2023 Edition: Best Credit Cards for Dining

Don't leave miles on the table when dining out! Here's the best miles cards to use for restaurants, cafes, bars and fast food.

One of the biggest categories of spending for most Singaporeans will probably be eating out, and thankfully there’s no shortage of credit cards that earn bonus miles on restaurants and eateries, whether you’re sitting down for a multi-course fine dining meal, or grabbing a pastry at the MRT station.

💳 What’s the Best Card for…
This guide forms part of the “best card” series. Check out other category specific guides below, or the overall guide here.
✈️ Air Tickets
💗 Charity 🚗 Car Purchase
🍽️ Dining
🏫 Education🥡 Food Delivery
🏥 Hospitals🏨 Hotels
☂️ Insurance
Petrol🚍 Public Transport🛒 Supermarkets
🚰 Utilities

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume that you’re paying for your meal in-store. However there are some restaurants with QR code menus where you pay with your phone at the time of ordering. That’s more in the nature of food delivery or a generic online transaction, and you can refer to my separate post on the topic for the best cards to use in those situations.

What MCC does dining come under?

Restaurants and eateries can code under any of the following MCCs:

MCCDescriptionExamples
(non-exhaustive)
5811CaterersEatz, Neo Garden, Stamford Catering
5812RestaurantsCrystal Jade, Jumbo Seafood, Paradise Group
5813Bars & NightclubsBrewerkz, Brotzeit, Harry’s
5814Fast FoodBurger King, McDonald’s, KFC
5441Candy, Nut, Confectionary StoresCandy Empire, See’s Candies, TWG
5462BakeriesBread Talk, Bengawan Solo, Four Leaves
5499Misc. Food StoresCrave, Famous Amos, Grain

That’s quite a wide range, and it’s not always straightforward. For example, will eating in a hotel restaurant code as a hotel, or a restaurant? Will a Delifrance inside a grocery store count as a restaurant, or a supermarket?

Fortunately, it’s possible to check the MCC before spending. Here’s three ways of looking it up:

MethodEase of UseReliability
HeyMax●●●
📱 Instarem app●●●●
🤖 DBS digibot
●●●

Of course, the exact MCC only matters if you’re paying with a card that uses a whitelist approach. If you’re using a card with a blacklist approach, things are much simpler.

❓ Whitelist vs Blacklist approach
  • Whitelist: Only specified MCCs will be earn bonuses (e.g. HSBC Revolution for dining, groceries etc)
  • Blacklist: All transactions will earn bonuses, except specified excluded MCCs (e.g. UOB Preferred Platinum Visa for mobile contactless transactions)

What cards should I use for dining?

Below is a summary of the cards you can use to earn 3-6 mpd on dining. 

🍽️ Best Cards for Dining
CardEarn RateCap
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
6 mpdS$1K per c. month. Must choose Dining as bonus category
Review
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
6 mpdS$3K per c. month. Must choose Dining as bonus category
Review
HSBC Revolution
Apply
4 mpdS$1K per c. month
Review
UOB Visa Signature
Apply
4 mpdS$1-2K per s. month on local contactless spend
Review
UOB Pref. Plat. Visa
Apply
4 mpdS$1.1K per c. month
Review
Amaze + Citi Rewards
Apply
4 mpdMax $1K per s. month
Review
KrisFlyer UOB Card
Apply
3 mpd No cap. Min S$800 spend on SIA Group in m. year
Review
C. Month= Calendar Month | S. Month= Statement Month | M. Year= Membership Year

Let’s start with the blacklist cards, because they’re more straightforward:

  • Citi Rewards Card + Amaze will earn 4 mpd on all dining transactions, since Amaze converts all offline transactions into online ones
  • UOB Preferred Platinum Visa will earn 4 mpd on all dining transactions, so long as mobile payments are accepted (i.e. tap phone to pay)
  • UOB Visa Signature will earn 4 mpd on all dining transactions, so long as contactless payments are accepted (i.e. tap physical card or phone to pay), subject to a minimum local contactless spend of S$1,000 per statement month

As for the rest of the whitelist cards, MCC matters.

Here’s how each of the cards compares in terms of dining MCC coverage:

🍽️ Dining Card MCC Coverage
 
 HSBC Revo
UOB Lady’s
KF UOB
5811 
5812
5813 
5814
5441  
5462  
5499 
Earn Rate4 mpd6 mpd3 mpd
Monthly CapS$1KS$1K/3KNo cap

There’s an interesting trade-off running across these three cards:

  • the HSBC Revolution offers the widest dining MCC coverage, but has a monthly cap of S$1,000 and an earn rate of 4 mpd
  • the UOB Lady’s Card/Lady’s Solitaire have a more restricted dining MCC coverage, but have a monthly cap of S$1,000/3,000 and an earn rate of 6 mpd
  • the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card has the narrowest dining MCC coverage, but offers 3 mpd with no cap (assuming you meet the min. S$800 spend on SIA Group merchants per membership year, which shouldn’t be that hard to do)
⚠️ UOB$ merchants

Take care when spending with UOB cards, because you will earn reduced or no UNI$ (i.e. miles) at UOB$ merchants.

For the UOB Lady’s Card, Lady’s Solitaire Card and Visa Signature, deduct 0.4 mpd from the usual 4/6 mpd earn rates. For the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa and KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card, you will earn 0 miles. Refer to this article for more details, and to this article for potential workarounds. 

Some UOB$ dining merchants include Aburi-En, Baker & Cook, BreadTalk, Bonchon, Crystal Jade, Patisserie G, Polar Puffs and Cakes, Starbucks, and Toast Box.

I suppose I should also briefly address the StanChart Smart Card, for the sake of completeness. This card will earn 5.6 mpd on spending at McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Burger King, Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Toast Box, capped at S$818 per statement month. If those are places you patronise, by all means- just beware of the orphan points problem, which can arise if you don’t otherwise use the card all that much.

This was previously positioned as a limited-time offer that ends on 31 December 2023, but the language regarding expiry has now been removed from the T&Cs- so I guess it’s permanent.

What if I’m buying a dining deal?

If you’re buying a dining deal on a platform like Kris+ or Shopback, it’s safest to use a card that gives a blanket bonus for online spending like the DBS Woman’s World Card, or Amaze + Citi Rewards combination (not Citi Rewards alone, because in-app payments are ineligible for 4 mpd).

What about Kris+?

S$5 for new Kris+ Users
Get S$5 (in the form of 750 KrisPay miles) when you sign-up with code W644363 and make your first transaction

Kris+ is great way of racking up additional miles on dining, on top of what you earn from your credit cards. There’s a few hundred dining partners offering an extra 1-9 mpd, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra to use.

For a guide on the best cards to pair with Kris+, refer to the article below.

What’s the best card to use for Kris+?

Other ways of saving on dining

Save up to 50% off dining at SKIRT and other hotel restaurants with AMEX Love Dining

While this article has focused on miles earning, just a quick reminder that there are credit cards which offer special dining privileges that can take a bite out of the bill:

Conclusion

While banks are clamping down on rewards for non-discretionary spend like education and utilities, dining is one luxury they’re happy to continue encouraging.

You can earn anywhere from 3-6 mpd on dining transactions, and offering to pay the bill for family and office gatherings (with reimbursement on the back end, of course) is one surefire way to grow your miles balance.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Anonymous

Most restaurants now allow ordering via a QR code and may also integrate the payment into the ordering process. In this case, this would count as online transaction and would be suitable for cards such as DBS Women’s World Mastercard.

Anonymous

Not necessarily. From personal experience, I have seen Dining MCCs such as 5814 being assigned for such QR payment. But yes, using MCC agnostic cards like DBS WWMC would be safer

J Y

I think you missed out HSBC Premier Mastercard which is 5%+1% and with a very high cap?

Nightmare_Angel

How long does it take for the UOB Lady’s Solitaire to be approved? Applied a week+ back and still pending approval. Sent a query email to UOB but no response.

Thanks

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