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One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how points and miles have helped them get where they want to go. Each week I pick one that catches my eye and post it for everybody to enjoy. If you’re interested in sharing your own award travel success story, email it to email@example.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure!
Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Hui, who combined earnings from several different rewards programs to get a great return on dining purchases. Here’s what he had to say:
I got into the points and miles game when I started reading your site. Lately I’ve been taking advantage of a quadruple dip (or quadfecta?) of points and cash back when I go to restaurants. Here’s how it works:
First, Uber rolled out Visa Local Offers at the beginning of this year. Those offers allow you to earn as much as 10% back (in the form of Uber credits) for purchases at various restaurants and stores when you use a Visa card you have on file. Second, Yelp has similar restaurant promotions with cash back ranging from 5-10%. Those promos are marked under the restaurant’s name when you check the app.
Next, using a dining rewards program will earn you 3-5 miles per dollar depending on how often you use the program. I currently earn 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent, which gives me a return of 7% based on TPG’s latest valuation. Finally, pay with any Visa card that earns a bonus on dining purchases. I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3 points per dollar, which is worth 6.6% back (again based on your valuation).
In total I get a whopping 33.6% return for enrolling in all of those programs and dining at the right restaurants. This strategy combines cash back, Uber credits, airline miles and credit card points for diversification. I would say that’s a pretty good deal!
You may not be able to stack dining rewards at every restaurant, but the nice thing about Hui’s strategy is that it’s incredibly easy to implement. After you enroll in Uber’s offers (or similar programs from Yelp, Groupon and others), the savings are automatic when you make qualifying purchases with the card on file. The same goes for airline and hotel dining programs — you can just set and forget your account, and let the rewards roll in with no further effort on your part. Try stacking with programs like Restaurant.com and OpenTable if you want to go the extra mile.
I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best card for dining purchases, but others also provide a solid return. In particular, pay attention to the quarterly bonus categories on the Chase Freedom card, which routinely offers 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 of spending at restaurants. The Discover it also periodically offers 5% cash back at restaurants, though I value those rewards less than Ultimate Rewards points.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Hui for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.
Again, if the strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me and the whole TPG team by emailing us with your own success stories (see instructions at the top of this post). Feel free to also submit stories of your most egregious travel mistakes. In either case, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, along with some extra spending money for your next trip.
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Featured image by Rawpixel via Getty Images.
This is one of the top premium cards out there since you earn 3x on all travel and dining and have access to great perks like a $300 travel credit each cardmember year, 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you get elite travel benefits like Global Entry application fee rebate, Priority Pass Select and special rental car privileges.
- Earn 50K 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®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- Named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card for 2017’ by MONEY® Magazine
- 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no foreign transaction fees
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®