Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.27.22 PM

2016 Dining Dash Coming Up! Visit 12 Restaurants, Earn Miles for the Rest of the Year


Doug Fir Restaurant and Lounge in Portland, OR

If you aren’t tired from stuffing envelopes for hotel points, there’s an all-new travel hacking adventure coming up in a few days. You can join us from anywhere in the U.S. for this one.

Two years ago, I co-created the “Dining Dash.” We went to 12 restaurants in a single day, all in pursuit of “running the table” on earning all the qualifying stops we’d need to earn extra Frequent Flyer miles when dining at many other restaurants for a whole year.

Last year we repeated the adventure with more fanfare, and ended up in a bar (our 12th stop!) with a dozen other local friends and readers.

Well, a new year means it’s time to qualify yet again … so the Dining Dash is coming back!

On Friday, March 11, we’ll head out into the wild on an attempt to visit and purchase something at no fewer than 12 local restaurants. As a side goal, we try to spend as little as possible when doing so.

You can complete your own Dining Dash anytime, but you’re welcome to join in with us, either virtually from wherever you are, or in person if you’ll be in Portland.

Keep reading to learn more about how it works.


Rules of the Dining Dash

Every adventure has rules. Fortunately, the rules we follow are pretty simple:

1. Everything you purchase on Dining Dash day must come from a qualifying restaurant

2. Aside from tap water, you can’t consume anything on Dining Dash day that doesn’t come from a qualifying restaurant

3. This isn’t about spending as much money as possible. In fact, it’s the opposite: you want your “dines” to cost as little as possible while still having fun and respecting the spirit of the adventure. Many dines can be completed for less than $10, and several for less than $5.

How to Earn Miles and Points for YOUR Dines

Let’s say that for some crazy reason you’re not interested in visiting 12 restaurants in a day. Guess what! You can still benefit by making sure you’re signed up with a dining rewards program. Aside from whatever you spend at the restaurant, this opportunity is completely free.

It’s also very simple. Here’s all you need to do:

1. Register for the dining program of your choice. I use American’s, and they are currently offering a 1,000 point signup bonus with your first dine. You can access the signup portals from these links:

  • American (Earn a 1,000 point bonus)
  • United (Earn up to a 3,500 point bonus)
  • Delta (Earn a 3,000 point bonus)
  • Alaska (Start with a 1,000 point bonus)
Note: There are some other partners you can choose to earn miles or points with, but unless you have a compelling reason to do something different, I’d recommend you go with one of those.

2. Register your main credit or debit cards with the program. Yeah, I know—I have more than 20 credit cards. But I only actively use 3-5, so those are all registered. Most of the time I dine out, I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, since it earns 2x points for all restaurant spending.

Note: There’s a big limited-time offer on two Starwood cards from American Express happening right now. I use these cards (both the personal and business ones) for most spending that’s not at restaurants—just FYI.

3. There’s no further action. Whenever you visit a qualifying restaurant and pay with your card, you will automatically receive miles or points on your next month’s statement. It’s easy, free, and especially fun when you earn miles you didn’t expect for a new restaurant.

You can follow along with me virtually on Friday. I’ll be posting on Instagram and Twitter throughout the day.


Image: Doug Fir

Subscribe now and you’ll get the best posts of all time.