Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
If you’re going to dine out, you might as well earn lots of points and miles. Using one of the best credit cards for dining is a good start, along with joining restaurant loyalty programs. But you can earn even more points and miles by enrolling in a dining rewards program and then dining at participating restaurants, clubs and bars.
This month, the Eat Around Town by Marriott Bonvoy program is a particularly compelling option because all members will earn 8 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar, and there’s also a new member bonus. Here’s what you need to know about Marriott’s Eat Around Town program.
How to join Marriott’s Eat Around Town dining rewards program
The Eat Around Town by Marriott Bonvoy program is free to join. Go to the Eat Around Town website, where you may see a new member bonus. For example, if you enroll and link an eligible credit or debit card to your account by Dec. 31, you can earn up to 6,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points during your first 60 days in addition to the points you’d normally earn.
To join Eat Around Town, click “Join Now” and sign in to your Marriott Bonvoy account. Once you sign in, Marriott will pre-fill your email address and ZIP code in a form. Check the terms and conditions box and click “Join Eat Around Town” to move to the next step.
Next, you must link at least one credit or debit card to your account. Ideally, it should be a card that earns bonus points on dining. Use this card when dining at participating restaurants, bars and clubs to earn extra Marriott Bonvoy points through Eat Around Town. If you use a debit card, you must request that it be processed as credit. That way, the transaction qualifies for earning points with Eat Around Town.
How to earn points with Marriott’s Eat Around Town dining rewards program
Members earn points with the Eat Around Town dining rewards program when using an enrolled card at eligible restaurants, bars and clubs. Simply register a credit card (preferably one that earns bonus points on dining) and use it at a participating restaurant. You can search for eligible locations on the Eat Around Town website.
How many points you earn through Eat Around Town typically depends on your Marriott Bonvoy elite status:
- 4 points per dollar spent for Marriott Bonvoy members without elite status.
- 6 points per dollar spent for Marriott Bonvoy elite members.
But Marriott frequently offers promotions that may allow you to earn more points when you dine. For example, throughout October, all members will earn 8 points per dollar spent. Plus, thanks to the Frequent Diner bonus, you can earn an extra 1,000 bonus points every time you complete 10 eligible dines of $30 or more through Dec. 31.
You’ll usually need to opt in to receive Eat Around Town emails to earn bonus points through promotions. And you can usually only earn bonus points on one bonus-qualifying visit per restaurant per day. Your Eat Around Town account will expire if you don’t earn rewards for 36 consecutive months.
You should allow one to two weeks after dining for points to appear in your Marriott Bonvoy account. And bonus points from promotions can take even longer to reach your Marriott Bonvoy account. So, while the Eat Around Town program is an easy way to earn Marriott points, it isn’t a quick way to top off your Marriott Bonvoy account for an upcoming redemption.
Cards to use with Marriott Eat Around Town
You can enroll almost any credit or debit card in the Eat Around Town by Marriott Bonvoy program. However, you’ll want to enroll one or more of your best credit cards for dining to maximize your earnings. Here are some cards to consider:
- American Express® Gold Card: Earn 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining.
- American Express® Green Card: Earn 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S
The information for the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
To earn even more Marriott Bonvoy points, you may want to enroll a Marriott Bonvoy credit card in the program. You’ll earn Marriott Bonvoy points from your credit card and the Eat Around Town program if you do so. Specifically, you may want to consider the following Marriott cards:
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Earn 4 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at restaurants.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 4 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on up to $15,000 in combined purchases each calendar year at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (then 2 points per dollar spent).
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on the first $6,000 in combined purchases each calendar year on grocery stores, gas stations and dining.
Of course, the rates listed above are what you’d earn from spending on your credit card. You’d also earn Marriott points from the Eat Around Town program when you dine at participating locations.
Is Marriott’s Eat Around Town dining rewards program worth it?
Even if you live in an area with few participating restaurants, it’s usually worth enrolling in a dining rewards program. After all, registering doesn’t take long, and you may periodically pick up some bonus points.
However, you can only enroll each card in one Rewards Network-operated dining rewards program at a time. So, the more critical question is whether Marriott’s Eat Around Town dining rewards program is best for you.
After all, many other loyalty programs have dining rewards programs. And some of these programs may give you a more significant spending return. Here are some of the other popular dining rewards programs:
- Hotels: Hilton Honors Dining, IHG One Rewards Dine & Earn and Choice Privileges Eat and Earn.
- Airlines: American AAdvantage Dining, United MileagePlus Dining, Delta SkyMiles Dining, Alaska Mileage Plan Dining, Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining, JetBlue TrueBlue Dining and Free Spirit Dining.
- Transferable rewards programs: Bilt Dining.
Marriott’s Eat Around Town program differs from most other dining rewards programs in one crucial way: Most programs base your earning rate on how often you dine with the program and whether you’ve opted in to receive emails. But Eat Around Town usually bases your earning rate on your Marriott Bonvoy elite status (although this October, all members will earn the same). So, if you have elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott’s Eat Around Town program may be your best option.
Since you can only enroll each card in one Rewards Network dining rewards program, it’s essential to determine which dining rewards program is best for you. Marriott’s Eat Around Town program is particularly appealing to Marriott members with Bonvoy elite status, as these members earn at the highest rate regardless of how frequently they use the program.