Buy Gift Cards to Support Local Restaurants ... And Earn Valuable Points, Too!

Buy Gift Cards to Support Local Restaurants … And Earn Valuable Points, Too!

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Across the country – and the world, really – restaurants and bars are shutting their doors to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. States have ordered these businesses to close, only allowing take-out, delivery, or curbside pickup.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of employees have been laid off as restaurants scramble to figure out a way to survive. Beyond ordering take-out or curbside pickup, you can help out your favorite spots by buying gift cards, giving restaurants some much-needed cash now and allowing you to dine in later when this all subsides.

On top of those small business benefits, you can rack up some points for your next vacation while you’re supporting your local establishments. Here are the best credit cards to use at restaurants – whether you are buying gift cards or curbside takeout now, or just planning your next visit when this passes.

New to credit cards? Read our top tips to help beginners master the world of points and miles.

 

Amex Gold: 4X Points on Restaurants

The American Express Gold card will earn you 4x Membership Rewards per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 each year). So long as you buy your gift card directly through the restaurant, there shouldn’t be an issue with getting 4x points.

Full Benefits of the Amex Gold Card
  • Receive 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
  • 4x points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide
  • 4x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25k of spending each calendar year. 1x points after that
  • 1x points on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • $120 annual dining credit split up monthly for charges at GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Boxed & Participating Shake Shack locations
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit per calendar year for baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline. See our guide for the best ways to use it.
  • $250 annual fee, not waived for the first year

 

 

Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card. 

 

Amex Green: 3x Points on Restaurants

Earn 3x Membership Rewards on restaurants with the Amex Green card. While it earns fewer points on restaurants than the Amex Gold, the welcome bonus offer is just 5,000 fewer Membership Rewards at 30,000. And you only need to spend $2,000 in the first three months to earn it.

It also has an annual fee of only $150, as opposed to the $250 annual fee on the Amex Gold card.

Check out our post on the Amex Green, Gold, and Platinum cards to decide which is right for you. 

Full Benefits of the Amex Green Card
  • Receive 30,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $2,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • 3x points per dollar spent on all travel and dining expenses.
  • $100 credit towards CLEAR membership each year. 
  • $100 credit for Lounge Buddy each year. Purchase airport lounge access starting at just $25
  • $150 annual fee

 

 

Click Here to learn more about the American Express Green Card. 

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3x Points on Restaurants

You can also rack up 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards when you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at restaurants.

Full Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus points: After you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 3x Points on travel and at restaurants worldwide
  • 10x Points on Lyft Rides, plus complimentary Lyft pink membership.
  • $60 Annual DoorDash Food Delivery Credit, plus free DashPass membership
  • $100 ApplicationCredit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
  • Primary Car Rental Insurance
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Trip Delay & Cancellation Coverage
  • Medical Evacuation & Travel Accident Coverage
  • $550 annual fee

 

restaurant gift cards

 

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2X Points on Restaurants

Finally, you can earn 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards per dollar when you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card at restaurants.

Full Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Earn 60,000 Bonus points: After you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
  • 2x Points on travel and at restaurants worldwide
  • 5x Points on Lyft Rides
  • Primary Car Rental Insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Trip Delay & Cancellation Coverage
  • $95 annual fee, not waived in the first year

 

restaurant gift cards

 

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

 

Using Amex & Chase Points

When the dust settles and we can all travel again, the American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the cards above can save you hundreds – if not thousands – on your next trip.

Both points can be transferred to a number of hotel and airline transfer partners, and can even be used to book flight deals with points.

For example, see the full list of American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners below. Some strong contenders here are Delta SkyMiles, Virgin Atlantic (especially if you can score a transfer bonus), Aeroplan, and ANA. Because who doesn’t want to book round-trip flights to Japan in business class for the price of economy, right?

 

ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1N/A
AeroMexicoAirline1:1.62-12 days
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
AlitaliaAirline1:1Instant
ANAAirline1:11-2 days
AviancaAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Cathay PacificAirline1:11-7 days
DeltaAirline1:1Instant
El AlAirline50:1Instant
EmiratesAirline1:1Instant
EtihadAirline1:1Instant
HawaiianAirline1:1Instant
IberiaAirline1:11-3 days
JetBlueAirline1.25:1Instant
QantasAirline1:1Instant
SingaporeAirline1:112-48 hours
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
Choice PrivilegesHotel1:1Instant
Hilton HonorsHotel1:2Instant
Marriott BonvoyHotel1:1Instant

 

Read our guide on 8 Great Ways to Redeem American Express Membership Rewards

 

And here’s the full list of Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners below. Some favorites include United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Iberia – one of the cheapest ways to fly to Europe in economy or business class.

 

ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
EmiratesAirline1:1Instant
Iberia PlusAirline1:1Instant
JetBlueAirline1:1Instant
Singapore AirAirline1:112-24 hours
Southwest AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
United AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
World of HyattHotel1:1Instant
IHGHotel1:11 day
Marriott RewardsHotel1:12 days

 

Read our guide on 6 Amazing Ways to Use Ultimate Rewards Points

 

Bottom Line

We are all going to be doing a lot of eating in the next few weeks.  Whether you are spending a ton of money on groceries, getting food delivered, or supporting your local restaurants by buying gift cards, you should be earning points for your next trip, whenever that comes. Support local restaurants while working your way towards covering your next dream trip with points.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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