How to Save up to 53% when Dining Out

Posted by Mayank on August 30, 2013 in Saving Money

OpenTable is one of the leading providers of online restaurant reservations. They are said to be seating more than 12 million diners per month (wow!) via online bookings across approximately 28,000 restaurants. The Company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and the OpenTable service is available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the UK.

In a nut shell – what OpenTable does is that it lets diners book a table at a restaurant and rewards them for dining. The concept behind the program is that the points incentivize members to visit a restaurant and enjoy it so much that they will return multiple times. You usually call a restaurant for reservation, right? It is time to change your habit because unlike calling a restaurant for booking, each online reservation made through OpenTable will earn you points that can then be redeemed for future dining certificates.

The best part is that booking via OpenTable is easier than calling a restaurant! You can book via phone, website or iPhone/Android app.

OpenTable offers two types of reservations:

  1. Standard – you earn 100 points per dine-in.
  2. Special – you earn 1,000 points per dine-in.

OpenTable has access to each restaurant’s real-time reservation system, so any tables booked online should immediately appear to the maître d’. Upon arrival at the restaurant, be sure to check-in so your account can be credited.

How to do a Reservation using OpenTable

Go to OpenTable.com and select the city and the time you wish to dine-in. Restaurants which offer 1,000 points show up at the top of the search results.

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Confirm your reservation and show up on the date and time of the reservation .

Points Redemption Process:

You need a minimum of 2,000 points redeem a Dining Check and the dining points will expire if your account has been inactive for 12 months. Dining checks are issued in three denominations, with the following points values:

    2,000 OpenTable Points = $20 USD or $26 CAD or £10
    5,000 OpenTable Points = $50 USD or $65 CAD or £35
    10,000 OpenTable Points = $100 USD or $130 CAD or £70

It takes up to 7 days after the dine-in date for the points to show up in your OpenTable account.

Read the fine print:

Read the fine print so that you do not miss out on the points. The bonus points apply only to specific reservation times, and do not apply to all holidays or in conjunction with other offers or promotions. Two or more people must be seated, and each person must order a minimum of one entrée. If you change your reservation or arrive outside of the stated qualifying bonus point reservations schedule, your reservation may no longer qualify for 1,000 Points.

How to Maximize OpenTable Points

Dine-in on first Friday of the month and use your Chase Sapphire card to pay.

Say, if you spend $30 towards your dine-in on the first Friday of the month and book a 1,000 points table. What you earn back is $10 back from Open Table and 90 points towards Chase Sapphire points. And if you do this for a year, every first Friday of the month, you would spend a total of $30×12 = $360 and earned back $10×12 = $120 and 3×360 = 1080 points or $11 approx, which works out to be a saving of $131 on a spend of $360, which is an awesome 36% saving.

If you want to maximize your savings further, dine-in during lunch hours every first Friday of the month and book a 1,000 points table. Since lunch portions are smaller and cost lesser, your average bill for 2 would be $20. Do this for a year and at the end of the year, you would have saved 12,000 points = $120 and 720 points or $7 approx, which works out to be a saving of $127 on $240 spend, which is a huge saving of 53%.

Combine it with other sources of restaurant coupons like Restaurant.com, Groupon, RetailMeNot to maximize your savings further.

Overall, it’s not a program that will give you valuable airline miles or hotel points, but its a free way to earn a percentage back of your spend. If you are going to dine out, you might as well be savvy about it!

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