Endless Appetizers – Let the Gaming Begin

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Yesterday chain restaurant TGI Fridays launched an “endless appetizers” promo, according to USA Today.

TGI Fridays is one if those staple restaurants where business travelers might find themselves eating on rare occasion (i.e. flight was delayed and one must quickly pick a late night dinner spot to appease a picky eater colleague who won’t try anything non-chain).  But it’s not a place I’ve willingly walked into since my early 20s. So normally my interest in anything involving TGI Fridays would hover at (or below) zero given that I try to stay away from extreme anything, but as I continue to try to educate myself on the mysterious world of manufactured spending (which to me seems like extreme couponing with credit cards), I wonder what length people might go to in order to game the system with a promo like this.

The Friday’s spokesman himself says “there will be no policing or hand-slapping” which seems to open the way to a free-for-all. So I have to wonder how quickly will someone post a points earning/binge eating scheme in order to maximize the loopholes in this promo? And if that’s the case, why not speed it along?!

I’m curious about how one comes up with these spending plans (and definitely not creative enough) – enough so that I’m willing to offer a TGI Fridays gift card (denomination to be determined by what I can purchase at my local drugstore – where I have no idea if they sell Vanilla-flavored Bluebirds or whatnot but know they have a massive rack of gift cards – so value to be up to $25, which ought to be enough to help someone try this in all it’s glory). Contest to run through Sunday, July 13 at midnight Central Standard Time or until a legal department sends me a take-down request, whichever comes first.

So… using the comments submission below, submit your creative suggestion to use the promotion while maximizing any other benefits possible (miles, spend, etc.). The one I judge to be most creative yet realistic in its maximization of benefits will win. (I also add the disclaimer that it is unlikely that I try this personally given my inability to eat wheat/corn products, so this is my way of “enjoying” the promo, minus the side effects.)

Here is the link to the TGI Friday’s promo including their terms & conditions.

My own terms and conditions (which have not been reviewed by legal counsel) – Winner to be chosen completely at my discretion based on who comes up with the most outrageous yet completely workable idea with which to take advantage if this promo. Jetsetter’s Homestead, Boarding Area, and Prior2Boarding are not liable for any adverse consequences of participating in this contest or optimizing the suggestions offered, including but not limited to elevated cholesterol, hypertension, arterial blockage, or financial review by a credit card issuer. Void where prohibited. Blogger has no affiliate ties with TGI Fridays or related entities.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last eighteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 47.5 US states. Although she averages 200 days a year on the road, she loves to return to “the homestead” in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and cocktail mixology.

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  1. The endless apps policy says you can eat as much as you want, but only of the app you ordered. But if you go with a friend or a group, you can each order a different one, and then sharing is allowed. It’s still $10/person, but instead of eating yourself sick on just potato skins, you can eat yourself halfway sick on skins and then finish the job with the fried cheese. That’s Gaming move #1. But it gets much better…

    You can’t earn airline miles when you redeem airline miles for free flights. Some hotels offer qualifying nights on awards, but you still can’t earn redeemable points on a free stay. But Fridays has a loyalty program, and there is a way that you CAN earn while redeeming for free food.

    The program is “Stripes”. https://www.tgifridays.com/givememorestripes

    Earning is revenue based (1 stripe/dollar), and redemptions are fixed, from 50 for a free dessert up to 150 for a rib or steak entree. You get a free appetizer as a signup bonus. (I don’t know if this is valid for the endless deal.) That’s Gaming move #2.

    So sign up, then head to your local TGIF. Get friendly with your server. Order the Tuscan Spinach Dip, with carrots & celery for dipping – that’s the only app on the gluten-sensitive menu. (see it here: http://www.tgifridays.com/system/documents/pdfs/13/original/1400092532314110.pdf )

    Enjoy it with a glass of wine or a Miller Lite. They’ve also started carrying some local craft brews. Alcohol earns stripes too, as long as you also have food on your check.

    If you’re ever not ordering food, just ask your server to add a glass of water onto your tab. That’s sufficient to count as food, and now you can earn stripes on your drinks. Gaming move #3.

    The rules say you earn based on post-discount or -coupon spend, but that’s easily circumvented. Just ask your friendly server or bartender to enter your stripes number first, and only after that give the the coupon or reward certificate. So you’ve just earned stripes for your free spinach dip. Gaming move #4.

    They also do guest satisfaction surveys, just tell your server they did a great job, and ask if they can print you one. The survey is just a few questions online, and you are rewarded for your time with a free appetizer (up to $8) coupon. Now, next time order the appetizer, and you’ll earn an extra 8 stripes for it for free. Gaming move #5.

    So now you’ve amassed all these stripes ordering free appetizers and a drink or three, what’s the best way to redeem? Since redemption costs are fixed per item, you maximize value by redeeming where the Fridays prices are most expensive. That’s probably Times Square, but no way I’d condone eating a a Fridays in such an otherwise great food town as NYC. Luckily, there is a place where prices are high and restaurants are mediocre…

    Yup, you guessed it, the airport. 🙂

    Airport locations of Fridays do participate in Stripes – at least, the ones at DFW do – for both earning and redeeming. So save your stripes for your next flight delay, and enjoy(?) some free food while waiting for your crew or inbound aircraft to arrive. That strawberry salad with grilled chicken (actually pretty tasty, healthy, and gluten-free) that’s $10 in your neighborhood is probably $12 at the airport, but still costs the same 100 stripes (but you earn 12 of them back!). Gaming move #6.

  2. In addition to all the above strategies, the Stripes card also gets free chips and salsa when you sit down, so add that to your appetizer haul. When the bill comes, pay for it with a TGIFridays gift card previously purchased at Kroger on a weekend. Purchasing gift cards at Kroger earns fuel points on your Kroger loyalty card. Gift cards always earn twice their value in fuel points, and earn four times their value on the weekend if you download the coupon onto your loyalty card. One $25 gift card earns ten cents off per gallon when purchased on the weekend. Of course, pay for the gift card with your favorite points-earning card. So not only have you have loaded up on cheap eats, you’ve saved money on the gas to get you there, and earned some loyalty points at TGIFridays, Kroger, and your favorite airline or hotel brand.

  3. Go for the boneless buffalo wings or the mozzarella sticks (or maybe the pot stickers). Why? They heat up the best. The T&C don’t appear to have any language prohibiting taking home your leftovers (or just bringing a ziplock bag and loading up your purse/backpack), so eat your fill and then get another order to go (or put 1 or 2 from each round in your bag and have enough for another meal).*

    *This all assumes you can handle not one but TWO all-you-can-eat appetizer gluttonfests in the span of 24-48 hours. I’m not responsible for any food poisoning, heart attacks, or greasy food withdrawals that result from using this strategy.

  4. @swag – Also, do all that on the first Friday of the month using your Chase Sapphire Preferred for 3 points per $ on dining! 🙂

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