Dining in Restaurants is another big spending for us. As inflation is getting worse, we need to pay more for the same dish. So, I want to share some tips on restaurant saving to help my readers still enjoy dining while paying less.
Join in the Restaurants Rewards
Now many restaurants have started to have their own rewards programs, such as MacDonalds, Burger Kings, Chipotle, and IHOP. You can register as a member online before you go to the restaurant, then you can have exclusive deals, and every dollar you spend there will give you reward points that you can redeem food once points reach some threshold. The whole procedure is completely free, and the benefits are tangible immediately. For example, you can register as a member in the Burger King app and enjoy free welcome food and 10 points per dollar spending immediately. Once you have 250 points(which means you spend just $25), you can earn redeem food, I calculate the food price with the points required, and I think the equivalent cashback ratio is at least 5%.
Use Credit Cards
The restaurants’ reward programs don’t specify any payment methods, so you can use a credit card with a high cash back ratio on restaurants to get more discounts. For example:
American Express Gold: 4 points per dollar (at least worth 4.4% cashback)
Citibank Customer Cash: 5% cash back
US bank Cash plus: 5% cash back on fast food
US bank Altitude Go: 4 points (4% cash back)
Captial one Savor: 4%
Use Gift Cards
I have introduced a gift card website, Raise, in my post: How to Save Money for Online Shopping. You can find many restaurants’ gift cards on this site for a very high discount. For example, the IHOP gift card currently has up to 13.4% off! The cashback ratio is much higher than credit cards! A Sweet spot is that many shopping portals give your extra cash back on Raise. For example, Rakuten will give you 1% cash back when you buy gift cards on raise, while Topcashback gives you up to 2%.
I am also using MileagePlus X, an App developed by United Airlines to accumulate United miles through gift card purchases. I can buy an Ihop Gift card on it and get 5 miles per dollar. Sometimes you can redeem miles for flights with the value of 2 cents or more per mile.
You can check gift cards on many websites to find the best cashback ratio, or some gift cards are only available on a specific website.
Using Dining Program Apps
Yesterday I discussed the Upside App: Upside App: A Big Relief from Gas Price Inflation. This app also offers cash back on participating restaurants, just as I said in that post. For example, if you eat at Burger King and upload your receipt to this app, you will get as high as 25% cash back! The good point is that when you use this app, you can still have your rewards points from Burker Kings and use your credit cards or gift cards to pay.
There are several other dining programs, mostly provided by Airlines and Hotels. You can join the United Airlines program. You need to link a credit card to this program, then every time when you use this card to check out in the participating restaurants, you will get extra miles(3-5 miles per dollar). Apparently, you can link the credit card with a high cash back ratio on dining.
I believe these four steps will give you an extra 20% saving on dining at restaurants at least! Although the economy is tough, we can still have our own affordable way of relaxing and enjoying the spirit of delicious food!