In this feature of Rewards Canada's Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we look at the ultimate one for those who like to enjoy food - whether it is cooking your own gourmet meals or going to three Michelin star restaurants. And when it comes to food - you buy it - no matter what so if you a major foodie you'll want to make sure you capitalize on those food purchases by maximizing the rewards you earn. So while this piece is focused on earn we also take into account what those points or cash back can get you. As we have always recommended and is standard with our Ultimate Wallets is that you should carry a Visa, a Mastercard and an American Express card in your wallet. The reason why is that there are benefits, promotions and earning potential unique to each brand of credit card regardless of the version of the card you have. We won't go into detail here as you can read all about it in our feature on how to Maximize your Miles and Points but here we outline one card from each brand that will help you as a foodie get the most bang for your buck. Ultimately there are various options that could be utilized for such a portfolio but we look at one card from each issuing family that we feel are the best fit for foodies.
What is Rewards Canada's Ultimate Foodie Credit Card portfolio? It is the following three cards:
American Express - American Express Cobalt Card
All three cards in this wallet have category multipliers that work for foodies. That is they earn more points or rewards for purchases made that are related to food - whether it's dining or groceries - all three of these cards earn more than their base earn rate on other purchases. Not only that, they also earn the most out of their competitors for the same categories or brand of card.
Why you want to get each of these cards!
This portfolio is mainly about generating the biggest return on everything food. Whether it's groceries for that meal at home, a quick bite to eat from a drive-thru on your way to your kid's hockey game or going out to that fancy new restaurant serving the latest and greatest delicacies.
The first card in the portfolio is Canada's number one travel rewards credit card - the American Express Cobalt Card. Plain and simple it is the most rewarding card for eats and drinks. The card earns 5 points per dollar spent on groceries, dining out, food delivery and so on. Note that there is an annual cap of $30,000 for the eats and drinks category. So what does 5 points per dollar mean? That means you are getting at a minimum a 3.5% return. If you choose to redeem points for non-travel related purchases with Amex's Use Points for Purchases option you can redeem 1,000 points for a $7 credit. Spend $7 at Starbucks, you can redeem against it with 1,000 points. That's how 5 points becomes 3.5%. But the card gets better returns than that. Redeem for travel with Use Points for Purchases and each of those 1,000 points becomes $10 - a 5% return. Now we're talking! Want to get even more? Convert the points earned to Marriott Bonvoy. Those 5 points equates to 6 Bonvoy points. Bonvoy points, in our mind carry a value of at least 1 cent each, which gives you a 6% return. Use them for Amex's Fixed Points for Travel option and those 5x points can provide up to a 10% return! Simply unbeatable. Ultimately you'll want to put as much of your spending on this card as possible for food purchases, the only time you wouldn't is if the place doesn't accept American Express.
The second card is the Capital One® Mastercard®, Exclusively for Costco Members. This card provides the highest earn on dining purchases for any Mastercard in our market. It offers a simple way to earn of 3% cash back on restaurant purchases with no cap. In reality you'll pull this card out and use it for restaurants that don't accept American Express since the 3% is half a percent lower when compared to even the lowest return on the Cobalt card or if and when you max out the $30k spending on the Cobalt card. The rebate on this card comes in the form of rebate coupon to use at Costco.
Finally rounding out this portfolio is the Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card. You'll put this card in your wallet for grocery store purchases at locations where American Express isn't accepted. The cards offers a 4% cash back return on grocery store purchases up to $25,000 annually. Most grocery stores outside of the Loblaw family of stores do accept Amex so this card would be beneficial if you do shop at Loblaw stores or if you don't think you would use the points earned on the Cobalt card towards travel or converting to Marriott so your cash back return would be only 3.5%. If that's the case you'll want to put all your grocery purchases onto this card up to the $25,000 level then move over to the Cobalt card. Note that this card only pays out the cash back reward once per year.
No matter what with this combination of cards you shouldn't be earning anything less than 3% on all your foodie needs.
Another card you should consider adding to the above three:
There is one other card in the market that is big for foodies and foodie adventures. That card is The Platinum Card from American Express. It earns 3 points per dollar spend on dining only - not groceries. So it may not have as strong as earn as it's Cobalt brethren but it comes loaded with tons of benefits that would appeal to anyone wanting to enjoy fine dining. The card has the Platinum Dining Program which has benefits served to Platinum Cardmembers from participating restaurants, such as a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival, or dessert at the conclusion of the meal. There are also exclusive dining events for Platinum cardmembers that you can attend. We have seen them for most major cities across Canada and include tasting menus from famous chefs at some of Canada's best restaurants. These offers typically come by email and are limited to number of people who can attend. This is an Ultimate Foodie Card that does not focus on the earning side of things.
Other Card Options:
Although we feel the combination above is your best bet there are other card options that can fit the bill for all three of the issuers. On the Amex side there are two other cards you could consider, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express or the Scotiabank Gold American Express card. The Scotia card is basically an equivalent to the Cobalt card as it also earn 5 points per dollar but is a little weaker on the redemption side. For Mastercard you could look at the mbna Rewards World Elite Mastercard as it earns 2% on all purchases when you redeem towards travel. Yes it's less than the 3% the Capital One card earns but you can make up for it on all other purchases by earning that extra percentage point. You could also look at the no fee BMO CashBack Mastercard since it earns 3% back on your first $500 of groceries per month. On the Visa side you could look at the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card as that earns 2 points per dollar on groceries, dining and entertainment. That's a 2% return, definitely not as high as all the other cards but it has one feature that could prove more beneficial, it has no foreign transaction fees so if you are dining out outside of Canada you won't be hit with the 2.5% foreign transaction fee that most cards charge you.
Talk to us!Do you have any other tips for the Ultimate Foodie Credit Card portfolio! Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!