Rewards Network used to be called iDine, and Transmedia before that. It’ll always be iDine to me. They co-brand with lots of different loyalty programs. In the old days the standard earning rate for an airline was 10 miles per dollar spent, but then they cut that to 1 mile per dollar unless you had signed up for an online account and took their emails in which case the earn rate was 3 miles per dollar. Nice for meals you’re going to eat anyway, but not enough to really re-direct my dining. Fortunately ‘VIP members’ still earn 10 miles per dollar spent (5 miles per dollar plus another 5 for rating the restaurant).
But you have to get to VIP status for that to happen. Fortunately right now the United iDine partnership is offering a fast track to VIP (registration required) — three qualifying dines of $50 or more by November 30th will upgrade you to VIP for next year. VIP status usually requires 12 dines in a year.
And once you’re VIP it’s much easier to keep, because those ten miles per dollar will make you want to seek out iDine restaurants whenever possible. So a great bonus with the United program. Even if you’re already a member of another partner program, it might be worthwhile to join this one as well and earn VIP status. Just sign up different credit cards and you can decide when eating at a participating restaurant which program you want to earn miles with to top off an account.