Update: OpenTable is reinstating expired points

Mar 26, 2021

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There’s nothing worse than logging into a loyalty program and finding your points missing. And we’re not talking about when your account is hacked, but rather when your points expire. It’s a cardinal rule of the points and miles world: “Thou shalt not allow thy rewards to expire.”

Well, that’s exactly what is happening with many OpenTable Rewards members recently. Despite a March 31 expiration date, many members were surprised to find their points had disappeared two weeks earlier. The good news is that Open Table is remedying the situation. TPG reader Charles got the following email after inquiring about his expired points:

Hello,

Due to an unexpected surge in email requests related to points expiration and redemption, response times are longer than usual. If you are receiving this email, please know that we have received your original inquiry and are ensuring that your points don’t expire on March 31st or that any recently expired points are reinstated. Given our current quantity of requests, it may take more than one week for us to process your request.

Once we have finalized processing your request, you will receive a confirmation email.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Cheers,
The OpenTable Support Team

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The OpenTable points expiration saga

Let’s take a step back and start with a quick refresher. Whenever you book and honor a dining reservation with OpenTable, you can earn 100 points for a standard reservation or 1,000 points for a bonus table. You can also earn up to 350 points for booking flights through Kayak and up to 10,000 points on hotel bookings. You can then redeem these points for Dining Rewards at OpenTable partner restaurants, Amazon gift cards, magazine subscriptions or discounts on hotels booked through Kayak.

Points expire three years from the end of the calendar quarter in which they were earned. The quarters end on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 of each year.

So, if you have any unredeemed points that were earned before March 31, 2018, you should have recently received one or more reminder emails from OpenTable that your points will expire on March 31, 2021. The email should have the subject line “Reminder: you have Dining points expiring.”

However, a number of members reported that their points had expired almost two weeks earlier.

 

While points are supposed to expire three years after they were earned, there’s a caveat. You must keep your account active by making (and honoring) a reservation once every 12 months; otherwise, you forfeit all of your points.

Due to the pandemic, many people haven’t dined out in more than a year. So their points began expiring earlier than expected. Since the reminder emails only listed the March 31 expiration dates, people thought that was the only date they had to worry about.

An OpenTable spokesperson confirmed to TPG that this is the reason members are noticing zero-point balances: “points expire after 12 months of inactivity and three years from issuance.”

Related: 12 restaurant loyalty programs that are worth joining

What you should do

If you’re among those who had their points expire, your best bet would be to reach out to OpenTable’s customer service team. They are reinstating points, even ones that have already expired. Just keep in mind that it may take a week or longer for your request to be processed.

If you have OpenTable points set to expire after March 31, your best bet would be to redeem them right away. Fortunately, there’s a variety of rewards that can be redeemed for use now or later.

Here’s how the redemption possibilities break down:

1,000 points 1,800 points 2,000 points 3,000 points 3,600 points 4,000 points 5,000 points 10,000 points
$20 Hotel Discount 1-Year Magazine Subscription $40 Hotel Discount

or

$10 – $25 Restaurant Discount

or

$10 Amazon Gift Card

$60 Hotel Discount 2-Year Magazine Subscription $80 Hotel Discount $25–$60 Restaurant Discount

or

$25 Amazon Gift Card

$50–$110 Restaurant Discount

or

$50 Amazon Gift Card

Related: Points are still expiring in the pandemic — How I just lost 48,000 of them

If your points aren’t expiring soon, but you didn’t make a reservation in a while, you should still redeem your points now if you don’t plan on dining out soon.

For the future, keep in mind that OpenTable isn’t the only program that rewards you for making restaurant reservations. For instance, you can get up to 30% back in rewards when you make reservations through the app Seated. Amex also previously ran a promotion where you could earn Membership Rewards points for using Resy. Finally, don’t forget to use a card that maximizes your spending on dining.

Featured photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

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