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Dining Credit Cards

Enjoy a delicious restaurant meal using the discounts from your dining credit card.

Dining discounts and perks are some of the top benefits that make some credit cards very popular. You can quickly save a lot by utilising the dining benefits on your credit card.

Credit cards are frequently used to pay restaurant bills so it makes sense for credit card issuers to treat their customers to dining discounts and benefits. Your card can get you wide-ranging perks when you eat in a restaurant. These include a percentage discount on your entire bill, 2-for-1 perks when ordering a main meal or an accelerated rewards earning rate when you use your dining card to pay your bill.

What are dining credit cards?

These are credit cards that have a lot of benefits for individuals who enjoy eating away from home. You can look forward to more than just discounts. The dining benefits on some cards include preferential bookings or special events at exclusive restaurants.

A dining credit card is different from other types of credit cards because the card issuer pays special attention to negotiating offers that are exclusive to individuals who hold the card. Your dining credit card can have other benefits outside of dining, but it will always offer something exclusive when eating out.

How do dining credit cards work?

Dining benefits are usually part of a wider group of benefits on your credit card, though some credit cards are focused exclusively on dining. Typically, your dining credit card will entitle you to discounts at a range of restaurants, with these discounts exclusive to individuals who hold a specific credit card. To enjoy your dining benefit, you will in most cases be required to pay with your dining credit card when you visit the restaurant.

Restaurants are often enthusiastic about signing up with credit card companies to offer discounts to cardholders, especially when these are premium credit cards that are held by high earners. Sometimes dining benefits vary, for example your dining credit card could offer a substantially accelerated reward earnings rate when you pay at restaurants.

Restaurant table of food

What are the features of dining credit cards?

  • On the spot discounts. Enjoy a discount when you use your credit card at selected restaurants. Discounts can easily be 10-20% off your dining bill, or two main courses for the price of one course.
  • More rewards. Increased rewards when you dine at any restaurant, or a selection of restaurants. This can be up to 10x the standard reward earnings rate.
  • Increased cashback. Get a higher cash rebate when you pay your restaurant bill. You could receive double cashback or more if your card has dining-specific cashback benefits.

How should I compare dining credit cards?

  • Footprint. Look for a dining credit card that offers discounts in a wide range of restaurants, even if the actual discount percentage is a bit lower. Some cards offer a high discount at only a few restaurants, which will limit your choice and reduce the chances to save money.
  • Cashback. Don’t ignore accelerated cashback and reward earnings rates. These dining benefits can be an excellent way to save, even if the saving doesn’t show up on your credit card bill immediately.
  • Suitability. Different cards have different dining benefits, and there is not a lot of overlap when it comes to dining deals on credit cards, because they are negotiated exclusively. So, when you compare dining credit cards, pick the card that offers benefits at the type of restaurant and the individual restaurants you visit the most.
  • Value. Always look at the entire credit card package. If your dining credit card charges a high annual fee, it could erase the benefits you get from the dining benefits.

Are dining credit cards a good idea?

Pros

  • Savings. Most of us eat out at restaurants some of the time. Your dining credit card will save you money when you enjoy a meal at a restaurant.
  • Ease of use. Often the savings are applied directly to your bill so you don’t have to wait for a statement credit, or until you redeem your reward points, before you realise your discount.
  • Exclusive access. You may get special access to exclusive restaurants that have negotiated a deal with a credit card provider, including access to unique evenings which are not open to the public.

Cons

  • Some restrictions. The discounts on dining credit cards can be excellent, but sometimes exclude beverages, including alcoholic drinks. Think where most of your dining money is spent, and whether you will really benefit from the discount on offer once you’ve factored in any restrictions.
  • Annual fee. A dining credit card can come with a high annual fee or a high income requirement. Consider the entire credit card package before you decide.
  • Suitability. You might not always be able to make use of your dining benefits when you want to, due to the fact that your preferred restaurants are not on the credit card’s program, or because of booking restrictions on discounted deals.

What should you avoid when considering a dining credit card?

Check that your credit card provider is not simply repeating offers you can find elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to look at the restrictions and conditions around the dining benefits, because sometimes they are structured in a way that minimises the opportunity to save money. Don’t apply for a dining credit card if other cards offer more rounded benefits that you can take advantage of more often.

Some questions you might have about dining credit cards.

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