Wandering

Shell FuelRewards Dining Challenge!

Shell FuelRewards Dining Challenge!

When shopping at all, but especially dining, I try to get as much bang for my buck as possible.  To recap my frugal dining rules, which I’ve yet to actually post:

Dining Rewards Programs

A while ago, I belonged to a dining program calling iDine. It was a pretty good program back around the turn of the century, and then they started reducing their benefits substantially.  Combined with my traveling less for a few years and eating healthier, I just stopped participating.  Another interesting point to note was that I sent them to a “spam” email account, which resulted in my not reading their emails.  I didn’t want to waste my time reading about places they’d like me to go.  I preferred to choose not only where I went, but also how I spent my time.  They actually canceled my account because they demanded that their spam promotional emails be read.

Well, fast forward a decade or so, and I’m traveling again.  This time, however, blogging isn’t just a new thing, everyone and their dog has one.  But given that my blog has an “enjoy life, but frugally” theme to it, driving around seems to happen a lot.  I’m always filling up the MuffinWagon™.  I generally use GasBuddy to find the best gas prices, or fill up at CostCo, but sometimes, I just don’t have a lot of choices.  I’ve been filling up a lot at Shell, and thought I’d check into their new FuelRewards program, now that their FuelPerks program has died a bloody death.  And just today, I just got hassled at Winn-Dixie (where I hardly ever shop, because the shopping experience is generally unpleasant) because my old, “you don’t get the advertised price unless you carry our card” card was no longer their program, and new they’re doing this new “Plenti” thing.  So, how long until this new program is defunct?  Who knows…

After signing up with Plenti, so I could get my BOGO salsa, I bit the bullet and signed up for the new FuelRewards program, and researched a few restaurants to go to new week while traveling.

Then, in researching this blog post, I’ve discovered that the old iDine program is still around, as well as a few others flying the “rewardsnetwork” banner, such as:

I was really curious, at first, why the same restaurants were in FuelRewards as were in the Delta program, which triggered my research and here we are.  It’s all really one program.  So, I registered my cards with Fuel Rewards, Delta, and Plenti.   As soon as I registered with the second program, I got this lovely email:

You recently registered a credit or debit card which has been registered with another dining program administered by Rewards Network.  Credit and debit cards can only be registered in one dining program at a time.  As a result, you will no longer earn rewards through [the new program] when you dine and pay with this card.  Instead, you will earn rewards through the program you moved the card to.

While I’m a little confused, from that email, which program I am still registered with, its apparent that they don’t want you double-dipping.  And if you weren’t aware that you were, you’ll sure find out when you try.

The various programs break down like this.

  • iDine:  5% rebate up to $250 spent per year, 10% between $250 and $750 and 15% back on spending over $750, and unless they can prove you’re reading their spam, they kick you out.
    • $250 = $12.50
    • $500 = $37.50
    • $750 = $62.50
    • $1,000 = $100.00
  • FuelRewards: Earn 10¢ a gallon for every $50 you spend dining out, limited to 20 gallons per “fill up”, then you start over.  From reading the site, it seems there’s the same spam requirement.
  • Airline Miles: Read their spam and eat at RewardsNetwork restaurants 12x a year, you get 5 miles per dollar spent dining out.
  • Hotel Points: Read their spam and eat at RewardsNetwork restaurants 12x a year, you get 8 points per dollar spent dining out.

Overall, the miles program seems like the best deal, and you get your choice of a few participating airlines.  Right now, Delta is offering some pretty wicked bonuses for dining out and leaving a review:

For a limited time, join SkyMiles Dining and earn up to 3,000 bonus miles right out of the gate. Just sign up, register your credit and/or debit card, and Completing an online review of each restaurant within 30 days visit to earn bonus miles:

Earn 500 Bonus Miles by spending $30 or more at any participating restaurant.

Earn 1,000 Bonus Miles by spending $30 or more on your second participating restaurant.

Earn 1,500 Bonus Miles by spending $30 or more on your third participating restaurant.

Triple Whammy

Now, being a consultant who is compensated for meals while traveling, I get reimbursed for these meals.  However, by participating in the reward program, I get airline miles for these meals as well.  And finally, as a blogger documenting my experiences of enjoying life frugally, I get a chance to experience and document my experience of these places for free.

My challenge: To be able to find decent vegetarian food at these places, get the food for take out, and document the experience on the blog.

First week’s agenda:

Athens Kouzzina

Athens Kouzzina takes its name from the Greek word for “kitchen.” Thus, you can expect a homey setting enhanced by vibrant colors and an open kitchen. Here, guests are invited to watch their food being prepared using fresh meats, seafood and produce to deliver home-style cuisine served with plenty of hot-from-the-oven bread. The casual yet inviting setting creates a backdrop that works for family celebrations, date night, or a get-together with friends. Like the atmosphere, the food has a traditional Greek warmth about it that is exotic but still familiar.

Wayback Burgers

What started as a simple desire to offer quality, fresh (never frozen) burgers has grown into the franchise sensation that is Wayback Burgers. Once upon a time (way back when) burgers were made fresh to order and served in a comfortable restaurant that felt like home. Wayback Burgers is bringing that back and is the place you want to be when the craving for “a really good burger” hits. Whether you want to create your own or try one of their signature burgers — like the BBQ Crunch, Double Bacon, or Philly — you’ll get a fresh, hot, and delicious meal. Also on offer are house-made potato chips, all-beef hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, and fresh salads. And try to save room for one of Wayback Burgers’ milkshakes, because what goes better with a hot, tasty burger than something cold and creamy like a vanilla, chocolate, cafe mocha, or Oreo mud pie milkshake? Every month, Wayback Burgers rolls out a new burger and shake of the month, so there’s always something new to enjoy and keep you coming back for more!

Tilted Kilt

The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery does a lot of things right. It has perfected five things which you’ll find each and every time you visit: plenty of ice cold beer (48 Draft), an interesting and delicious menu, every possible sporting event on a bunch of TVs, a vibrant atmosphere, and finally, a staff that is friendly and always smiling. When you’re looking for any of those things AND a place with a terrific Happy Hour and live music, then this is the place for you! Start your meal with the TK Irish nachos; with fresh cooked crispy potato chips covered in cheese sauce, ground beef and tomatoes, you’ll fall in love with this starter which is great for sharing. Then, dive in to one of their tasty dishes like the classic Big Arse hamburger; this 8-ounce behemoth burger is juicy, tender and delicious. Irish pub favorites include the Olde Dublin Irish stew and shepherd pie. With so many great dishes from which to choose, you’ll just have to go back again and again to try them all, and remember, the kitchen is open until late every night so finding late night munchies is never hard! For a festive and vibrant ambiance and a place that has a knack for putting a smile on your face every time, check out The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery today!

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One of my key aspirations is to express my creativity through capturing the beauty of nature through photography and videography.  All of the photos on this site were taken by me, The Happy Camper.

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Because my wife and I still work for our wage slave masters, while I viciously attack the concept of such servitude in this medium, I will use a pen name and refrain from being directly visible in any of the photos or videos.  This is because “the man” isn’t terribly interested in having people work for them who aren’t in it for the “long haul.”  Just as companies can fire someone when it’s right for them, I reserve the right to quit my job when it’s right for me, and would prefer not to gain any unwanted attention from the overlords until then.

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