These are not the restaurant vouchers that LivingSocial typically offers. Instead, this new program allows you to link your credit card to your profile and receive automatic rebates when you dine at participating restaurants. This works similarly to the iDine/Rewards Network program which allows you to earn miles for dining — and there is even a possibility of a double-dip for cashback and miles!
After you signup for Restaurants Plus you receive 100% cashback on your first meal within 30 days of registration (up to $20), and then varying amounts up to 30% going forward.
At the moment only a handful of cities are part of the network (namely Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C), so if you don’t plan to be in one of those cities in the next 30 days I would wait to register until Restaurants Plus expands to a city near you or that you’ll be traveling to.
Enrolling in Restaurants Plus
Registration is simple. Make sure you’re using a referral link to receive 100% cashback on your first meal (that one is mine, but please leave yours in the comments).
If you already have a LivingSocial account you’ll be prompted to enter your login information. Otherwise, creating a profile takes about 45 seconds.
The next step is to activate your cards. You can link as many cards to your profile as you’d like, and probably should — many of these restaurants are the kind you’d stumble into on a layover or work trip, so be sure to add your corporate cards and such.
How Restaurants Plus works
Once you’ve enrolled, you can search for restaurants in any of the participating cities.
Rewards Plus has a dynamic system for determining cashback rates — sometimes a restaurant will be worth 2%, and other times they’ll be promoting 30%.
This doesn’t seem to be based on the caliber of restaurant. For example, I’d happily go to Barrio Star any time of day (I’ve even taken Ben and Travis there), so 15% back is just gravy.
Whereas you’d have to give me 110% cashback to go to Huapangos again, and I’d probably still order water.
But again, the percentage rates fluctuate for all the restaurants depending on time of day, day of the week, and in some cases even the card you’re using.
Once you’ve found a participating restaurant, simply pay for your meal with your registered card. You’ll get 100% cashback on your first meal up to $20, and then anywhere from 1% to 30% going forward.
As long as your card is synced with your LivingSocial Restaurants Plus account, everything is automatic.
Can Restaurants Plus be stacked with Rewards Network?
Typically, I keep my preferred restaurant credit cards linked to the AAdvantage Dining program, which offers miles each time you dine at certain restaurants. The program is run by Rewards Network, which runs similar programs for Alaska, Delta, Hilton, Southwest, and United.
Given that we’re all about maximizing value here at OMAAT, the natural question is whether or not you can “double dip” with both Rewards Network and Restaurants Plus.
You can double-dip with Rewards Network and Mogl, and as my Mogl and Restaurants Plus appear to share some systems, my guess was that this should be possible.
You can’t double-dip with Mogl & LivingSocial, but what about other programs?
In the interest of science, I looked for a restaurant nearby that was participating in both programs, and offered delivery, because I am not leaving my apartment until March 23rd.
One of the “localish” pizza joints, Pizzicato, appeared on both lists and seemed like a decent enough choice for research purposes.
Earn 3 miles per dollar through AAdvantage and Rewards Network
And/or 11% cashback through LivingSocial
Make sure you have the same credit card registered to both programs, and that you actually use that card to pay!
Tasty, tasty, science (I ordered the pizza unbaked to cook later, for those judging)
I started this process on Monday, and then I waited, and waited, and waited. Apparently pizza places leave your transaction as “pending” for days and then batch run everything later in the week or something.
Eventually, I received a notification that I’d earned miles for the purchase:
And then Saturday morning the cashback posted to my LivingSocial account:
So that worked out quite nicely, and I think you should be fine earning miles in any of the Rewards Network mileage schemes while receiving cashback through LivingSocial.
At one point in my life I would absolutely have gone out of my way to earn miles or rebates for dining, but nowadays I don’t worry about it much. But being able to double-dip for miles and cashback is definitely compelling!
The restaurants are generally not the best in town or anything, (though there are always some gems!), so this is something you want to “set and forget” rather than go out of your way for in most cases. But the rewards certainly add up over time.
Has anyone else tried Restaurants Plus? Any other success stories for double-dipping with Rewards Network?
Link: Earn 100% cashback on your first meal (share your link in the comments!)