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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Update: As of July 20, 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card no longer offers the 7% annual points dividend.
Back in April 2013, Chase announced that Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred cardholders would earn 3X points per $1 on dining purchases on the first Friday of every month through 2013. However, now that it’s the first Friday of 2014, it looks like that benefit has been extended through 2014 as well per the Chase Sapphire Dining Rewards page and the First Friday Facebook page.
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.
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. 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.
Remember, you just have to make your charge by 11:59pm in the time zone in which you are dining for your spend to count. Even if you don’t have big plans for the first Friday, another potentially lucrative strategy could be to stop by restaurants you know you’ll be frequenting in the future and buying gift cards or certificates for future use. Also, I’ve noticed that some of my favorite bars and nightclubs in Miami are actually coded as restaurants in the merchant category on my Sapphire Preferred statements, so you can potentially be earning bonus points on a lot more than meals today.
For reference, here are the rest of the first Fridays in 2014: