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On the menu: More miles for dining

Earning miles for dining? If not, you should be.

Until the end of 2007, it was possible to earn a mouth-watering 10 miles for every dollar spent at an extensive network of participating restaurants: five miles per dollar for being a VIP member of the program; plus an extra five miles for… well, for no particular reason.

As with the best mileage-earning opportunities, you’re adding to your account by doing something you’d have done anyway. In this case, eating out. So the miles are effectively free.

That five-mile bonus disappeared on January 1, 2008. But it’s still possible to maintain the ten-miles-per-dollar earning rate through March 31 by providing feedback on your dining experience.

Here’s the deal: Through the end of March, VIP members will earn an extra five miles per dollar spent at participating restaurants when they complete a restaurant survey within 60 days of the qualifying dine. So with the five miles VIP members would normally earn, the bonus brings them back to last year’s earning rate.

The offer is available to members of six of the largest airline programs: Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Northwest WorldPerks, United Mileage Plus, and US Airways Dividend Miles.

My hope, incidentally, is that this promotion will be extended beyond the March 31 cut-off date. But whether it turns out to be a short- or long-term offer, I’ll be taking advantage of it, reviewing restaurants to earn that extra five miles per meal.

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