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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.
- Register for Eat About Town via this link using your Marriott Bonvoy credentials
- Add one or more of your credit card numbers to your new Eat About Town account
- 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).
- Participating eateries can be found on the Eat About Town website (you can search by location).
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.
Between 2 October and 11 November 2019 all Marriott Bonvoy members will earn 8 Bonvoy Points per dollar at participating eateries.
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
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.
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.