Best Credit Cards For Foodies (Best Cards for Restaurants)

best credit cards for restaurants

Food can be one of the great joys in life – and nothing really beats a great meal out in a quality restaurant. The flavors, the ambiance, the lack of effort on your end – it can all add up to the perfect evening. Of course, dining out can get expensive, so it’s worth doing what you can to save money. A great way to do just that is to optimize your credit card rewards when you do dine out. This article goes over some of the best credit cards for restaurants, to help you maximize your rewards!

We’ll start with a list of the best credit cards for dining, then move onto some tips and tricks to save even more money on your restaurant spending! Let’s get started.


The Best Credit Cards for Dining Out

There are literally hundreds of credit cards out there, so how does one go about choosing the best one for them? It helps to have a goal in mind. If your goal is to maximize rewards on your dining purchases, the cards below are great choices.

Best No-Annual-Fee: Capital One SavorOne


Rewards on Restaurants: 3%
Rewards on Everything Else: 3% on entertainment, 2% grocery stores, 1% on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee: $0

The Capital One SavorOne Rewards card is one of the best credit cards for restaurants. It’s particularly great for those who prefer not to pay an annual fee. For no-annual-fee options, this card offers the highest rewards rate on restaurants (3%).

Additionally, the SavorOne is quite useful outside of restaurant spend, as well. It offers 3% rewards on entertainment (like movies), 2% on grocery stores, and 1% on everything else. For a card with no annual fee, these rates are pretty incredible. It even comes with a signup bonus – $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months! Keep in mind that this card is intended for those with very good to excellent credit.


Best for Fine Dining & International Dining: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Rewards on Restaurants: 3x points (worth 3-4.5%+)
Rewards on Everything Else: 3% on travel, 1% on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus points (worth $750+) after spending $4000 in the first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee: $550

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great option for those who prefer the finer things in life. This is perhaps the ultimate luxury credit card, offering a huge host of benefits and exclusive perks. It’s best for those who like to travel and eat out a lot, as most of the perks revolve around travel & dining.

The Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points per $1 spent on all dining and travel purchases. Points are worth between 1 cent and 1.5+ cents each, so this is equivalent to earning up to 4.5% back – or more – on all dining spend. Plus, the perk works worldwide, so whether you’re grabbing a bite at an airport in Denver or experiencing fine dining in Paris, you’ll earn lucrative rewards on your purchase!

Keep in mind that the Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee. While that sounds outrageous, it is partially offset by a $300/year travel credit, airport lounge access, and tons of other perks. That said, it’s definitely not for everyone! In general, we only recommend this card for frequent travelers, as most of the perks are travel-related.


Best Signup Bonus with No Annual Fee: Wells Fargo Propel

Wells Fargo Propel

Rewards on Restaurants: 3%
Rewards on Everything Else: 3% on dining, bars, gas, transit, rideshare apps, travel, and streaming services. 1% on everything else
Signup Bonus: 20,000 bonus points (worth $200) after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $0

The Wells Fargo Propel card from American Express is among the best credit cards for restaurants, and for a number of other categories as well! There’s a lot to like about this card, starting with its 3% back on dining, travel, bars, gas, transit, streaming services and more!

We also appreciate that this card has a solid signup bonus of 20,000 points (worth $200), despite having no annual fee. That’s one of the best deals you’ll be able to score without having to pay a hefty annual fee. And the spend requirement is only $1,000 in the first 3 months, which most people will easily meet (you just have to spend $1,000 on the card on any purchases – it doesn’t need to be restaurant spend).


Best for Takeout: American Express Gold Card

Amex Gold

Rewards on Restaurants: 4x points (worth 4% or more)
Rewards on Everything Else: 4% on supermarkets, 3% on select travel, 1% on everything else
Signup Bonus: 35,000 bonus points (worth $350+) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $250

The American Express Gold Card is another luxury credit card that’s a good option for dining out. It’s useful for foodies in general, and especially those who like to order takeout. That’s because it comes with a $10 per month credit to use at GrubHub, Seamless and some other delivery services! Beyond that, the card earns 4x points on all restaurant purchases, 4x rewards on supermarkets, and 3x points on select travel charges.

The Gold Card does have an annual fee of $250, although this is partially offset by the $120/year dining credit and other perks. The dining credit must be used up monthly, and does not roll over. The Gold Card comes with a 35,000 Membership Rewards Points signup bonus, which is worth $350-$450+ depending on how you use it the points.

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this is a premium credit card that likely only makes sense for a certain type of person. If you dine out frequently, and get take-out often through delivery services like GrubHub, this card might be a good option.


Best for Uber Users: Uber Visa from Barclays

Uber Visa

Rewards on Restaurants: 3%
Rewards on Everything Else: 3% on hotels, bars, and airfare. 5% on Uber/Uber Eats. 1% on everything else.
Signup Bonus: $100 Uber Cash after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $0

The Uber Visa from Barclay’s is another good option. It offers lucrative rewards and perks, but there’s a catch: the rewards you earn can only be used on Uber rides. So if you’re an Uber user, this card offers excellent value – if not, skip this one for another on our list of best dining out credit cards.

The Uber Visa earns 3% on dining out and bars, plus 5% on orders through Uber Eats (as well as Uber rides). There’s a $100 signup bonus for new users, as well. And the card has no annual fee! All the rewards you earn can be used to take free Uber rides.

This card also comes with some juicy perks, like no foreign transaction fees, and mobile phone protection if you pay your phone bill with your Uber card.

Overall it’s an excellent card – so long as you can make use of all the Uber credit you’ll be earning!


Best for Costco Members: Costco Anywhere Visa

Costco Anywhere Visa

Rewards on Restaurants: 3%
Rewards on Everything Else: 4% on gas, 3% on travel and dining, 2% on Costco purchases, 1% on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 (requires Costco membership, which starts at $60/year)

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card from Citi is a great all-around credit card, that’s also one of the best dining out credit cards. It’s available exclusively to Costco members, and although the card has no annual fee, you’ll need to pay at least $60 per year for the Costco membership. If you are already a member of Costco, this card is a no-brainer, as it offers 4% on gas, 3% on dining and travel, 2% on Costco purchases, and 1% everywhere else.

The rewards you earn on this card are issued as a Costco rewards certificate, once per year. So again, this card is only relevant for people who enjoy shopping at Costco. There is also no signup bonus, which is a downside, but not a deal-breaker given the overall value of this card for Costco members.


Best for Everyday Purchases: Citi Double Cash

Citi Double Cash

Rewards on Restaurants: 2%
Rewards on Everything Else: 2% on all purchases
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0

The Citi Double Cash card is a good credit card for foodies that want to keep things simple. With the Double Cash, you don’t need to worry about bonus categories, rotating 5% calendars, or anything like that. This card simply earns 2% on every purchase – whether it’s a meal out, a cab fare, or a Christmas gift.

So, while there are other dining credit cards that earn a higher percentage cashback, this card sells itself on simplicity. Plus, it earns 2% on every purchase, whereas most cards only offer 1% on non-bonus category spend. Depending on your spending patterns, this card may actually earn you more rewards than other cards on this list. For simplicity’s sake, go with the Double Cash.


Honorable Mention: Rotating 5% Category Cards

Chase Freedom

Another option for maximizing credit card rewards on restaurants is to use cards like the Chase Freedom and Discover IT. This kind of cards offer 5% rewards on a specific category of purchase, and that category changes every 3 months. You can view the cashback calendars for the Chase Freedom here and the Discover IT here. Restaurants are a frequent category, but if it’s not the current category you’ll likely only earn 1% on restaurant purchases with these cards.

At certain times of the year, either of these cards could be among the best credit cards for dining out. It really just depends on which category is offered currently – take a look at the cashback calendars to learn more.


Other Ways to Maximize Restaurant Savings

Picking the best credit card for dining out is very important for maximizing your rewards and savings – but it’s far from the only thing you should optimize. Here are some other tips and tricks to save even more on dining out! For even more, check out this list from The Simple Dollar.


Dining Rewards Programs

Several airlines and other rewards programs offer dining rewards at specific restaurants. For instance, American Airlines offers the AAdvantage Dining program, which rewards you with bonus American Airlines miles when you make purchases at certain restaurants included in the program. So you won’t earn extra rewards on just any restaurant – it has to actually be listed in the participating restaurants list on the program’s website.

The usefulness of these programs varies depending on the number of included restaurants in your area. In big cities, the selection is usually pretty good – smaller towns, not so much. Regardless, this is an easy way to earn an extra 1-5+ miles per $1 spent on dining out. And best of all, this is all on top of whatever credit card rewards you’re already earning!

Most airlines have these dining programs, learn more at the links below:

Nowadays, even some hotel chains offer similar dining programs. Learn more about dining rewards programs from IHG, Marriott, and Hilton. If you don’t see your favorite program listed here, simply search for it on Google!

Keep in mind that most of these programs run off the same back-end, and offer the same restaurants. You can’t “stack” deals to earn points in multiple programs at once, unfortunately. Still, it’s an extra way to maximize rewards on dining out!


Happy Hours, Lunch Specials & More

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning again: to save money on restaurants, keep a close eye out for good happy hours, lunch specials and other deals. Happy hours are a fun way to wind down a long day, and lunch specials can offer fantastic value. In fact, look at high-end restaurants to see if they offer lunch. If so, it’s likely to be at a fraction of the cost of dinner, for the same quality food!


Stock Up on Gift Cards

Restaurants often offer some sort of discount or special deal on gift cards, particularly around the holidays. For example, a restaurant may offer an extra $10 gift certificate when you purchase $100 in gift cards. While these deals are generally meant to inspire people to give gift certificates to others, savvy dinners can simply stock up on cards for their own use.


So there you have it – our compilation of the best credit cards for dining out! What’s YOUR favorite card to use at your local restaurants? Let us know in the comments!

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