What You Need to Know About the Delta SkyMiles Dining Program

If you are looking for a simple way to earn more Delta SkyMiles, you can satisfy your miles balance and your food cravings with the SkyMiles Dining program.
7 minute read | 10/3/19Oct. 3, 2019
What You Need to Know About the Delta SkyMiles Dining Program

If you are looking for a way to continue earning Delta SkyMiles but don’t have any flights planned, the SkyMiles Dining program could be a great way to keep earning valuable miles. With the average American spending over $3,000 on eating out per year, there are some serious rewards you might currently be missing out on.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to fill their stomachs and SkyMiles balance simultaneously? In this article, you’ll learn about the SkyMiles Dining program and how it can help you earn more Delta SkyMiles.

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What is Delta SkyMiles Dining?

SkyMiles Dining is a dining rewards program offered by Rewards Network that allows members to earn Delta SkyMiles by dining at partner restaurants. With the ability to earn miles at over 10,000 restaurants across the U.S., there are plenty of opportunities to earn airline miles. These 10,000 restaurants range from large chains like Pizza Hut to small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, so it’s likely there are restaurants to fit your tastes.

How to get started with SkyMiles Dining

After a quick sign-up, you can be on your way to earning valuable Delta SkyMiles by eating out.

  1. Start by going to SkyMilesDining.com
  2. Hit the red “join now” button in the top right corner
  3. From there, you’ll sign up for your account; you’ll need your Delta SkyMiles number to complete your registration

guide to delta skymiles dining program

The next step is to register the credit cards you normally pay with when you eat out. Once you charge your meal, you’ll receive an alert that the coordinating amount of Delta SkyMiles will be deposited in your account. You’ll be awarded your SkyMiles around 10 days after your purchase.

guide to delta skymiles dining program

The best parts about this program are that it’s 100% free and simple to use — and there are intro bonuses to be earned as well. Right now, you can earn up to 3,000 Delta SkyMiles by registering for an account, completing three restaurant visits while spending at least $30 each time, and completing surveys after each visit.

How many miles can you earn with SkyMiles Dining?

So, how much can you earn with the SkyMiles Dining program? Well, not a ton, unfortunately. Your miles also don’t count toward airline status.

While that’s not too exciting, belonging to SkyMiles Dining can actually still be a good idea because it’s a very passive and easy way to earn Delta miles. If you’re consistently eating at the same restaurants and they’re in the Delta SkyMiles network, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the dining program.

The amount of Delta SkyMiles you can earn with this program depends on two factors: how much you’re spending and your membership level. Your membership level is determined by whether you opt into receiving emails and how often you visit restaurants in the program.

Membership level SkyMiles rewards rate
If you don’t opt into emails One mile per $2
If you do opt into emails Three miles per $1
If you opt into emails and also complete 11 qualifying visits in one calendar year Five miles per $1

To make this program remotely worth it, you need to at least opt into the emails. If you aren’t a fan of receiving marketing emails, I recommend setting your email program to automatically filter any Delta emails into a folder. This simple strategy will keep your inbox uncluttered and earn you six times more miles on every restaurant bill.

How to find participating restaurants

The simplest way to find restaurants participating in the SkyMiles Dining program is to visit SkyMilesDining.com. On the homepage, you’ll see a search bar where you can input your city and the restaurant name or cuisine you’re looking for.

guide to delta skymiles dining program

Once you’ve done the initial search, you can then also filter by several different categories, like price or type of meal.

guide to delta skymiles dining program

When I searched my zip code (a suburb of Los Angeles), I was given nearly 500 options to choose from, ranging from cheap eats to luxury dining. My wife and I typically use this program to search for new restaurants in our area to further increase our points earnings.

This program won’t make you “points rich,” but if you spend $3,000 a year on eating out, your earnings in this program could be 15,000 Delta SkyMiles. And that amount of points could make the difference between a paid flight and award flight.

How to use your credit cards to earn more SkyMiles

While the SkyMiles Dining program won’t make you “points rich,” adding the right card to your billfold can. If you do this, you can earn Delta SkyMiles from the SkyMiles Dining program along with the miles or points earned directly on your cards.

Using a Delta credit card could earn you a significant amount of Delta SkyMiles for your next flight. However, Delta’s co-branded credit cards don’t have the best spending categories. With most of its cards, you earn bonus points when spending with Delta on flights or on inflight purchases. All other purchases will only net you one point per dollar. The only exception to the rule is the Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, which will earn you 2X miles on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants, and 1X miles on all other purchases, but that still isn’t all that great.

However, if you use a non-Delta rewards credit card that has a bonus category with high earnings for spending at restaurants, you could be bringing in heaps of rewards in no time. If you’re a foodie or consistently eating out for business, it’s worth considering one of the cards below to boost your points and miles balances.

To start earning with these non-Delta cards, simply visit SkyMilesDining.com, log into your account, and register any cards you’ll be using at the program’s partner restaurants. This takes about two minutes — and then you can be eating your way to more Delta SkyMiles.

Card Welcome bonus Rewards rate Travel benefits Annual fee
American Express Gold Card Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months 4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide, 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases), 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com Global assist hotline, baggage insurance plan, car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage), and premium roadside assistance $250
Chase Sapphire Reserve Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points at restaurants and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else Trip cancellation and interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver (primary coverage), lost luggage reimbursement, and trip delay reimbursement $450
Chase Sapphire Preferred Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases Trip cancellation and interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver (primary coverage), lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay reimbursement $95
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Earn $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020, 4% unlimited cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases Travel accident insurance and 24-hour travel assistance services $95 (waived first year)
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Get $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days 3% cash back on the category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvements/furnishings), 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases Trip cancellation and interruption insurance $0

The cards listed here earn bank-specific points rather than brand-specific points. These points are typically more valuable, as they can be transferred to a number of different airline programs rather than being stuck with one brand.

Let’s take the American Express Gold Card, for example. Because of its healthy welcome offer coupled with its ability to earn 4X Membership Rewards points in two select categories for the first $150,000 in combined purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases, the Amex Gold Card — a charge card — is a must-have for any foodie or restaurant connoisseur. With it, you can quickly earn Membership Rewards points on many of your purchases. You can then transfer these Membership Rewards points directly to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio. Earning these kind of transferable points is a much more effective way to earn large quantities of Delta SkyMiles than the co-branded Delta American Express cards, as the earning categories are very limited with the Delta cards.

I recommend both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve because, while you can’t transfer Chase points directly to Delta SkyMiles, you can transfer them to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Given Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s working partnership, this transfer will allow you to use points that originated from your Chase cards to book Delta flights. You can transfer your Chase points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio.

And if you’re a fan of simply saving money on your restaurant purchases, you can’t go wrong with the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, as you’ll earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020, 4% unlimited cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

In summary, if you’re someone who spends a significant amount of money on restaurants and wants to earn more Delta SkyMiles, I strongly suggest you apply for a card that will earn you transferable points. The American Express Gold Card is my all-time favorite card because of the ability to transfer points and the rewards I earn from my wife and I dining out.

The bottom line on Delta’s SkyMiles Dining program

The Delta SkyMiles Dining program is perfect for someone who either enjoys eating out or is consistently traveling for work. While I wouldn’t go too far out of my way to earn a few extra Delta SkyMiles, the restaurant search tool can be a great place to start in finding the perfect place for your next date night or client dinner. That new restaurant down the street may just be participating in SkyMiles Dining, and you could earn a few extra SkyMiles for your next flight.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred

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Benefits

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
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