It’s hard to find rewards programs that don’t entail some sort of catch. Whether it’s an enrollment or anniversary fee, blackout dates, or incessant spam, there seems to always be something. I’ve yet to find such a catch during my year long utilization of Southwest Airline’s auxiliary program, Rapid Rewards Dining.
With Rapid Rewards Dining, you are awarded RR (Rapid Rewards) points based on your bill total at participating restaurants. Every time you dine at a Rewards Network restaurant, 3 points per every dollar spent will be added to your RR account. I guess that’s the only catch- you have to have a RR account with Southwest. It’s free though, so we can’t really complain now, can we?
If you have a RR account, you must sign up for RR Dining separately; it’s not automatically included. Once you do, you provide at least one credit or debit card, which they’ll use to track your spending. I’m not much of an online security expert, but in the year I have had an account, I have yet to have any problems. During sign up, you’ll link your dining and RR account so that the points can be transferred.
One of the great things about the program is that you don’t have to tell anyone at the restaurant you’re using it. You simply pay using the card linked to your account. Some restaurants, very few I might add, have restrictions about the days in which you are awarded points, but most offer them five days a week. You’ll be able to see this information when you search for local restaurants on the RR Dining search page.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t typically fly with Southwest, you can use RR points for quite a lot more than just flights. Anything from hotel stays, car rentals, and gift cards are available for purchase with your RR points. Also, RR Dining currently has a sign up bonus for new accounts. You’ll receive 750 points for your first $25 dining transaction. That’s comparable to the amount of points one would receive on a lengthy round-trip flight.
I’ve been able to rack up quite a few points doing something I already do. It’s also a good way to check out new restaurants and neighborhoods. An added bonus is when you find out one of your favorites is already on the list. Dick O’ Dow’s in Birmingham, MI is a favorite local pub of mine. It’s nice enough getting a couple pints of Guiness, but being rewarded for it makes even better.
You can check out the program at http://www.rapidrewardsdining.com/