Last year, Chase launched a program called First Friday where cardholders of the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire cards would earn 3X points per $1 at restaurants on the first Friday of every month (instead of the normal 2X points per $1). Then in January, they announced that First Friday would be extended throughout 2014 as well…which means that tomorrow, February 7, it’s time to earn that dining bonus again.
The bonus works at any restaurant you’d normally earn 2X points at – so internationally as well as within the US, and if you have the Sapphire Preferred, you’re actually earning 3.21X points per $1 factoring in the annual 7% points dividend.
The Sapphire card earns Ultimate Rewards points that can just be used towards cash back or redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece, but if you have the Sapphire Preferred or either the Ink Bold or Ink Plus cards, 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, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, Ritz-Carlton and Amtrak. Or you could use your Ultimate Rewards points for travel with Pay With Points at 1.25 cents apiece – another 25% in value. So potentially, you’re earning at least 4% back on your dining purchases with the Sapphire Preferred.
The promotion is part of Chase Sapphire’s partnership with OpenTable, but you don’t have to book through OpenTable in order to earn the 3X points. You just have to make a charge at any restaurant – and keep in mind, many bars, lounges and coffee shops (including Starbucks) are coded as restaurants, so there are plenty of opportunities to earn even if you’re not sitting down to a meal out tomorrow.
Just keep in mind that if you do book 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. If you do a little research and use OpenTable to book a restaurant in your airline’s dining rewards network and then pay with your Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred, this could be a really lucrative promotion and a great way to maximize earning points on dining.
If you’re not going to eat out tomorrow, you can still earn 3X points on dining purchase by buying gift cards or certificates directly from 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 – and some offer bonuses on gift cards like this one from Applebee’s where you get a $10 bonus on $50 gift cards so be sure to check.
Remember, you’ve got to make the purchase directly at a merchant that’s coded as a restaurant on your statement, so you can’t go into an office supply store, drugstore or gas station and earn the 3X. I would just say that if you are going to one of those places, make sure you’re not getting a better bonus with another card – for instance by purchasing a restaurant gift card at Staples using your Ink Plus, since that would earn you 5X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 every day thanks to the card’s office supply store category bonus.
You could also get a jump on your Valentine’s Day plans by buying certificates to a restaurant you know you’ll be going to and using them that night on your big dining out splurge.
The other rules state that you must make your charge by 11:59pm in the time zone in which you are dining for your spend to count – and it can be anywhere in the world, not just the US, so hey, maybe have that romantic meal in Paris, or go to that steakhouse in Buenos Aires and charge it up!
For reference, here are the rest of the first Fridays in 2014:
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.