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Looking for the best credit cards for restaurants and dining? Everyone should have a plan to maximize their dining rewards on restaurant purchases and takeaways. After all, we all love having someone else do the cooking—and our spending habits reflect that.
In fact, according to USDA statistics, over 37% of all spending on food in the U.S. is spent dining out. That's a considerable portion of overall credit card spending each year. Consequently, if you’re not using the right credit card on dining purchases, you’re leaving thousands of points on the table each year.
How to Choose the Best Credit Cards for Restaurants and Dining Out in 2022
The best credit card for dining purchases depends on your eating habits, travel goals, and whether you want to earn travel rewards or cash back on dining. Are you chasing flexible rewards points that transfer to airline or hotel partners? Or do you prefer earning fixed-value rewards points at restaurants to pay for other travel expenses? Maybe you would rather earn cash back on dining.
No matter your goal, we want to make maximizing your purchases easier. To that end, let's dive into our list of top credit cards for restaurants and dining purchases, and see which card takes the top dining credit card spot.
- How to Choose the Best Credit Cards for Restaurants and Dining Out in 2022
- Best Dining Credit Card for Each Rewards Category
- Other Great Options for Dining & Restaurants
- Table of the Best Rewards Credit Cards for Dining & Restaurants
- Stack with a Dining Program
- What Purchases are Included in the Dining & Restaurant Category?
- Final Thoughts
Best Dining Credit Card for Each Rewards Category
No matter which type of rewards you want to earn, there are plenty of great credit cards for dining. Let's go through some of our favorites and break down the best choices for every earning preference.
Best Flexible Rewards Earning Credit Cards for Restaurants
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
- $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
- Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms Apply.
- Rates & Fees
- 4X Membership Rewards® Points at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
- 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
- 1X on other purchases
- Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
Of the best dining cards currently open to new applicants, the American Express® Gold Card (full review) delivers the most bang for your buck at your favorite eatery over the long term. That's because it earns 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants—including takeout and delivery.
- $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Amex Gold at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $120 Uber Credits: Get $10 per month deposited into your connected Uber account — which can be used for taking an Uber or through Uber Eats. This credit expires at the end of each month if not used.
Plus, you'll earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). So, this card is great for racking up points on your food bill, no matter how you purchase them.
Best Credit Card for Dining with No Annual Fee
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 18.74% - 27.49%.
- No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
- Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
- Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
- Earn 1% on all other purchases
The latest addition to the Ultimate Rewards stable, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (full review) sports a dizzying array of point-earning potential and bonus categories—including 3% cash back on dining at restaurants (or 3X Ultimate Rewards points), including takeout and eligible food delivery services.
When used as a cash rewards credit card, these points are worth 1¢ each towards a selection of redemption options, including cash back. However, the value increases if you also hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or another Ultimate Rewards card charging an annual fee. If so, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points and redeem them for an increased fixed value towards travel. Or you can transfer points to partners for potentially much higher value.
This transforms that 3X points on dining into a potential 4.5%+ return, making this one of the most rewarding credit cards for dining. If you don't hold a supporting Ultimate Rewards card, you can potentially get a better return with a card that gives straight cash back on dining like the Savor Rewards from Capital One listed below.
Best Card for Earning Cash Back
- $300 Cash Back after you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, plus 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
- Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
- No foreign transaction fees
- 4% cash back on dining
- 4% cash back on entertainment
- 4% cash back on popular streaming services
- 3% cash back at grocery stores
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
If cash back on dining is your thing, the Savor Rewards from Capital One card is a fantastic option. That's because the card includes the ability to earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining purchases. So, if you spend $3,000 a year on dining (the national average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), you'll earn $120 in cash back. That's a great return—especially since the annual fee is $95.
Best Dining Rewards Card for Small Businesses
- Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
- MORE REWARDS: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month. 1X is earned for other purchases. **
- **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
- AIRLINE BONUS: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
- PAY OVER TIME OPTION: Decide whether you want to pay eligible purchases in full each month-or pay over time with interest.*
- *Terms Apply
- Rates & Fees
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases for shipping
*4X points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year; then earn 1 point per dollar.
With the Business Amex Gold, it's possible to earn 4X Membership Rewards points on up to $150,000 at U.S. restaurants. However, to accomplish that, U.S. restaurant purchases need to be one of your business's top two spending categories in every billing cycle. If this matches your business's spending tendencies, then it doesn't get much better than this. You can learn more about how the 4X earning categories work in our full card review.
Other Great Options for Dining & Restaurants
Outside of the top picks listed above, these next cards represent solid earning options for three of the major transferrable currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Amex Membership Rewards.
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 benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x 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.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
- 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
- 5X points on travel purchased through Chase
- 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
- 3X points on eligible streaming services
- 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
- 2X points on all other travel
- 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
The Sapphire Preferred announced improved earning rates in August 2021, including a major boost to the points you earn on dining. Instead of 2X points, cardholders now earn 3X points at restaurants worldwide (including eligible food delivery services and takeout).
The card also added a new 10% anniversary points boost, which awards a bonus equal to 10% of your total spending in the previous year (at a rate of 1 point per dollar spent). That means the Sapphire Preferred‘s earning rate is just a little better than other cards earning 3X on dining.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
- Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
- 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025
- 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase
- 10X points on Chase Dining (including prepaid reservations and prepaid takeout purchased through Chase)
- 5X points on airfare purchased through Chase
- 3X points on all other travel
- 3X points on dining at restaurants
- 1X points on all other purchases
The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns 3X points on dining, is another great choice for those that prefer to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards over Amex Membership Rewards. This card comes with a hefty annual fee of $550, so you'll need to be able to utilize the card's many benefits to make this a good choice over the Sapphire Preferred for dining.
Sapphire Reserve also added a massive 10X bonus category on purchases made through Chase Dining, but the enhanced earning rate only applies when you prepay through the Chase Dining website. For those in an area with an ample selection of restaurants that allow you to pay through Chase, 10X Ultimate Rewards points is a huge return on dining spend.
Citi ThankYou Points
- 80,000 point signup bonus worth $800 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
- 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
- Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through ThankYou.com
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee
- 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
- 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
- 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
- 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
Earlier this year, Citi announced a major overhaul for its mid-tier rewards card, the Citi Premier® Card. This included several bonus category updates, including increasing the earnings on dining to 3X ThankYou points. That's a solid return for a low-annual fee card.
The card currently comes with a bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points after meeting spending requirements. With only a $95 annual fee, it's easily one of the best mid-tier rewards cards available.
- $250 Travel Credit each calendar year
- 5X points on air travel and at restaurants; and 3X points at hotels and on cruise line purchases
- 4th Night Free when you book any eligible hotel through thankyou.com
- Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
- This card is no longer available to new applicants
- 5X points on air travel and at restaurants
- 3X points at hotels and on cruise line purchases
- 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
Following Citi’s overhaul of the Citi Prestige® Card, it jumped to the top spot on our list, earning a staggering 5X ThankYou Points on dining worldwide. Unfortunately, Prestige Card is no longer accepting new applications. If you don't already have one, this won't be an option.
Citi ThankYou Points are worth a minimum of 1¢ each when redeemed for cash back. Even at that rate, earning 5X translates into a solid 5% cash back. But, that's just the minimum return. By utilizing Citi's transfer partners, those same ThankYou Points could be worth much more. In fact, my baseline valuation for ThankYou points is ~1.6¢ per point. Now, 5X translates into at least an 8% return on restaurant spending—which is simply phenomenal.
Of course, there's a catch. The Prestige Card charges a hefty $495 annual fee. So, you'll need to get good use out of the Prestige Card‘s many other benefits—or have exceptionally high restaurant spending—to justify the annual fee.
American Express Membership Rewards
- 3x Membership Rewards® on travel
- 3x Membership Rewards® at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 3x Membership Rewards® on transit including trains, buses, ferries, subway, and more
- 1x Membership Rewards® on other purchases
American Express has a lot of great options for earning points while dining out. However, Amex's stars—the Amex Gold and Business Amex Gold—both sport a significant annual fee. If you're willing to sacrifice one point per dollar, the revamped American Express® Green Card card (full review) might be a better option at only $150 per year.
Table of the Best Rewards Credit Cards for Dining & Restaurants
We've got most of the bases covered with the cards detailed above. However, to present an even broader perspective of the category, we've created a table covering most of the major cards. For candidates to make it onto this table, the card needs to provide at least a 3% return on restaurant spending.
|Credit Card||Points Earned on Dining & Restaurants||Other Bonus Categories||Annual Fee|
|Citi Prestige® Card||5X Thankyou Points on dining||5X points airfare|
3X points on hotels and cruise lines
|American Express® Gold Card||4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants||4X points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year)|
3X points on airfare on a scheduled flight charged directly with the airline or amextravel.com (charter flights/private jet flights excluded)
|$250 - Rates & Fees|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||4X points at U.S. restaurants (if it's one of the 2 categories where your business spends the most in a billing cycle)||Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spent the most each billing cycle from the list below:|
• Airfare purchased directly from airlines
• U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
• U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
• U.S. purchases at gas stations
• U.S. purchases at restaurants
• U.S. purchases for shipping
*4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year; then earn 1 point per dollar.
|$295 - Rates & Fees|
|Citi Premier® Card||3X Thankyou Points on dining||3X points on airfare and hotels|
3X points on gas
3X points on groceries
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||10X points on Chase Dining (including prepaid reservations and takeout purchased through Ultimate Rewards)|
3X points on dining
|10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase|
5X points on airfare purchased through Chase
3X points on other travel worldwide
|American Express® Green Card||3X Membership Rewards points at restaurants||3X points on all eligible travel||$150|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services||5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate|
5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
3% on drugstore purchases
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||3% on dining at restaurants||5% on travel purchased through Chase|
3% on drugstore purchases
1.5% on all non-bonus purchases
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||3X points on dining||5X points on travel purchased through Chase|
3X points on eligible streaming services
3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
2X points on all other travel
|Savor Rewards from Capital One||4% cash back on dining||4% cash back on entertainment|
4% cash back on popular streaming services
3% cash back at grocery stores
8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
|U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card||4X points on takeout, food delivery, and dining||2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, and gas stations||$0|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.||N/A||No annual fee - Rates & Fees|
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi||3% cash back on restaurants||4% cash back on gas and EV charging purchases (up to $7,000 per year, then 1% after that)|
3% cash back on eligible travel purchases
2% cash back at Costco stores and Costco.com
|$0 (with a paid Costco membership)|
|U.S. Bank Business Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard®||3% cash back at restaurants||5% cash back on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Travel Rewards Center|
3% cash back on eligible purchases at gas stations and EV charging stations
3% cash back at office supply stores
3% cash back at cell phone service providers
Stack with a Dining Program
If you’re hunting even higher returns on your dining spend, don’t forget to join the numerous dining rewards programs offered by rewards programs.
For example, say you agree to receive emails from Alaska's Mileage Plan Dining Program and clock up 12 qualifying transactions in a calendar year. Any subsequent dining purchases earn 5X Mileage Plan miles at the program's over 10,000 participating restaurants. That return alone is a better return than ANY credit card on this list. But, you don't have to choose one or the other. Dining rewards' programs stack these miles on top of the dining credit card points you earn for the same purchase!
What Purchases are Included in the Dining & Restaurant Category?
The merchant category code defines purchases included in the dining category. Consequently, the merchant must code the purchase correctly for you to receive bonus points. When in doubt, we recommend using the AwardWallet Merchant Category Lookup Tool to see how previous purchases have coded.
“…merchants whose primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining, including fast food restaurants as well as fine dining establishments.”
“…restaurants (including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants)…”
“…restaurants located in the U.S…” (Business)
“…purchases made at dining establishments.”
Now that the Prestige Card has been closed to new applicants, the Amex Gold takes over as our top pick. You'll earn 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants—including takeout and eligible delivery services. Plus, the card's dining credit offsets a good portion of the $250 annual fee.
For frequent diners who'd prefer to avoid a yearly fee, the Freedom Flex provides a stellar return at 3% cash back on dining or 3X Ultimate Rewards points if you hold a card that can transfer to partners.
At the end of the day, the best card for you will depend on which rewards you want to earn and how much you spend on dining and takeout. But as long as you pick a card and use it consistently, you'll be well on your way to building your rewards balances.
Have a favorite credit card for dining and restaurants we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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