Dining for Dollars –
You can easily stuff your wallet while stuffing your face. The first way to get paid to eat and drink at restaurants and bars is through Rewards Network. The company bills themselves as, “The largest promotional program for the restaurant industry in the U.S..” You have probably never heard of them, but you may even already have an account with them and not even realize it because of their large partner network.
Do you have a dining rewards program for air miles, hotel points, or gas discounts? Rewards Network partners with almost every major US airline (even Spirit), Hilton & IHG hotel groups, Shell, and others. Earning rewards points or miles through some of the partners are not a bad deal, you can earn up to 5 Alaska Airlines points per dollar spent. Getting 1.8 cents per point (per The Points Guy June 2018 evaluation), puts a total return at 9 cents per dollar spent. That’s including cash back on tax and tip.
You have a better way available!
Get paid Cash with iDine –
Alright, not paper cash, but a cash equivalent with an American Express prepaid card. Rewards Network offers their own (not-partner) managed program called iDine where you earn up to 10% cash back eating out. That’s 10% back on the total amount paid to the restaurant or bar including your tip to the staff. And once you reach $20 in rewards, iDine sends out a prepaid American express card for your rewards balance automatically. You’ll begin earning the next card and just need to keep your address up to date.
iDine starts at a 5% earning rate, but once you spend over $750 in affiliated restaurants and bars during a calendar year you begin earning 10% cash back for the rest of the year and the following year. All you have to do to keep that 10% rate is continue to eat and drink at affiliated restaurants and bars. Some of my favorite local holes in the wall have been members of the program. I’m also often surprised after I’ve dropped into a bar for a bite to eat while traveling then get an email. And if you’re anything like me and spending over $7500 a year on bars and restaurants, these savings can really add up.
Easy Passive Earning –
Once you have signed up for iDine.com and know your local spots that are members of the program, you don’t really have to do any more work. You just go out and eat and wait to get paid. It’s really that easy, but cash back is just the start. Where this program really takes off is leveraging the cash back for your future.
When I go out, I expect to pay for my bill. My friends will hopefully give me cash to pay their bill on my credit card as well. “No separate checks” is music to my credit card’s ears. I may or may not be getting cash back from iDine or other services we’ll cover later, but that doesn’t play into my going out, the need to pay for my bill, or what I will order. Once I receive that prepaid American Express, I take a look at the dollar amount on it and I transfer that amount from my checking into my special Cash Back Investing account (yeah, more to come later on this too). Then, when it’s all done, I’ve spent money I was OK spending and I’ve received money back. I’ve earned money that is now out making money for me due to the magic of compound interest. Finally, I spend that cash back card on a low-value credit card spending category to minimize impact on other earning.
Earning dining rewards is about as easy as it gets. Register your credit card, providing Rewards Network access to your transaction data. Rewards Network then sells your anonymous data to advertisers and research firms just like your credit card company was doing anyway. Now you’re getting paid for your financial information instead of having it out there without a financial benefit. Register all your cards and make sure you’re always getting paid, investing your cash back, and building a future through going out to eat.