Chase just announced a bonus spending category for Sapphire cardholders. It was reported by many outlets that Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred cardholders will earn 10X Ultimate Rewards points on purchases made at the Chase Dining website.
To start, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the Chase Dining website. You can get there directly or by going through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. There’s a new tab for “Dining.”
The first thing I did was look to find details of the offer on Chase’s website. Nothing on the Dining site, even though you need to be logged into your Chase account to get there. I searched card benefits and no mention of a 10X bonus there either. I even Googled “Chase dining Sapphire 10x.” While I found several posts about the offer, none of them were from Chase directly.
I’m not saying the offer isn’t true. Way too many major websites are reporting it to think otherwise. The Chase Ultimate Rewards PR department most likely shared the news for release to the public. Personally, I dislike when offers are launched this way, and not just because I’m not on the list to receive news updates. It’s more because if I’m going to start spending on a card to earn bonus points, I want to point to something in writing if those points don’t show up in my account. Saying that “Website X” said this was true is shaky footing to base a complaint about missing points.
Back to the offer itself. How valuable is it?
The most important thing to realize about the 10X offer is that it IS NOT a bonus on all dining expenses. Only charges made through the Chase Dining Portal are eligible. How do you go about prepaying for dinner?
Chase uses the reservation service Tock to run the dining portion of the website. Tock is not your typical dining reservation website like OpenTable or Resy (which was recently acquired by American Express.) Tock is more of a boutique dining portal that doesn’t focus on reservations but on prepaid dining experiences and its newly launched takeaway business. Chase and Tock have been partners since 2018.
When looking at the Chase Dining website, you’ll see options for reservations, pre-paid reservations, and delivery. Beware that the Tock search interface is clunky. You need to input a day and time for your search and only selections available on that day will show up. When I searched for Orlando, there are only eight options.
Of the options, three of them only offered to-go boxes of wine or cocktails on certain days of the week. Another one lets you make a reservation but not pay online.
There were some options for pre-paid dinners. A local sushi restaurant sells a sushi tasting for $75 and an Omakase dinner for $200 per person.
Notice that you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards to pay for bookings on the Chase Dining site. I was logged in with my Sapphire Reserve so I was getting 1.5 cents per point value (same as if I redeemed for travel).
I thought that maybe if I searched a bigger city, there’d be more choices. What about somewhere known for food? New Orleans.
Nine results. Only four of them offer prepaid dinner packages or takeaway.
At the moment, it looks as if Tock has focused on major cities like:
- Chicago – 289 results
- Los Angeles -128 results
- Washington D.C. – 94 results
- New York City – 52 results
But go down the list and the choices are sparse.
- Atlanta – 10 results
- Boston – 10 results
- Buffalo – 8 results
- Honolulu – 3 results
- Dallas-Fort Worth – 2 results
- Houston – 1 result
Keep in mind that these are the number of participating restaurants, some of which are only listed to make reservations and not eligible for the bonus points. Others only make available a limited menu or have offerings a few days per week.
After doing some research, I’m starting to understand why Chase isn’t making a big deal about this 10X promotion. The limited amount of eligible locations except for a few major cities makes it useless to most cardholders. Also, the idea of pre-paying for a dinner reservation is new to most people. The only exception is if you’re going to a special event, like a wine tasting dinner.
This bonus offer reminds me of when American Express gave a statement credit on AWAY luggage as part of the AMEX Green card signup bonus. It was a niche promotion and great for those who can take advantage of it. For the rest of us, take a quick peek and move along.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary