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First Fridays got sweeter for Chase Sapphire Preferred card members, thanks to a new partnership with online reservation site OpenTable. According to company officials, Chase will begin offering three rewards points for every dollar spent on dining transactions during the first Friday of every month through the remainder of 2013.
According to a Chase Sapphire spokesman, the incentive is a "shot in the arm" for a restaurant industry still struggling to endure the effects of recession. Research from OpenTable and from the National Restaurant Association shows Americans dined out less at "reservation-taking restaurants" in 2012 compared to 2011. Early figures show that the decline could continue well into 2013.
In a statement to reporters, Chase spokesman Sean O'Reilly said that rewards credit card holders often show their passion for dining out through personal feedback and spending patterns. O'Reilly announced a new partnership with OpenTable that will help rank local restaurants based on cardholder spending, in addition to subjective rankings and reviews posted to the booking website.
Chase Sapphire has started making their own restaurant ratings available via their Facebook page, enabling cardholders to see how fellow diners have voted with their wallets. At launch, New York's most popular dining spots included Minetta Tavern and Bar Boulud. Los Angeles cardholders singled out Little Tokyo's The Spice Table and the The Farm of Beverly Hills. Philadelphia fan favorites Jamonera and Barbuzzo top that city's list.
The "First Friday Favorites" Facebook app doesn't require a Chase account, but offers an interesting perspective on restaurant picks. Unlike typical business credit cards or travel rewards cards, Chase Sapphire Preferred cuts across both spending categories. Therefore, the cardholder picks reflect both popular business lunch venues and decadent date night destinations.
In total, the app tracks at least ten top picks in each of 17 featured cities, with future rankings influenced by feedback and star ratings collected through the app itself. Company officials say the program and the app will run until the first week of December 2013.