Our credit card machine is broken

Old Jun 6, 07, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger View Post
Far-fetched
Well, at least we agree!
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Old Jun 6, 07, 11:58 am
  #17  
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A couple of the local owners with whom I'd discussed Rewards Network have indicated that the drain-off to Miami has cut into their available operating cash to a greater extent than they'd anticipated. So, there may be a handful systemwide who'd be tempted to try some sort of "bypass" (out of desperation).
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Old Jun 6, 07, 6:05 pm
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I believe the name was Zokku's, between 4th and 5th on J in what was the old China Moon Cafe in the Wong Center - they are out of the Rewards Network system now.

Originally Posted by kings_29 View Post
You have to tell me who this was so I can avoid...us being Sacramento area folks and all. :-)
I also believe most restaurants aren't that canny so as to try to exclude iDiners - maybe a very few, but even then the majority of employees wouldn't care much, so it would have to be a family run operation or have a designated person running the register / cards.

One resto I suspected - it was actually my fault for using the incorrect credit card (they accepted the card, but awarded no miles for using it - it seems AMEX is the most frequent card in this "no award" category.)
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Old Jun 6, 07, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
I believe the name was Zokku's, between 4th and 5th on J in what was the old China Moon Cafe in the Wong Center - they are out of the Rewards Network system now.

Yeah, I had been there a few times..not terribly impressed..decor was pretty cool, but wait staff was not very good. Was nice place to go before heading over to see the Broadway Series though.

Last edited by JDiver; Jul 23, 07 at 5:43 pm Reason: finish quote
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Old Jun 8, 07, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger View Post
It's not so much the individual server would care. More a matter that an owner might, giving an instruction such as: "If anyone gives you a card with an airline logo on it, run it through our 'other' [non-RN] machine." Far-fetched, but I could see at least a few disillusioned owners considering it as a fantasy.
Wouldn't stop me! Given that I have multiple dining programs, the only cases where I use an airline card is where they give me one free for a year. Otherwise it's various (often hotels that don't participate in iDine/RN most typically) no annual fee cards. So I'd breeze through most of these restaurants.

However, I do save all my receipts, plus you can always use the credit card statement if you lost the receipt*, so there's no way I would let a restaurant get away with trying to not run my card through the right machine to avoid RN unless they don't charge me period (and what's the savings for them in that?!?).

*If you don't have a scanner, the additional advantage of using a credit card statement -- which can be the in-progress "unbliled activity" report -- is that you can save the web page to a file, then email that as an attachment and do the whole thing via email, not having to talk to a person at iDine/RN and not having to fax anything. (Of course, it's easier if it's a card you use for nothing but RN dining, because then you don't mind giving them the whole statement page from online, as long as it doesn't show your full account number.)
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Old Jun 8, 07, 8:10 pm
  #21  
 
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I don't think there are RN machines and non-RN machines. The credit card machines I've seen in Calgary-area Idine restaurants are all bank-issued. I'm pretty sure Idine is just involved in processing the credit card. Likely, the machine just uses the Idine phone number to process the charge instead of another authorization number.

There is definitely no one selecting who gets miles and who doesn't - the bill can be reflected as discounted, but that seems to be about it. And I've found that most waiters don't even know what RN is or are aware they even offer miles for dining - only upper management does.
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Old Jun 8, 07, 9:23 pm
  #22  
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The same restaurant can refuse to allow miles for take-out/catering as a disclaimer in their RN listing: dine-in only. I believe it was Cordelli who had an issue with this once; the take-out counter had a non-miles-crediting terminal, and the dining area had a participating one.
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Old Jun 10, 07, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by 2muchfun View Post
I wonder if the national chains (with franchisees) have internal policies restricting/limiting Miles (via "the machine is broken" trick). Afterall, this franchisee would get the cash from the sale of the credit card while the other one providing food/service with payment via gift card is absorbing the costs. Unless they have internal chargeouts which equalize the whole thing. Don't know. Maybe we are getting paranoid with this broken machine thing!
I'm confused as to how you think they would know that you're about to get miles when you present your card? Rewards Network lets you assign pretty much any credit or debit card to each program, and unless you happen to use a card that blazes "airline" on the front, or unless they saw the pattern with you as a repeat customer, how could they possibly know that your card is set to earn miles?

Now, in your case, perhaps you had a Priority Club credit card. But do you realize that that's the only hotel program that particpates? (There is no Starwood Dining, Hilton Dining, Hyatt Dining, Wyndham Dining, Choice Dining, Best Western Dining, or Marriott Dining.) How many restaurants do you think know that there is one hotel program that participates and which one it is? Gosh, many restaurants don't even know that it's a "miles" program, they think of it as a "discount" program (because, remember, in addition to Priority Club and all the miles programs, there's also Cashback Rewards [formerly iDine Prime]:

http://www.rewardsnetwork.com/program.jsp

), since that's easier for the non-FFer restaurant owner to understand cash back discounts than the meaning and value of miles.

Furthermore, have you ever worked at a restaurant? Do you have good friends who've ever worked at a restaurant? With all the stuff they have to keep track of (memorizing table numbers, learning how to spot counterfeit cash, memorizing daily specials, etc, etc), do you think the average waiter is trained in "if the card has one of the following logos on it, say the gift cert machine is broken"??? That seems like unbelievably unlikely complexity to me!

It's one thing to theorize that some restaurants may have a different card machine that they use for all transactions that they wouldn't want to have miles/cashback earned on. But to theorize that they make a decision at the instant that you hand them a particular card???
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Old Jun 10, 07, 10:51 am
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Stefan Daystrom View Post
It's one thing to theorize that some restaurants may have a different card machine that they use for all transactions that they wouldn't want to have miles/cashback earned on. But to theorize that they make a decision at the instant that you hand them a particular card???
I have spoken with two local restaurant owners who've told me that the money siphoned off to Miami has directly affected their cash flow. I believe that they do assume a co-branded card means the tab will compound the situation; to be fair, they don't blame the diners. Here is AS-central, just about everyone with a pulse of a credit rating has an Alaska Airlines-linked Bank of America visa (or debit) card, automatically linked to RN at signup.

I'm more concerned about joints with a $10 minimum on credit cards as (a probably coincendental) way of getting around giving miles.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 8:36 am
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Willie T's in key West gave me the Broken Machine routine on July 1. They came up with the manual card swipe machine and hand wrote it, not trying to force me to try to pay cash. That and the oher dine I had there a few days earlier (and a valid reward day) still have yet to appear. Since I save all receipts until charges/miles post, I contacted Rewards Network. Time will tell still. That can take several weeks.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by FLgrr View Post
Willie T's in key West gave me the Broken Machine routine on July 1. They came up with the manual card swipe machine and hand wrote it, not trying to force me to try to pay cash. That and the oher dine I had there a few days earlier (and a valid reward day) still have yet to appear. Since I save all receipts until charges/miles post, I contacted Rewards Network. Time will tell still. That can take several weeks.
On other other hand, I ate a couple months ago at Four Olives in Long Beach CA and they said their regular card machine had just run out of paper and did the manual swipe. It posted fine. Then I ate again a couple weeks later, and got the regular machine receipt, and that didn't seem to post.

I have to say "seem to" because something very strange happened. Only a day or two after I sent in my email about the missing dine (which was before the "10 days" were up), a post for the exact same amount on the exact same date came through for a restaurant hundreds of miles away where I'd never been, then a negative post for the same restaurant later came through, and finally the missing post showed up correctly as Four Olives a week later.

Anyway, my point is, you can have manual swipes that post and normal card machine processing that doesn't post, even at the same restaurant.

(I've had misisng posts eventually at about half the restuarants that I've dined at many many times, but the missing posts tend to be a fraction of the dines, but sometimes are a couple dines a row, presumably because of a technical issue that needs to be looked into.)
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