It’s time to take inventory of your OpenTable Dining Points.
Most of us have used OpenTable to book at least one online restaurant reservation. But how many of us have actually used our OpenTable Dining Points? Or perhaps the real question should be, “How many of us even know that we have OpenTable Dining Points?”
Well, you might want to take stock, because on Thursday morning, the restaurant reservation platform announced that its Dining Points can now be redeemed for discounts on hotel stays booked through Kayak.
But let’s start with a quick refresher: OpenTable members earn Dining Points every time they make and honor a dining reservation booked with participating restaurants. Until now, those points could be redeemed for either Dining Rewards at more than 20,000 OpenTable partner restaurants, or for Amazon gift cards.
And starting today, you can convert Dining Points into discounts on your next hotel reservation through Kayak. With more than 400,000 participating hotels, we think you’ll be able to find something that suits your travel needs.
Redeeming Dining Points for Kayak Hotel Savings
Unlike OpenTable Rewards Cards and Amazon gift cards, Kayak credit redemptions takes place directly through the booking site. And in many cases, redeeming Dining Points for Kayak reservations may well prove to be more valuable than redemptions for either OpenTable or Amazon.
That’s because 2,000 Dining Points are worth a $40 discount on hotel bookings, effectively a 2.0 cent valuation per point. OpenTable Rewards, on the other hand, are worth $10 to $25 per 2,000 Dining Points (depending on the merchant). That’s a value of 0.5 to 1.25 cents per point. Amazon gift cards represent the poorest value at $10 per 2,000 Dining Points, or 0.5 cents per point.
Here’s a look at the conversation rate for Dining Points redeemed through Kayak:
1,000 Dining Points
2,000 Dining Points
5,000 Dining Points
10,000 Dining Points
How It Works
Let’s say I want to find a hotel in Austin toward the end of January. First, I’ll go to opentable.kayak.com and log in to my OpenTable account through the button at the top right corner. Once that’s complete, I’ll search for the hotel I want. In this case, I’m selecting the Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown:As I scroll down toward the bottom of the page, I can see the various room options available. But in addition to the nightly rate for each room, there are several discount options available for me as well. Since I only have 4,500 OpenTable points in my account as of today, I am only eligible for the first two tiers of savings ($20 and $40), although I can clearly see how much I would save at higher tiers. On the final page, before I confirm my booking, I can see the rates again with my discount clearly marked. Once at the top of the page as a summary:And again on the same page, down by the payment section. I noticed that the booking site does not show me a breakdown of the taxes and additional fees, so I don’t get the visual satisfaction of seeing the higher price with my $40 savings subtracted: Though savings start at $20 for 1,000 points, travelers must be based in the US and have at least 2,000 points to take advantage. Redemptions are also limited to 10,000 points (up to $200).
Future OpenTable Points Redemptions
In a statement, OpenTable’s chief technology officer, Joseph Essas, said this is just the “first of several additional ways that OpenTable users will be able to redeem their Dining Points,” with “more options … rolling out [in] the near future …”
OpenTable and Kayak are both part of Booking Holdings, Inc., the parent company that also owns Booking.com, Agoda, Priceline and Rentalcars.com. It’s very possible that those forthcoming redemption options could include discounts on rental cars or even flights.
The Bottom Line
If you’re already daydreaming of your next discounted getaway, this is the perfect opportunity to explore boutique properties that don’t fall under a larger hotel brand portfolio (sorry, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown). Most hotel chains do not award points for reservations booked through online travel agencies such as Kayak, and they rarely allow OTA bookings to count toward elite status qualification.
And even if you have status with the hotel, you may not be able to enjoy those benefits on OTA bookings. However, it never hurts to nicely ask at the front desk when you check in, just to see what they can do.
You’ll also want to compare Kayak’s rates to the ones you’d get by booking directly with the selected property. Many will offer members-only discounts, or you could leverage programs such as AAA or AARP to open up even lower rates. There’s no sense in using your OpenTable points to cut the price of a stay by $20 when you could get that same discount on the property’s website.
If you do decide to redeem your Dining Points for a hotel stay booked through Kayak, don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on travel-related purchases to maximize your earnings. Some noteworthy considerations include the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x), the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (3x) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x). You could also look to a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which will earn you double miles on all purchases but also allow you to “erase” travel purchases by using your miles for statement credits.
Featured photo courtesy of Shangri-La Singapore.