Although meals made at home are usually cheaper than meals prepared in restaurants, dining out on a budget doesn’t require you to make major sacrifices. If you have adequate credit, one of the easiest ways to stretch your restaurant dollars further is to sign up for a cash-back credit card or points-based rewards credit card that pays you to dine out.
Use this list to zero in on the right dining rewards credit card for your lifestyle, budget, and credit profile.
Best Credit Cards for Restaurants
These are the best credit cards to use for dining out. Unless otherwise noted, all define “dining” expansively, covering:
- Sit-down dining at restaurant
- Counter-serve meals and fast-food orders
- Restaurant takeout orders
- Restaurant delivery orders
Keep in mind that some of these cards come with annual fees and may cap dining rewards at certain spending thresholds.
Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular premium credit cards for frequent diners. It offers the best value of any of the credit cards on this list thanks to a relatively accessible annual fee ($95) and unusually potent lineup of perks and rewards:
- Earn unlimited 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on dining purchases.
- Earn 5 points total per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit is exhausted).
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on other eligible travel purchases.
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible streaming services and online grocery purchases.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
- Ultimate Rewards points earned on Sapphire Reserve spending are worth up to $0.0125 apiece when redeemed for travel purchases such as airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals through the Ultimate Rewards portal. That’s a 25% boost to their cash redemption value.
- Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to more than a dozen participating travel loyalty programs at a generous 1-to-1 ratio.
Best Sign-up Bonus: Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier® Card is a premium travel rewards credit card with an excellent sign-up bonus that’s relatively easy to achieve: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after you make $4,000 in purchases with your card in the first 3 months. That's worth $600 when redeemed for gift cards at ThankYou.com. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel portal through June 30, 2024.
Citi Premier’s dining rewards program is no slouch either. It’s part of an expansive 3x points-earning category that also includes purchases of:
- Gas and local commuting
- Rental cars
- Groceries at supermarkets
- A $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.
- Get a $100 annual credit against single hotel bookings worth $500 or more.
- Enjoy a generous points transfer program featuring more than a dozen travel loyalty partners.
Best Intro APR Offer: Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card
Like many of the leading restaurant rewards credit cards, Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns unlimited 3% cash back on eligible restaurant purchases. (It does even better during the first year on the first $20,000 in eligible purchases: 4.5% cash back on eligible restaurant purchases.)
But it’s another feature that really sets it apart: a category-leading 0% APR introductory offer. New cardholders enjoy a 0% introductory purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months after account opening. Thereafter, variable regular APR applies (currently 20.49% - 29.24% APR).
- Earn 3% cash back on eligible drugstore purchases.
- Earn 5% cash back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
- Earn 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
- No annual fee.
- Enjoy a free DoorDash DashPass subscription for 3 months from account opening, then 50% off for the next nine months (activation is required). DashPass benefits include deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on food delivery orders over $12.
- During the first year your account is open, earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases up to the first $20,000 spent. That's a value of up to $300 cash back.
Best for Frequent Travelers: Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
With Sapphire Reserve, earning unlimited 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on restaurant purchases is just the beginning. This card really shines for frequent travelers thanks to rewards and benefits like:
- Earn 3 total points per $1 spent on most travel purchases, including airfare, hotel stays, and car rentals not purchased through Chase Travel.
- Earn 5 total points per $1 spent on air travel purchases made through Chase Travel.
- Earn 10 total points per $1 spent on hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Travel.
- Get a 50% redemption boost on travel redemptions, boosting the return on restaurant and most travel spending to 4.5%.
- Enjoy a $300 annual travel credit that applies to virtually all travel purchases.
- Get a complimentary subscription to Lyft Pink, whose benefits include priority airport pickups, relaxed cancellations, and 15% off per ride.
- Transfer earned points to participating travel loyalty programs at a 1-to-1 ratio. Participating loyalty partners include some of the biggest names in the travel industry, like Southwest Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy.
- Spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months to earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth up to $900 when redeemed for airfare, hotels, and other travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
- $550 annual fee and $75 annual fee per additional authorized user; no foreign transaction fee.
Best for People Who Also Cook In: Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, also known as SavorOne Rewards from Capital One, is tailor-made for dining enthusiasts. But its unlimited 3% rate of return on dining purchases extends to other popular spending categories as well, namely supermarket and streaming purchases.
That makes SavorOne the best dining card for people who like to cook at home too.
- Redeem for statement credits in any amount at any time. You can also redeem rewards for purchases at Amazon (at checkout).
- Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening. Thereafter, variable regular APR applies.
- No foreign transaction fee or annual fee.
Best for Students: Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card has the same great rewards program as the “adult” Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. And, of course, eligibility is limited to students enrolled in two- and four-year degree programs and certain other higher education arrangements.
Still, SavorOne Student is one of the best student credit cards on the market, bar none. Great news for collegiate foodies.
- For a limited time, earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first 3 months.
- Use your card responsibly and make timely payments to be considered for a credit line increase in as little as 6 months.
- Open to applicants with fair credit.
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
Best for Gas and Driving Rewards: U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is an annual-fee-free rewards card that earns 4 points per $1 spent on takeout, food delivery, and dining.
Dining isn’t the only rewards category worth noting here. Altitude Go also earns unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on eligible gas station purchases and purchases at EV charging stations too, making it a great choice for frequent diners who drive a lot.
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on grocery store and grocery delivery purchases.
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on streaming service purchases.
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
- Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. Thereafter, variable regular APR applies, currently 19.99% to 28.99% APR.
- Earn 20,000 bonus points as a sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases in the first 90 days. That’s a $200 value toward any redemption option.
- Earn a $15 streaming service credit after making 11 months of streaming service purchases.
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
Best for Small-Business Owners: Chase Ink Business Cash® Card
The Chase Ink Business Cash® Card is a business credit card with a great cash-back rewards program that favors frequent dining.
Restaurant and gas station purchases earn 2% cash back, up to a $25,000 total annual spending limit. To max out your earning potential on dining, avoid using this card at gas stations.
- Earn 5% cash back on office supply and communications such as Internet, landline, and cable TV services, up to a $25,000 maximum per year.
- Earn $900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Enjoy a 0% APR on purchases and for 12 months. After that, variable regular APR applies (currently 18.49% to 24.49%).
Methodology: How We Select the Best Restaurant Credit Cards
We use several key factors to assess restaurant credit cards and select the very best for our readers. Each relates to the overall cost or benefit of the card in some way, from the specifics of the rewards program to the value-added benefits like complimentary food delivery subscriptions.
Restaurant Rewards Program
This is the heart of any restaurant rewards card’s value proposition. The best credit cards for dining out deliver generous rewards on eligible restaurant purchases, including takeout and delivery. Rates of return north of 3 or 4 points per $1 spent are common here.
The sign-up bonus (also known as the welcome offer or early spend bonus) has great influence on the card’s overall value during the first year. The best restaurant credit card sign-up bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars when redeemed, providing a nice boost right out of the gate.
Just make sure you can comfortably spend enough to qualify for the sign-up bonus during the introductory period, typically 3 to 4 months after account opening. If you charge more than you can afford to pay off in full each month, fees and interest could drastically reduce your net bonus.
Perks and Freebies for Frequent Diners
The best restaurant rewards credit cards offer perks and freebies for frequent diners, such as statement credits against eligible restaurant purchases or complimentary subscriptions to food delivery services like DoorDash. Used wisely, these freebies can reduce or even offset credit cards’ annual fees, strengthening the financial case for them.
Most restaurant credit cards reward more than just dining-out spend. Popular nonrestaurant categories include:
- Grocery and supermarket purchases
- Travel, such as hotel and airfare purchases
- Streaming service
- Entertainment purchases
- Drugstore purchases
Before choosing a restaurant credit card, consider the totality of its rewards program to see where you can best align your spending.
Other Perks and Freebies
The best restaurant rewards credit cards offer perks and freebies for more than just dining. These might include:
- Annual travel credits
- Premium memberships with subscription partners
- Issuer-backed benefits, such as purchase protection
- Generous perks for frequent travelers, such as airport lounge access
Introductory APR Promotions
Many restaurant credit cards have attractive 0% APR promotions for new cardholders. These promotions cover purchases, balance transfers, or both, some for as long as 15 to 18 months from account opening (though qualifying balance transfers generally need to be made sooner).
You do have to be careful with 0% APR introductory promotions. If you don’t pay off your full balance during the promotional period, you could be on the hook for any interest that you would have accrued. But when used responsibly, they’re great for covering that big upfront purchase or helping pay down high-interest credit card debt, all the while earning rewards for dining out at your favorite restaurants.
Restaurant Credit Card FAQs
You have questions about restaurant credit cards. We have answers.
What Is a Restaurant Credit Card?
A restaurant credit card earns rewards on purchases at restaurants and other eateries with applicable merchant codes. Often, they deliver additional perks and benefits for frequent diners. Rewards typically accumulate as cash back or as general rewards points that can be redeemed for cash, merchandise, travel, and more.
Can You Use a Dining Credit Card for Takeout or Delivery?
Most restaurant credit cards earn rewards on takeout and delivery app purchases at the same rate as dine-in purchases. However, a few cards treat these two types of purchases differently, so be sure to read the fine print before signing up. You can generally find this information in your card’s rewards program terms and conditions.
What Other Rewards Can You Earn With a Restaurant Credit Card?
Most restaurant credit cards earn rewards on certain types of nonrestaurant purchases as well. These include purchases at the supermarket, purchases at gas stations, travel purchases, and purchases at drugstores or department stores.
The best restaurant credit cards have broad and diverse rewards programs that reward several different types of spending. They’re the kinds of credit cards you have no trouble using every day, even when you’re cooking at home.
How to Select the Best Credit Card for Dining Out
The best dining out credit cards take several different forms.
Some are travel rewards cards that include restaurant meals in a broader basket of travel spending categories, such as airfare and hotel purchases. Others are practical-minded cards that also reward gas station and grocery store purchases. A few are business credit cards.
And some focus exclusively on dining out. Of course, that’s a welcome specialty for those who regularly indulge at restaurants.
The trick to choosing the best dining-out credit card is determining which offers the best value for your specific spending needs and financial goals. That calculation probably extends beyond restaurant rewards, and that’s okay.
The good news is that you can’t go wrong with any of the cards on this list.