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Best credit cards for restaurants

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Whether you’re the type of person who likes to linger over a three-course meal or grab takeout at the end of a long day, you deserve to be rewarded for your restaurant spending.

Here’s our list of the best rewards credit cards for restaurant-related purchases in 2022, broken down by the feature that best defines them.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for overall value

  • Rewards rate: 8 percent back on purchases from Vivid Seats (through Jan. 31, 2023); 4 percent back on dining and entertainment; 4 percent back on popular streaming services; 3 percent back at grocery stores; 1 percent back on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership
  • Annual fee: $95

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been a Bankrate favorite for some time thanks to its rewards structure. You’ll earn 4 percent cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, all for a $95 annual fee. According to the Capital One website, the dining category includes purchases at cafes, bars, fast-food chains and more.

The welcome bonus requires a higher spending threshold, but you’ll earn comparably more cash back for doing so with a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within your first three months. Plus, traveling foodies won’t owe foreign transaction fees for spending abroad, and you can redeem your cash back rewards for a check, statement credit, gift cards and more.

Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for flexible cash back

  • Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back (on up to $500 each billing cycle, then 1 percent) on your top eligible spending category each billing cycle; 1 percent cash back on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 20,000 ThankYou Points—worth $200 in cash back—after spending $750 on purchases in the first three months
  • Annual fee: $0

Rather than have a fixed bonus category, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card has a unique value proposition: You can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $500 each billing cycle (1 percent after) on the eligible category you spend the most in. Categories include restaurants (though not third-party dining services), making it a top contender.

Depending on your budget, it might make more sense to save the Citi Custom Cash for other kinds of purchases. For instance, you could earn 5 percent in a category like grocery stores or home improvement if you spend more on those transactions in a month. That said, this feature makes the Citi Custom Cash a flexible option. You can earn plenty of cash back on dining one month and then choose to cook at home the next month and still earn rewards in other categories.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for a travel card that earns restaurant rewards

  • Rewards rate: 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on Lyft Rides (through March 2025); 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 2X points on travel not booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $95

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a staple in the travel credit card industry for a reason: its low annual fee, valuable rewards rate and flexible redemption options make it a great card for both beginner travelers and seasoned pros. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is now even more valuable to the everyday consumer, too. In the past, it offered 2X points back on dining, but now it offers 3X points back.

Cardholders also have access to a free year of DoorDash DashPass if they activate by December 31, 2024. The card also rewards online grocery purchases at a rate of 3X, so you’ll earn the same boosted rate when you’re cooking for yourself. And if you’re looking to turn your dining dollars into airline miles, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is an efficient way to do so.

American Express Gold Card: Best for super spenders

  • Rewards rate: 4X Membership Rewards points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery), Uber Eats and U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points); 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel; 2X points on rental cars through American Express Travel; 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months
  • Annual fee: $250

If you don’t mind paying an annual fee, the American Express® Gold Card is one of the best credit cards for dining, and it can prove especially helpful to world travelers. You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points when you dine at restaurants, plus the card offers up to $120 in dining credits ($10 per month) on eligible purchases at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.

Cardholders can also get up to $120 in annual Uber Cash ($10 per month, and it expires at the end of the month) that can be redeemed for Uber rides or Eats orders. You just need to make sure that your Amex Gold Card is linked to the Uber app to automatically receive your monthly Uber Cash.

The Amex Gold comes with a $250 annual fee, but you can nearly recoup it all by taking full advantage of the dining and Uber Cash credits. Aside from dining perks, the card offers a handful of travel-related benefits, including no foreign transaction fees and various travel protections on luggage, car rentals and more.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card: Best for fast food purchases

  • Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back on eligiblepurchases in two categories of your choice (up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent); 2 percent cash back on one everyday category (including restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and EV charging stations); 1 percent back on all other eligible purchases
  • Welcome bonus: $200 rewards bonus after you apply online and spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening
  • Annual fee: $0

Fast food lovers, rejoice. With the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, you can choose fast food as a category to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1 percent). Better yet, you can still earn rewards on other dining purchases—the card also has the option to choose restaurants as an everyday category, so you’ll earn 2 percent back on all restaurant purchases.

Additionally, the welcome bonus has a pretty reasonable spending threshold since you can earn a $200 bonus after making $1,000 in eligible purchases in your first 120 days of owning the card. Further, there’s no minimum rewards redemption amount, and you can cash in your rewards at any time for a statement credit, a deposit into your U.S. Bank checking or savings account and more.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for no-fee food delivery

  • Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022); 3 percent back on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services); 3 percent back on drugstore purchases; 1.5 percent back on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: Earn an additional 1.5 percent cash back on top of all purchases’ original cash back rate (on up to $20,000) for the first year (offer through Bankrate)
  • Annual fee: $0

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great cash back credit card option for earning rewards on both dining and food delivery-related purchases since you’ll earn 3 percent back. Plus, you’ll get a complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription for three months, which comes with unlimited deliveries on orders over $12, all with a $0 delivery fee. If you don’t cancel the subscription after the three months are up, you’ll automatically be enrolled in DashPass for 50 percent off the monthly rate (typically $9.99 per month) for the next nine months (must enroll before March 31, 2022).

If you’re looking for a card option that can also earn rewards on non-category purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the best options with its 1.5 percent cash back rate on all other purchases.

The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for a luxury card with dining perks

  • Rewards rate: 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare, flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year); 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel; 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first six months
  • Annual fee: $695

The Platinum Card® from American Express is well-known for its luxury benefits, and for good reason. Amex Membership Rewards points are a great currency to rack up for frequent travelers. And while the $695 annual fee might look scary, the card is absolutely packed with statement credits and perks that make the fee worth it. For restaurant-related perks, this includes up to $200 in Uber Cash each year ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December), which can be applied to either rides or delivery from Uber Eats.

Unfortunately, the Amex Platinum recently removed its most eye-catching restaurant-related perk. It used to offer a whopping 10X points per dollar at eligible restaurants worldwide during the first six months of card membership (on up to $25,000 in purchases). But keep an eye out—maybe they’ll bring back a similar offer in the future.

How to choose a restaurant credit card

Now that you’ve had the chance to review the best credit cards for restaurants, it’s time to determine which card is right for your lifestyle and spending habits. You’ll want to consider:

Annual fees

When taking a restaurant credit card into consideration, determine whether you mind paying an annual fee. There are plenty of no-annual-fee credit card options for dining-related purchases if you’d like to avoid the charge, but you’ll typically get a higher rewards rate and greater overall perks with an annual fee card.

Flat-rate vs. rotating categories

Do you prefer set-it-and-forget-it rewards credit cards, or do you enjoy choosing, tracking and activating rotating bonus categories? Restaurant credit cards can come in either form, and the right option for you depends on how you answer the question above.

You’ll also want to consider a card’s cap (if any) on the level of rewards you can earn per quarter or annually. Both flat-rate and rotating category cards can come with caps, but they’re more common in cards with rotating categories.

For example, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature’s cap of $2,000 in combined spending each quarter within the 5 percent category may be too low for heavy spenders. After hitting the cap, you’ll only earn 1 percent cash back on your purchases. In this case, a flat-rate card may end up earning you more in the long run.

Redemption options

A card’s rewards redemption options determine how you can utilize the points, cash back or miles you’ve earned. Before deciding on a restaurant credit card, it’s important to double-check that you can redeem the card’s rewards in whichever manner best suits your lifestyle.

Most cards offer redemption options in the form of cash back, statement credits, checks, gift cards, merchandise or travel, but some cards have more limited options. If you don’t do a high level of dining-related spending with specific merchants, it’s best to look for cards with more flexible redemption options.

The bottom line

If you spend a lot on dining out, takeout and delivery, then it makes sense to get a card that rewards you more for your spending in those categories. Before you choose, be sure to keep in mind annual fees, your spending habits and the type of rewards and perks you’re most interested in. That way, you’ll be sure to get a card that’s right for you.

Written by
Claire Dickey
Editor, Product
Claire Dickey is a product editor for Bankrate, and To Her Credit. Before joining Bankrate, Claire worked as a copywriter for brands within the telecommunications industry as well as a hybrid marketing and content writer.
Edited by
Associate Editor