OpenTable Review 2023: Is Their Rewards Program Worth Using?Cash-Back Apps and Sites
- OpenTable Review
- Basics: OpenTable, known for its online restaurant reservation service, now allows you to earn points that can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, including discounts at your favorite restaurants.
- Pros: This free service is simple to use, awarding you points for eating out at restaurants if you make the reservation through OpenTable. There are a variety of rewards, including discounts on food, Amazon gift cards, and more.
- Cons: You can’t get direct cash back. And some of the possible awards, like magazine subscriptions, aren’t that appealing for modern consumers.
- NUMBER OF STORES:
- MINIMUM PAYOUT:
- PAYOUT OPTIONS:
Discounts, gift cards, magazine subscriptions
- WHAT'S UNIQUE?
Extra reward potential whenever you eat out.
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Our OpenTable review will cover everything you need to know about how to earn points you can redeem for various rewards — all by making a simple reservation.
What Is OpenTable?
OpenTable is an online dining reservation portal that has been around since 1998.
Working together with restaurants, OpenTable allows diners to make reservations at over 20,000 restaurants on their computer, phone, tablet, and more.
OpenTable’s reward program offers discounts and gift cards for making and completing restaurant reservations that are made through OpenTable.
Once enough points have been earned, diners can redeem them for discounts on a future reservation, gift cards, and a few other options.
The program is totally free, but is it useful? Read on to find out.
OpenTable At a Glance
|Number of Stores||20,000+|
|How to Earn Cash Back||Earn points per seated restaurant reservation.|
|Minimum Payout||1,000 points|
|Payout Options||Discounts, gift cards, and magazine subscriptions|
|In-Store Cash Back||Yes (all reservations are for in-person dining)|
|Customer Support||Live chat only|
How Does OpenTable Work?
OpenTable Rewards is a simple system that awards a fixed amount of points for simply making a reservation and completing it.
When you make a reservation via OpenTable — and then follow through by actually eating at the restaurant — you’ll earn 100 points.
Points should appear within seven days of the meal — there’s no extra step such as uploading a receipt.
Rewards can be redeemed once you have reached 1,000 points.
If you choose to redeem for a restaurant discount, it can only be used on a future reservation made through OpenTable’s rewards platform.
Users can also choose to donate their points to charity, get discounts on future hotel reservations, or redeem for an Amazon gift card.
Number of Stores
More than 20,000 restaurants across the U.S.
Ways to Earn Points
Earning points is simple on OpenTable.
Search for a place to eat, make a reservation, and head to the restaurant.
Once the host has marked your table as “seated” in the OpenTable system, the points will be added to the account of the person who made the reservation.
Most reservations will receive 100 points.
Certain restaurants will provide “bonus points” which will give users 1,000 points for making and completing their reservations.
OpenTable also has a partnership with Kayak. Booking a hotel through Kayak can earn you up to 10,000 OpenTable points, which is the equivalent of 100 standard reservations.
Seated, a much smaller competitor, is more similar to Rakuten in that users will receive a certain percentage of their bill back which can then be used for gift cards.
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Diners are not charged any fees for using OpenTable or the OpenTable rewards system.
Payouts (Minimums, Timing, Options, Bonuses)
Payouts are available once users have reached 1,000 points. However, users must have 2,000 points if they want to use them for money off of a future dining bill.
There is no waiting period to accrue points or to use them, although OpenTable states that some points may take up to seven days to appear in your account.
While there are no bonuses for using OpenTable for rewards, certain rewards have a higher point value than others. At time of writing, these were the reward opportunities as shown on OpenTable.
|1,000||$20 hotel discount|
|1,800||1-year magazine subscription|
|2,000||$40 hotel discount, $10-$25 restaurant discount, or $10 Amazon gift card|
|3,000||$60 hotel discount|
|3,600||2-year magazine subscription|
|4,000||$80 hotel discount|
|5,000||$25-$60 restaurant discount or $25 Amazon gift card|
|10,000||$50-$110 restaurant discount or $50 Amazon gift card|
|20,000||$100-$210 restaurant discount|
While OpenTable used to allow users to receive direct cash payments for their points, in 2018 they changed to the current no-cash system.
Note: If you want to redeem your points for a restaurant discount, you must first redeem the points for a Dining Reward, then use that reward to book the reservation and get your discount.
The discount you can get will vary depending on the restaurant you choose and the time you choose for your reservation.
Also, OpenTable will send you a reward card — basically, a pre-paid debit card — via email.
Your server must run this card at the exact reward amount to apply your full discount.
Platforms (Mobile App, Desktop Version, Browser Extension)
OpenTable is available to use as both a website and an app.
The app is available for both Android and Apple.
In practice, I personally found the website slightly easier to use.
On the app, you aren’t able to see as many reservation times, filter options, etc. Having the ability to see a large number of available reservations with one click makes the web browser an overall simpler experience.
That isn’t to say the app is bad.
When compared with the same search, the same results show up, just on a much smaller scale.
Navigating the app is simple and has a friendly interface that directs you right where you need to go.
Although OpenTable has the cash-back rewards feature, its main business is still reservations.
This means that unlike other cash-back companies like Rakuten, there isn’t a browser extension available.
In-Store Cash Back
Cash-back with OpenTable is only available in-store. Take-out is available on OpenTable, but there are no points or rewards associated with these orders.
There are no coupons available with OpenTable.
The only “bonus” you can receive is when certain restaurants boost their reservation point value to 1,000 over the standard 100.
There is no sign-up bonus for OpenTable.
Not only is there no referral bonus for OpenTable, but it appears there isn’t even the option for referrals.
The only way you can refer on OpenTable is if you are a restaurant owner referring other businesses to the company. Diners do not have the option to refer.
Related: Best Referral Programs to Make Money
Bonus Points from Kayak
While making and using reservations is the main way to earn points on OpenTable, there is also another way.
Making hotel reservations using Kayak.com can earn you bonus points.
When booking a hotel through Kayak, users can receive anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 bonus points after completing their stay.
Kayak states that over 400,000 hotels participate in the program, providing a wide range of options for earning extra points.
Offering only a live-chat option for support, OpenTable tries hard to guide you to the help section of their website to resolve your issues.
How Much Money Can You Make With OpenTable?
OpenTable points are not redeemable for cash.
If you intend to make this program worth your while you need to dine out frequently.
Most reservations earn just 100 points, and you need at least 2,000 points to earn the lowest possible $10-$25 restaurant discount.
It will likely take you 20 reservations to earn enough points for this minimum discount.
Your points can be worth more depending on what you redeem them for.
Hotel discounts seem to be the best bang for your buck when it comes to redemption value.
Here are the potential rewards for someone with 10,000 points.
|Redemption Category||What You Can Get for 10,000 Points||Cents Per Point|
|Hotel Discount||$200 total||2 cents per point|
|Restaurant Discount||$50 - $110 (depending on the restaurant)||.5 - 1.1 cents per point|
|Amazon Gift Card||$50||.5 cents per point|
|Magazine Subscription||5 years of subscriptions||Depends on the value of the magazine|
Is OpenTable Legit?
OpenTable is a legitimate company that has been doing business for over 20 years.
Personally, I’ve been using the website for years to make reservations and I haven’t experienced any issues with the reservations.
Many friends of mine have also been users of the rewards.
Number of Restaurants20,000+Dine-in only, not take-out.
Payout Minimum1,000 pointsPoints available immediately after purchase.
Payout OptionsDiscounts, gift cards, magazine subscriptionsHotel discounts have the highest value.
OpenTable Tips and Hacks
1) Use it whenever you eat out.
Making OpenTable worthwhile depends on how often you use it.
If you call and make a reservation, no points will be given.
If you walk in without a reservation, no points are given.
Be sure to make a reservation anytime you eat out — even if you do it right outside the restaurant.
2) Book hotels on Kayak.
OpenTable and Kayak are owned by the same company, and they have created a partnership benefitting users.
If you book a hotel stay through Kayak, you could earn anywhere from 1,000 – 10,000 bonus OpenTable points. That’s potentially equal to 100 regular reservations.
3) Take advantage of bonus points.
If a restaurant is experiencing a slow period, they may offer bonus points for a reservation.
This may be at an awkward time, such as a 5:30 dinner, but you will earn 1,000 points instead of the typical 100.
A few of these can really add up.
OpenTable Pros and Cons
- Plenty of Options: More and more restaurants are available on OpenTable every year. They state that over 20,000 restaurants participate in the rewards program.
- Simple Point Awards: A normal reservation will net you 100 points. A bonus points reservation will give you 1,000. It’s the same value every time.
- Variety of Redemption Options: You can redeem your rewards for a hotel discount, a restaurants discount, an Amazon gift card, or a magazine subscription. You can even donate your points to charity.
- No Cash: You can’t redeem your points for cash, only discounts or gift cards.
- Low Points Value: 20 normal reservations will only net you enough points for a $10 – $25 restaurant discount. Unless you eat out frequently it will take a while to get there.
- Clunky Redemption Process: To get your discount applied you have to bring a rewards card to the restaurant and have the server run it like a debit card as part of your payment.
- Added Steps to Dining: If you want points, you need to use OpenTable every time. No walk-ins, no phone reservations, and nothing direct with the restaurant.
- Not All Restaurants Use OpenTable. Local restaurants tend to be slower to adapt to new technology. This means some of your favorite spots may not be on OpenTable, giving you no points for dining there.
Alternatives to OpenTable
|Number of Stores|
|In-Store Cash Back|
Is OpenTable Worth It?
The OpenTable Rewards program is worth it if you dine out often and can remember to use it every time.
Who OpenTable Is Best For
In my opinion, frequent diners will receive the most benefit from the OpenTable Rewards program.
If you remember to make every reservation through the app, and occasionally take advantage of the bonus points offers, you will quickly see the points add up.
Frequent diners can also use OpenTable rewards as a way to stack points with their cash-back credit card.
Who OpenTable Is Not For
For people who don’t dine out often or prefer walking up to restaurants like myself, I’d say there’s almost no point in using the app.
It would probably take me half a year to earn enough rewards for a restaurant discount, and even then the discount is not very much.
The points will expire if you do not use them, it will take you 20 reservations to receive the smallest gift card available, meaning a lot of effort for little reward.
How to Use OpenTable (Step-by-Step)
Signing up for OpenTable is simple.
Step 1: Go to opentable.com and select the “Sign Up” button on the top right.
Step 2: Complete the information in the popup and click “create account”.
Step 3: Make a reservation.
You are automatically enrolled in the rewards program.
Note: When you make your reservation, ensure that you check the box asking if you want to earn points.
It seems that it is unchecked by default, a sneaky way to not give you points.
Final Thoughts on OpenTable
OpenTable has always been known for bringing online reservations to the masses.
Now with their rewards program, users can earn points for going somewhere they were already planning to.
In theory, the idea is great.
But in practice, some people may find that the length of time it takes to earn points can make redemption difficult.
Frequent diners will love the program, as the points are free and there is no minimum spend required.
If you can remember to use the app every time you go out, the potential for some good rewards and savings are definitely there.
Earn points toward discounts and gift cards whenever you book a restaurant reservation through OpenTable. There’s no fee to join and points accrue automatically.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which restaurants accept OpenTable dining rewards?
Only restaurants that accept OpenTable reservations accept OpenTable dining rewards.
The value of your discount will depend on the individual restaurant and the time you choose for your reservation.
- How do I know how much my OpenTable dining rewards are worth?
You must redeem your reward and look at the available reservations at the restaurant of your choice to see how much your reward discount will be.
- What if I forgot to use my reward at dinner?
If you forget to use your reward at dinner, contact OpenTable customer service.
The cards are valid for one year from the date of issuance, so you may be able to use the same card for a new reservation.
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.