The 25+ Best Credit Cards for Restaurants & Dining [Maximize Your Rewards]

Eating at a Restaurant

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You don’t have to be a foodie to appreciate earning rewards when dining out or ordering in from your favorite restaurant. Just knowing you’ll earn rewards on your meal is nearly as good as enjoying the food!

But when it comes time to pay the check, do you worry about which of your cards will earn the most cash-back or multiple points on dining purchases?

We do, too — and that’s why we’ve created this go-to guide for the best credit cards to use when dining out.

We’ve put together a collection of the best credit cards for earning cash-back, getting multiple points per dollar, and our wild card recommendations for earning even more rewards on your credit cards when dining out.

The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining (Overall)

You’d have to spend an extraordinary amount of money on dining to select a credit card based solely on the level of dining rewards that the card offers. For this reason, our choices for the best credit cards include cards that offer more than just dining rewards.

American Express® Gold Card

Earning 4 Membership Rewards Points per dollar for purchases at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; 1x thereafter) makes the Amex Gold card a clear winner for dining rewards. It also comes with up to $10 monthly dining statement credit when making purchases at participating restaurants. Participating partners are Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

Earning rewards in 4x bonus spending categories, receiving dining credits, and the benefit of Uber Cash deposits easily offset the annual fee. Notes that terms may apply and enrollment is required for certain Amex Gold card benefits. The card is a top choice for dining rewards. See the full benefits and perks offered for being an Amex Gold cardholder, valued at over $4,000.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Although the Amex Platinum card doesn’t regularly offer increased bonus points for dining, its newest welcome offer includes 10x bonus points at restaurants worldwide during the first 6 months you hold the card. The 10x bonus caps out at $25,000 in spend, but if you can max that out you have to ability to earn 250,000 points on dining alone!

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a $550 annual fee, it’s packed with premium benefits that bring great value for the frequent traveler. These include travel purchase credits, worldwide lounge access, earnings on travel purchases, and a generous welcome bonus.

The card includes a Lyft Pink membership that now includes the opportunity for a Grubhub+/Seamless+ membership, offering free delivery on orders over $12 and special discounts.

Further, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card includes a free membership to DoorDash DashPass, a subscription service that includes free food delivery on select DoorDash orders over $12 and reduced fees. This, combined with an included $60 DoorDash statement credit for 2021, makes ordering food delivery just a little bit cheaper.

It also earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining, making it one of our top picks for dining rewards.

Hot Tip: If you are using a Chase credit card, check your Chase Offers to see if you’re eligible for additional restaurant discounts or cash-back.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With a $95 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns a solid 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining and travel purchases.

Redemption options are flexible and include travel at a value of 25% more for your points, cash-back, gift cards, and transfer options to hotel and airline partners.

Likewise, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card also includes the free DoorDash DashPass subscription mentioned earlier but does not include the $60 DoorDash statement credit.

For all these reasons, plus no foreign transaction fees, we’ve included it as one of the best credit cards for dining worldwide.

Hot Tip: Cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, and Ink Business cards receive access to the Chase Dining hub via Ultimate Rewards online. This new program offers benefits like exclusive Chase Cardmember tables, virtual dining experiences with top chefs, curated meals to go, and the ability to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Tock app purchases through September 30, 2021.

Capital One® Savor® Rewards Card

The CapOne Savor card is a foodie’s delight with unlimited 4% cash-back on every dining purchase.

The card also earns 4% cash-back on entertainment and 2% cash-back at grocery stores.

There are no rewards more flexible than cash-back, so if you spend a lot on dining out, you’ll want to have the CapOne Savor card handy to pay the check.

Citi Prestige® Card

Hot Tip: At this time, the Citi Prestige card is no longer available for new applicants.

Earning 5 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining puts the Citi Prestige card up there with some of the top earners for restaurant purchases.

Although the card comes with a higher annual fee, you’ll enjoy several premium travel benefits such as lounge access, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement, $250 in annual travel credits, and more.

Bottom Line: If you spend a lot on dining, it pays to find a card that rewards all of those purchases. Seek out cards that have dining category earnings of 4x points, 4% cash-back (or more!), or those that earn flexible travel rewards to maximize your earnings at restaurants. 

Mediterranean meal food dining
If you spend a lot on meals while traveling, it’s good to select a credit card that earns dining rewards and does not charge foreign transaction fees. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

Best Credit Cards With Dining Credits and More

Receiving a statement credit for a dining purchase is a real plus. Several cards offer dining statement credits or other rewards currencies you can utilize to pay for that next meal.

Uber Cash Credits

The Amex Platinum Card

You’ll enjoy $15 deposited into your Uber Cash account every month from January through November and $35 in December. You must add your Amex Platinum card to your Uber account to receive this benefit and select the card when paying for your purchase. Uber Cash can only be used for U.S. rides or U.S. Uber Eats.

In addition, you can enroll your card for the same Eats Pass as the Amex Gold card described above.

Select American Express Cards With Dining Credits

Dining credits have become a trend, showing up on several rewards-earning credit cards. Here’s the newest collection of American Express cards offering these valuable credits.

Up to $20 Monthly Statement Credit for Restaurant Purchases

Up to $15 Monthly Statement Credit for Restaurant Purchases

Up to $10 Monthly Statement Credit for Restaurant Purchases

Up to $5 Monthly Statement Credit for Restaurant Purchases

For cards mentioned (other than the Amex Gold card), the offer is not included for new (2021) cardmembers and you must enroll your card in the Amex Offers section of your online card account prior to making the purchase to receive the offer. These credits are only valid during each calendar month and expire if not used in that month. You will receive 1 credit per month, per card, through December 2021.

Bottom Line: Check your American Express cards for dining credits and Uber Cash, and also review your list of Amex Offers for additional earnings or savings that can be utilized at specific restaurants.

Best Airline and Hotel Credit Cards for Dining

Dining out may be a necessity when you’re traveling, but you won’t earn rewards unless you pull out the right credit card to pay for your meal.

Hot Tip: Accelerate your earnings for dining when paying your entire hotel bill, including dining expenses, with your hotel-branded credit card. 

Best Business Credit Cards for Dining

When you pay for an expensive business dinner meeting, you’ll want to earn dining rewards. Here are some of the business credit cards to consider for 2% or better earnings on those expenses.

Hot Tip: Holding your business dinner meeting at a hotel and paying with your hotel-branded business credit card could result in multiple times the dining rewards. 

Best Cash-Back Credit Cards for Dining

Earning cash-back is the simplest form of dining rewards, and fortunately, there are plenty of credit cards that offer excellent levels of cash-back earnings on your dining purchases.

The following cards earn generous cash-back on dining:

CardDining Rewards
CapOne Savor cardEarn 4% cash-back on dining
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by CitiEarn 3% cash rewards on restaurant purchases
Sam’s Club® Mastercard®Plus members earn 3% cash-back on dining

Hot Tip: Dining as we know it obviously includes utilizing a food delivery service or a food order pickup at your favorite restaurant. We’ve put together our recommendations for the best cards to use when you’re using a food delivery service instead of restaurant dining in our comprehensive article. 

cheese plate with wine
Earning dining rewards on your meal is nearly as good as enjoying the food. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards for Dining

Earning rewards on a no-annual-fee credit card is like getting free money because you can use the card a little or a lot and never worry about offsetting an annual fee with a specific level of purchases.

These cards allow you to spend on dining and reap the rewards.

CardDining Rewards
Costco Anywhere card3% cash-back
PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card3% cash-back
Sam’s Club card3% cash-back

Bottom Line: You don’t have to pay an annual fee to secure a credit card that earns dining rewards, as there are plenty of choices. 

Best Credit Cards With Dining as a Quarterly Category

If you spend a lot on dining out, you’ll want to consider having one of these cards in your wallet to take advantage of the higher earnings when restaurants are a quarterly bonus category.

Best Credit Card with Dining as a Quarterly CategoryDining RewardsBest for Dining Because

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • Up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter earn 5% when dining/restaurants are a quarterly bonus category.
  • You'll earn flexible Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for statement credits or cash-back that can offset dining purchases
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
  • Earn 5% on your choice of 2 bonus categories each quarter, which can include dining categories such as fast food and food delivery

  • Earn 2% on your choice of 1 bonus category, which includes dining

  • You'll always be earning rewards on dining out

Every quarter, the Freedom Flex card offers quarterly spending categories that earn 5% cash-back, and frequently, one of the quarterly categories is restaurants.

Similarly, cardholders of the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card can select 2 bonus earning categories to earn 5% cash-back on up to $2,000 in purchases each quarter. The category list changes each quarter but there are usually plenty of options, of which dining, restaurants, or fast food are common.

Plus, you can also select restaurants as a 2% bonus earning category. 

Hot Tip: Quarterly bonus spending categories can also include retailers that may sell restaurant gift cards when dining is not included as a quarterly bonus category option. 

Best Credit Cards Earning 2% Cash-Back or 2x Points for Dining (Honorable Mention)

There’s nothing wrong with earning 2% cash-back or 2 points per dollar spent on dining using your credit card. While we’re focusing this article on the best credit cards for dining, here are a few solid cards that earn 2 points or 2% cash-back on every dollar you spend on dining.

Bottom Line: When considering a credit card that earns dining rewards, 2% cash-back or 2 points per dollar spent is a respectable level of earnings to consider.

Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Dining Gift Cards

In addition to earning rewards for purchases made directly at restaurants, bars, fast food, and other dining establishments, you can purchase restaurant gift cards from merchants that fall into the bonus purchasing categories.

For example, purchasing a restaurant gift card from an office supply store with a credit card that earns 5% cash-back in this category yields an effective 5% cash-back on dining.

Hot Tip: If you often eat at fast food establishments or chain restaurants, you can purchase discounted restaurant gift cards with your credit card on websites including Raise and Gift Card Granny for as much as 50% off.

Dining Rewards Programs

If you live in a major metropolitan area, it’s easy to earn dining rewards on nearly any credit card by joining a dining rewards program and registering the credit card you’ll be using to pay for your meals at member restaurants.

Some of the dining programs require you to submit a review of the eating establishment before crediting your rewards, and some may issue restaurant credits for future meals versus actual cash-back.

Joining any of these dining programs is free, but beware that you cannot normally register a card with several programs and double or triple dip earnings, as the most recent registration can override the others.

Dining Rewards ProgramDining RewardsWelcome Bonus
Alaska Mileage Plan DiningUp to 3 miles per $1 spent1,000 miles for spending $30 in the first 30 days
American AAdvantage DiningUp to 5 miles per $1 spent1,000 miles after spending $25 in the first 30 days
Delta SkyMiles DiningUp to 5 miles per $1 spent3,000 miles after visiting 3 restaurants and spending $30 at each restaurant in the first 30 days
Hilton Honors Dining RewardsUp to 8 points per $1 spent5,000 points for spending $25 in the first 30 days (through August 2021)
IHG Rewards DiningUp to 8 points per $1 spent1,000 IHG Rewards points after spending $30 in the first 30 days
JetBlue TrueBlue Dining3 points per $1 spentN/A
Neighborhood Nosh5% back in rewards up to $750 in purchases per year 10% over $750 per yearN/A
Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining3 points per dollar spent300 bonus Rapid Rewards points
Spirit Free Spirit Dining ProgramUp to 5 points per $1 spent1,000 points after spending $30 in the first 30 days
United MileagePlus DiningUp to 5 miles per $1 spentUp to 3,000 miles in the first 30 days (terms and conditions apply)
UPromise Dining2.5% cash-backN/A

Be sure to check for current sign-up offers and earning bonuses prior to joining as these factors can change periodically.

Hot Tip: While dining rewards programs can generate miles, points, and cash-back, participating restaurants can be limited. Using a credit card that earns rewards for dining to pay for your meal directly at the eating establishment is usually a better option. 

Final Thoughts

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. household spends nearly $3,000 each year on food away from home. If you spend that, or more, having a credit card that earns dining rewards is a smart move.

Dining rewards are just 1 earning category. You’ll want to match your entire spending profile with the bonus categories that come with any credit card to make sure you’re maximizing the earning power of that specific credit card.

If dining out is your passion or your job, your bottom line will grow with a credit card in your wallet that rewards those expenses. Bon appétit!

The information regarding the Capital One® Savor® Rewards card, Citi Prestige® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, Sam’s Club® Mastercard®, PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card, and Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and was not provided by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of Hilton Honors Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.

Frequently asked questions

How do dining rewards credit cards work?

Certain credit cards allow you to earn rewards such as cash-back or points for using the card to pay for meals at restaurants, fast food outlets, hotels, Uber Eats, bars, or for other dining purchases.

Each credit card will have its own requirements, level of earnings, and even limits on the amount of rewards you can earn. That’s why it’s important to select a card that matches your dining spending habits.

How do cash-back cards work?

Credit cards that offer cash-back on dining purchases give you a percentage of your total purchase as a cash-back reward. For example, if you spend $100 at a restaurant and your cash-back credit card offers 3% cash-back on dining purchases, you’ll receive a credit for $3.

Some cards automatically credit your statement monthly with the cash-back you’ve earned during the previous statement period(s), while others require you to earn points and then request to redeem those points for cash-back on your statement or transfer the funds to your bank account.

Do bars and fast food places count as restaurants?

Yes, fast food establishments and bars count as restaurants when it comes to earning rewards for dining. You simply use your credit card as usual for dining at these places.

Occasionally, a cafe or food establishment located within another facility such as a sports arena or department store may not code as a restaurant. It will depend on how that food establishment is coded by the card issuer.

Also, some cards do have a separate category for fast food and restaurants, so you’ll want to check your card’s category requirements to determine the amount of rewards you’re earning when dining at each of these.

If I add an authorized user to my card, will they earn dining rewards, too?

The short answer is yes. When the authorized user on your credit card uses the card to pay for dining, rewards are earned on the card, then subsequently credited to the primary cardholder’s account.

As a primary cardholder, your account will be earning all the rewards, but you will also be responsible for paying the account.

Are there credit cards that earn rewards on dining without an annual fee?

Yes, there are cards that do no not charge an annual fee yet earn rewards on dining. The Double Cash card earns 1% cash-back when you make your charge and another 1% cash-back when you pay your charge.

While the Sam’s Club card and the Costco Anywhere card also do not charge an annual fee, you must be a member of the wholesale club to have these cards.

How does the Chase DoorDash DashPass benefit work?

Primary Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can enroll in the DoorDash DashPass benefit on DoorDash’s website. Authorized users are not eligible for this benefit.

Once enrolled, you’re eligible for free delivery on orders $12 or more and reduced service fees from participating DoorDash restaurants.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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