The results are in from RATESDOTCA’s third annual Cost of Love study - and they total an eye-popping $50,339.21, from first date to cutting the cake! The study breaks down the average prices associated with dating, engagement and getting hitched, meaning individual couples will spend more or less than our findings - but what rings true (no pun intended) is that relationships cost some serious cash.
The good news - if you’re a savvy credit card points collector, you could be raking in some hefty rewards on the cost of romance. (That means you follow the golden rule of rewards credit card use, and pay off your balance in full before interest kicks in.) To find what you could earn on that cool $50k+ spend, here’s our list of top credit cards to use on dates. We’re sure you’ll love them.
Psst: Does your current card really love you back? Test out your main squeeze with our Credit Card Cupid Calculator, and see how much you would earn or save on the Cost of Love>
Dining Out: SimplyCash™ Card from American Express® (no fee)
What you’ll earn on the Cost of Love: $123.50
American Express launched this very competitive cash back option last fall, and it’s been lauded since for its ability to earn quickly at a number of eligible retailer types - a fact that earned it a runner up spot in our annual Best of Finance Awards!
This no-fee card earns 5% cash back (up to $250) within the first six months at gas and grocery stores and - cha-ching - at restaurants. Unlike other no-fee cash back cards, your total earnings are never capped; after the initial welcome rate ends, you’ll continue to earn unlimited cash back at a rate of 1.25%.
Total Cost of Dining Out (two year’s worth of fancy and casual date costs) = $5,646
Dollars earned within first six months at 5%: $70.57
Dollars earned over remaining 18 months at 1.25%: $52.93125
At the Movies: Scotiabank SCENE® VISA Card
What you’ll earn on the Cost of Love: 5,709.60 SCENE points (5 free movies)
Going to the movies isn’t the low-cost date alternative it once was - it now costs $47.58 for two people to take in a flick and indulge in a popcorn and candy combo. In fact, going to the movies once a month for two years will set you back $1,141.92!
Fortunately for silver screen lovers, the Scotiabank SCENE card was designed to reward you with free movies, with five points earned on the dollar on all Cineplex purchases (one movie per 1,000 points earned). Flashing the card at the concession stand will also save you 10% on your popcorn or Junior Mints. Plus you’ll earn 1% on every dollar you spend on all purchases, with no annual fee.
Using your SCENE card to pay for all of your movie costs will net you 5,709.60 points - enough for 5 free movies, with $42.24 saved at the concession stand.
Taking a Trip: BMO® World Elite™ MasterCard®*
What you’ll earn on the Cost of Love (plus $300 signup bonus):
- 4 short-haul flights
- Almost one long-haul Caribbean round trip for one person
Planning a romantic getaway? This card won first place in our Best of Finance Travel category and for good reason; it earns two points on the dollar, regardless of retailer category. Assuming you used this card to pay for the entire Cost of Love ($50,339.21), you would earn 130,678 points (including the 30,000 points gift for new signups). So, how far will that take you?
Using BMO’s point redemption and travel booking service, those points total roughly four short-haul flights (eg. Toronto’s Pearson Airport to Montreal’s Trudeau), and almost a full round trip for one person between Pearson and Punta Cana.
This card also comes stacked with comprehensive Total Travel Protection and PriorityPass lounge access, offering even more value to frequent flyers - but be sure to factor that $150 annual fee into your rewards redemption.
Paying it Off: MBNA Platinum Plus® MasterCard®credit card
What you’ll save on the Cost of Love: $10,067.84
Did you overdo it on all those date nights? Credit cards with low balance transfer features can be an effective way to pay down a lingering balance. The Platinum Plus has swept first place in our Best Finance Awards for three years running because it offers a promotional rate of 0% interest on transferred balances for a full year!
Let’s assume you paid for the entire Cost of Love with the average credit card (one that packs a 20% APR). Should you transfer your balance to the Platinum Plus and paid it off within the year grace period, you’d save a whopping $10,067.84!