5 Tips for Affordable Fine Dining Experiences


Let’s face it. We all want nice things, but they can be a little expensive. Whether it’s a luxury hotel stay, a day relaxing at the spa, or even just a nice meal at a fancy restaurant, we wouldn’t say no to these things if our finances meant that we could afford them on the regular. 

But with a little bit of planning and strategic moves, we can all enjoy fine dining on a budget. Here’s how.

1) Choose lunch over dinner

Many upscale restaurants have a lunch menu that’s significantly cheaper than the dinner menu. There are often two- or three-course menus for lunch at great prices (below S$80), so you’ll be getting a full meal without breaking the bank. 

Also, opting for lunch means you get to enjoy a more relaxed, peaceful atmosphere, and it’s much easier to make a reservation for lunch than dinner. 

2) Sharing is caring (about your wallet)

It’s better to gather friends when heading out for some posh nosh. When it’s just you and your partner, there’s a tendency to over-order since you want to try everything. This leads to wasted food and a larger bill.

When dining with a group, you can share a few dishes, so everyone gets to try a little of everything. Some fine dining restaurants even have sharing platters.

3) Use a credit card that offers fine dining privileges

There are lots of credit cards to choose from these days. But when it comes to fine dining, The American Express® Platinum Credit Card stands out above the rest.

Its exclusive Card Members-only programme, Love Dining by Platinum, offers a variety of generous benefits and discounts all year long at many popular restaurants, including some at five-star hotels. 

Enjoy up to 50% savings off your food bill at partner restaurants. There’s something for all tastebuds, from Japanese to Western, at restaurants such as Mikuni, SKAI Restaurant, The Astor Grill, and Wooloomooloo Steakhouse.

Dine with two people and get 50% discount, up to 35% for a party of three and 25% for 4 people. Even if you’re dining alone, you stand to get up to 15% discount! 

Plus, one of the main benefits of the American Express Platinum Credit Card is the S$200 Lifestyle Credit that can be used with most Love Dining partners. Get S$100 back in statement credits when you spend S$100 or more in a single transaction at participating dining and retail partners. 

Here’s how the privileges from the card stack up: 

  • A couple goes to a Love Dining restaurant and spends S$300 
  • They enjoy 50% off (S$150) from their restaurant bill with The American Express Platinum Credit Card
  • Plus, they get back S$100 in credits
  • This means they’ve got S$50 left—which they can pay off with their Membership Rewards® points (more on that later)!

Who said dining out had to be expensive? 

4) Make every hour happy hour

If you’re going for drinks, always try to take advantage of the happy hour timing—it definitely pays off.

But what if we can’t be there during happy hour? Don’t worry, with the Chillax programme by Amex, you can enjoy a complimentary welcome drink with purchase or a 1-for-1 promotion on your first drink at popular bars such as Chandu, The Riverhouse, Wallich Manor, and more—all day.

Stretching your dollars while sipping on sophistication has never been more enticing.

5) Squeeze more out of your meal with credit card rewards & privileges

Maximise your dining indulgence by paying with a credit card that rewards your spending. The American Express Platinum Credit Card earns you 2 Membership Rewards Points with every S$1.60 spent.

Beyond dining privileges, Card Members also get to enjoy fashion and wellness rewards. The S$200 Lifestyle Credit benefit can be used at retail partners including Uniqlo, Love, Bonito, Montblanc, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren and more. If you spend S$100 or more in a single transaction with participating partners, you can get S$100 back in statement credits each time. This is valid for max 2 times each year. 

Your card membership also entitles you to spa discounts at participating partners such as Adeva Spa, Spa Rael, and The Ultimate.

Dining at upscale restaurants, shopping at the best fashion stores, and relaxing in luxurious spas aren’t just for the ultra-rich. We can all enjoy a life of indulgence. It just requires a little bit of planning—and the right credit card perks.

Feast on up to S$600 in welcome rewards with The American Express® Platinum Credit Card

Enjoy a welcome offer* of up to S$400 in eCapitaVouchers + S$200 Lifestyle Credits when you sign up today.

*Terms and conditions apply.

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This post was written in collaboration with American Express. While we are financially compensated by them, we nonetheless strive to maintain our editorial integrity and review products with the same objective lens. We are committed to providing the best information in order for you to make personal financial decisions with confidence.