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We tested Chase Dining for Valentine's Day -- and earning 10x points wasn't even the best part

Feb. 13, 2022
8 min read
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As Valentine’s Day approached this year, my husband and I realized we hadn’t had a proper date night out in … a long time.

Normally, we aren’t really red roses or Valentine’s Day kind of people, but with omicron cases on the decline, and grandparents now at the ready to watch the kids for a few hours, a Valentine’s weekend dinner out seemed like the perfect excuse to break the very long streak of staying in.

Having not really been out much locally in quite a while, on a whim, I fired up the Chase Dining site.

I was not expecting much of anything to be available in our wooded suburb of Houston, but since I’d heard good things about the options on the site — and since I had an appetite for earning 10 points per dollar in the program via my Chase Sapphire Reserve — I took a peek.

The results shocked me.

On Chase Dining eligible for 10 points per dollar was a five-course Valentine’s Day meal in an adorable, updated barn just 30 - 40 minutes away at a place I had never heard of before.

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(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

We quickly booked the dinner and eagerly counted down to a much anticipated night out.

If you are in need of a nice meal out or even a last-minute Valentine's Day plan that will also earn you a whole bunch of valuable Ultimate Rewards points, here's what you need to know and why the bonus points weren't even the best part.

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Chase Dining details

About a year ago, Chase Dining (which is powered by Tock) was introduced with a temporary benefit of 10 points per dollar on up to $500 spent. It's available on the Chase site and as of a few months ago, those with a Chase Sapphire Reserve now get 10 points per dollar on eligible Chase Dining bookings on an ongoing basis.

To be eligible, the reservation must be prepaid within the Chase Dining site. If you spend additional money directly with the restaurant, it is not eligible for the 10 points per dollar bonus.

You can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for prepaid reservations via Chase Dining. Until March 31, points from the Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents per dollar when used in this way.

If you haven't explored Chase Dining yet, there is a wide variety of mostly higher-end restaurants available for reservation, take-out and delivery. Not surprisingly, big cities have more options than those of us in the 'burbs, but as I found out in my test, it's still worth a look.

In early-2021, TPG's NYC-based reporter Benji Stawski tested the then-new service out on a fancy meal delivery, but it was time for a new test now that the 10x benefit is ongoing and more folks are venturing for meals inside restaurants.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Our 10x night out with Chase Dining

While searching for options, much to my surprise, in a nearby city with a population of just 8,000 people, was a Chase Dining restaurant that not only looked amazing but would also be eligible for earning 10 points per dollar. That's about a 20 cent per dollar spent return if you value Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, as TPG does.

There on Chase Dining was the Historic Hill House and Farm in Cleveland, Texas, with an opening for the weekend before Valentine's Day with a special five-course meal and available wine pairing. Despite having lived nearby for most of my life, I'd never heard of this spot that they say dates back over 130 years.

It has not only an ever-rotating menu of chef-created meals that you can enjoy in the barn, but it also has overnight accommodations, a stocked pond, a swimming pool and more.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

That all caught my attention, but for now, let's just focus on the food, since that's all we got to enjoy on this first -- but likely not last -- trip to the Historic Hill House.

This decadent meal for Valentine's weekend wasn't cheap at $135 per adult for the food and we added one wine pairing to share at $75. For what it's worth, that's higher than their normal non-Valentine dinner price and much higher than their Sunday brunches.

(Photo courtesy of Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

But all in for this meal, with an included 20% service fee, it came to $439.77. That should earn 4,397 Ultimate Rewards points worth about $88 when all is said and done. The points were great since that's more than three times as many points normally earned on dining with this case -- but the points didn't turn out to be the best part of the deal.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

When we got there, there were about six other parties also waiting in the barn from the 1840s for the 6 p.m. seating. This is an intimate setting and everyone is seated at about the same time and eats from the same set menu. Before the meal, there was a little extra time to spend either at the cozy bar or to sit near the wood-burning fireplace.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Once the meal started, I was just in constant disbelief that something like that existed so close to home and I wouldn't have ever known if I hadn't been fishing online for somewhere I could earn bonus points for dinner.

Over the course of about an hour and forty-five minutes, the meal went from a starter of Gulf shrimp and corn fritters, to an insanely good red pepper and heirloom tomato bisque, to a salad that was truly worthy of its own course, onto the main course of an aged NY strip with garlic butter and a finale of chocolate and caramel.

If it's possible for a dinner to be 'worth' $135, this one was.

The innkeeper, Sara, came by a few times during dinner to check in on us and we got to talking about how we found the restaurant. She laughed saying she's not sure how they ended up on Chase Dining, but that at least 30 - 40 different people have told her that's how they ended up there, too.

After all of that decadence, I was stuffed, feeling the effects of the wine pairing (and thankfully not the one driving us home) and already mentally planning our next trip out to this special place.

Related: 3 road trips you can take from Houston in 4 hours or less

Bottom line

While I initially looked to Chase Dining for a way to just earn some bonus points while eating out using my Sapphire Reserve, it turned out that the site opened my eyes to an incredible spot close to home that I otherwise would have continued to miss.

It's fun to find hidden gems while on vacation, but it's even sweeter when they are just a town or two away.

In fact, we loved this experience so much, we already have a family brunch reservation booked to return. For that one, we redeemed 8,483 Ultimate Rewards points for our family of four and we won't have any out-of-pocket expenses.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

I'm not sure if it is possible to top our first-time-in-forever Valentine's-themed dinner out at the Historic Hill House, but we're more than happy to try our hand at a follow-up brunch visit courtesy of our points and find out for sure.

Either way, while the bonus points were sweet, finding a new favorite spot was an even sweeter surprise.

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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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
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
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees