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IDine questions

  • s

Has anyone used Idine? On the DC boards, our local alpha hound advocates it as a way of save 20% on meals out (during restaurant week, this is great). I was wondering what people's experiences were with Idine, how it worked, if they would recommend it, etc. Thanks.

Link: http://www.idine.com

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  1. g

    I use it as a partner with United Airlines, and it's been great for one reason: the great rate. Most airline mile partnerships (groceries, retail, phone) give you between 1 and 3 miles per dollar spent. Idine gives up to 10!. This means that if you can get a big group together and pick up the check ("I could use the cash!"), well, do the math: $500 tab = 5000 miles. Pretty sweet.

    1. My wife and I use the IDine plan that credits $$ back to the account that we charge the meal to. There are enough choices of restaurants in our area (Los Angeles) that we easily and quickly get our fee back. We have been members for a few years and have no intention of giving it up.

      1. I am innately suspicious of any program that individually tracks my habits.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Celeste


          Hear Hear!

          In colleges, they give out this huge book of coupons and stuff, which actually has some very decent restaurants that gave big discounts, free entrees, stuff like that. Its a small, very thick book, geared to the city or major area the college is in. I forget the name, but it came in handy for a few good meals on the cheap.

          1. re: Celeste

            That would apply to any credit card..says nothing about IDine..which is a good program as long as you are eating in restaurants you'd like to eat in any way..and through the 20% savings, make up for the cost of idine. In order to not be tracked as to your dining habits, you'd need to pay cash for all your meals.

          2. Have been using it for years. They are very timely in issuing the credits to my credit card. No coupons or anything you have to present to the waiter...just your credit card. Absolutely nothing wrong with getting 20% back and have been to some pretty more than decent restaurants in Manhattan and Long Island. Ask someone to give it to you as a gift and it will only cost $19 the first year!

            1. No problems whatsoever. Great program. Restaurants do change fairly frequently, and there are some restrictions on individual restaurants so be sure to check before you go if you're counting on the discount. With my MBNA Mastercard, there was an offer some years ago (when IDine was still Transmedia) for a free membership, and I've never paid for the program...don't know that you can still find that, but it's been wonderful for me.

              1. w
                Win (Boston)

                I get a free membership with my Globe (newspaper) subscription. I don't think much about it until I notice a credit on my credit card bill.

                No catch or gimmick that I've found. I'll also make a reservation through Open Table to get points too.

                Neither program influences my decision about where to eat, though I am of the opinion that participation in programs like IDine are often an early indication that the restaurant may be having a cash flow problem.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Win (Boston)

                  As I understand it, the way these programs work is that the restaurant gets a loan, then pays it back in food. . .somehow. So cash-flow problems would certainly relate.

                  1. re: JanetG

                    I think I just set some kind of record. I may be the ONLY person to ever be kicked out of the iDine program. They just sent me a letter saying so. It is over a page long, so I can't go into all the crap it says, but here are some highlights:

                    It is unfortunate that the same level of dining rewards cannot be supported today that you received when you joined in... [a century ago -- they think it was 1998, but it was way before that under other names before they inherited or bought their business from TransMedia, DiningAlaCard, RewardsNet or whatever it used to be].
                    We recognize that our structure doesn't appeal to everyone...
                    We are electing to terminate your iDine membership... [because]
                    Item 17... (iv) you engage in behavior we deem to be abusive to us...

                    The "behavior" they refer to are things I said about iDine in restaurant reviews, which the restaurants and possibly customers may be able to see. In the review questionaires, they clearly want me to rate their promotions or program as a reason for my patronizing participating restaurants. But if they don't like what I might say, then why did they ask me? Is iDine really that chicken-$#!T, or what?

                    You know what? #U@< 'em!

                    Pirate PaulĀ