Unlike some credit card comparison websites, I’m not going to start this article with platitudes about how eating is a popular activity among Singaporeans, or how dining out is a pleasant way to obtain essential vitamins and minerals.
Instead, let’s just acknowledge that I need to eat, you need to eat, so let’s find some ways to get rewarded for something we do over 1,000 times a year.
|Credit card||Dining benefits||Things to note|
|American Express Platinum Credit Card||Up to 50% off under Love Dining programme||Min. income $50,000 p.a.|
|UOB YOLO Credit Card||8% cashback (weekend)
3% cashback (weekday)
New signups get 12% cashback everyday in first 3 months
|Min. spend $600
Cashback cap $60 (regular) + $40 (bonus for first 3 months)
Bonus cashback promo until 30 Jun 2018
|CIMB Visa Signature Card||10% cashback||Min. spend $500
Cashback cap $60
Min. 8 transactions of min. $30 each
|Citi Cash Back Card||8% cashback||Min. spend $888
Cashback cap $25
|BOC Family Card||7% cashback||Min. spend $500
Cashback cap $100
|OCBC 365 Credit Card||6% cashback (weekend)
3% cashback (weekday)
|Min. spend $600
Cashback cap $80
|BOC Zaobao Credit Card||10% cashback||UnionPay not widely accepted
Min. spend $600
Cashback cap $80
|Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card||8X rewards ($1 = 3.2 miles)||Min. income $50,000 p.a.
Min. spend $300
Expenditure cap $3,750
|HSBC Revolution Credit Card||5X rewards ($1 = 2 miles)||None|
|Maybank World Mastercard||10X rewards ($1 = 4 miles)||Min. income $80,000 p.a.
Limited range of restaurants
No expiry date to TREATS points
American Express Platinum Credit Card – 50% off dining bill
- Love Dining @ Restaurants: 50%, 35%, 15% savings when dining with 1 friend, 2 friends, and alone respectively
- Enjoy savings at artfully curated restaurants and Singapore's finest hotels with Love Dining
- Love Dining @ Hotels: Discounts applicable for groups up to 19 pax at Raffles Hotel Singapore, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, The St. Regis and more
- With Love Dining @ Hotels, receive a complimentary The Far Card Classic Membership
- Eligible for use with Apple Pay
You know those 1-for-1 buffet promotions at unheard-of restaurants that many credit cards try to pass off as “dining privileges”? Having been burned multiple times, I’ve reached the point in life where such deals are no longer worth the effort, money or extra calories.
That’s why I’m putting the Amex Platinum credit card in top spot. Although it doesn’t offer cashback, rewards or miles, it gives you up to 50% off at restaurants you actually want to eat at.
They range from fine establishments you can take your parents to, like The Song of India and Lawry’s the Prime Rib, to hipster-approved restaurants like FYR, Salted & Hung and Napoleon Food & Wine Bar.
To put the discount in perspective, imagine that you and your best friend feel like pigging out at a buffet this weekend. Would you rather pay $33.80++ per head at Buffet Town or $30-odd (after splitting the $59++ Amex bill) at Oscar’s at Conrad Centennial? Makes sense to pay less for better quality food, right?
I would say the drawback of the Amex Platinum card is that the discount drops sharply from 50% when you bring more than 1 dining companion along. Don’t bother dining solo either, because you’ll only get a 15% discount.
UOB YOLO Credit Card – 12% cashback on all dining
- 16%* cash rebate on weekend Dining, both local and overseas
- Get up to 10% cashback at Hareloom Bistro Modern offers
- 3% cash rebate on weekday Dining
- 0.3% cash rebate on all other spend
- Minimum spend of S$600 per statement month for 16% and 3% rebate, otherwise 0.3% rebate earned on all spend. Total rebate capped at S$60 per month
It’s a bit of a shame that UOB markets this card so aggressively to millennials, because it’s actually a really good dining credit card no matter what the cardholder’s age.
Just going by raw numbers, the current 8% + 8% = 16% cashback on weekend dining (and entertainment) is really hard to beat. We don’t know if the UOB YOLO dining promotion will be extended past 31 Mar 2018, but if it doesn’t, the weekend dining cashback drops to 8%. That’s still huge, but it’s not the absolute biggest around.
UPDATE (Apr 2018): UOB has updated its YOLO card benefits. Existing cardmembers still get the 8% on weekend dining and 3% on weekday dining. New sign-ups before 30 Jun 2018 will get an extra 4% and 9% respectively for the first 3 months, bringing it up to 12% daily for this period.
CIMB Visa Signature – 10% cashback on all dining
Now, if we exclude promotions like UOB YOLO credit card’s bonus cashback, THIS is the credit card with the absolute highest dining cashback in Singapore right now. We’re talking about a cool 10% cashback on all dining – weekdays included.
Bonus: there’s also 10% cashback for online spending in foreign currency, making it doubly versatile as an online shopping credit card too.
As with most cashback cards, the main drawbacks of the CIMB Visa Signature are its convoluted minimum spend structure and low cashback cap of $60. It takes just $600 of spending (that’s $150 on dining a week) to bust that cap.
Citi Cash Back Card – 8% cashback capped at $25
- 8% cash back on your dining spends globally
- 20% cash back on foodpanda orders, valid from 1 Mar 2018 - 30 Apr 2018
- 8% cash back is also applicable for online food delivery including Deliveroo
- Exclusive dining deals with Citi Gourmet Pleasures at top restaurants such as Kuro Restaurant & Bar, Skyve Wine Bistro and more
- Total minimum retail spend of S$888/statement month to get 8% cash back, capped at S$25 per category (Dining, Grab rides valid till 6 Apr 2018, Groceries, Petrol). For retail spend less than S$888 and/or other retail spend categories, 0.25% cash back is awarded, no cap
Even though the Citi Cash Back Card’s 8% cashback on all dining looks impressive, your rebate is capped at $25. That limits your spending to $312.50 a month.
But it would be a bit unfair to compare this to the UOB or CIMB cards mentioned above, because the Citi Cash Back Card is an all-purpose cashback card, not a dining-focused one. It gives 8% cashback in 3 other categories – petrol, groceries and Grab rides – and the same $25 cap applies to each one.
That said, this is a perfectly serviceable card if you dine out only a couple of times a month and don’t want to juggle too many credit cards.
BOC Family Card – 7% cashback on all dining
Like the Citi Cash Back Card, the Bank of China Family Card is also an all-purpose cashback card with a pretty decent 7% cashback on all dining.
The trade-off for the slightly lower percentage is a higher total cashback cap of $100 a month, which gives you a considerable lot more to play with. Plus, there’s also 5% cashback on a lot of other things, like online shopping, groceries and hospital bills, making it a versatile all-rounder for breadwinners.
OCBC 365 Credit Card – 6% cashback on weekend dining
- 3% Cashback on Local Weekday Dining (Mondays to Fridays)
- 3% Cashback on Overseas Dining (Everyday)
- 6% Cashback on Local Weekend Dining (Sat and Sun)
Once upon a time, the OCBC 365 was among the top few weekend dining credit cards in Singapore because of its 6% cashback on weekend and 3% on weekday dining.
However, it hasn’t stepped up its game since banks (especially foreign ones) got increasingly competitive with dining benefits. And with its very average $600 minimum spend and $80 cap, it doesn’t shine in these two areas either.
So, who should get this card? One, OCBC 360 savings account holders who need to spend on an OCBC credit card. Two, those who want just one card for their general spending since it also offers rebates on groceries, online shopping and telco bills.
BOC Zaobao Credit Card (UnionPay) – 10% cashback on all dining
For the sake of completeness, I’m including the Bank of China Zaobao credit card because it offers an excellent-sounding 10% cashback on all dining.
BUT, it’s a UnionPay card, which means you’re limited to a small handful of local restaurants – probably those popular among Chinese tourists like Hai Di Lao and Jumbo Seafood. However, it could still come in handy if you frequently fly to China.
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card – 8X rewards ($1 = 3.2 miles) for dining
- Earn 3.2 air miles (8X TREATS Points) for every S$1 spent on selected dining merchants
- Min spend: S$300/month
- Capped at 30,000 Bonus TREATS Points per month
- 1X TREATS Point with no minimum spend
We admit it, cashback cards can have pretty troublesome requirements. We don’t blame you for wanting to pick a rewards or air miles card instead. Plus, who wouldn’t want to earn air miles while they eat?
Of the many rewards and air miles credit cards on the market, however, not many actually reward dining. Your best bet is the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature, which has the best rewards/miles earn rate in Singapore for dining.
Unlike many rewards and miles cards, this card has a minimum spend of $300 a month. It’s not a lot, but it is something to keep in mind. The cap, however, is very high. That’s great because you also get 3.2 miles per dollar on petrol, taxis and Agoda bookings.
HSBC Revolution Credit Card – 5X rewards ($1 = 2 miles) for dining
- 5X Rewards points (or 2 air miles) per $1 spent on Online, Dining and Entertainment transactions
- Includes restaurants, cafes, and fast food outlets
- Excludes dining merchants within hotels
Coming in second place is the HSBC Revolution Credit Card, a great all-rounded rewards card that gives you a decent 5X rewards/2 miles per dollar on dining.
Not as impressive as Maybank’s offering, of course, but it’s a little more accessible, with a lower salary requirement, no minimum spend and no cap!
Maybank World Mastercard – 10X rewards ($1 = 4 miles) at selected restaurants
- Earn 10X TREATS Points (or 4 air miles) for every S$1 spent on selected dining merchants
- Enjoy 12.5% P$ rebate on food bill at participating restaurants at Paradise Group
The last credit card in our roundup is another Maybank card, this one offering 10X rewards or 4 miles per dollar. “Wah, so high! So why did you put it all the way below?” you ask.
Because the 10X rewards are only for Paradise Group, Imperial Treasure, Crystal Jade and Les Amis groups. Basically, it takes a certain sort of tai tai to max out on this particular card. (Mom, are you reading this?)
The good thing is, they’re pretty much all quality restaurants. So if your tastes veer more towards Chinese food than, say, the Western restaurants in the Amex Love Dining repertoire, this could be the card for you. Also, it’s extremely important to note that the TREATS points you earn on the Maybank World Mastercard have no expiry date, which is definitely a huge plus point because it means one less thing to worry about when enjoying the benefits of the card.
Still can’t decide which credit card to use?
When you have more than 20 options to choose from, it can be quite difficult to make a decision. Always compare the best credit cards for dining in Singapore before deciding which to apply for.
More tips on how to save on dining out:
Over to you – tell us which credit card do you use at restaurants and why?
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