Chat with a former RN joint owner

Old Jul 4, 11, 3:39 pm
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Chat with a former RN joint owner

When I went to settle my bill at the counter today, I said, "So, no more Rewards Network?" He replied, "We've been gone for a while!" I decided to push him, asking if he'd taken out a loan with them, and he replied, "No, we had the 'other' option", which he went on to explain was a 12% skim, that he came to realize wasn't nabbing him many new customers (RN's incentive). Here in Seattle, almost everyone with a pulse, and a credit rating above Abysmal (where a skull-and-crossbones flash when they go to open a bank account, etc.) has a Bank of America Alaska Airlines visa card, linked to RN automatically, so joints here get skimmed more often than elsewhere I think (perhaps also the southeast with lots of DL Amex cards).

The last time I brought it up with an owner (a couple of years ago), the fellow became almost vehement about his resentment at seeing how much the skim was adding up, after it was too late to back out.
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Old Jul 5, 11, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger View Post
When I went to settle my bill at the counter today, I said, "So, no more Rewards Network?" He replied, "We've been gone for a while!" I decided to push him, asking if he'd taken out a loan with them, and he replied, "No, we had the 'other' option", which he went on to explain was a 12% skim, that he came to realize wasn't nabbing him many new customers (RN's incentive). Here in Seattle, almost everyone with a pulse, and a credit rating above Abysmal (where a skull-and-crossbones flash when they go to open a bank account, etc.) has a Bank of America Alaska Airlines visa card, linked to RN automatically, so joints here get skimmed more often than elsewhere I think (perhaps also the southeast with lots of DL Amex cards).

The last time I brought it up with an owner (a couple of years ago), the fellow became almost vehement about his resentment at seeing how much the skim was adding up, after it was too late to back out.
Is this owner aware that RN can set up his restaurant to participate in some airline programs and not others? That way, if he's getting too many in the "most common" program around there, he can just exclude that one program.

The other thing is to limit to 1/month. That limits the amount existing customers (who are presumably more likely to visit the restaurant more often) can skim, while still working for brand new customers. (Only that tiny fraction of mileage hounds who pursue multiple programs and know that the 1/month is actually 1/month/airline and can be "worked around" by using a different airline on each visit in a given month would be able to still skim on most every visit.)

But I would think that any solution which works 95% of the time would be a sufficient solution.

Of course, both these solutions would hurt you (especially if AS is all you collect), even as they would help the merchant.
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Old Jul 5, 11, 9:10 pm
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If he restricted AS to once-a-month, and folks caught on, they might start specifically avoiding him. Currently, we have no 1x joints in Seattle. We don't have any that allow some airlines, but not others at present either. Moreover, in Seattle, if you excluded AS, and wanted to pay off and get out, that'd drag out a lot longer. Years ago, another owner mentioned that he had opted out of AMEX for RN as too costly; he hadn't as I got miles with AMEX for the visit where he'd said that.
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Old Jul 6, 11, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger View Post
If he restricted AS to once-a-month, and folks caught on, they might start specifically avoiding him.
I don't understand. I though you'd said he'd dropped out (ie "former RN joint").

Are people going to visit him as long as he doesn't participate, but if he does start to participate again but only at 1/month, then they'll start avoiding him? I don't get it!

I'm not suggesting 1/month for people who are happy with unlimited. I'm suggesting 1/month only for joints that would drop out if they have no other choice by unlimited or dropping out. (And near where I live, there are several restaurants just like that, which I'm sure would have dropped out completely years ago had they not been offered the 1/month choice. They don't like paying every time for people who "accidentally" qualify for RN just because they live or work close by, happen to have a registered card, and happen to eat there every week or even more often. They want the RN only for bringing in new business or increasing business, not for rewarding business that would have eaten whether or not RN participation had been involved.)

While I specifically look for RN restaurants, I know a number of the friends that I've talked into registering with RN don't both with that, they just eat wherever they feel like, and hope that some of those earn with RN. One even reported dismay that they weren't earning with RN enough, because they thought that wherever they're eating, a "big enough" percentage of those restuarants should automatically "happen to be" RN participating. They want to earn miles, but they can't be bothered with extra step of choosing a restaurant only from a miles-earning list.

What I'm amazed by is that RN doesn't do any research in the surveys to get down to this. They've finally added a question about where you first found about the restauarant, but all of "online" is one answer, so they still can't tell whether you found about it through the RN website or some other website (that wouldn't have told you about RN participation! IMHO they should have choices of "found it on RN website" vs "found it on another website".
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Old Jul 6, 11, 7:13 pm
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The problem with 1x is that I think folks wouldn't necessarily return again that month -- we haven't had any 1x here in a long time, so the owner might be seen as "cheap" was my point. In other words, I think they'd notice "Gosh, I've been there a couple of times recently, but no email that I've been credited."

I will say that his food wasn't so wonderful that it would be worth repeat non-credit visits. I happened to be in the neighborhood on the 4th and he was open, whereas my first choice was not.
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