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Getting Points for Dining in Hotels

by on May 14, 2011 · 15 comments

in Hotel Industry, Hyatt, Starwood

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My parents recently stayed at the Andaz Wall Street in NY and overall were impressed by their stay. Since I wasn’t there to take a million pictures, I can’t do a full report, but it was overall a very positive visit.

We ate dinner one night in the restaurant Wall & Water and when the bill came, my Dad pulled out his American Express to pay and I nearly had a heart attack. He gave me a weird look like, “What? I have a points-earning credit card, what’s the problem?”

I scolded him and told him to charge it to his room and pay for the room with his Hyatt Visa. By paying with that card (which gives him Hyatt Platinum status), he earned 5 points per dollar base, plus 15% platinum bonus, plus 3 more points for using the Hyatt Visa. In total, the $400 bill which would have earned him 400 Amex points, netted him 3,800 Hyatt points instead.

So in general, it makes more sense to bill your hotel meal to your room, so you get the hotel points and credit card points.

Here’s another tip, even if you aren’t staying at a Starwood hotel, you may be able to get Starpoints for dining at a restaurant in the hotel – simply fax your receipt with your SPG number on it to 519-633-8557 or email it to  [email protected]. You can even claim points for up to 6 months, so if you’ve dined at any Starwood hotel, it can’t hurt to send the receipt in for some points!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Phil

    wow how did you manage to run up a $400 bill at Wall & Water!? lol

  • Brett

    Question: I don’t have a Hilton credit card yet (I know, I know…) but I often stay at Hiltons. So if I charge my dining to my room, i’ll accru HHonors Points from the dining? It count’s as money spent just like the same as the dollars spent on the the room?

    Thank you,

    A points rookie from Seattle

  • http://www.shermanstravel.com David

    You can do the same at a Hyatt. I recently ate at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City’s restaurant (without staying there), kept the receipt, faxed it in, and got the points. Alright, I had to call after faxing, because the points didn’t post the first time around, but the phone rep was nice about it and gave me the points without requiring a re-fax.

  • DAVID

    For the SPG dining receipts, try to send in the credit card receipt that is non-itemized, so you can get credit for tax and alcohol. I’ve had some submissions that only got credit for the food portion of the bill.

  • Sean

    Do you know of a similiar policy at Marriott?

  • Deb

    There is a high-end restaurant in Edmonton (La Ronde which is part of a Crowne Plaza). I have friends that go their to celebrate special occasions and rack up about a $700 bill. I convinced them to sign up for the different PCR promos and stay the night, charging the bill to the room. In one night they got 20,000 PCR points, and hit gold. Not bad for just $100 extra for staying the night at the hotel.

  • Dave

    Anyone want to check if hilton and Ihg properties allow this?

  • The Points Guy

    @Brett- most hotel chains give you points for incidentals (however some will only give you points on room rate, like Ritz Carlton)

  • John

    I was always under the impression that you should never pay an annual fee for two separate credit cards. I understand the math behind putting it on the Hyatt over the American Express but this means that your dad is paying two annual fees for two separate credit cards.

    Aren’t you suppose to designate a primary “workhorse” credit card (in this case the Amex) and then use a no annual fee MC/Visa when Amex aren’t accepted? Or if your primary card is a Visa/MC then there really isn’t any need to pay Amex an annual fee, right? Seems like $75 is a lot to pay for a card, in theory, you would rarely use.

  • The Points Guy

    @John- the Hyatt card offers 2 free nights anywhere in the world, so the $75 annual fee is easily justified for the first year. Going forward, will he use the card as his primary Visa? Depends if he needs the Hyatt Platinum status and no foreign transaction fees. However, there are so many bonuses going on right now that I think we will continue getting the cards that have the most bang for the buck and then deciding which ones to keep as workhorse cards when all the action is over (which hopefully is never).

    So to answer your question- yes- in an ideal world, you only have one or two main credit cards, but if your spend is significant enough- it may make sense to pay annual fees because the value gained from those cards is substantially more. I personally find very few fee-free cards that offer rewards that are worth my while. I do not like 1 cent fixed redemption cards.

  • John

    Does that mean you just sit on the cards that you have already opened but don’t have an incentive to use? New cards with “new” offers come out every day with no end in sight, which means using the “flavor-of-the-month” card will quickly mean you’ll have a lot of outstanding credit cards, no?

    I thought I had this all figured out but I’ve learned a lot from you the last month or so that I’ve spent lurking this blog. My impression was always: find your workhorse card and milk the hell out of it. This philosophy should be applied not just with a rewards credit card, but with an airline loyalty program, hotel loyalty program, car rental program, etc.

    In other words, pick one airline, one hotel chain and reap their benefits. Flying three different carriers on three different occasions is probably counterproductive in order for you to get anywhere close to that free flight we all so covet, especially with how fierce airline price wars are.

    I’m finding out from this blog that this is not necessarily the best course of action, especially considering this is probably how the industry would like for us to act. Whoever had the best deal at that particular moment when you were starting “the race”, nabbed you for life (or at least for a significant amount of time).

    Basically the way to win this game is to cash in on the best offer at the moment, be it price or award bonuses. Be part of many loyalty programs and choose based on the best deal at that particular moment. In other words, never be loyal to a company but to your wallet. Do I have that right? This means the work will never end.

    If I do have it right, may I ask how your credit score fluctuates based on your credit card activity? Specifically, does the constant opening and closing (by yourself or the issuer do to inactivity) of credit lines significantly affect your credit score? I assume it is worth it since you take this route (assuming you do).

    Apologies for the long-winded email. Keep up the good work.

  • The Points Guy

    @John- I’ll be writing a post all about credit and striking a good balance of getting new cards and maintaining a good credit score.

    In a nutshell, my philosophy is to apply for the best offers- keep them open and use them occassionally, but basically close out old accounts when I need to open up new ones.

    Chase, Amex and Citi will all let you have multiple cards. I know people with 5 Chase credit cards and 5 Amex.

  • Jmarlene

    Do Marriott or Hyatt give points, too for hotel dining if you’re not staying there? If so where would I send the receipts? Thanks!!

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  • Guest

    What if you are at a property where you could only use your 2X pts credit card you are staying at but for restaurants you have a 5% rotating category etc.? Also, what category do night clubs in Vegas resorts like XS fall under?

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