Money & Power

Why You Should Always Bring Your Credit When Dining Out

Those who say cash is king probably have never dined and paid with a credit card.

These days, you get more value for your money when you swipe instead of hand over bills after a fine meal. Diners are spoilt for choice between free dishes and complimentary drinks, generous discounts, and order-one-and-get-another-on-the-house offers.

But if you have all kinds of plastic in your wallet, or can’t be bothered to take note of which restaurants recently teamed up with your credit card, how do you stay on top of the latest tempting promotions? Read on for lifestyle tips guaranteed to keep your wallet fat, and by extension, your tummy too.

It pays to plan ahead.

It pays for you to plan ahead where you will dine. This gives you the chance to discreetly check which restaurant has an ongoing promotion and with which credit card. You can plan your meal, that is if it has a spend requirement to avail of a discount. You can also decide how many guests to bring with you in case there is a deal on the buffet where you pay for four diners and one gets to eat for free. 


Holidays and weekends are usually no-win days.

Nearly all dining offers have this caveat: promotions are not valid during holidays, or on weekends which sometimes covers only Saturday and Sunday, but may in some cases include Friday too. That’s because restaurants almost always attract a good crowd on these days so they do not need the additional push a credit card promotion will create. Why not stay home and dine in comfort with family and friends? Spare yourself the traffic-congested roads too.

Time check so no surprises when you ask for the check.

Dining promotions are designed to bring additional income to the restaurant so they are planned around slow days and around slow times too. Most are available during lunch or the hours between lunch and dinner, but rarely in the evenings. Read the fine print or call the restaurant to clarify so you are not disappointed when the check comes and you are billed the full price.


Add Restaurant Reservation apps to your order.

Discover the convenience of making a restaurant reservation from your smart phone, and unlocking exclusive discounts that sometimes top what your credit card can give. Blissfully, you will find many choices from the Apple Store or Google Play. Locally, check out Zomato, Booky, or Eatigo. Overseas, you can try Open Table or Table Agent. As restaurants want to reduce the number of open tables during their service hours, these real time apps can guarantee you not just seats but also good deals.

Keep a list of where to swipe your plastic around Manila.

Offering a local twist, AMEX and BDO teamed up with four of Manila’s top chefs including Chef Josh Boutwood, Chef Chele Gonzalez, Chef Robby Goco and Chef Miko Aspiras for exclusive offers in seven must-dine Manila restaurants: Savage, Gallery by Chele, Cyma, Souv! by Cyma, Green Pastures, Workshop at The Grid, and Le Petit Souffle. 

Ma. Nannette Regala, BDO Senior Vice President and Consumer Banking Marketing Head, explained “the original concept was mostly event-based—wherein select American Express Cardmembers were given a chance to take part in a paid access to an exclusive dining event prepared by Michelin-starred chefs or part of the World's Best 50 Restaurants.” 


The offer focuses on free dishes to excite your palate till the end of the year. 

Would you like rewards with that?

On top of dining offers, every swipe with your credit card earns you loyalty points.  Depending on which card you own, you may get cash rebates, or gift certificates, exclusive merchandise, gas vouchers, or air miles. Some cards have evergreen offers so there is no time limit to earning and redeeming. That’s clearly a win-win, or should we say a dine-win?

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Aneth Ng-Lim
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