I’m going to admit something. I’m not big on signing up for stuff, and it’s mainly because I hate giving too much information out to companies for fear that they’re either going to spam me with all sorts of stuff, get hacked or sell email addresses. This means I’m pretty choosy about everything I see and, for the most part, unless I think I’m going to legitimately get something out of it, like with travel rewards cards, I’m not going to bother with them.
Although this isn’t really a new concept, restaurant cards are seemingly starting to pop up all over the place. I’m someone who eats out a lot, no matter whether I’m home or on the road. I get a lot of offers for these types of cards, but I don’t sign up for a lot of them. Sometimes the deals are pretty good though, especially if you’re a consistent visitor. This begs the question as to whether restaurant cards are worth bothering to sign up for.
I like going to P.F. Chang’s a lot because they have this Mongolian beef dish that I just love. I mainly go for lunch because they give you the fried rice without having to pay more for it, unlike dinner where it’s considered a separate entree.
With their card, it’s 10 points per dollar, and you earn a free entree once you hit 2,000 points. That means for me, wince I mainly go for lunch, I’m earning around 13 points per visit, since they give you the points not counting tax. One night I took my wife and her friend out for dinner; that earned over 600 points towards my next meal.
Subway is another store that offers a pretty good deal. You earn points for whatever items you buy, and as you accumulate them you earn things like free chips, free drink, up to free sandwiches. You get a point for every dollar you spend, and since I’m there at least once a week with my mother (she craves these things) I usually end up spending $8 to $10 dollars with every visit. It takes 50 points to get a 6″ sub, 100 for a footlong; I can live with that.
The only thing is that with the Subway card you have to give them a lot more information than with the Chang’s card. At least they don’t ask for social security or a credit card, but they will ask for your date of birth and home address. Chang’s asks for the same things except address, but they’ll give you a free dessert on your birthday; that’s not depressing.
What this means overall is that if you’re working your way towards free meals or something else you like at a restaurant you visit often, it’s not costing you anything except a little bit of information. With Subway, you always have to swipe your card, whereas with Chang’s all you have to do is give them your phone number. This might be another consideration if you hate carrying around a lot of cards.
It’s something to seriously consider if you go somewhere often enough.