One of the ways to earn frequent flyer miles is to eat out at restaurants that are part of ‘mileage dining’ programs run by Rewards Network. You pay with a credit card linked to your account, they scan and identify the charges, and reward you with miles.
Rewards Network, which offers this, used to be called iDine (and before that Transmedia). I first started earning miles for eating out when their program with United was only open to elite members. So the first thing I did when I made Premier status after college was register to earn miles at restaurants.
In 1997 I received an offer for 5000 bonus miles if I ate at (4) different restaurants during the promotion period. I scoured the terms and realized there was no minimum spend. I ate at a few restaurants any way, work expenses, and then drove by a participating Chinese restaurant and ordered a soda.
This same technique was being deployed to leverage the rewards program of a sandwich chain that has just gone under. (HT: Joe H.)
Taylor Gourmet, which some may know from its outpost at Washington’s National airport, has gone out of business. The DCA outpost is the only remaining Taylor Gourmet spot this week.
Quick update: The Taylor Gourmet at DCA is still open—for now. It's a licensing agreement, not a lease. MarketPlace Development, which runs the airport concessions, isn't sure its fate. Will probably have an answer tomorrow. https://t.co/vpmfWbP7u4
— Jessica Sidman (@jsidman) September 24, 2018
Some speculate that the reason for their fate was the owner’s visit to the Trump White House. Apparently sales spiked after the owner visited the Obama White House. More likely is that they expanded too rapidly and wound up with bad locations.
It’s unlikely that their overly rich rewards program led to their demise, bu DCist is now covering how you could spend $60 and get $250 in value: credits in the program were based on visits, and you earned a visit just for buying a soda or cookie and even for redeeming free items.
Downloading the app netted a person $5 off a regular-sized hoagie or salad on your first visit. With 15 visits in a year, a person became part of “Team Taylor” and scored a free regular-sized hoagie, salad, or cheesesteak. After 30 visits, the customer was deemed a “Hoagie Addict,” which translated to free Taylor Gourmet swag, plus a free starter on the first of each month for a year. A customer became an “Official Hoagie Head” after 60 visits in a year, scoring a free catered party for 10. Taylor would sprinkle extra perks throughout the year as well.
The company was aware of this. Their response? “If people want to hack through and get cookies, that’s fine.”
I was right by a Taylor Gourmet when I lived in Arlington. Their sandwiches were pretty good. And so was their rewards program.