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How to earn IHG Rewards Club points with OpenTable restaurant bookings

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If you’re booking a restaurant – even a casual dining one – over Christmas and New Year, remember that you can earn IHG Rewards Club points when you book restaurants online.

I used this myself yesterday for a short notice Sunday lunch booking, and realised we hadn’t mentioned it for ages.  It was an easy 150 points.

The IHG service is a white label version of OpenTable and most of the restaurants which appears there should be bookable.

However, it appears that restaurants which require a credit card deposit, or the submission of a credit card number, in order to book are not available.

Via this page of the IHG website, you can make restaurant reservations globally.

The majority of restaurants offer 150 IHG Rewards Club points per booking, but you get 500 points if it is the first time you have used the service.

IHG Rewards Club OpenTable restaurant bookings

This clearly isn’t the deal of the century – I would value 150 IHG Rewards Club points at around 60p!  The ‘first user’ deal is more worthwhile with the 500 points being worth around £2.

If you have multiple people with IHG accounts in your household, you can change the lead name on the booking each time to get multiple ‘first user’ bonuses between you.

One upside is that the points count towards IHG Rewards Club status.  I can also say, from my own previous experience, that they post promptly. (EDIT: The points for the Sunday reservation I mentioned above posted on the following Thursday.)

You can book here.

PS.  One interesting quirk is that many hotel restaurants, IHG and non-IHG, appear on OpenTable.  If you have a hotel stay lined up and know you will be eating in the hotel, why not book your table via OpenTable in advance?


IHG Rewards update – September 2021:

Get bonus points: IHG Rewards is not currently running a global promotion.

New to IHG Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards points, you can buy them here.

You will receive a mystery bonus, usually 100%, when you buy IHG Rewards points by 8th October 2021.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (36)

  • David says:

    Have you heard anything more about the link up of IHG and Mr and Mrs smith and when the remainder of their hotels will become available to book?

  • Genghis says:

    It’s interesting how the first use points are valued at 0.6p ea (£3 / 500) but the ongoing ones at 0.4p (60p / 150).

    Perhaps the first use points should be valued around £2?

  • Ken says:

    Or maybe help restaurants survive by booking direct rather than add to their costs for what is a few measly points.

    • DV says:

      Restaurants are using Open Table during coronavirus to manage and record bookings. My local restaurants have all switched to it, or to another online reservation system, for this reason.

      • Axel says:

        Yes and they are losing about 6% of revenue or a flat fee for this.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          That’s their choice.

        • mr_jetlag says:

          wait till you hear about the absolute scandal that is deliveroo fees. Highway Robbery doesn’t begin to touch it.

          • Ken says:

            Indeed – Deliveroo and Uber Eats charge restaurants up to 35%

          • Blenz101 says:

            Whist Deliveroo may charge 35% fee for delivery if the restaurant self delivers an order the fee is closer to 5%. Makes me think that a lot of the costs are in paying a fleet of riders rather than any great robbery.

          • Rob says:

            You forget the fact that the restaurant apps will often inflate the price of menu items too compared to what is available if you visit in person.

            What Uber, Deliveroo etc have done is insert themseves into the value chain and then try to extort unreasonable fees as part of the process. In general they are detrimental.

            Uber may not charge more than your (now closed down) local minicab office, but that office kept local people employed and the cut taken by the office was spent locally. The 20% taken by Uber disappears offshore and avoids VAT and UK corporate taxes and is not spent in the UK.

            If you have the Gett taxi app, for example, you will see in London that it now adds a £5 to £12 ‘technology fee’ at busy times. This looks like surge pricing but does NOT go to the taxi driver – Gett pockets the lot.

            It will, in time, swing back because the technology involved becomes commoditised. Taxiapp, for example, is a London black cab app which is run as a co-op, has no surge pricing and which pays 100% of income to the driver (drivers pay £20 per month to be on the platform but get a share in the business in return).

          • ken says:

            for a long time I was an Uber refusenik.

            However, every driver bar one that I speak to prefers it. Particularly if you just work the weekend.

            1) They prefer the variable cut rather than a weekly settle.

            2) They happily game surge pricing. As do delivery drivers for Uber Eats.

            3) There is no favouritism of certain drivers.

            4) Its more efficient – particulary on long distance work, getting ‘back’ trips.

            This is in Liverpool / Manchester

          • ChrisW says:

            Whatever you dislike about Ubers strategy, they disrupted an industry that desperately needed it. If the tech, pricing and customer service of traditional taxicabs can improve to match, or beat Uber then I think the consumer wins. Isn’t that the whole lifecycle of a disruption?

          • The real John says:

            I heard about a restaurant that doesn’t do deliveries at all and just closed down, but a scammer set up a fake deliveroo using the restaurant name and resold some supermarket ready meals at a heavy markup

        • DV says:

          Several local restaurants are requiring me to book with open table, or something similar. They won’t take phone bookings now. So I don’t think they’re too bothered by open table’s fees.

    • Andrew says:

      I’d love to book direct but sadly the majority of smaller pubs and restaurants don’t have online booking facilities. Yesterday morning I wanted to book somewhere for lunch. I could have called up 20 separate restaurants but would have been unlikely to get an answer at 9am. Those which did have the ability to book a table online didn’t actually show availability, they just sent a request to the restaurant. So I could have ‘requested’ 20 tables before having to cancel all but 1. Like it or not opentable do actually fullfill a service and provide value to the restaurant and that’s before you even consider marketing and the ability to get yourself in front of potential diners.

    • ChrisW says:

      Cost of doing business. Same reason some restaurants will pay for advertising, while some don’t need to/won’t bother.

  • Ikaz says:

    I think that the IHG option only shows opentable options that don’t require you to leave a card as deposit

  • C says:

    I have noted a much smaller range of restaurants available on OpenTable through the IHG link than unbranded OpenTable. However, when possible, for me the IHG points are far more useful than OpenTable rewards points.

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    ‘why not book your table via OpenTable in advance?’

    I’m curious here – perhaps readers in the industry can opine – obviously every place is different but in general might you expect to get a different experience if you book through the hotel’s concierge vs OpenTable? Would the elite tier hotel guest in the big suite be more likely to get the table with the view? Or perhaps the OpenTable guest would actually be more important because they’re more likely to be local and potentially repeat custom?

    • ChrisW says:

      I don’t think most restaurants would really care where, how or when you booked these days. I imagine it be first in, best dressed.

    • Rob says:

      I have to say, having spent many years in ‘big suites’, usually for real money, I can’t remember one occasion where it made any difference to where I sat or indeed whether I got a table at all. It is one of things that throws me because you would assume it happens, but it doesn’t.

      • Lumma says:

        A restaurant service is much more complicated than allocating hotel rooms Rob, and a busy restaurant might have to give you a certain table based on bookings later in the evening. It’s also less clear cut as to what makes a table better than another, some people like a quiet corner where others like to feel like they’re part of the action

    • BuildTheWall says:

      Difficult to measure, as no one asks if this is the best table in the restaurant. The hotel might be aware of issues with some tables, but they are not going to tell the guests.

    • The real John says:

      The ability to write a note in the booking serves the same function as a hotel concierge making a special request.

      Unless the concierge has a personal relationship with you and with the restaurant (but you don’t have a personal relationship with the restaurant).

    • Lumma says:

      Restaurant manager here. We’re not a hotel restaurant but we’re beneath the Le Meridian Piccadilly and bookings through their concierge do get special treatment. However, OpenTable is a very powerful tool and restaurants build up a lot of info about repeat customers, so big spenders, repeat customers are always well looked after too, no matter how they book

    • Blenz101 says:

      One thing I’ve noticed is that booking a nice restaurant (offsite) in an city you don’t know very well via a hotel concierge at a 5* will often result in some sort of attentive treatment particularly in Asia or North America.

      I’ve often had a glass of fizz or amuse-bouche type acknowledgement usually introduced as “enjoy these on behalf the the…” hotel name.

      Perhaps some kind of kickback for the hotel/concierge is at play here when taking their recommendation but is more acknowledgement than opentable or a shiny hotel card gets.

    • Phil says:

      My experience suggests if you contact a restaurant in advance to advise of a special occasion, then you invariably do quite well in terms of acknowledgement and seating. Amex Plat Concierge have been excellent at this for me in the past.

  • Pete says:

    Taking IHG points probably makes more sense than collecting OpenTable ones, as those are virtually impossible to redeem. I find it fascinating OpenTable have a long list of restaurants that do not take their dining cheques but no database of places that do! So you are left trawling the interweb for clues…

    • Lumma says:

      I don’t understand why restaurants don’t accept OpenTable cheques, they can either get actual cash for them or redeem them against OpenTable’s fees. There’s no processing fees or anything

  • KBuffett says:

    Slightly off topic, but I’d like to see more restaurant within hotel reviews on HFP

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