Best Credit Cards for Dining Out for Canadians

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Across the board, credit cards offer different earning rates for various categories of spend. This means that in theory, you can always optimize the credit card you use for each purchasing category to earn the maximum amount of credit card rewards. If you are so inclined to hold a variety of credit cards, that is. 

For Canadians, the same concept applies to any restaurant or dining purchases. There are many credit cards that provide additional rewards when they are used at vendors that fall into these categories. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best credit cards for restaurant and dining purchases in Canada.

The Value of a Credit Card That Earns Maximum Rewards on Dining Out Purchases

When it comes to credit card rewards, I am of the mindset that you don’t need to optimize for every specific category, but instead, focus your optimization on the categories in which you tend to spend the most each month. For most people, this will often be groceries and dining out. 

If groceries are a major category of spending for you, we would recommend looking into the best credit cards for grocery purchases. Furthermore, many credit cards overlap with grocery and dining earning rate bonuses, as we will touch on below.

american express credit card being used at a restaurant

Whether you are collecting miles and points or are simply interested in some additional cash back in your wallet, maximizing the rewards that you earn from dining purchases is a great way to optimize your personal finance goals to ensure you are generating a greater return from your spending.

Best Credit Cards for Dining Out With Annual Fees

If you are looking to hold one of the best credit cards in Canada for restaurant and dining out purchases, the below options are the best cards to add to your wallet. 

However, they all come with an annual fee of varying amounts. As is typical in the credit card space, the more premium cards do offer better benefits but are paired with higher annual fees.

American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt card earns 5 Membership Rewards points on all restaurant, food delivery, and grocery purchases. This card has a monthly fee of $12.99.

American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt card earns Membership Rewards points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 5x Membership Rewards on eligible restaurant, food delivery, and grocery store purchases. In 2024, we selected this card to receive the award Best Credit Card for Grocery Purchases.

Check out our American Express Cobalt card review for more details.

BONUS
15,000 Membership Rewards
MINSPEND
$9,000
NET VALUE
$174+
ANNUAL FEE
$156
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

While this card does earn a stellar amount of Membership Rewards points on all dining purchases, it does have a monthly category spending cap of $2,500. This shouldn’t impact many cardholders, but if you do have a significant amount of restaurant or grocery spend each month, ensure you are not going over the limit as you will only receive 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent after reaching the cap.

American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the most flexible currencies as they have many frequent flyer and hotel loyalty program transfer partners, making them one of the best currencies for booking award travel.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card earns 5 Scene+ Rewards points on all restaurants, fast food, drinking establishments, grocery, food delivery services, food box subscriptions, and eligible entertainment purchases (including movies, theatre, and ticket agencies). This card has an annual fee of $120.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $75 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card earns Scene+ Rewards points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 5x Scene+ points on grocery, restaurant, and entertainment purchases. This card charges no foreign exchange fees.

Check out our Scotiabank Gold American Express card review for more details.

BONUS
40,000 Scene+
MINSPEND
$7,500
NET VALUE
$280+
ANNUAL FEE
$120
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY
Jul 1, 2024

While the card earns 5x and 3x Scene+ bonus points multipliers on a number of categories, this is only true up to a combined total of $50,000 during a calendar year. Upon reaching the $50,000 threshold, all purchases will earn 1 Scene+ point per dollar spent. That being said, $50,000 is a generous annual limit so this may not be applicable for many potential cardholders.

Scene+ Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point and are easily redeemed for popular options such as groceries and travel expenses. Additionally, the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is one of the few credit cards in Canada that offers no foreign transaction fees which will save you 2.5% on all foreign currency purchases.

MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard

The MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard earns 5 MBNA Rewards points for every dollar spent on restaurant, grocery, digital media, memberships, and household utility purchases. This card has an annual fee of $120.

MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard

The MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard earns MBNA Rewards points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 5x MBNA Rewards on restaurant, grocery, digital media purchases, and more.

Check out our MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
30,000 MBNA Rewards
MINSPEND
$2,000
NET VALUE
$180+
ANNUAL FEE
$120
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

For each category that earns 5 MBNA Rewards points per dollar spent, there is an annual cap of $50,000. This means that once you spend $50,000 on restaurant purchases in a year, you will no longer earn 5 MBNA Rewards points per dollar spent but instead will receive 1 MBNA Rewards point per dollar spent.

MBNA Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed towards travel. MBNA has also publicly stated that points will eventually transfer 1:1 to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan which is a massive plus for those who are interested in flying luxury experiences such as Starlux Business Class or Japan Airlines Business Class.

Best Credit Cards for Dining Out Without Annual Fees

If you are hesitant to hold a credit card that has annual fees, there are a number of good options that still offer rewards at an accelerated rate for all dining purchases made on the card.

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card earns 4% cash back on purchases at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $60 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card earns cash back and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn up to 4% cash back on purchases at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.

Check out our Simplii Financial Cash Back card review for more details.

BONUS
$100 cash back
MINSPEND
$500
NET VALUE
$100+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

The only drawback to this earning rate is that it has an annual spending cap of up to $5,000. This means if you spend more than $5,000 in a calendar year at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, your earning rate will drop to 0.5% cash back on all eligible purchases past that threshold. 

This makes the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card a great option for those who have a reasonable amount of restaurant spending in a calendar year while still looking to maximize their rewards from all restaurant purchases. Cash back is automatically redeemed at the end of the calendar year as a statement credit.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard earns 4 MBNA Rewards points on every dollar spent on restaurant, grocery, digital media, memberships, and household utility purchases.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard earns MBNA Rewards points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 4x MBNA Rewards on restaurant, grocery, digital media purchases, and more. In 2024, we awarded this card as the Best No Annual Fee Points Credit Card.

BONUS
10,000 MBNA Rewards
MINSPEND
$500
NET VALUE
$100+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

For each category that earns 4 MBNA Rewards points per dollar spent, there is an annual cap of $10,000. This means that once you spend $10,000 on restaurant purchases in a year, you will no longer earn 4 MBNA Rewards points per dollar spent but instead will receive 1 MBNA Rewards point per dollar spent.

Rogers Mastercard

The Rogers Mastercard is a good option for those who are Rogers, Fido, and Shaw postpaid customers as cardholders will earn 2% cash back on all purchases.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $50 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Rogers Mastercard

With the Rogers MastercardRogers, Fido and Shaw postpaid customers can earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases and get a 1.5x redemption bonus on Rogers, Fido and Shaw purchases – a 3% cash back value.

Check out our Rogers Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
$100 cash back
MINSPEND
$1,000
NET VALUE
$100+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

Redeeming earned cash back on the Rogers Mastercard is simple as cash back can be redeemed in minimum increments of $10. Those cardholders who are Rogers, Fido, or Shaw postpaid customers can receive a 1.5x redemption bonus on Rogers, Fido, and Shaw purchases – a 3% cash back value.

Tangerine World Mastercard

The Tangerine World Mastercard earns 2% cash back on three money-back categories of your choice which can include restaurants.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $150 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Tangerine World Mastercard

The Tangerine World Mastercard earns cash back and allows cardholders to choose three accelerated spending categories to increase their cash back earnings. In 2024, we awarded this card as the Best No Annual Fee Cash Back Credit Card.

Check out our Tangerine World Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
$100 cash back
MINSPEND
$1,000
NET VALUE
$100+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY
Apr 30, 2024

Cardholders are able to select three categories in which they will receive the elevated 2% cash back. These categories include grocery, furniture, restaurants, hotel/motel, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, and public transport/parking. There are no annual spending caps on any of these categories.

Money-back rewards that are earned on the Tangerine World Mastercard are paid monthly. The cash back will be issued either as a statement credit on the credit card account or as a deposit to a Tangerine savings account, depending on the cardholder’s preference.

Conclusion

If you dine out often, holding a credit card that rewards these purchases is a great way to earn additional rewards for no additional effort. Whether you are dining as a couple or perhaps you are the person who pays the restaurant bill and has their friends e-Transfer them, looking for opportunities to maximize bonus rewards will only serve to benefit you in the long term.

Josh Bandura

Josh Bandura

Co-Founder at Frugal Flyer
Josh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points earning potential in recent years. With a consistent attitude of "min-maxing" in many aspects of his life, Josh has transferred this mindset over to the miles and points game. Always looking for the next big opportunity, he aims to share content on a variety of topics including his travels, miles and points, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your credit cards

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