Thankfully, you can get a rewards credit card that offers you a great rewards rate on your dining purchases to take a little bit of the sting out of your monthly dining bills.
The best dining credit cards offer 4-5% cash back on your restaurant purchases, but you’ll have to decide which card is best for your dining habits.
Each card has different perks and fees so we’ve compiled the top cards so you can find the best one for your situation.
Best credit cards for restaurants overview:
|Discover it® Cash Back||Cashback|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Restaurants and travel|
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card||Choose your own rewards category|
Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it® Cash Back doesn’t always offer dining purchases as a cash back category, but it is often one of their rotating 5% bonus categories which is one of the highest cashback rates you can earn on restaurant purchases.
This card offers 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases in rotating categories each quarter as long as you activate them. This summer (July-September 2020) the 5% category will be restaurants (and PayPal).
The 5% categories also commonly include grocery purchases, Amazon.com, and more.
You’ll also earn an unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases.
New Discover it® Cash Back cardmembers will have all of the cashback they earn at the end of their first year matched, automatically.
See card details/apply or read our full review.
What We Like:
A monster of an up-front bonus; 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Points are worth 25% more when you redeem travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and on dining at restaurants, as well as 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
You can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from opening your account.
Those points can be used for booking $1,000 worth of travel if you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
Points can be used in many ways
Unlike cash back credit cards, points earned can be used for many options including transferring points to travel partners, booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point, gift cards and more.
What We Like:
3% cash back in your choice category. Choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days
25% – 75% rewards bonus on every purchase if you’re a Preferred Rewards member
- $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
- If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category.
- No annual fee and no expiration on rewards
- 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
- Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap
- This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
There’s something to be said about being able to earn consistent and flexible rewards with no annual fee. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers just that.
You’ll earn 3% cash back in one category of your choice including dining rewards. Other categories to choose from are gas, online shopping, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. You can change your 3% category online or through their mobile app each calendar month for future purchases.
You’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The 3% and 2% cash back categories are limited to the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter. Afterward, you’ll earn 1% on bonus category purchases.
You can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account.
Preferred Rewards clients earn even more cash back
Preferred rewards clients get a 25 to 75 percent rewards bonus on every purchase. This means you could earn up to 5.25% cash back in the category of your choice and 3.5% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. You can also earn up to 1.75% on all other purchases.
Your Preferred Rewards bonus is based on the balances in your Bank of America banking and Merrill investing and trading accounts.
Summary of the best credit cards for restaurants
|Discover it® Cash Back||5% bonus categories each quarter*|
1% on all other purchases
|13.49% - 24.49% Variable||None|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining, 2X points on other travel purchases, & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases||15.99%-22.99% Variable||$95
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card||3% in one category of your choice**|
2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs**
1% on all other purchases
|13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers||None|
- * Maximum spend of $1,500 per quarter, activation required.
- ** Maximum spend of $2,500 per quarter combined between choice category and grocery stores/wholesale clubs category.
What to look for in restaurant credit cards
When you’re considering getting a credit card that rewards you for dining out, you’ll need to look at the whole picture. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Rewards rates on all purchases: Just because you’re getting a credit card for dining purchases doesn’t mean you should ignore all other rewards categories. Find the card that maximizes your overall rewards earning potential.
- Introductory bonus offers: Introductory bonus offers give you the ability to earn a large amount of rewards quickly. However, you should only use regular, planned purchases to earn a bonus. Otherwise, you could get yourself into trouble carrying a balance.
- Bonus category caps: Not all credit cards offer unlimited cash back in bonus categories like dining at restaurants. Check to see if the card you are considering has a bonus cap. It may not be an issue if you don’t spend more than that cap, but if you do plan to exceed it you may find a different card with unlimited rewards is a better value for you.
- Annual fees: While some cards offer amazing cash back rates, they may not be worth it if the rewards you earn after accounting for the annual fee are less than you could have earned with a fee free credit card. Run the numbers based on your planned spending to see which is a better option.
Who should consider a restaurant credit card?
Almost anyone can benefit from credit card rewards earned on restaurant spending. Those who spend enough money at restaurants to offset any annual fee should seriously consider signing up for a restaurant rewards credit card.
That said, there are other types of credit cards, such as travel rewards, general cash back, and grocery store rewards credit cards that you could pair with restaurant credit card with to earn the most rewards possible.
How do I redeem my rewards I earn?
Each credit card has their own way to redeem the credit card rewards you earn.
- Discover it® Cash Back: You can redeem the cash back you earn in a number of ways. Your cash back never expires and you can redeem your rewards without any minimums. In particular, you can request a credit to your account, an electronic deposit to any account you designate, pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants, and donate to select charities starting at a penny. You can also redeem your cash back for gift cards starting at $20.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Points earned can be redeemed in a number of ways including:
- When you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® at a value of 1.25 cents
- Cash back as a direct deposit or statement credit at a value of one cent per point
- Transferred to travel partner rewards programs including airlines and hotels at a 1:1 point ratio
- Gift cards starting at one cent per point
- At Amazon.com with Shop with Points at a value of 0.80 cents
- Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Cash rewards can be redeemed at any time and in any amount for statement credits, deposits into a Bank of America checking or savings account or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill. You can also redeem cash rewards for a contribution to a qualifying 529 account with Merrill or for a check starting at $25. You can even set up automatic redemptions in certain cases.
What credit score do I need to qualify for these cards?
You’ll need good to excellent credit to get approved for the credit cards listed above.
If you love dining out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there’s no reason to earn substandard rewards. These five credit cards offer a great option to maximize the rewards you can earn on dining purchases.