I’ll be the first to admit I’m not as “hardcore” in this hobby as I used to be. That’s partly because I have more going on in my life now than when I was 16.
Back in the day I would go out of my way to earn bonus miles for virtually every purchase. $5 online purchase? I would spend 15 minutes trying to decide which shopping portal to go through. Over time I’ve kind of included the value of time in deciding whether or not to take advantage of various opportunities to generate miles.
As many of you probably know, most of the major airlines offer bonus miles for dining at select restaurants through Rewards Network.
Basically you register your credit card, and then for dining at select restaurants you earn 3-5 bonus miles per dollar spent (and sometimes there are promotions on top of that).
Back in the day I’d mindlessly go out of my way to dine at restaurants which participated in Rewards Network. And it truly was mindless.
For the most part there’s a reason restaurants take place in these programs, and (in many cases) it’s not because they’re booked out due to how good their food is and how great of a value they provide. After all, Rewards Network apparently takes a 10-15% share of revenue when “their” diners eat somewhere.
So after one too many bad meals, I stopped participating in the Rewards Network affiliated dining program. It was just no longer worth going out of my way to earn bonus miles on largely mediocre and overpriced meals.
It has been at least a couple of years since I’ve actually looked at Rewards Network.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time visiting my parents in Florida lately, and I hadn’t looked up the nearby Rewards Network restaurants in years.
So I nearly soiled myself when I realized that my favorite coffee shop and my favorite Italian restaurant which are literally within walking distance of where my parents live are now part of the program. I go to the coffee shop daily when I’m visiting them (it’s a good place to work from), and we go to the Italian restaurant probably once or twice a week.
I don’t even want to think about how many points I’ve sacrificed by not having my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card on file earlier (I only had an old American Express linked to my Rewards Network account).
So suffice to say I updated my cards immediately and went to the Italian restaurant for dinner on Sunday night.
I paid with my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and in addition to two Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent I earned three AAdvantage bonus miles per dollar spent.
When I complete a dozen dines I’ll have “VIP status,” which gets me five miles per dollar spent, for an average total of seven miles/points per dollar spent in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
So yeah, if you were like me and gave up Rewards Network for a long time, maybe take another look and see if there are any nearby participating restaurants that you love.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a few small purchases at “my” coffee shop so I can get “VIP status again. 😉
Do you participate in Rewards Network? If so, do you pick out restaurants specifically because of their affiliation?