Friday, June 04, 2010

Dining out at a restaurant? Dine in some points with Rewards Network and Open Table

Going out to a restaurant can be pricey, but with the Rewards Network program, you can earn something back for your meal.  The program is simple and free: register your credit card and choose which frequent flyer program you would like to earn miles or points in.  There are too many to list here, but the website shows all of them on their home page.

Instead of registering through the Rewards Network website directly, go to the frequent flyer program of your choice that is a part of the Rewards Network and register through them instead.  There may be a bonus points earning opportunity just for signing up.

Now, the fun part.  Once you register, log into the Rewards Network website for your program of choice and search for restaurants that are participating in the program.  Depending on what day of the week it is, and time, you can earn a minimum of 3 points/$ spent.  While that won't make you rich, it's like getting a 3% rebate on your dining bill.  And, if you are a more frequent diner, the benefit levels will kick up as you become a "VIP" member.  Not only will you accrue 5 points/$ spent, you will be invited to take advantage of bonus opportunities as well.

One of the added features I have seen with this program is integration with Open Table, the on-line restaurant reservations website.  Not all restaurants in the Rewards Network program are linked with Open Table, but it's another form of "kickback" on your dining bill.  When searching for a restaurant, look to see if there is a link directing you to reserve a table on-line.  Open Table gives you points for making reservations through them which can be turned into restaurant gift certificates.

The takeaway: if you are going to eat, try to minimize the cost as much as you can.  Rewards Network and Open Table can help.