Triple Dip On Points With NYC Restaurant Week

by on July 22, 2013 · 7 comments

in Dining Programs

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Now through Friday, August 16, nearly 300 restaurants are participating in New York City’s Summer 2013 Restaurant Week. Not only is this a great chance to try new restaurants at a significant discount, but it’s a good opportunity to triple dip on your dining spend and rack up tons of bonus points.

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This time around, diners can enjoy three-course weekday (and some Sundays, depending on the restaurant) lunches for $25 and three-course dinners for $38.

NYC Go, the organization behind it, has also teamed up with American Express again so that when you register your Amex card through the Restaurant Week site, you will earn a $5 statement credit every time you spend $25 or more during a Restaurant Week dine and pay for it with your registered Amex in addition to any points you would earn by using it to pay.

If you choose to use your Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred instead, you will earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 (2.14 points per $1 with the Sapphire Preferred thanks to its 7% annual points dividend), or if you have the Citi Forward card, you earn 5X Thank You points per $1.

Not only that, but 275 of the participating restaurants are also members of OpenTable, so you can also earn OpenTable points on Restaurant Week dines (usually 100 points per dine, which translates to $1 back in value).

Then, for the triple dip, be sure the credit card you use to pay for your Restaurant Week meal(s) is registered to the Dining Rewards Network site of your preferred airline or hotel group, and if the Restaurant Week restaurant you choose to dine at is part of that network, you’ll earn between 3-5 more miles per $1 you spend.

To be honest, there’s not a huge amount of overlap between the Restaurant Week restaurants and the ones that participate in Dining Rewards Network, but there are several throughout the city that do participate in both – it’ll just take you a bit of research to narrow down the field a bit.

City Lobster & Steakhouse participates in both OpenTable and Dining Rewards Network, so you can triple dip.

City Lobster & Steakhouse participates in both OpenTable and Dining Rewards Network, so you can triple dip.

Which Is A Better Deal – Amex Or Sapphire Preferred Or Citi Forward?

Let’s say you located a restaurant where you could triple dip, such as the City Lobster & Steakhouse on West 49th Street, a popular pre- and post-theater spot at Rockefeller Center with a  classic chophouse menu of steak and seafood and a huge raw bar that participates in Restaurant Week, OpenTable, and Dining Rewards Network (I looked through Delta’s site). If three people went out to dinner there, you’d be spending $114.

Using an Amex card that earns Membership Rewards points like the Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum cards, you’d get your $5 Amex rebate (remember to register!), plus $1 OpenTable credit plus up to 570 Delta miles (I value at 1.5 cents each) plus 114 Amex points (I value at 1.8 cents each).

I’d put your return value at about: $15.50, or just over 13.5%.

If you use a Sapphire Preferred, the value back equation becomes $1 in OpenTable credit plus the same $8.55 in Delta miles plus about $4.88 in Ultimate Rewards points since I value them at 2 cents apiece.

I’d put your value back at about: $13.50, or just under 12%.

If you have the Citi Forward card, each of the points you earn is equivalent to 1% cash back, so the same $114 bill at City Lobster & Steakhouse would get you all the same Delta and OpenTable credit plus 5% cash back, or $5.70 in value, so your total value back would be about $14.25, or 12.5%.

Using my valuation of Amex, Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points, here’s the breakdown of the dollar amounts at which you should use each card:

Under $150: Citi Forward

Between $150-$200: American Express

Over $200: Sapphire Preferred

It’ll take a little coordination to make sure you can triple dip with both OpenTable and Dining Rewards Network, but even if you are not going to a restaurant that participates in both, this is still a good chance to maximize your dining spend and still get to try some great restaurants.

The Starwood Angle

Even if you’re not triple-dipping with Dining Rewards Networks, there are still some great points-earning options for you. If you are a Starwood Preferred Guest member and present your membership card or number when dining at a restaurant or bar within an SPG hotel and you spend over $10, you can earn 2 Starpoints per $1, just as you would on hotel stays, even if you’re not a guest.

To take a quick example, let’s say you had the Starwood Amex card and registered it for this promo then went to dine out for Restaurant Week at the Lambs Club at the Chatwal Hotel in Midtown.

You’d earn your $5 Amex rebate, a $1 OpenTable credit, plus 2 Starpoints per $1 spent at the restaurant as an SPG member and an additional 2 Starpoints per $1 with your Starwood card – either the business or personal version. So on a $100 Restaurant Week bill, you’d be earning a total of $5 back plus 400 Starpoints, which I value at about 2 cents apiece for a total value back of $13, or 13%.

It's also Restaurant Week in LA right now.

It’s also Restaurant Week in LA right now.

Be Bi-Coastal

It’s also still Restaurant Week in Los Angeles until the end of this week. The system there is a little bit different with three tiers of pricing at various restaurants, but you can still get that $5 Amex rebate at participating restaurants there, and the same triple-dipping opportunities – you’ll just need to do some legwork to find out which restaurants are participating in Restaurant Week and Dining Rewards Networks if you really want to max out your points earning. Otherwise, be sure to register and use an Amex card for that rebate or use a card like the Sapphire Preferred with a dining category spending bonus to rack up extra points while trying some great new restaurants.

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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  • LarryInNYC

    What’s Restaurant Week in LA? Half-off at In ‘N Out Burger?

  • thepointsguy

    If so, I’d be eating at In N Out every night in that case!

  • Chas

    Why not just ask your server to put $25 on amex and the rest on Chase SP? Or better yet, bring all your Amex cards and have them divide it up equally- I used the same strategy back during the $25 small business rebate and had a nice dinner for two courtesy of Amex.

  • BigRedBears

    You forget 1.33x multiplier if you have CitiPremier and use CitiForward earned points for airfare

  • Steve

    I don’t understand – in the $114 example, Amex wins out, but then you say for under $150, use Citi Forward? Because the $5 is fixed at $25 and above, the lower the cost, the more valuable the Amex becomes.

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  • Alex

    Might be a bit off topic but IMHO NYC Restaurant Week has become a lousy deal over the years. $38 dinner for appetizer + main dish + desert is just a tad cheaper than what you’d normally pay – so you are basically getting a desert for free. big deal…
    If portions were comparable than that would be OK, but the drawback is that restaurant menu dishes are smaller and less complex – especially at more expensive restaurants.
    When we go out we rarely spend more than $100 for two on food alone. Is $10-25 in savings really worth the loss of options and quality? I guess a decent amount of research is required to pick a restaurant that offers a good menu.

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