Best Credit Cards for Restaurants and Dining Out

Best Credit Cards for Restaurants and Dining Out

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Last updated on July 29, 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 Cobalt® 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
Tangerine Money Back10% back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 in everyday purchases within the first 2 months of card membership.2% on restaurants (if you select these as your money-back categories)$0Read More
The Platinum Card®50,000 bonus points3 points per $1 spent on dining$699Read More
KOHO PremiumBonus cash back on all purchases for 90 days2% cash back on restaurants, cafes, groceries, and food delivery$84Read More
MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®Up to 30,000 MBNA rewards points2 points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases $120Read 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 (applicable only to purchases made in Canada).

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 CAD 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 CAD 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. International dining bills unfortunately will not earn at at the 5 points per $1 rate—they’ll earn at 1 point per $1 instead. But the foreign transaction fee waiver nonetheless makes this one of the best dining cards for those who travel abroad frequently.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: 30,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months + 10,000 points for making at least $7,500 in purchases during the first year
  • Earn Rate: 5 points for every $1 CAD 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 CAD 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 (applicable only to purchases in Canada). 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.

150 BMO Rewards points can be redeemed for $1 in travel or investments into BMO accounts, which works out to a rate of $0.0067 per point. Points can also be redeemed as a statement credit or for merchandise, though the points will be worth less for those redemptions.

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 CAD 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.

Tangerine Money-Back Card – Best No Annual Fee

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If you are looking for a credit card that will allow you to earn on dining out without having to pay a hefty annual fee, then look no further than the Tangerine Money-Back Card. It’s free of charge and still has a decent earn rate for restaurants. The way this credit card works is that you, the cardholder, get to choose two 2% money back categories. This means you will have to choose restaurants as one of those options, or else you will just earn the basic rate of 0.5% per $1.

Once you have selected restaurants as one of your money back categories, you will earn 2% on every $1 spent with no limits- a huge advantage over many other credit cards that have credit cards. Another reason why we love the Tangerine Money Back card is that you will see those money back rewards in your account every month, you don’t need to wait a year to see your rewards.

Key Features:

  • Welcome Bonus: 10% back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 within the first 2 months. Valid until August 16th, 2021.
  • Earn rate: 2 points per $1 spent on money back categories
  • Additional perks: Purchase assurance and extended warranty
  • Annual fee: $0

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card 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 (in Canada and abroad), 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.

MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® – Best Overall

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The MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® makes it easy to collect points while dining out. Cardholders will receive 5 points per $1 spent on all purchases with no limits. Often, we see credit cards place spending caps on high-earning categories, but that’s not the case here. So, if you want to eat out at restaurants for every meal, go for it! You’ll earn your points at the same value no matter how much you spend.

Right now, new cardholders have the opportunity to earn a welcome bonus of 30,000 points. You’ll get 20,000 points when you spend $2,000 in purchases during the first 90 days of being a cardholder. You can then receive an additional 10,000 points when you sign up for paperless e-statements (within 90 days of opening your account). That 30,000 points has a value of $250-$300 depending on how you choose to redeem your points, which goes a long way in offsetting the annual fee.

When it comes time to redeem those points, the MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® allows you to do it all. You can redeem points towards travel for purchases like flights, hotels, and car rents. If you prefer, you can also take cash rewards including cash back, a statement credit, or even charitable donations to participating charities. Finally, you can also use your points for merchandise and gift cards. The flexibility in the rewards program makes it one of our favourite picks to recommend for Canadians.

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn up to 30,000 MBNA Rewards Points; 20,000 when you spend $2,000+ in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of card membership. Then, an additional 10,000 points when you enroll in paperless e-statements in the first 90 days of card membership. You’ll also earn Birthday Bonus Points for a total of 10% of your points earned over the previous 12 months, up to a maximum of 15,000 points.
  • Earn Rate: 5 points for every $1 spent on all eligible purchases.
  • Additional Perks: Car rental vehicle collision damage waiver benefits, concierge service, travel assistance, purchase assurance, price protection, and extended warranty benefits.
  • Interest Rates: 19.99% on purchases; 24.99% on cash advances; 22.99% on balance transfers.
  • Annual Fee: $120

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

The Platinum Card® – Best for Earning Aeroplan Points

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The Platinum Card® from American Express may technically earn fewer points per $1 on restaurant spending than some of the other cards listed above; but a major advantage of the Platinum Card® is that all the points it earns can be transferred into Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio. So effectively the Platinum Card® can earn 3 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on dining, which is the best Aeroplan earn rate among any of the Aeroplan cards in Canada. By comparison, though the American Express Cobaltᵀᴹ Card earns 5 Amex Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent on restaurant spending, these points are specifically excluded from being transferred to Aeroplan.

And The Platinum Card®’s premium dining benefits don’t stop at its earn rate. Platinum and Centurion cardholders have exclusive access to the Global Dining Collection, which offers reservations for international eateries at the vanguard of haute cuisine, and intimate dining events with the world’s most respected gourmet chefs. 

Key Features

  • Welcome Bonus: 70,000 points when you make $6,000 worth of purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn Rate: 3 points per $1 spent on dining in Canada; 2 points per $1 on travel; 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Additional Perks: Curated dining experiences; extra hotel benefits via Fine Hotels + Resorts program; Toronto Pearson airport benefits; Platinum Concierge service; comprehensive travel insurance; free access to airport lounges; $200 CAD Annual Travel Credit
  • Annual Fee: $699

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete The Platinum Card® 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.