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The Best Credit Cards to Use When Dining Out

best credit cards for restaurants

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According to a recent article from Bloomberg, dining out at US restaurants is at an all-time high. In the month of July alone, American’s spent $61.6 billion at food-service and drinking establishments, according to the Commerce Department. Additionally, the average American household spends an average of $3,008 per year on dining out.

While it has gotten much easier to skip the cooking and dine out, navigating the confusing space of credit cards offering rewards on the dining category hasn’t.

In this post, we will break down our favorite cards to use for purchases at US restaurants and drinking establishments. If you spent a lot on dining, one of the cards listed below should be at the top of your wallet.

 

The American Express Gold Card

American Express recently revamped the Amex Gold Card (formerly the Premier Rewards Gold Card) and it is now very enticing for those who spend at US restaurants and US Supermarkets. The card now offers 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in both categories. Further, the card offers a welcome bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.

The card also offers a $120 annual dining credit split up in $10 monthly increments for charges at GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse & Participating Shake Shack locations.

These new benefits are a big reason I applied for the card and feel that it is worth the $250 annual fee.

  • Welcome Offer of 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US restaurants & US Supermarkets (up to $25,000 annually then 1x)
  • $120 annual dining credit
  • Annual Fee: $250

 

Click Here to learn more about the Amex Gold Card

 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase rolled out the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at the end of 2016 and it was an immediate hit. Among many other premium benefits, the card offers 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at all restaurants worldwide. It also has no foreign transaction fees. While the Amex Gold card offers 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US restaurants, you will not earn a bonus at any restaurants outside of the US.

On top of the bonus Ultimate Rewards points for dining, the card earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points for all travel expenses (airfare, hotels, parking, Uber, etc.) after the card’s travel credit has been used up. It comes with a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and many other premium benefits.

  • Welcome Offer of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points at restaurants worldwide
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Annual Fee: $450

best credit cards for restaurants

 

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card was the powerhouse in the Chase travel rewards credit card portfolio until the launch of the more premium Sapphire Reserve card. The card offers 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at all restaurants worldwide and has no foreign transaction fees.

On top of the bonus Ultimate Rewards points for dining, the card also earns 2x Ultimate Rewards points for all travel expenses (airfare, hotels, parking, Uber, etc.). While it doesn’t earn as many points as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card on dining, it does have a more digestible annual fee at only $95 a year.

  • Welcome Offer of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 2x Ultimate Rewards points at restaurants worldwide
  • Annual Fee: $95 per year

 

 

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

 

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Savor Cash Card was launched in August 2018 and immediately became one of the strongest cash back credit cards for those who spend a lot of money dining out. The card offers an unlimited 4% cash back on all dining and entertainment purchases. It also earns 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases. It also does not charge foreign transaction fees, making it a great option for dining outside of the US.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $500 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn an unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived for the first year of card membership)

best credit cards for restaurants

 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Savor Card.

 

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card earns 3x points on dining out and ordering in. It also earns 3x points at gas stations, flights, hotels and rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft. The card is currently offering 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. 

This card has no annual fee and offers an introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months of card membership on purchases and balance transfers.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months – This offer has ended
  • Earn 3x points on dining out and ordering in
  • Annual Fee: None

 

Bottom Line

If you spend a lot dining out at restaurants you can maximize every dollar you spend by using one of the five credit cards mentioned above. Whether you value travel rewards or cash back, using one of the best credit cards for restaurants can help you get the most out of your next dining purchase.

 

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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