Capital One teams up with OpenTable to give cardholders exclusive access to top restaurants

Nov 19, 2019

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Capital One is teaming up with the online reservations service OpenTable to give cardholders exclusive access to hard-to-get reservations. Starting Nov. 19, 2019, select restaurants across more than 15 U.S. cities will allocate tables during prime dining times as Premium Access reservations, available only to Capital One credit cardholders.

(Photo courtesy of Capital One and OpenTable)

“We know that coming across a 7 p.m. Saturday night reservation at the hotspot can sometimes feel impossible. Now, there’s a way to get those reservations without scouring our site or planning months in advance,” said Debby Soo, Chief Commercial Officer at OpenTable. “By partnering with Capital One, we’re able to offer their credit cardholders Premium Access to coveted reservations all while introducing our restaurant partners to new diners.”

Related reading: The best credit cards for restaurants and dining out

This program will essentially open up more tables for reservations during a participating restaurant’s busiest times. For example, Atrium in Los Angeles is already on OpenTable and allocates a certain number of tables at certain time slots each night. But those time slots are quickly filled during the weekends, especially between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Premium Access adds more availability during those busiest times that only Capital One cardholders will be able to book.

To book a Premium Access reservation, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of the OpenTable app downloaded.
  2. Find the “Premium Access” carousel on the home screen or visit in your browser to check out participating restaurants.
  3. Click “Verify Capital One Card” near the bottom of the screen to unlock the table.
  4. Book your table for two or four during prime dining times.

Premium Access will initially launch in a select number of cities and restaurants, although OpenTable did confirm that they are planning to expand into new cities and with more participating restaurants in the future. I looked through the list of participating restaurants and was pleasantly surprised by the selection. According to the OpenTable landing page for the partnership, 218 restaurants will be participating. Unsurprisingly, the list is mostly limited to major U.S. cities, including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. However, there are a few options in Savannah, Ga., Richmond, Va., and in smaller towns surrounding the Boston metropolitan area.

Related reading: Maximizing restaurant spending with dining rewards programs

In order to participate in the Premium Access program, restaurants were required to commit a minimum number of tables for three days each week: Friday, Saturday and one other day the restaurant deems as one of its busiest days. The minimum number of tables required varies by city, which means there isn’t a guarantee that there will be available reservations even for Premium Access cardholders.

Unfortunately, this new perk for Capital One cardholders will not help with same-day reservations. Premium Access reservations are only available up until 24 hours in advance of your desired reservation time. If you know you want a primetime reservation spot at a Premium Access location, I suggest logging on to book your reservation as early as possible to ensure you get a table. Keep in mind that you can only book tables for two or four people, so this tool won’t help larger groups.

Bottom line

This isn’t a jaw-dropping new perk for cardholders, but it is a nice benefit if you go out to eat often and live in one of the Premium Access cities. If you have the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, Premium Access will give you more opportunities to earn 4% and 3% cash back respectively at some of the most popular restaurants in participating cities. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to use your Capital One card to pay for your meal in order to benefit from the Premium Access program. You just have to verify you are a cardholder. This means non-Savor cardholders can book a Premium Access reservation and then use a different card that earns dining rewards at restaurants (such as the American Express® Gold Card) at the restaurant.

The information for the Capital One Savor card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Unfortunately, OpenTable is planning on rolling out the Premium Access program to VIP diners starting in January 2020. Qualifying diners will be able to redeem OpenTable Dining Points to book Premium Access reservations. Though Capital One cardholders will continue to have access without needing to redeem Dining Points, this means more competition for those coveted primetime reservation slots. However, throughout the rest of 2019, Capital One cardholders will have this new benefit all to ourselves.

Featured image photo courtesy of Getty images.

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