Join Marriott’s New Dining Program & Earn Bonvoy Points When You Eat Out


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A number of airline and hotel loyalty programs run dining programs that allow their members to earn bonus miles/points when they eat out (these are points earned in addition to any earnings they get from the credit cards they use) but, up until now, Marriott Bonvoy hasn’t been one of the participants.

Marriott’s new “Eat About Town” program changes all of that and Bonvoy members can now earn points towards a future stay just by eating out at a participating eatery.

Important To Know

  • The program is currently limited to US residents
  • The program is currently limited to participating locations in the US
  • If you attempt to access the Eat About Town website from outside of the US you’ll receive an error message – a VPN solves that issue 🙂

How Eat About Town Works

Eat About Town is based upon the same Rewards Network model as the dining programs offered by the likes of United and American and, because of this, the program comes with a limitation that I’ll discuss in a moment.

  1. Register for Eat About Town via this link using your Marriott Bonvoy credentials
  2. Add one or more of your credit card numbers to your new Eat About Town account
  3. Marriott Bonvoy Elites (Silver and higher) will earn 6 Bonvoy Points per dollar on spending at participating eateries when they pay with a credit card registered to the Eat About Town program (non-elites will earn 4 points/dollar).
  4. Participating eateries can be found on the Eat About Town website (you can search by location).

The Limitation

As I’ve already mentioned, a number of other loyalty programs also use the Rewards Network for their dining programs and you cannot have one credit card registered to more than one Rewards Network dining program.

What this means is that if you have credit cards already associated with, for example, United’s or American’s dining programs you’ll have to use a different card (or cards) with your Eat About Town account.

Introductory Offers

Offer 1

Between 2 October and 11 November 2019 all Marriott Bonvoy members will earn 8 Bonvoy Points per dollar at participating eateries.

Offer 2

Members who fulfill all the following criteria will earn 1,000 bonus Bonvoy points:

  • Create a new Eat About Town account and link a credit card by 15 January 2020 (23:59 Eastern Time)
  • Spend $30 in one dine at a participating establishment within 30 days of joining
  • Pay with a registered credit card

Thoughts

I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.6 cents each so the earnings on offer here (post the introductory period) represent a return of 3.6%…and that’s not all that great.

My AAdvantage Dining account offers me 3 miles/dollar I spend at participating locations (the same locations that Eat About Town offers) and I can boost those earings to 5 miles/dollar after I complete 11 eligible transactions though AAdvantage Dining in a calendar year.

That’s a return of between 3.6% and 5.2% on every dollar spent…and that’s with my very low caluation of AAdvantage Miles (1.2 cents each).

MileagePlus Dining offers a similar number of points per dollar (to AAdvantage Dining) so with United miles worth more than AAdvantage miles, this program’s returns are even better.

Bottom Line

It’s always good news to have a new way to earn bonus Marriott Bonvoy points but this isn’t a program that’s going to get too many people excited.

The people who will probably benefit from this program the most are those who struggle to keep their Marriott Bonvoy points balance alive (points expire after 24 months of inactivity) as now it will just take a transaction at an Eat About Town participating location to reset the clock on their accounts.

Everyone else will probably be better off earning a more valuable currency when they dine.

I’m probably going to register with Eat About Town to pick up the easy 1,000 points bonus but I can’t imagine that I’ll move away from using AAdvantage Dining as my primary dining program.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I’m glad to see that people on this thread are able to be critical without having their comments removed. Here’s what you can expect when you sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy Eat Around Town program, because it’s what happened to me:
    You’ll join the program online and add a linked credit card. You search the Marriott EAT web site for a “current participating” restaurant using city, state or zip code before you join because you’re looking for a specific restaurant in a specific city. The “current participating” restaurants on the EAT website will be listed. You’ll be excited to see a that the restaurant you enjoy is on the EAT list of “current participating” places. You’ll recheck the site a week before – and then again just TWO HOURS before – you dine there. The restaurant will STILL be on the Marriott EAT web site as a “current participating” business. Again, the participating restaurant *will be listed* on the Marriott Bonvoy EAT website each time you check – even two hours before you dine there.
    When you patron the restaurant, you’ll use your linked credit card. A week later, you’ll look in your account at the Marriott Bonvoy EAT website for a record of your dining experience, but it won’t be there. (The lure of joining the program is that you’ll receive 1000 bonus points if you spend $35+ at a “participating” restaurant listed on their site within 30 days of joining). When you see you did not receive credit for the dining experience, you’ll look at the EAT web site to see if somehow you were mistaken about the restaurant’s participation status (even though you KNOW the restaurant was on the list). You’ll find the restaurant STILL on the EAT website’s list of “current participating” businesses.
    Next, you will fill out a “Where are my missing rewards?” form on the Marriott EAT web site. Three days later, you’ll receive an email from the Marriott Bonvoy EAT program’s “help desk”. The email will state that the restaurant you dined in is not a “current participating” restaurant. You’ll be condescended to and will be told that you must not have checked to see which venues are “current” participants with the EAT program. The tone of the email will make you feel as if the “help desk” employee thinks you’re too dumb to confirm which restaurants are on their partnering list before you dine.
    You’ll write back to the Marriott Bonvoy EAT “help desk”, explaining that the restaurant you patronized was indeed listed on THEIR website as “current” and “participating” in the EAT program. You’ll say that you saw the restaurant on the EAT website upon joining the program, again a week before, again two hours before, and finally a week after your dining experience. You’ll ask the help desk if Marriott has pulled a “bait and switch” or if the EAT webmasters are incapable of maintaining accurate info on the website. You’ll indicate that you wouldn’t have bothered to fill out a missing rewards form if you weren’t 100% certain the restaurant you chose was on their partnership list.
    A day or so later, you’ll receive a Marriott Bonvoy EAT program “help desk” email response from the same person. She will tell you that she painstakingly searched through all of the current and former “participating” restaurants throughout the EAT program’s extensive database and that she learned that the restaurant you patronized had *NEVER* participated in the Marriott Bonvoy EAT program!
    You will go back to the EAT web site again to do a search of restaurants. You will see that now, three or four days *after* you filled out a form looking for your missing rewards, the restaurant in which you dined is suddenly no longer on the list of “current participating” restaurants! How convenient.
    I am neither delusional nor do I have dementia. I only wish I’d taken a screen shot of the restaurant listed when I saw it on the EAT web site just 2 hours before dining there. Now I have no proof that it ever appeared on the EAT web site.
    So, you will not get your rewards. You will be condescended to, will be made to feel like an inconvenience, and will be treated as if you fabricated everything you experienced.

  2. The EAT program does prevent your points from expiring! I just had 87 points applied to my account, but that did not reset my expiration date! I

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