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Beach season is almost over — and what better way to celebrate than with unlimited plates of pasta. Starting Thursday, Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden will begin selling its Never Ending Pasta Pass to the first 21,000 people who are quick enough to snag one. This isn’t the first time Olive Garden has offered the pass, but it’s been so popular that the chain will be selling 10 times as many passes as last year. A one-time purchase of just $100 will get you a special card with your name on it entitling you to unlimited pasta dishes for 7 weeks — yes, that is 49 whole days of unlimited pasta and Coca-Cola soft drinks or unflavored iced tea (including your guests).

We at Team TPG, of course, had to do some digging to see just how much value you could get from the unlimited pass — of course assuming you’d choose the most caloric pasta paired with the most caloric sauce and meat option in order to get maximum value for your investment. We found that the rigatoni noodles (440 cal) combined with Asiago Garlic Alfredo sauce (940 cal) and Italian sausage (470 cal) plus a regular Coca-Cola (150 cal) put the meal at a nice and round 2,000 calories.

You can get an incredible value if you maximize the Never Ending Pasta Pass. Image courtesy of Olive Garden’s Facebook page.

Assuming you visit Olive Garden once a day, every day for the 7-week period, you’d consume a total of 98,000 calories, which works out to give you an astonishing value of 9.8 calories per cent (980 calories per dollar). Of course you could opt to help yourself to seconds (and thirds and so on), if you’d like, in which case your $100 will go even further. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that an average woman should eat about 650-700 calories per meal, and 850 calories for a man. As a woman, you’d get about 1.5 meals per dollar, and as a man you’d get just over one meal per dollar.

If you do end up purchasing this pass, you should be able to earn triple points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel and dining purchases — those points are worth 6.3 cents, further reducing your cost per meal. And if you’re driving to and from your local Olive Garden, don’t forget to use a card that earns you bonus points on gasoline purchases, such as the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card.

Will you be taking full advantage of Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass?

Featured image courtesy of Olive Garden.

H/T: Bloomberg

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card



CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
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