The year 2020 may bring new resolutions, promises to hit the gym, and positive aspirations for the start of the decade. It also comes with rising housing expenses, gas costs, and food prices. But don’t let that bring you down.

With a rewards credit card, you can earn points or money back just by spending how you already do. This may allow you to treat yourself to the things that you love without breaking the bank. If you love sampling new restaurants and trying tasty treats, you can do that a little bit easier with one of our four favourite credit cards for dining out.

Our favourite picks

  • American Express CobaltTM Credit Card: This card is ideal for the person who wants to reward themselves with dining out, by dining out! Earn five times (5%) the rewards on eats and drinks and use your rewards for almost anything.
  • Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card: Earn five times rewards (5%) with your restaurant, fast food, food delivery, food subscription, drinking establishment, and grocery purchases. Dine-in, dine out, and reward yourself with gift cards to some of your favourite restaurants.
  • TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card: For a limited time earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first three months, up to a total spend of $2,000. Treat yourself with a grand night out or a luxurious dining experience with all your Cash Back Dollars.
  • Tangerine World Mastercard®: This flexible card can allow you to earn 2% cash back on all your restaurant purchases and in up to two other categories of your choice.

American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card has a remarkable earn rate of five points per dollar spent at eligible restaurants including bars and cafés. Not only that, cardholders can earn while dining out and use their points to do the same. The Membership Rewards have almost limitless possibilities and few restrictions.

So, it’s no wonder this card tops our list. Based on our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will earn $1,298.20 in Membership Rewards points in the first two years of card membership. Once you have the minimum redemption value of 1,000 points, you can start to redeem them for purchases.

Credit score requirement for approval: Fair. You’ve had a credit card or loan for one or more years. For the last two years, you’ve paid back debts to creditors (with no defaults). You haven’t missed more than two payments on your credit in the last three months.

Annual fee: $120 per year, paid monthly

Limited time offer/bonus: For a limited time, earn up to 30,000 bonus points in your first year of card membership. That is 2,500 Membership Rewards for each billing period you spend at least $500 on your card.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: N/A 

Rewards: Earn five points for every dollar you spend at eligible restaurants including bars and cafés, as well as food delivery in Canada and grocery shopping purchases.

  • Earn two times the points on eligible travel and transit. This includes taxis and public transit.
  • Earn one point per dollar on everything else.

Earning potential: How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period.

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = 153,820 Membership Rewards Points
Monetary value = $1,538.20
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $240.00
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,298.20

You can redeem your points for:

Once you have 1,000 points to redeem, a $10 monetary value, you can use your points for purchases.

  • Eats and drinks
  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Trips
  • Streaming services
  • Movie tickets
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards

Insurance:

  • Emergency medical insurance (out of province/country)
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance
  • Car rental theft & damage insurance
  • $250,000 travel accident insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Buyer’s assurance protection plan (extended warranty)

Other perks:

  • Access 24/7 customer service and the security of AMEX’s fraud protection guarantee.
  • Enjoy all that American Express Invites has to offer including exclusive access to perks, tickets, special offers, and experiences.
  • Receive benefits at over 600 participating hotels and resorts through The Hotel Collection.

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card is another fantastic earner. Just like the American Express Cobalt Card, this card offers five times the rewards for dining in and dining out. Earn rewards at eligible restaurants, fast food, and drinking establishments, as well as food delivery and food subscriptions.

This card also offers 24/7 concierge services, so booking your next reservation will be a breeze. Based on our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will earn nearly $1,000 ($941.59) in Scotia Rewards points in the first two years of card membership.

Credit score requirement for approval: Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You've had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven't opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You've made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee: $120

Limited time offer/bonus: Rewards: Earning potential: How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period. Rewards earned over a 24-month period = 118,158.72 Scotia Rewards Points Monetary value = $1,181.59 Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $240.00 Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $941.59

You can redeem your points for:

  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Experiences
  • Travel
  • Converted to SCENE points
  • Applied as a credit toward your account balance

Insurance:

  • Travel emergency medical insurance
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warrant

Other perks:

  • Benefit from the 24/7 complimentary concierge services.
  • Enjoy all that American Express Invites has to offer including exclusive access to tickets, special offers, and experiences.
  • Access Scotia Rewards Travel Service, and their Best Price Guarantee on airfare.

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

Take advantage of the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card welcome offer and earn 10% Cash Back Dollars on all purchases within the first three months of opening your account, up to a total spend of $2,000. After the welcome offer expires, earn 3% cash back on all grocery and gas purchases, and 1% on everything else.

This card also offers a complimentary concierge service, roadside assistance, hotel benefits, and travel insurance for all your adventures. Enjoy the benefits while you dine locally or abroad! Based on our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will earn $720.68 in Cash Back Dollars within the first two years of card membership.

Credit score requirement for approval: Good: You’ve had a credit card, or loan for at least six years. You've had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven't opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You've made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee: $120

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • For a limited time, open to online applications only, new cardholders can earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first three months, up to a total spend of $2,000. Plus, the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: March 2, 2020 

Rewards:

  • Earn 3% Cash Back Dollars on eligible grocery buys, gas purchases, and recurring bill payments set up on your account.
  • Earn 1% Cash Back Dollars on everything else.

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period.

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = $840.68
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $120
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $720.68

You can redeem your points for:

  • Redeem your Cash Back Dollars to pay down your account balance whenever you please.

Insurance:

  • Travel medical insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Emergency travel assistance services
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage
  • Visa Zero Liability protection
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty

Other perks:

  • Access the complimentary Visa Infinite concierge services, Visa Infinite Food and Wine experiences, and the Visa Infinite Hotel Collection.
  • Enjoy the free Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership and save on select rental car companies.

Tangerine World Mastercard®

The Tangerine World Mastercard® offers flexibility when it comes to earning rewards. Cardholders can choose up to three Money-Back Rewards categories from 10 options including restaurants, grocery, and gas, at an earn rate of 2%. Earn 0.5% on everything else. And, for a limited time, Tangerine is offering 4% Money-Back Rewards in up to three categories for the first three months. This can mean more savings in your pocket and more entrées, appetizers, and desserts to try out.

Based on our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian can put $546.85 in their Tangerine Savings Account in the first two years of card membership. Cash back can also be applied to your credit card statement, however, the earn rate would be less.

Credit score requirement for approval: Excellent: You've had a credit card or loan for at least 10 years. You've had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven't opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You've made the minimum payments on your existing credit cards for the past six months.

Annual fee: $0

Limited time offer/bonus: Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: January 31, 2020 

Rewards: The average earn rate for this card is 2% on your two chosen categories and 0.5% on everything else. However, if you choose to have your Money-Back Rewards deposited in your Tangerine savings account, you are eligible for a third Money Back category. You can change your selected Money-Back categories as your spending habits change, which could increase your earning potential. Choose from these 10 Tangerine Money-Back Rewards categories:

Earning potential: How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period. Rewards earned over a 24-month period = $546.85 Money-Back rewards Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $0 Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $546.85

*Assuming you have earned the third category by depositing your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account and you have chosen to earn from grocery, restaurant, and gas purchases.

You can redeem your points for:

  • Points can be deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account monthly.
  • Points can be applied to your Tangerine World Mastercard credit card bill as a statement credit.

Insurance:

  • Rental car collision/loss damage insurance
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Mastercard zero liability
  • Purchase assurance
  • Extended warranty

Other perks:

  • Enjoy complimentary Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey.
  • Access the easy online Pause My Card feature, in case you misplace your card.
  • Add free authorized users to your account.

Reward yourself

If you enjoy dining out but are finding it hard to fit into your budget, consider using a rewards credit card. Earn points, rewards, or cash back, when you spend money on everyday purchases. You may even earn bonus rewards on specific things you love to buy, however, that depends on the card you choose.

That is why it is best to compare credit cards to find one that suits your shopping habits and rewards preferences.

RATESDOTCA Team

The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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