Canada’s Top 10 Credit Cards for Dining – the best of the best for those who like to eat out, get take out or have their food delivered

 
Do you love eating out, getting take out or both? Are you planning on checking out one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants? Maybe you don’t like to  cook at all and rely wholly on what you can go out and get? If that’s the case then this list is for you. A look at the top 10 credit cards in Canada for dining and eating out. These cards will earn you the biggest returns on purchases at your favourite restaurants, fast food joints, coffee shops and in most cases, dining delivery services like SkipTheDishes and DoorDash as well.

We list the cards in order of the best earn rates but also take into account flexibility when redeeming those hard earned points. That’s why you see a card like the Scotia Gold American Express Card ranked higher than the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard even though the latter can provide better returns but with it you are stuck booking travel via the often more expensive MBNA Rewards program. Also look for our ­čĺ│ Rwrds reminders ­čĺ│  for links to related features and articles!

1. American Express Cobalt® Card

Canada’s #1 Overall Travel Rewards Card and more recently also awarded Canada’s #1 Cash Back Credit Card the American Express Cobalt Card is a must for every Canadian’s wallet. We could write a whole encyclopedia section on it but we won’t. Just trust us that with its 5x points earning on eats and drinks (restaurants, fast food, cafes, bars and even groceries) you won’t be disappointed with this card as you will come out with no less than a 5% return. You can earn those 5 points per dollar spent on up to $30,000 in spending in the eats & drinks category. That category alone could net you 150,000 points per year which translates to $1,500 in any travel anytime, $1,500 cash back, 150,000 Aeroplan Points or any one of numerous other options. 

Value (return on spending) of the 5 points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Any travel anytime redemption: 5%
  • Fixed points for travel redemption: 7.5% to 10%
  • Use points for purchases (cash back): 5%
  • Conversion to Aeroplan: 7.5% to 30%+
  • Conversion to Marriott: 6% to 20+

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the American Express Cobalt Card.

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: American Express CobaltÔäó Card Confirmed Multiplier Locations ­čĺ│


2. Scotia Gold American Express Card

Canada’s #1 Travel Points Credit Card is a beast when it comes to earning points. It also earns 5 Scene+ points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment as well which tends to go hand in hand with dining all with a hefty $50,000 annual cap. Technically speaking you can earn more with the Scotia Gold American Express Card than the Cobalt Card but it only matches the Cobalt card on any travel anytime redemptions. Any other redemption avenues like cash back and the card loses value plus it has no conversion options. That being said if you only want to redeem for travel that you book your own way and want a card that also has no foreign transaction fees this is the card for you. 

Value (return on spending) of the 5 points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Any travel anytime redemption: 5%
  • Scotia Points for Credit (cash back): 3.33% to 3.49%

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the Scotia Gold American Express Card

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review ­čĺ│


3. MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®

Recently updated, the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard became only the third ‘true’ 5x points earning card in Canada after the Cobalt Card and the Scotia Gold Amex. It earns 5 points per dollar spent on restaurant purchases and it also has a hefty $50,000 annual cap.  One word of caution though – there appears to be some issues with some restaurants not coding as 5x points. You’ll want to check out the site bonuspoints.ca* which takes a page from our Cobalt Multipliers feature and lists the confirmed locations where you will earn your accelerators or not. Again with this card you could earn more points than the Cobalt Card but it
only matches the Cobalt card if you choose to redeem via MBNA Rewards for travel. And the reviews are mixed about MBNA travel so you are giving up some flexibility here against the first cards. And like the Scotia card, any
other redemption avenues like cash back and the card loses value plus it
has no conversion options.  This card also provides an annual birthday of 10% bonus points on the points you earned over the previous 12 months up to 15,000 bonus points in total.

Value (return on spending) of the 5 points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Travel redemption via MBNA Rewards: 5% (with the annual birthday bonus 5.5%)
  • Use points for other purchases (cash back): 4.15% (with the annual birthday bonus ~4.57%)

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard 

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: Big Changes to the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard – now earns 5 points per dollar in select categories + 10% annual bonus points ­čĺ│

* thanks to @Joshnet for letting us know about this site!


4. Platinum Card from American Express 

Canada’s #1 Ultra Premium Card earns what would appear to be a middle of the road 3 points per dollar on dining but it has one big advantage for the big spenders. There is no cap on the dining spend. If you are a high roller and spend an immense amount of money on dining, and I mean those restaurants where you easily spend four figures for just one meal many times over during the course of a year this is the card to do it with. On top of the points earning Platinum Card members receive numerous exclusive dining offers throughout the year and the card is also part of Amex’s Global Dining Collection which provides special perks. On the redemption side the card has all the same redemption options as the Cobalt Card.

Value (return on spending) of the 3 points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Any travel anytime redemption: 3%
  • Fixed points for travel redemption: 4.5% to 6%
  • Use points for purchases (cash back): 3%
  • Conversion to Aeroplan: 4.5% to 18%+
  • Conversion to Marriott: 3.6% to 12% 

Click here to learn more and/or apply for The Platinum Card from American Express.

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: Redemption Stories: Saving $3,800 on last minute flights with the Platinum Card from American Express ­čĺ│


 

5. Scotiabank┬«* Platinum American Express┬« Card 

This often forgotten Ultra Premium card is a bit of sleeper hit. Strong points earning and Priority Pass membership with 10 lounge visits can make it a very worthwhile card (the visits alone are worth up to US$320). The card earns 4x Scene+ points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment with a very high annual cap of $100,000 for their 4x points categories. Unlike the Gold version from Scotia, this card’s dining accelerator is not limited to Canada only but on the other hand it does not have the No Foreign Transaction fee benefit like the Gold version.

Value (return on spending) of the 4 points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Any travel anytime redemption: 4%
  • Scotia Points for Credit (cash back): 2.66% to 2.79%

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the Scotia Platinum American Express Card

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: Scotiabank Platinum American Express – The sleeper card in the Canadian premium card market  ­čĺ│


6. BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

BMO’s relatively new card offerings, the eclipse Visa cards take 6th and 7th spots in the list. These cards earn 5 points per dollar spent on dining however these aren’t true 5x points cards is take their redemption options into account. See below for what we mean. For the Visa Infinite version the 5x points is capped at a nice $50,000 per year across all the 5x points categories which include groceries, dining, gas and transit. To redeem for travel this card is like the MBNA card in that you have to redeem via BMO Rewards so it is a bit less flexible than say the Amex options

Value (return on spending) of the 5 points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Travel redemption via BMO Rewards: 3.34%
  • Cash back redemption for BMO investment products: 3.34%
  • Cask back redemption as a statement credit: 2.5%  

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card Review ­čĺ│


7. BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card

Just like it’s premium sibling, this Ultra Premium card earns 5 points per dollar spent on
dining however just like the above in our eyes it isn’t a true 5x points cards since the redemption value isn’t worth 5%.
With this version of the card the 5x
points is capped at a big $100,000 per year across all the 5x points
categories which include groceries, dining, drugstore purchases, gas and travel. To redeem
for travel you have to so via BMO Rewards so it is a bit less flexible than some of the other cards on this list.

Value (return on spending) of the 5 points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Travel redemption via BMO Rewards: 3.34%
  • Cash back redemption for BMO investment products: 3.34%
  • Cask back redemption as a statement credit: 2.5%  

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card


8. Desjardins Cash Back World Elite®Mastercard®

Another relatively new card and not as well known outside of Quebec is the Desjardins’ Cash Back World Elite Mastercard. This card has the honour of being the only actual cash back credit card in the top 10. It earns 3% cash back on restaurant purchases with no annual cap. Once your cash back balance reaches $100 a credit is automatically applied to your account.

Value (return on spending) of the 3% cash back earned on dining:

  • Cash back: 3% 

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the Desjardins Cash Back World Elite®Mastercard

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: Clash of the Credit Cards! Desjardins Cash Back World Elite Mastercard vs. Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card ­čĺ│


 

9.  CIBC Costco Mastercard 

Getting a little ahead of ourselves as this card isn’t even in the market yet but will be in March 2022. It will replace the Capital One Mastercard exclusively for Costco members which you still can apply for at this time. The good thing that makes it easy for this article is both the current and the soon to be released Costco cards earn 3% cash back at restaurants. The cash back comes in the form of a Costco gift certificate every January. CIBC also states it will available electronically starting in 2023.

Value (return on spending) of the 3% cash back earned on dining:

  • Cash back in the form of a Costco Gift Certificate: 3% 

Click here to learn more about the CIBC Costco Mastercard

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: Details on the new CIBC Costco Mastercard are here – it will launch in March 2022 ­čĺ│


 

10. American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card

All of the Ultra Premium Aeroplan co-brands have dining spend accelerators but the highest of them is on Amex’s Aeroplan Reserve Card. The card earns 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on dining and we value Aeroplan points at a minimum of 1.5 cents each thus giving this card an equivalent return on spending of no less than 3%. That’s should be your minimum though as with the Aeroplan program you can easily redeem for much more value from 2 to 6 cents per point or even more.

Value (return on spending) of the 2 Aeroplan points per dollar earned on dining:

  • Aeroplan flight reward redemption: 3% to 12%+

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

­čĺ│ Rwrds reminder: Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Points? ­čĺ│


Honourable Mention: Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

This cash back Visa card from CIBC’s Simplii Financial offshoot earns a very respectable 4% cash back on dining purchases. So why isn’t it in the top 10? Well for one simple reason, that 4% is capped at $5,000 in spending per year. If you know you won’t spend more than that per year you’ll want to consider this card as it would shoot up to around 4th spot for you. However if you do eat out a lot it won’t take long to eat up (pun intended) that $5,000 annual cap. 

Value (return on spending)  of the 4% cash back earned on dining:

  • Cash back: 4%

Click here to learn more and/or apply for the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card. 

Wrapping it up

There you have it, the Top 10 Credit Cards for dining and eating out in Canada. I do want to say this is just a snapshot of what these cards provide in regards to dining, in most cases you should also look at the rest of the earn rates that they offer, look at all the redemption options and also the insurance and other non-rewards benefits these cards have. However if you are focused on the dine only and want to maximize your rewards on eating out you’ll definitely want one or more of these cards in your wallet.