If there’s one thing Singaporeans can all agree on, it’s that we love dining out. According to the NEA, 85% of Singapore residents eat out at least one a week, with roughly 10% doing so every day.
Depending on your dining preferences, that can add up to a significant chunk of money over the course of the year. That makes it all the more crucial to stretch your dollar by making the most of the dining benefits that credit cards can offer.
Generic dining discounts
Let’s start with the basics. I’m sure you’d already be aware that almost every bank in Singapore has some sort of dining discount program. Sometimes, you’ll even see standees outside restaurants advertising a discount for customers of a particular bank.
These discounts usually range from 10-20% off, and you may be leaving money on the table if you don’t ask about card specials before paying.
Below, I’ve shared links to the respective dining promotions page for each bank:
Although these discounts apply regardless of which card you hold (for example, all DBS credit cards enjoy the same perks), seasoned users will know that certain cards offer much more than generic dining discounts.
Enjoy a free Entertainer membership with HSBC
The Entertainer is a savings app that allows users to enjoy thousands of 1-for-1 deals, including lifestyle, travel, and dining offers. The app usually costs S$70-95 per year but all HSBC cardholders can enjoy a complimentary version.
To take advantage of this, you’ll need to download the special HSBC Entertainer app (Apple | Google). Once done, you’ll be able to browse the 1-for-1 deals on offer, which include restaurants like Jamie’s Italian, Da Paolo, The Pelican and Wafuken.
All HSBC principal cardholders are eligible for a complimentary Entertainer membership. One possible strategy is to apply for a HSBC Revolution card – not only will you get the Entertainer app, you’ll enjoy an uncapped 2 miles per dollar on dining.
Get up to 50% off dining with American Express Love Dining
One of the best features that American Express Platinum cardholders enjoy is the Love Dining program. This gives up to 50% off dining at selected restaurants and hotels:
Love Dining (Restaurants):
– Fairmont Singapore
– Marriott Singapore Tang Plaza
– St Regis Singapore
– Swissotel Merchant Court
– Swissotel The Stamford
– The Capitol Kempinski Hotel
– W Singapore Sentosa Cove
Love Dining (Hotels):
– Peach Garden at OCBC Centre
– Si Chuan Dou Hua at UOB Plaza
– Xin Cuisine
– Sen of Japan
– The Song of India
– Atrium Restaurant
– Lawry’s the Prime Rib
– Wooloomooloo Steakhouse
– Praelum Wine BistroMasons
– TWG Tea
– Burlamacco Ristorante
– La Nonna
– Mad for Garlic
– Escape Restaurant & Lounge
– Napoleon Food & Wine Bar
There are some pretty A-list restaurants participating in this program, like 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung, LaBrezza, FYR, and Wooloomooloo Steakhouse. These would normally burn a significant hole in your wallet, but 50% off goes a long way to soothing that.
The Love Dining discount structure scales from 15-50% depending on how many people are dining. The best value is when two people dine, so grab a buddy and head down.
Do note that Love Dining benefits cannot be used on public holidays or the eve of public holidays, or on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. Other than that, however, the benefits apply regardless of day of the week.
Up to 50% off dining at Fullerton Hotel with Standard Chartered cards
It’s not as big as Love Dining, but SCB X Card and SCB Visa Infinite cardholders can enjoy up to 50% off a la carte dining and selected buffets at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore.
The discount structure here is slightly different from Love Dining, but you still max out the benefit with a party of two.
Earn bonus points on dining with the right credit cards
If you’re going to spend on dining anyway, you might as well earn bonus points for it. The UOB Lady’s Card allows you to select one of seven categories to earn 10X points (4 miles per dollar) each quarter, capped at S$1,000 per month. Dining is one possible option, and includes spending at restaurants, fast food outlets, food delivery and caterers.
Only women can apply for the card, but there is a workaround for guys- simply get your wife/girlfriend to apply for a card, then digitize it on your mobile wallet. You’ll be able to tap and pay with the card as if you were her.
No wife? No girlfriend? My commiserations. Thankfully there’s still a way for you to maximize the returns on your dining expenditure. The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card awards 10X points (4 miles per dollar) for all contactless spending, capped at S$1,000 per month. Most restaurants and eateries these days have a Paywave terminal, so in a sense it’s as good as having a bonus card for dining.
Dining out can be an expensive habit, so it’s good to regularly review your budget and monitor how much you’re spending on this. Having the right credit cards can stretch that budget even further, and now you know how!
By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful. This is his story.