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How to earn rewards with the Seated app while dining out or ordering in

June 25, 2022
7 min read
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I'm what some may call a "foodie." I love trying new restaurants and cuisines as well as revisiting favorites. That’s why the app Seated is my new best friend.

Seated allows you to dine out and get paid for it. This app rewards diners with cash they can redeem in the form of gift cards. All you have to do is let the app know you'll be dining at a location before you take a seat.

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Here’s what you can expect if you try out the Seated app.

The market

Americans love to eat out. Seated allows us to do this and save some extra cash in the process. There are more than 1,500 restaurants participating across six major U.S. cities, including Chicago, Atlanta and New York City.

OpenTable offers a similar program but with fewer rewards. It includes over 60,000 restaurants around the world in its network, far outpacing Seated on that front. However, each OpenTable reservation typically earns only 100 points. You need 2,000 points before you can earn a $10 Amazon gift card. That means you would have to dine out 20 times before you would earn anything.

Related: Earn easy Hilton points by eating at your favorite restaurants.

How Seated works

First, download the app. Seated is free on both the iTunes and Google Play stores. If you sign up using this link, you'll receive an extra $15 reward for your first reservation.

Once you’ve done that, you must provide your phone number to sign in and create an account. It will text you a one-time code to verify your number. After that, all you have to do is put in some personal information like your name and email and create a password.

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(Screenshot from Seated)

On the home screen, you’ll be presented with restaurants that are "New Additions" and currently have "Surging Rewards." Swipe down that menu for a map of your area with all the restaurants currently open for dining in whatever method you've selected. You can scroll around the map and explore restaurants by awards percentage.

If you click on a restaurant it will expand to include options for dine-in, delivery or pickup. When you choose each option it provides more details about availability and the rewards percentages at different times. You'll also be able to view the menu, hours, directions and reviews.

There's also an option to browse restaurants by cuisine or mood with the search function. From there, you can filter restaurants based on availability, price, neighborhood and booking type (walk-in or reservation).

Once you know which restaurants participate, you can use the search feature to go straight to your preferred restaurant.

(Screenshot from Seated)

You can even "favorite" restaurants you want to try. To view them later, navigate to the account tab at the bottom of the app, tap the three horizontal lines in the top right-hand corner of your screen, and then click "Favorites" to scroll through everything you have saved.

Once you pick where you want to dine, the reservation process is pretty straightforward. Restaurants allow you to book up to a month in advance, blocking you from booking during prime weekend dining hours.

Read more about restaurant loyalty programs and why they're worth it.

Limits to how often you visit a restaurant through Seated vary based on the restaurant’s preferences. There are no minimum spend requirements or reward limits.

When you arrive at the restaurant for your reservation, all you have to do is give your name to the host. No mention of Seated is necessary — and in my experience, they haven’t even known what the app is. To redeem your rewards, just submit a photo of your receipt with the name of the restaurant, the date and time you visited and the total cost.

Note that your rewards are based on the bill's subtotal before taxes and tips. If you want to split the reward when dining with a group of fellow Seated users, you can choose to do so once Seated notifies you that your rewards have been added to your account.

(Screenshot from Seated)

You can change or cancel up until 15 minutes before your reservation time. Account suspension for missed reservations is up to the discretion of Seated, but we recommend playing it safe.

The app sends you a notification when your reward is ready. It can take up to 48 hours but often arrives within a few hours. Opting in for notifications helps keep track of when you receive money and when the app is offering special rewards.

What’s missing

The app uses its own review system, which isn’t great. It also lacks the ability to include photos, doesn’t show dates for when reviews were given and doesn't display written portions of reviews. The app shows the average Yelp rating at the top of the page but doesn't provide more detailed information from there. I find myself Googling to read reviews more often than checking the Seated in-app reviews.

I think including Happy Hour times would be a great addition, as searching externally to see if the restaurant has any special deals gets tedious. Right now the app only lists an establishment's regular hours.

Seated is working hard to increase its restaurant network and the number of cities where it’s available. That's a big change that could make travel dining a little more affordable.

Related: Know your benefits: Hiltons can’t opt out of the food and beverage credit for elite members

Overall impression

(Photo by Michael Berman/Getty Images)

I'm living in New York City for the summer, and while it's great, food is expensive here. It's hard to spend a short three months enjoying a new city that has enough restaurants and bars to keep me busy for years while also trying to save money. Seated has made this a little more doable.

In one week, I used the app four times. One night I ate at Madame Mikettes. Two of us shared roasted Brussels sprouts, barbecue chicken spring rolls and a beautiful mussels mariniere, as well as a glass of South African cabernet for $53 before tax and tip. Here, we made $11 back.

My boyfriend then downloaded the app with my referral link and dined out, earning me $10. The following night we met up with friends for drinks at Greenwich Treehouse and spent $36 — earning $8 back.

In the one week, I spent $182 total, but also earned a Seated balance of $60. I redeemed half of that benefit to see a movie at the AMC cinema, for which I was rewarded $10, and kept the remaining $40 in my Seated balance.

Taking advantage of the extra promotions will help you get the most out of the app. By referring a friend, you get $10 when they make their first redemption with Seated. Even better, if you refer five friends that sign up you will reach “Partner Status.” That means you will make 5% of whatever Seated makes off those friends' purchases, forever. If you redeem rewards by a certain date, Seated may even offer you an extra $10 towards your balance.

Using the American Express Gold Card on dining purchases will earn you 4 points per dollar on the first $25,000 spent, and 1 point per dollar after that. TPG staff members have also successfully stacked their airline dining program rewards with rewards from Seated. That’s some pretty good reward value.

Featured photo by d3sign/Getty Images.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023