The Best Credit Cards to Use When Dining Out

Alyssa Furtado
by Alyssa Furtado June 12, 2015 / No Comments

There’s nothing better than enjoying good food with friends and knowing you’re earning extra rewards while you’re at it. If you dine out frequently, you might not realize that there are credit cards that reward you for every time you swipe to pay for a meal.

With a rewards credit card, you can earn everything from cash back to points that can be redeemed for travel or merchandise. But which one offers the best return for the foodie who loves to dine out? We put our credit cards to the test. Assuming you spent $350/month at restaurants, here are the best cards to choose from.

1. Scotiabank Gold American Express

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card


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  • Earn up to four points per dollar
  • 20,000 Scotia Rewards bonus points for accounts opened before October 31, 2016
  • Receive 25% off at participating car rental locations


Annual Fee Sign-Up Bonus Cash Back Rewards Monthly Spending Profile Annual Return
$99 15,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months (value = $150) 4 points per $1 at restaurants on the first $50,000 per year

1 point per $1 thereafter

4 points x $350 = 1,400 points

Value of 1 point = $0.01

1,400 points x $0.01 = $14/month

Sign Up: $150

Spending: $14 x 12 months = $168

Annual Fee: $99

Total: $168 + $150 – $99 = $219

$219/$4,200 per year = 5.21%

Satisfy any food cravings and earn points while doing so by paying with your Scotiabank Gold American Express. Based on this spending profile, each year, you can earn $219 worth of points after the annual fee is deducted. Rack up points faster by also paying for gas, groceries and entertainment with this card, which all earn 4 points per $1 spent. And if you’re on the road, you can also benefit from the card’s complimentary concierge service to help you with any tasks that need to be done while you’re travelling. Finally, the Scotiabank Gold American Express comes with a wide range of travel insurance policies, such as trip cancellation, trip interruption and flight delay insurance.

2. SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash Card from American Express


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  • Earn 5% cash back on gas, groceries and restaurants for the first 6 months (up to $250 cash back total)
  • Earn 1.25% cash back after, and on all other purchases throughout the introductory period
  • Optional balance transfer offer – receive 0% interest on all balance transfers for the first six months
  • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, after the introductory period is over
  • No annual fee


Annual Fee Sign-Up Bonus Cash Back Rewards Monthly Spending Profile Annual Return
$0 5% cash back at restaurants (up to $250 cash back) for the first 6 months) 1.25% cash back on everything after 6 months 5% x $350 = $17.50/month for 6 months


1.25% x $350 = $4.38/month thereafter

Sign Up: $17.50 x 6 months = $105

Spending: $4.38 x 6 months = $26.28

Total: $105 + $26.28 = $131.28

$131.28/$4,200 per year = 3.12%

The other rewards credit card you may want to consider is the SimplyCash Card from American Express. This card was included on our list of top 5 Canadian cash back credit cards of 2015. For the first 6 months, you’ll earn 5% cash back at restaurants, as well as on gas and groceries. After that, you’ll earn 1.25% on all purchases. If you spent $350/month at restaurants, in the first year, you could get $131 of cash back – a 3.12% return on your spending – and there’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can receive (other than in those first 6 months). With this card, you can also enjoy regular date nights by pairing your restaurant meal with exclusive entertainment deals from American Express’ Invites program.

What’s your favourite credit card to use when dining out and why?