If you like dining out, but hate trying to make a reservation, check out OpenTable.com. This is one of our favorite websites. Why? You simply type in the date and time you want to dine, number of people in your party and general location or neighborhood you want to dine in. Presto! The system tells you which restaurants have available tables. Talk about a time saver — and time is money — no waiting on hold or until the restaurant opens. OpenTable is available 24/7.
But what about the free dining, you ask? When you join OpenTable you create an account. Every time you make and honor online reservations through the system, points are awarded to your account. Most reservations net 100 points though some (typically at slow times when the restaurant wants to boost traffic) award 1,000 bonus points. Points can then be redeemed for OpenTable Dining Cheques which are mailed to your registered address. 2000 points nets a $20 check, 5,000 = $50, 10,000 = $100. Dining Cheques can be used at any OpenTable restaurant (note it expires 180 days from date of issue, so don’t redeem until you know you’ll use it). OpenTable now has more than 10,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico and parts of Europe. Use the system at home or when you travel. But remember to check your points every so often and redeem them. We can’t tell you how many smart folks utilize the service but forget about their rewards accounts.