Almost every travel-related company did something to extend the expiration of points during the coronavirus lockdown. The duration of the extension and how programs forced IT systems to keep points active varied greatly. Wyndham Rewards extended points a little bit at a time. Hawaiian Airlines had the best system of extending member accounts. Hertz made you click on a link located in an email to keep your points, and this was before they declared bankruptcy.
If all of these companies decided to extend the life of points in their loyalty programs, which ones didn’t make any changes? Restaurant loyalty programs, that’s who.
During the shutdown, there was a huge movement to support local restaurants. Most of them don’t have a substantial operating budget and losing 50% to 75% of their revenue spelled disaster. While these small establishments tried to innovate and survive, major chain restaurants leveraged their digital platforms, offering to-go meals and extending partnerships with delivery services. They were already better positioned to weather a financial crunch through access to lines of credit from the major banks.
I guess that’s why the restaurant chains didn’t feel a need to extend rewards earned in their loyalty programs.
I realized this when I got home from work one night and Sharon decided she didn’t feel like cooking. I was understanding as she’s cooked 90% of our meals over the last 4 months. She wanted a salad and I wanted a burger, so we ordered from one of our favorite local places, BJ’s Brewhouse. Under normal circumstances, it’s our go-to late-night option. We earn enough points in the loyalty program to get $10 off every few months.
Apparently, with our last take-order in April, I earned a $10 reward. Good thing we decided to get take out again because my reward was due to expire at the end of July. BJ’s rewards are only good for 90 days after being issued.
This led me to check out our other accounts. Another of our other semi-regular locations to visit is Outback Steakhouse. Their Dine Rewards program offers up to $20 back after 3 visits in 6 months.
To show how much we’re eating out, our last visit was in February. That doesn’t mean we haven’t had steak since then, but just that the only ones we’ve had were cooked by me on the backyard grill.
Panera Bread’s MyPanera rewards usually expire after a month of earning them. Awards earned during the lockdown were no different.
The only program I’ve had no problem keeping active is Starbucks Rewards. Besides earning tons of stars during the lockdown, I’ve been receiving a constant stream of easy to obtain bonus offers over the past month.
I’d suggest looking at any dining loyalty program you used before being cooped up and make sure you don’t have any rewards sitting in your account waiting to be redeemed. Now that we’re able to go outside more, you might be able to use them even if you’re not willing to sit inside a restaurant.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and get emailed notifications of when we post. Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group – we have 14,000+ members and we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary