Saturday, July 18, 2009

How To Get Rewards For Dining Out

Just having eaten out for dinner last night, I reminded myself how one can get a bit of a kickback when dining out. Your airline of choice likley participates in a program called Rewards Network. I put a link here to the Mileage Plus program version. Basically, depending on if a restaurant you wish to visit participates, you can earn a certain amount of miles per dollar spent, around 5 or more. While it may not sound like a lot at first, the program is free to join, so it's not going to cost you any more to participate. And, it's like getting a discount off your bill. If you value your miles at a about $.01/mile, then it's essentially a 1% discount.

But, wait, there's more. To go a few steps further, try these advanced planning techniques. You may have heard of, which offers discounted restaurant gift certificates for participating restaurants. They usually cost about $10 for a $25 certificate but don't include the cost of alcohol. Quite often, you can find discount codes for and get $25 certificates for as little as $3. So, if you can find a restaurant which participates in the Rewards Network program and, you are saving even more.

We are not quite done. Popular restaurant reservation website, OpenTable can also help you here. This site allows you to make a reservation online and earn points while doing it. The points can be used towards future discounts on restaurant checks after a certain amount is earned. And, if you can find a restaurant that 1) earns miles; 2) accepts certificates; 3) participates in OpenTable, then you really are maximizing your dollars.