it turns out that it’s simple to sign up. As far as getting points from it—you decide how much effort you’re willing to put in.
Basically, the way it works is that you sign up for your rewards program’s dining program (like Aadvantage Dining or Rapid Rewards Dining, for example). Part of the sign-up process is that you enter the credit cards you most often use. Not so that they will be charged, but so that when you eat at a restaurant that is part of the program and use the credit card, you are automatically given points. Then you can look up restaurants in your area and areas you are traveling to that are part of the program, and get points every time you dine! The entire process took me ten minutes to set up. Best case, you go out of your way to eat at participating restaurants and get lots of points. Worst case, you don’t pay any attention to places that participate, but end up getting points here and there. You will usually get an email afterward giving you the opportunity to get even more points by writing a short review.
For example, I signed up and then a few weeks later went to Biga on the Banks in San Antonio (highly recommend!!). I had no idea they were in the Aadvantage Dining program until I got an email from the program asking how the dinner was. I then wrote a review, and got bonus points! It was so easy and took almost no time.
Another easy way to get points is by taking advantage of partner programs. Most loyalty programs have partner programs. To participate, simply make sure that your account numbers are entered into all of your loyalty programs. For example, Hertz has my Rapid Rewards number, and I get RR points (in addition to my Gold Club points) for every rental. Hilton has my Aadvantage number, and I get Aadvantage points with every stay. Again, it just takes a few minutes to set up, and once it’s all set up you get points automatically.
You can also get extra points by clicking on partner links to make reservations. For example, if I get to the Hertz site from a link on the Rapid Rewards site I get extra points. However, this doesn’t work for everyone because many business travelers have to use their company’s travel agent. For those of you who make your own reservations, though, this is just another simple way to maximize your points!
For both dining and partner programs there are often promotions to get bonus points. Watch out for those and you will earn your way to a vacation even faster!
Readers, any other advice on using dining and partner programs for points?