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If you’re reading this blog, you already know to use a credit card to earn bonus points while dining out. But did you know that there are so many other ways that you can earn additional rewards from the money you’re spending at fast food joints and restaurants? Here are 9 simple tips to maximize dining rewards when eating out.
How To Maximize Dining Rewards When Eating Out
What are some of your favorite ways to maximize rewards when dining out? I don’t go out of my way all of the time, but when I’m in a new city, I’ll start my search for interesting restaurants from those participating in programs where I can save a bunch of money or where I can earn the most cash back or airline miles.
- How to save money on food while traveling
- How to save money on airport parking
- Up to 10x cash back with Dosh Cash Back Multiplier
1. Use The Right Credit Card
Every good travel rewards strategy starts with using the right card. More and more banks realize that dining out is a big part of every family’s budget, so they’re incentivizing you to use their card when you’re spending those dollars on meals.
So many credit cards offer 2x or 3x on dining. If you’re not using one of these cards, check out our credit card marketplace to research the best credit card offers available.
2. Register For Dining Rewards
In my 11 immediate steps when you get a new credit card, one of them is to register your new credit card (and all of the old ones too) for dining rewards from your favorite airline. Most of the major airlines participate, so choose the airline that works best for you, then start racking up the free airline miles… no matter which registered credit (or debit) card you’re using.
3. Register For Automatic Cash Back
I absolutely love this one because it’s like having a coupon at restaurants that don’t always offer a coupon. I’ve been using Dosh to receive 7-10% cash back whenever I eat at a participating restaurant.
There are so many places on the list and they range from fast food joints (like Wendy’s) to Mom & Pop diners to fancy sit-down restaurants (like Black Angus). I like how there is a variety of options among local flavors and regional/national chains.
When you use my referral link to Dosh, you’ll receive $5 after you register a credit card and earn your first rebate on dining, shopping, or travel booking. Don’t forget about the Dosh Cash Back Multiplier… you can earn up to 10x the cash back when you spin the wheel!
4. Buy Gift Cards From Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, or Office Supply Stores
If you have a credit card that offers bonuses for shopping at grocery stores, gas stations, or office supply stores, consider buying gift cards there to use for your meals.
For example, you can generally earn 5x the rewards at office supply stores with the right card. Still not sure which card is right for you? Schedule a free 30-minute telephone consultation with us, and we’ll help you pick a card that will help you reach your goals.
5. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
You don’t have to buy a 5-year supply of toilet paper to make a Costco membership worthwhile. Did you know that they also sell discounted gift card for local restaurants and attractions?
Whether you are in your hometown or out traveling the world, if there’s a Costco nearby walk in and check out the gift card aisle. You can generally buy $100 worth of gift cards for around $80 for a nice 20% savings. Not too bad, right?
You can also buy discounted gift cards online at sites like Raise and GiftcardGranny. Make sure you sign up for their email lists because they’ll often share promo codes for even greater savings. For example, Raise offered me $5 off my first $50+ order if I signed up for their newsletter.
6. Get A Little Groupon In Your Life
I’ve been spoiled with all of the discounts from sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Restaurant.com, and (a local SoCal site) LocalFlavor. They offer dining and activity deals for around 50% off. Not too bad, right?
It gets even better if you have patience.
Whenever I receive emails with their promo codes, that’s when I buy deals for the next few months to lock in even greater savings. And when I know that I’ll be visiting a city that has Groupon-type deals, I search these sites for restaurants and activities to try while we’re in town. It’s a great way to explore the city and get a taste of local cuisine while saving some serious dough!
7. Handle The Bill, Collect The Cash
When dining out with friends, this is a great opportunity to earn massive amounts of miles and points. As long you don’t have the type of friends that shortchange the collection plate, offer to put the tab on your card, then collect the cash from all of your friends.
Meals with friends can easily run into the $100s of dollars, so by using the right credit card you’ll get 2 or 3 times the rewards for this big bill. Even better if it is a restaurant that participates in dining rewards and/or cash back!
8. Answer The Follow-Up Surveys
If you participate in the Dining Rewards program of your favorite airline, don’t delete the follow-up survey emails. For a quick second of your time, you can earn a few extra miles and points that will really add up as you’re saving towards your next flight redemption.
9. Put Corporate Expenses On Your Personal Card
Similar to #7 above, when you’re traveling or entertaining for work, consider paying for the bill with your personal credit card instead of the corporate credit card. Usually, these bills will be larger than personal meals, especially if you’re entertaining a large group of clients or co-workers or if you’re on assignment and have a daily stipend for meals.
Be aware that not every company will allow this, so speak to your manager ahead of time to ensure that this strategy is ok with them. And take note that sometimes you’ll have to float the money a bit while you’re submitting for reimbursement and waiting for the accounting department to cut you a check. Plus, there is the possibility of losing the receipt, which may make it hard for you to collect at all.
So, this tip may not be right for everyone, but it is a good way to earn bunches of rewards and cash back for bigger-ticket restaurant bills.
The Bald Thoughts
With minimal effort, you can be earning some serious extra rewards and cash back whenever you go out to eat at fast food restaurants, local Mom & Pops, or sit-down restaurants. I favor the options where I can set it up once and then collect the rewards without any additional effort. I hope you enjoyed these 9 simple tips to maximize dining rewards when eating out.
What are your favorite ways to maximize rewards when you go out to eat? Please share in the comments below.