Best Credit Cards for Restaurants and Dining Out

Best Credit Cards for Restaurants and Dining Out

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Last updated on May 4, 2021 Comments: 2

Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or opting for delivery, you’re likely spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year on restaurants and dining. If you don’t have a rewards credit card with a special bonus for dining out, you’re losing out on hundreds of dollars that you could have earned.

While most rewards credit cards in Canada have bonuses for common spending categories like groceries, gas, and transportation, fewer offer perks for spending on restaurants. Still, there are several credit cards available in Canada that offer rewards points or cash back bonuses for spending on restaurants. We’ve compiled a list of the best ones here.

Comparison of the Best Credit Cards for Restaurants and Dining Out in Canada

Credit Card Welcome BonusEarn RateAnnual Fee 
American Express Cobaltᵀᴹ CardUp to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in the first year (conditions apply)5 points for every $1 spent on dining out, at grocery stores, cafes, bars, and food delivery$120Read More
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express®25,000 bonus points in the first three months5 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, bars, and on fast food, groceries, food delivery, and food subscriptions$120Read More
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite*40,000 bonus points, annual Fee waived5 points for every $1 spent on dining out, groceries, food delivery, meal subscriptions, and at bars$120Read More
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard10,000 bonus points in the first three months2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants and groceries$0Read More
KOHO PremiumBonus cash back on all purchases for 90 days2% cash back on restaurants, cafes, groceries, and food delivery$84Read More
BMO World Elite™* MasterCard®*40,000 bonus points, annual Fee waived3 points for every $1 spent on dining out$150Read More

American Express Cobaltᵀᴹ Card– Best All-Around Restaurant Credit Card

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The American Express Cobaltᵀᴹ Card is an excellent all-around rewards credit card that benefits Canadians with a penchant for spending money on food regularly. In addition to earning 5 points for every $1 every time you swipe in a restaurant, you also get the same number of points when you spend at grocery stores, bars, cafes, and on food delivery.

When it comes time to trade in your rewards, AMEX points are worth between $0.01-0.007 depending on how they’re being redeemed. You can apply your points to air travel, purchases on your card, or gift cards.

The annual fee is reasonable at $120, and there is an opportunity to earn 30,000 bonus points if you spend $500 per month for the first year. You can use your points for purchases you’ve already made on your credit card or use them to redeem items from the Amex Rewards catalogue.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: up to 30,000 bonus points in the first year
  • Earn Rate: 5 points for every $1 spent on dining out at restaurants, and at grocery stores, cafes, bars, and on food delivery, capped at up to $30,000 a year. You also get 2 points per $1 spent on travel and transit, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Additional Perks: Can transfer Amex points to Marriot Bonvoy program, travel insurance, purchase protection, car rental insurance
  • Annual Fee: $120

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete American Express Cobaltᵀᴹ Card review.

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® – Best for No Foreign Exchange Fees

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If you spend frequently on restaurants and travel or shop internationally, then the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® is an excellent choice. You can earn 5 Scotia points on dining at restaurants, fast food joints, or eligible bars. You’ll also earn the same rate on food delivery services and food subscriptions like Hello Fresh. If you want to splurge on both dinner and a movie, Scotiabank also gives you 5 points on entertainment purchases, including movie and theatre tickets.

Each Scotia point is worth approximately $0.01, depending on what you’re redeeming them on. When you’ve earned enough you can redeem them for things like air travel, purchases of merchandise at eligible retailers, gift cards, or credit on your statement balance.

Besides offering points, this credit card also waives foreign transaction fees on international purchases. Foreign transaction fees usually add 2.5% to every international transaction, so waiving this fee can add up to significant savings if you make international transactions regularly.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: 25,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months
  • Earn Rate: 5 points for every $1 spent in restaurants, fast food establishments, bars, and grocery stores, and also on food delivery, food subscriptions, and entertainment. You’ll also get 3 points for every $1 spent on gas, transit, and streaming, 1 point per dollar spent on everything else with no cap
  • Additional Perks: Travel insurance, trip interruption insurance, car rental insurance, purchase security, discounted Priority Pass, 25% off at AVIS and Budget car rentals
  • Annual Fee: $120

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® review.

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* – Best for Fine Dining Experiences

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Offering a hefty 5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on dining out or ordering in, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* has an excellent rewards scheme. Additionally, you’ll also get the same rate at bars, grocery stores, drugstores, and on gas and travel. Another unique perk via Visa Infinite is the dining experiences you’ll have access to as an extra reward, such as multi-course meals with wine pairings delivered to your home or spending an evening with chefs.

Each BMO Rewards point is valued at around $0.007, and can be redeemed in a number of ways, such as on travel and airfare, merchandise, and investments.

On top of that, this credit card offers other great perks, including a $50 lifestyle credit, mobile device insurance, and you can boost your earn rate by 10% when you add a secondary cardholder to your account. If you want to add even more lucrative rewards like priority airport lounge and security passes, luxury hotel access, and more, and are willing to pay a higher fee, check out the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* credit card.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: 40,000 BMO Rewards points, annual Fee waived in the first year
  • Earn Rate: 5 points per $1 spent on dining out or delivery, including meal subscriptions, bars, and grocery, gas, and transit, capped at $50,000 per year. 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Additional Perks: $50 annual lifestyle credit, supplementary cards boost earn rate, mobile device insurance, travel insurance, access to Visa Infinite exclusive dining invites
  • Annual Fee: $120

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* review.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® – Best No Fee Card

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While most rewards credit cards require users to pay an annual fee for the privilege of earning points, there are a few credit cards with no fees that still allow you to earn rewards. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® is, in our opinion, the best no annual fee rewards card for those restaurant-goers. With this card, you’ll get a purchase APR of 19.99%, a balance transfer rate of 22.99%, and a cash advance interest rate of 24.99%. During your first 90 days of having this card, MBNA gives you 4 points on every $1 spent at restaurants and grocery stores, and then after that period, you’ll earn 2 points on every dollar on restaurant and grocery spending.

The dollar value of each MBNA point depends on what you’re redeeming it on. For example, a point is worth $0.01 when redeemed on travel and $0.005 when used for cash back. Aside from these options, you can also redeem your points for merchandise and gift cards.

To start you off on the right foot, this card offers a welcome bonus of 10,000 MBNA Rewards points if you spend $500 in the first 90 days and sign up for paperless billing.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: 10,000 MBNA Rewards points in the first three months
  • Earn Rate: 2 MBNA Rewards points for every $1 spent on restaurants, groceries, and gas with double rewards in the first 90 days, capped at a maximum spend of $5,000 a year. 1 MBNA Rewards points on everything else
  • Additional Perks: MBNA Payment Plan lets you choose a payment plan between 6 – 18 months for purchases over $100
  • Annual Fee: $0

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® review.

KOHO Premium – Best Prepaid Card

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If you’ve had trouble managing your credit in the past, you may want to stay away from credit cards altogether. In this case, a prepaid card like the KOHO Premium credit card is a good choice that still allows you to earn cash back on restaurant spending. You’ll get 2% cash back when using KOHO at restaurants, cafes, bars, on food delivery, and at both small or larger chain grocery stores.

The 2% cash back also applies to transportation, including ride shares like Uber or Lyft. It’s also important to keep in mind that KOHO Premium requires you to deposit money before you spend it, so there is no way to overspend.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: 1% bonus cash back in all categories for the first 90 days when you use the promo code GREEDYRATES
  • Earn Rate: 2% cash back on restaurants, bars, cafes, food delivery, groceries, and transportation, and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • Additional Perks: Waived foreign transaction fees, free in-house coaching, financial counselling, price matching
  • Annual Fee: $84

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete KOHO Premium review.

BMO World Elite™* MasterCard®* – Best for Low Interest

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With an impressive welcome bonus of 40,000 BMO Rewards points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months, the BMO World Elite™* MasterCard®* is a remarkable rewards card. When it comes to dining out, this card gives you 3 BMO rewards points on every $1 you spend at restaurants, as well as on travel expenses and entertainment.

When it’s time to redeem your points, you can apply your point balance to travel and airfare, purchases of merchandise, and investments. A single BMO Rewards point is valued at around $0.007.

Other perks include substantial insurance coverage, including car rental insurance, trip cancellation, interruption insurance, and lost baggage insurance.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: 40,000 BMO Rewards points in the first three months, annual fee waived for the first year
  • Earn Rate: 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on dining out, travel, and entertainment, 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on everything else without any caps
  • Additional Perks: 4 free airport lounge passes per year, access to 1 million Bingo Wi-Fi hotspots, purchase protection, extended warranty
  • Annual Fee: $150

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO World Elite™* MasterCard®* review.

Conclusion

Whether in restaurants, through meal subscription services, or via delivery, dining out is an essential part of our lives. If you’re looking for a credit card that rewards this type of spending with points or cash back, our choices above cover a broad spectrum of options – even one that isn’t a credit card at all. Whether you are looking for a no-fee card, a low-interest card, or a high-earning card, one of the choices above will suit your needs.

FAQ

Yes! Although many of the credit cards listed above allow you to earn rewards points that can be redeemed for travel and merchandise, the KOHO Premium credit card lets you earn 2% cash back on all restaurant spending.
No! While most rewards credit cards require you to pay an annual fee, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® does not have a yearly fee. The rewards you can earn with this credit card are slightly lower than the fee-based cards, so it’s essential to consider your spending habits when deciding which credit card is best for you.
Most credit cards use merchant category codes to classify your spending into rewards categories. You can check your vendor’s merchant category code online in advance of your purchase, but this process can be onerous. A quicker method to keep track of which establishments qualify for rewards is to monitor your credit card statement, which will show the purchases that qualify for rewards or cashback.

Author Bio

Jordann Brown
Jordann Brown is a freelance personal finance writer whose areas of expertise include debt management, homeownership and budgeting. She is based in Halifax and has written for publications including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC.

Article comments

2 comments
Arwen says:

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card has 4% cash back at restaurant, bar and coffee shop purchases on the first $5,000 of net annual card purchases

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks for the recommendation Arwen, I’m sure our readers will appreciate it. We’ll look into the card. However, the card has a $5,000 per year cap on cash back for restaurants and groceries, so it seems the cards we currently have on the page have a better offer. That said, it does have an interesting balance transfer offer. Though, in order to qualify for a card, you must have a chequing or high interest savings account with Simplii, so that’s another obstacle. Nevertheless, I will pass this on to the editorial team.