Reminder: Chase Sapphire 3X Dining Bonus On First Friday

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Last week, Chase Sapphire announced it was partnering with OpenTable to offer 3X points per $1 on dining on the first Friday of each month now through the end of 2013 when you pay for a meal with your Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire cards, which normally earn 2X per $1 at restaurants.  Since today is the first Friday of May, I wanted to post a little reminder to get out there and start racking up those bonus points.

Chase Sapphire 3X First Friday

Although the promotion is part of Chase Sapphire’s partnership with OpenTable, you don’t actually have to book through OpenTable in order to earn the 3X points, it can be at any restaurant. However, by booking through OpenTable, you have a chance to triple dip with OpenTable Rewards and earn an additional 1% back in the form of future dining credit.

Don’t have plans to dine out today? There are still ways to earn 3X points, including buying gift cards or certificates to restaurants you know you’ll be eating at in the future. A lot of restaurants sell gift cards or certificates directly, so this is a good way to make sure you’re earning those bonus points on future dines. Plus, remember that Mother’s Day is coming up, so if you’re planning a brunch or meal out for dear old mom, see if you can buy gift cards or certificates to her favorite restaurants – that way she gets the gift of quality time with you and you get those bonus points…and quality time with her!

Regarding those gift cards, remember, you’ve got to make the purchase directly at a merchant that’s coded as a restaurant on your statement, so don’t go into an office supply store, drugstore or gas station to buy them and think you’ll be getting the 3X earning ratio. That said, if you have the Ink Bold or Ink Plus, you can buy restaurant gift cards at office supply stores for 5X points per $1 every day, so keep that in mind. Buying directly from restaurants is a strategy for those folks who just have the Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred cards. If you have both of these cards, use your Sapphire Preferred since it awards you with a 7% annual points dividend on all points earned – base and bonus – so you’re really earning 3.21 points per dollar on dining using it.

The Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred normally earn 2X on dining.
The Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred normally earn 2X on dining.

Another thing to note: Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Sapphire card can be used towards cash back or redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece. However, if you have the Sapphire Preferred or either the Ink Bold or Ink Plus cards and your Ultimate Rewards accounts are all linked, you can redeem those points at a rate of 1.25 cents each for travel using pay with points – or potentially much more lucratively, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to one of the program’s travel transfer partners including: British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic (this is new!), Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, Ritz-Carlton and Amtrak.

By dining out or buying restaurant gift cards/certificates on a first Friday, you’re potentially earning 3 United miles or Hyatt points for example, which I value at about 2 cents each, so you’re getting a 6% return on your dollar. Not only that, but if your card is linked to your airline or hotel program’s dining rewards network and you dine out at a participating restaurant, you’re earning a potential 3-5 miles per dollar on top of that bringing your miles-earning up to a potential 8 miles per dollar.

So if you triple dip – find a restaurant that’s part of your dining rewards network, use OpenTable to make the reservation and then pay using your Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred – you can turn First Fridays into a really lucrative way to maximize earning points on dining.

Apart from gift cards, if you are actually dining out, just remember that your transaction must take place prior to midnight in the time zone where the restaurant is, so be sure to get the check by then.

I’ll personally be taking advantage of it down on Easter Island today where most of the restaurants seem to take Amex and my Sapphire Preferred doesn’t incur foreign transaction fees. So buen provecho!

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