If you eat out frequently, it’s best to pay with a credit card that will maximise your rewards and get you other benefits as well. But selecting a dining credit card from the many that are available can be confusing.
When you’re zeroing in on a credit card, don’t be taken in by first impressions. It's quite common to get a benefit like an annual fee waiver. Additionally, many cards give you points without requiring you to meet a minimum spend threshold.
But fee waivers and minimum spend requirements aren't the only factors you should consider. Dig a little deeper. A seemingly generous rewards points structure may be available only for purchases made at specific restaurants that you don’t usually frequent. Similarly, a high rebate at certain restaurants could be limited to weekdays.
So, how do you select the best credit card for dining?
Firstly, check if the credit card charges an annual fee. As we mentioned a fee waiver is a fairly standard benefit in this category. So, when you're choosing a dining credit card, you shouldn't pay an annual fee unless there's an excellent reason to do so.
Here are some other features you should take into consideration when selecting a card:
- Cashback or points?. Does the card provide cashback, rewards points, or air miles on dining spends? Which one suits you best?
- Points structure. If points are offered, check the rewards points structure and determine how easy it is to redeem points.
- Home deliveries. Find out if getting food delivered to your home also entitles you to cashback or rewards points.
- Fast Food rebate. Is there a rebate or points for fast food spends?
- Minimum spend. Ascertain if there’s a minimum spend involved to earn points or cashback.
Consider your own specific needs
When choosing between different dining credit cards, pay attention to your specific requirements. Would you like to keep your annual fee to the minimum? Or are the cashback or rewards points and other perks your primary consideration?
Remember that a dining credit card may also offer benefits that aren't linked to eating out. Here’s what some of the best dining credit cards can offer in addition to perks like cash back on dining, free à la carte items, and discounts on food bills:
- Cashback on signing up for the card
- Discounts on petrol purchases
- Free travel insurance and coverage for baggage loss
- Air miles instead of cash back
So, if these extras are important to you, be sure to consider them when choosing between different dining credit cards.
An example of multiple benefits
Let's see how these add-on privileges work:
Consider the OCBC 365 Credit Card. At the time of writing this, it offers a generous rebate of 6% on local and overseas dining. The rebate is even available for online food delivery. But that's not all – using the card has other rewards as well. You can save up to 23% on your petrol spends. And there's even free travel insurance.
If you are deciding between different dining credit cards, you should also keep your eyes open for the promotions that card issuers offer to new customers, such a bonus points/miles or free gifts.
Credit card dining promotions can be very rewarding if you use them correctly
Among the credit cards in the market, which should you choose for eating out? When you're deciding, it's a good idea to compare the privileges and discounts that different credit cards offer. There could be big discounts on food orders at selected restaurants or bonus rewards points for meeting a minimum spend target within a specified period.
Some dining credit cards even offer cash back on dining spends and payments made for fast food. Another great credit card dining promotion involves providing cardholders with benefits such as reserved or preferred seating.
There are several other attractive types of bank promos. For example, some cards might provide new cardholders with a choice between thousands of rewards points or a welcome gift, such as a tablet or a premium hairdryer.
Take a minute to understand what qualifies as dining spend
There's a critical issue regarding cashback on dining spends that you need to be aware of. The card issuer may exclude specific merchants from its approved list of places where you can earn cashback on dining spends.
For example, a card may disallow cashback on dining spends at the Crystal Jade Group of Restaurants, Swensen's, and Jack's Place Steak House & Restaurants, among other merchants.
There’s another point you need to verify. If you regularly use online food delivery services, it would be a good idea to check if cashback on dining spends is available for this category.
Double dip to maximise your benefits
Want to get more out of your dining credit card? Try double dipping. That's the practice of gaining additional benefits on top of the regular cashback or rewards points you're entitled to.
For example, a restaurant may be offering an upfront discount or 1-for-1 deal for paying with a particular bank's credit card. So if you keep your eyes open for a promotion involving your bank, you can double dip with a discount from the restaurant plus the cashback or points from the bank.