Foodies Rejoice: Here are the 7 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out

CREDIT CARDS - CREDIT CARD REWARDS
These personal and business credit cards will reap some sweet rewards when you dine out.
Updated June 14, 2024
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Friends using a credit card to dine out

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Whether you’re a fan of takeout or prefer to indulge in top-rated restaurants, getting a credit card that earns rewards on your dining costs is as appetizing as the food you’re about to eat.

Sure, there are the usual flat-rate cash back cards or travel rewards cards, but there may be better ways to maximize your earnings. Here are the best rewards credit cards for restaurants, plus how to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to earning rewards on dining expenses.

In this article

How to choose the best credit card for restaurants

Choosing the best credit card for dining out depends on a few factors.

Of course, you want to pick a card that offers the highest earning potential; many cards offer a double or triple rewards rate on dining costs. Make sure to read the fine print, as some credit card issuers have different definitions of what counts as a restaurant — you may not earn dining rewards on bakeries, caterers, or hotel food, for example.

Something else to consider is how you can redeem your rewards. Ideally, your credit card issuer offers a flexible rewards redemption, allowing you to redeem your points in a variety of ways. Think options such as cash back, statement credits, merchandise, gift cards, flights, hotels, and other types of travel. With so many options, it’s easy to trade in your points for whatever is most beneficial to you.

If you’ve done some research on rewards credit cards, you’ll know that some do charge annual fees. Annual fees might be worth it if you can maximize the benefits a certain credit card offers. In other words, you want to be able to use a card’s features in ways that far outweigh the cost of the annual fee.

5 best personal cards for dining out

  • American Express® Gold Card
  • Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Card Annual fee Why it’s great for dining out
American Express® Gold Card $250 (Terms apply) Earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases, plus get up to an annual $120 dining credit, enrollment required
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card $95 Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats (through 11/14/2024); 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment; 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and select streaming services; 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores such as Walmart® and Target®), and 1% cash back on all other purchases and special access to premier culinary events
Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card $95 Earn 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com; 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other purchases
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card $95 Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases, plus enjoy exclusive dining experiences
Chase Sapphire Reserve® $550  Earn 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases, plus enjoy exclusive dining experiences

American Express® Gold Card

Yes, there’s a $250 annual fee on the American Express Gold Card. But the perks you get with this travel rewards card are likely worth it if you take advantage of them all.

First, you earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. If you spend $300 a month at restaurants, that translates into 14,400 Membership Rewards points annually from just dining out.

In addition to bonus rewards in popular spending categories, you also get other Amex Gold benefits, including up to $10 in monthly dining credits at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment is required for select benefits. Whether you're craving fast food or gourmet dining, this American Express card is an excellent option.

Plus, you can take advantage of the welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership of account opening.

Get more details at our American Express Gold Card review.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

With a lower annual fee of $95, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card could be a great choice for those with a lower budget.

Cardholders earn unlimited 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats (through 11/14/2024); 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment; 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and select streaming services; 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores such as Walmart® and Target®), and 1% cash back on all other purchases, which is great for those who prefer earning cashback rewards over points.

This card also offers cardholders unique dining experiences that are often exclusive to Capital One customers. Examples include presale access and special events at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, as well as Capital One passes to the James Beard House in New York City, where you can meet top-rated chefs and enjoy a multi-course meal.

And don’t forget that new cardholders have the chance to earn a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card

You may not rack up as many points as with the two options above, but with the Citi Strata Premier Card, you can earn a respectable 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com; 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other purchases. If you spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within the first 3 months, you can earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points.

Apart from its valuable bonus categories, one of the biggest perks of the Citi Strata Premier Card is its flexible rewards redemptions. The ThankYou Rewards program currently offers 14 travel transfer partners that you can transfer your points to, or you can book travel directly through the Citi site. Other options include trading your points for cash back or gift cards — or even using your points to pay off your mortgage or student loans.

Get more details at our Citi Strata Premier Card review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With a $95 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the more economical Sapphire option, but you can still earn some decent rewards. Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases.

There’s a reason why this card is so popular amongst rewards credit card enthusiasts — you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards, which offer some of the most flexible points around. There are more than a dozen Chase transfer partners where you can transfer your points, including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Marriott. 

If you choose to redeem your points via the Chase travel portal, you can earn a 25% bonus. On your card anniversary, you will also earn bonus points equal to 10% of the total purchases you made in the previous year. And there is a $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠. 

Plus, you’ll get free DashPass subscription benefits and access to exclusive culinary events with this card. Past events have included private dining experiences with top chefs and tastings at the hottest restaurants.

Lastly, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Get more details at our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

If you can stomach the $550 annual fee and really maximize all of this card’s perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve could be a great choice. This is especially true for frequent travelers.

Earn 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases. Plus, cardmembers receive $300 in annual travel credits each year and a $5 monthly DoorDash credit through Dec. 31, 2024. You can also get two free years of Lyft Pink All Access (valued at $199/year), which includes a free year of Grubhub+, 10% off Lux rides, and free priority pickup upgrades.

You’ll have access to most of the same perks as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but you get 50% more value when you use your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. You can also enjoy other travel benefits, such as car rental insurance, a complimentary Priority Pass membership, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit every four years.

And of course, you also get access to special dining events with this card. Take in a private dinner at three-star Michelin restaurant Benu, attend a cocktail event with top mixologists, or indulge in an eclectic Miami tasting menu while enjoying a performance by John Legend. Later in 2021, “Reserved by Sapphire” will be available, featuring exclusive opportunities to make reservations at some of the most highly-rated restaurants across the country.

Lastly, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Get more details at our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.

Best business cards for dining out

  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Card Annual fee Why it’s great for dining out
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express $0 (Terms apply) Earn 2X Membership Rewards points on everyday eligible business purchases up to $50,000 each year, and 1X points on eligible purchases after that
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card $0 Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year; 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; and 1% cash back on all other purchases

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

This business credit card is a great choice if you’re looking for a straightforward earnings option. You don’t need to worry about different rewards categories, so nearly all of your business purchases can rack up rewards.

There’s a $0 annual fee with the Blue Business Plus Card from American Express, and you can earn 2X Membership Rewards points on everyday eligible business purchases up to $50,000 each year, and 1X points on eligible purchases after that. That means whether you pick up the bill on a client dinner or order takeout for late work sessions in the office, you can put your spending to work for you.

Other perks include a 0% intro APR (annual percentage rate) on purchases for 12 months, then 18.49% - 26.49% Variable. This is a useful perk for business owners who are planning a large purchase and can benefit from a no-interest period to pay down existing debt.

Get more details at our Blue Business Plus Card from American Express review.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

With the Ink Business Cash Card, you can earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year; 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Like other Chase cards, there’s a ton of flexibility in terms of how you can redeem your points. Book travel through the Chase travel portal, get cash back or gift cards, or shop with your points.

There’s a $0 annual fee, and you can earn $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening.

Get more details at our Ink Business Cash Card review.

Methodology

When selecting these credit cards, we considered the bonus rewards you’ll earn when ordering from restaurants or dining out. We also looked at other significant features, such as sign-up bonuses, cardholder benefits, reward redemption options, and the best value when it comes to annual fees.

It’s hard enough deciding which credit card is best for you, especially when you’re researching cards with similar features. The key is to clarify what your lifestyle and spending habits are, and then look for specific card features to get as much value as you can.

For example, if you tend to do a lot of international travel, choosing one of the best travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fees might be a good idea. Or if you hate the thought of paying to use a credit card, there are plenty of low- or no-annual-fee cards out there.

FAQs

Which credit cards offer bonus points for takeout and dining purchases?

If you’re looking for bonus points for takeout or dining out, some of the best personal credit cards include:

Some of the best business cards include:

Do food delivery services code as dining purchases on credit cards?

Food delivery services don’t always code as dining purchases, so it’s important to pay attention to your credit card’s terms and services, as well as how the merchants themselves code the transaction. 

Do bars count as restaurants on a credit card?

Depending on how the credit card views bars and how the merchant codes the transaction, your credit card might not offer bonus points. That said, it’s possible that a bar could code as a restaurant transaction. If you have specific questions about this, check your credit card’s terms or call the number on the back of your card to speak to a representative.

What is the best travel credit card for dining purchases?

The best credit cards depend on your personal habits and needs. However, both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred are solid travel rewards cards. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 3X points on other travel and dining. And as a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you’ll earn 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries purchases.

What is the best cashback credit card for dining purchases?

When looking for a cash rewards credit card for dining, it depends on your preferences and what you’re likely to use. However, if you have an excellent credit score, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards and Citi Strata Premier Card are generally good choices for earning cash back on dining. 

If your credit score is good and you'd prefer a card with no annual fee instead, you might want to consider the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. The SavorOne offers 3% cash back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), popular streaming services, and entertainment. 

Bottom line

Getting one of the best rewards credit cards can be a smart move, especially if you spend more than the average amount in categories like dining and restaurants. Make sure that whichever card you choose will help you earn rewards for other categories as well so you can optimize your entire spending profile.

And don’t forget: You can combine these rewards with airline or hotel dining programs to earn even more each time you eat at participating restaurants. Here’s to more sweet returns on your dining experiences.

Great for Flexible Travel Rewards

4.9

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Sarah Li Cain Sarah Li Cain is an experienced content marketing writer specializing in FinTech, credit, loans, personal finance, alternative investments, real estate, banking, international business and travel. Her work has appeared in Fortune 500 companies, publications and startups such as Transferwise, Wordpress, Pearson Teachability and KeyBank.