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Best credit cards for restaurants of February 2023

Updated February 07, 2023

Everyone has to eat, so restaurant rewards are an easy way to squeeze extra value out of your credit cards. Fortunately, dining is one of the most popular bonus categories you’ll find. Whether your ideal card is designed for cash back or travel, restaurant rewards cards can serve up a ton of value.

This buffet of credit card offers has been curated to highlight the best rewards and perks on the market based on foodies’ key card criteria. To help you choose the optimal credit card, we’ll also walk you through how to apply the right dining card for your specialized expenses in order to maximize its potential rewards value and leverage any extra features it carries.

Image of Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

BEST FOR REWARDS STRATEGISTS

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

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On Citi's secure site
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$200
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.49% - 28.49% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
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On Capital One's secure site
Rating: 4.9 stars out of 5
4.9 Bankrate review
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Intro offer

$200
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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On Chase's secure site
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

20.24% - 27.24% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of American Express® Gold Card

BEST FOR DINING PERKS

American Express® Gold Card

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On American Express's secure site
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0 Bankrate review
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See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
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Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

20.49% - 27.49% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Reserve®

BEST FOR FINE DINING

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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On Chase's secure site
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$550

Regular APR

21.24% - 28.24% Variable

Recommended credit

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
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On U.S. Bank's secure site
Rating: 3.2 stars out of 5
3.2 Bankrate review
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See Rates & Fees

Intro offer

$200 bonus
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.99% - 28.99% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Comparing the top credit cards for restaurants

Card name Best for Card highlights Bankrate score
Citi Custom Cash Card Rewards strategists
  • 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (can include restaurants), up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
4.4 / 5
Read full card review
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining + groceries
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber and Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits (through Nov. 14, 2024)
  • 5% cash back on hotel stays and rental cars through Capital One Travel
  • 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®)
  • No annual fee
4.9 / 5
Read full card review
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Travel
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft purchases (Lyft offer through March 2025)
  • 3X points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points on all other travel purchases
  • Over $50 in annual bonus bonus and credits: $50 back each year in hotel statement credits for purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 10% bonus points on the total spend in points from the previous year
  • One year of free DoorDash DashPass, six months of free Instacart+, and $10 monthly Gopuff statement credits. Plus, up to $10 of quarterly Instacart statement credits (through July 2024). Must activate DoorDash offer before December 2024. Gopuff offer through December 2023.
  • $95 annual fee
5 / 5
Read full card review
American Express Gold Card Dining perks
  • 4X points at restaurants (including takeout and U.S. delivery services like Uber Eats) and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year, then 1X points)
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel
  • Up to $240 in annual dining-related credits each year: Up to $120 in dining credits annually (enrollment required) and up to $120 in Uber Cash toward U.S. Uber Eats orders and rides annually ($10 in Uber Cash per month, expiring at the end of the month)
  • $250 annual fee
5 / 5
Read full card review
Chase Sapphire Reserve Fine dining
  • 10X points on prepaid Chase Dining purchases, hotel stays and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft rides (Lyft offer through March 2025)
  • 5X points on airfare through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases
  • Up to $300 in annual, automatic travel credits (Points on travel purchases only earned after this credit is used)
  • One year of free DoorDash DashPass and Instacart+, plus $10 monthly Gopuff statement credits. Plus, up to $15 of quarterly Instacart statement credits (through July 2024) and $5 of monthly DoorDash statement credits. Must activate DoorDash offer before December 2024. Gopuff offer through December 2023.
  • $550 annual fee
5 / 5
Read full card review
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card Fast food
  • 5% cash back on purchases in two choice categories (up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1%) — including fast food — and on prepaid air, hotel, and car reservations booked through the Rewards Center
  • 2% cash back on one choice everyday category, including dining and grocery stores
  • No annual fee
3.2 / 5
Read full card review
Chase Freedom Unlimited Everyday spending
  • 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft purchases (Lyft offer through March 2025)
  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Three months of free DoorDash DashPass and Instacart+. Plus, 50% off the monthly DoorDash rate for the next nine months (activate before December 2024) afterward, and up to $10 of quarterly Instacart statement credits (through July 2024 when enrolled)
  • No annual fee
5 / 5
Read full card review
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card* Dining + entertainment
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber and Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits (through Nov. 14, 2024)
  • 5% cash back on hotel stays and rental cars through Capital One Travel
  • 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services
  • 3% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®)
  • $95 annual fee
4.4 / 5
Read full card review
U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card* Takeout and delivery
  • 4X points on dining (including takeout and restaurant delivery)
  • 2X points on grocery store (and grocery store delivery), gas station (including EV charging station) and streaming service purchases
  • $15 statement credit for select streaming services after 11 months of streaming credits
  • No annual fee
4.3 / 5
Read full card review

A closer look at our top credit cards for dining

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: Best for rewards strategists

  • What we love about the Citi Custom Cash Card: It can not only get you perhaps the highest rewards rate available at restaurants for no annual fee, but can also automatically cover one of nine other popular categories if your spending habits change. This makes the Custom Cash a terrific supplemental card to pair with a flat-rate card or a card that earns consistent rewards in your other big spending categories.
  • Who this card is good for: People who want to maximize their rewards in a single eligible category each billing cycle (such as dining) and have other cards that can earn rewards in their second- and third-largest spending categories. Since the card earns flexible ThankYou points, it’s also great for pairing with a Citi travel card.
  • Alternatives: If you like the idea of flexible bonus categories but want a card that covers more than just one category per billing cycle, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a solid choice. It not only allows you to choose a 3 percent cash rewards category each calendar month — dining being just one of several popular options — but also earns consistent 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The catch is the card’s 3 percent and 2 percent bonus categories share a $2,500 quarterly spending limit, after which your rewards rate drops to 1 percent back.

Learn more: Is the Citi Custom Cash worth it?
Read our Citi Custom Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for dining + groceries

  • What we love about the Capital One SavorOne card: It offers one of the highest unlimited rewards rates you can get at both restaurants and eligible grocery stores without paying an annual fee. Most competing cards offer bonus cash back on dining or groceries, not both, making the SavorOne one of the most practical and valuable standalone rewards cards for foodies.
  • Who this card is good for: Foodies who love dining out just as much as cooking at home. Since the card carries a generous rewards rate in both of these everyday categories, it’s hard to go wrong with the SavorOne. Minimalists who want a simple way to earn and use rewards should also enjoy the card’s wide category coverage and automatic redemption options.
  • Alternatives: The Chase Freedom Unlimited may be a smart alternative if the SavorOne’s non-dining bonus categories don’t align with your biggest everyday categories. The premium Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card* may also be worthwhile if you spend a great deal in your dining and entertainment categories (although it’s probably not worth it for typical spenders).

Learn more: Why expert Ana Cvetkovic loves the Capital One SavorOne
Read our Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards review or jump back to offer details.

Bankrate insight: Thanks to Capital One and Uber’s new partnership, the SavorOne card is now also one of the best cards for Uber Eats orders. The SavorOne and several other Capital One cash back cards now earn a whopping, unlimited 10 percent cash back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases, plus up to two years of complimentary Uber One membership (via statement credits; through Nov. 14, 2024).

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for travel

  • What we love about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Its rewards rate on dining and online grocery purchases makes it easy for foodies to rack up rewards on everyday spending. Meanwhile, your points are worth 25 percent more when you redeem for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, so they’ll take you further than those of the average mid-tier travel rewards cards.
  • Who this card is good for: It’s a great fit for foodies looking for their first travel card. Not only does the card carry plenty of perks that help offset its annual fee, but you can also pool points with other Ultimate Rewards cards to maximize your earnings in an array of everyday categories. Plus, you could save tons on food deliveries with valuable, limited-time delivery service perks for eligible DoorDash, Instacart and GoPuff orders.
  • Alternatives: Cardholders who don’t want to track purchases or juggle multiple cards and rewards categories may prefer the streamlined Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (if you’re after luxury perks), both of which offer a flat rewards rate of 2X miles on general purchases.

Learn more: Why expert Jordan Bishop loves the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review or jump back to offer details.

American Express® Gold Card: Best for dining perks

  • What we love about the American Express Gold Card: Along with top-tier rewards at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, you’ll enjoy a ton of value via foodie perks, including up to $120 per year in dining credits with merchants like GrubHub (enrollment required) and up to another $120 in annual U.S. Uber Cash toward U.S. Uber Eats and rides (up to $10 per month). These perks make it easy to offset the card’s annual fee and make the Amex Gold easily one of the best cards for delivery services.
  • Who this card is good for: Restaurant and food delivery lovers, rewards strategists and even home cooks can get a ton of value out of the Amex Gold. As long as you take advantage of its perks and redeem your rewards for airfare — either via American Express Travel bookings or transfer to partner loyalty programs — you should have no trouble justifying this card’s cost.
  • Alternatives: Although it can be offset via rewards and perks, the card’s $250 annual fee may be a deal-breaker for frugal cardholders. Plus, you may not want to commit to redeeming rewards for travel instead of cash back. Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers more flexible rewards at a lower price point, or the Capital One SavorOne, which boasts a terrific rewards rate on dining and grocery store purchases with no annual fee.

Learn more: Why the Amex Gold is great for traveling foodies
Read our American Express Gold Card review or jump back to offer details.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for fine dining

  • What we love about the Chase Sapphire Reserve: It carries a 10X rewards rate on prepaid Chase Dining purchases — perhaps the highest restaurant rewards rate available. Chase Dining is a niche offering, but luckily your other dining purchases earn 3X points as well. You can also squeeze 50 percent more value out of your points when you redeem for Ultimate Rewards travel.
  • Who this card is good for: Urban explorers and frequent travelers who don’t mind researching a go-to list of fine dining restaurants to make the most of their rewards.
  • Alternatives: It can be hard to consistently take advantage of the Chase Dining bonus category, so a lower-cost rewards card like the American Express Gold or the Chase Sapphire Preferred could offer better value overall.

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review or jump back to offer details.

Bankrate insight: Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Sapphire Reserve also offers a free DoorDash DashPass one-year subscription, which includes Caviar service deliveries and $5 monthly credits. Caviar is excellent if you want a taste of upscale local restaurants without leaving your home.

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

  • What we love about the U.S. Bank Cash+ card: It carries one of the highest rewards rates out there in several popular spending categories, including fast food purchases (5 percent cash back on up to $2,000 in combined purchases across two eligible categories of your choice each quarter, then 1 percent). The card is a solid standalone rewards option since you can also earn unlimited 2 percent cash back on one everyday category, including grocery stores, restaurants or gas stations.
  • Who this card is good for: Fast food aficionados won’t find a better deal than this card’s 5 percent fast food category, and cardholders who value flexibility will love having the option to change bonus categories based on their spending habits. That said, if you visit traditional restaurants more than fast food restaurants, you’ll likely bank more rewards from another card.
  • Alternatives: The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card also lets you choose your own bonus category, but beats the Cash+ card when it comes to flexibility. Your choice category can be swapped once per month instead of once per quarter (as with the Cash+ card) and the card features more popular everyday bonus categories than the Cash+, including gas, online shopping, dining and travel.

Learn more: Who should get the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature?
Read our U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature review or jump back to offer details.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for everyday spending

  • What we love about the Chase Freedom Unlimited card: It’s one of the only cards that offers both an unlimited 3 percent cash back rate on dining and more than 1 percent back on general purchases. Nearly all competing cards offer either elevated rewards in specific spending categories or a flat 1.5 percent to 2 percent back on all purchases, not both.
  • Who this card is good for: Foodies and occasional travelers looking for an all-purpose rewards card with no annual fee. The card’s 1.5 percent rewards rate on general spending helps you maximize purchases outside the Chase travel, drugstore and dining categories and your points can be worth up to 50 percent more when you pair with a premium Ultimate Rewards card and redeem for travel through Chase.
  • Alternatives: No-fuss cardholders who are more interested in the Freedom Unlimited card’s flat-rate rewards than its dining category may squeeze more value out of a flat-rate card versus a card with bonus categories. The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is one of the most rewarding options out there thanks to its unlimited 2 percent cash rewards rate on purchases.

Learn moreWhy expert Jacqueline DeMarco loves the Chase Freedom Unlimited
Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited review

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for dining + entertainment

  • What we love about the Capital One Savor: It’s an excellent catch-all rewards card thanks to its generous rewards rate in a variety of everyday bonus categories, including grocery stores, dining and entertainment. Like the SavorOne, you’ll also get 10 percent cash back on Uber and Uber Eats orders, including up to two years of statement credits toward an Uber One membership. Plus, buying event tickets through Capital One Entertainment will also earn a whopping 8 percent back, making this a top pick for foodies who love concerts, live sports and more.
  • Who this card is good for: Foodies who spend heavily at restaurants and on entertainment. You’ll earn stellar cash back in this card’s other categories, but only big spenders are likely to spend enough on dining and entertainment to make the Savor card’s annual fee worth it.
  • Alternatives: The Capital One SavorOne is probably a better option for most spenders. Although it carries slightly lower rewards rates than the Savor, it charges no annual fee. Unless you spend heavily in these categories, you’ll likely earn more overall by avoiding the fee.

Learn more: Why expert Ana Cvetkovic loves the Capital One Savor
Read our Capital One Savor card review

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card: Best for takeout and delivery

  • What we love about the U.S. Bank Altitude Go: Though it charges no annual fee, this card’s rewards rate on dining rivals the rate you’ll find on premium dining cards like the Capital One Savor card without charging an annual fee. Add in excellent rewards on streaming and groceries and you can have quite a rewarding night in — especially since paying for your eligible streaming services for 11 months straight could net you a $15 credit every year.
  • Who this card is good for: Foodies who enjoy the convenience of restaurant and grocery store delivery. Note also that your points can’t be transferred to airline or hotel rewards programs, so this card is a better fit if you only travel occasionally or prefer to redeem rewards for cash back.
  • Alternatives: The Capital One SavorOne carries a higher cash back rate at grocery stores and on Uber Eats, so it may be a better option for Uber users and fans of simplicity, home cooks and families than the Altitude Go card. And if you’re looking for truly flexible and valuable travel points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also rewards many of the categories you’ll find on the Altitude Go.

Learn more: Cash back vs. points and miles credit cards
Read our U.S. Bank Altitude Go card review

How do dining rewards credit cards work?

Dining rewards credit cards earn rewards — usually cash back, points or miles — on dining purchases, typically including spending at sit-down restaurants, fast food chains and, depending on the card, food delivery services.

Unlike some types of reward cards, like co-branded hotel credit cards, dining cards typically don’t require you to redeem rewards with a particular company (in this case, a particular restaurant). Instead, dining cards are simply general-purpose cash back or rewards credit cards with strong dining bonus categories or perks.

For example, the American Express Gold card is a travel rewards card that appeals to restaurant-goers with its 4X points at restaurants (including eligible delivery services like Uber Eats), up to $120 in dining credits (up to $10 each month after enrolling) each year and another up to $120 in annual Uber Cash for U.S. Uber purchases (also up to $10 each month).

Most dining rewards cards also offer rewards in other popular bonus categories, like groceries, gas or travel. Weighing how well each card’s rewards rates, benefits and fees fit with your spending habits is key to choosing the best restaurant credit card for you.

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Bankrate Insight

Rewards-savvy cardholders can investigate merchant category codes (MCCs) to see how card networks classify different types of purchases. This will determine whether a dining purchase earns bonus rewards. For example, some networks may not consider a meal at a food truck a restaurant purchase.

How much could you save on dining out with a credit card for restaurants?

Dining out makes up a big chunk of many cardholders’ everyday spending, so if you aren’t using a card that offers bonus rewards on restaurant purchases, you may be leaving money on the table.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Expenditures Report, the average person spent $3,030 per year on food away from home last year. That was a drop compared to pre-pandemic spending, but the report notes that restaurant spending is on the rise. Based on pre-pandemic spending trends, we estimate the average cardholder may typically spend around $3,500 per year on dining (about $292 per month).

Even if you used a card that only earned 1 percent cash back on dining purchases (the standard minimum rewards rate), you’d earn $35 cash back per year on that spend. Even better, many rewards cards carry double or triple that rewards rate.

Flat-rate cards typically earn at least 1.5 percent to 2 percent back on all purchases and can be an easy way to collect more rewards without the hassle of bonus categories. For example, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card earns at least 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, which would net you $52 back on a $3,500 annual restaurant spend. Meanwhile, a tiered bonus cash back card could earn even more in specific categories like dining. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 3 percent back at restaurants, so a $3,500 annual dining spend would earn $105 in rewards.

You may rake in even more value with a premium rewards card like the American Express Gold Card, which offers 4X points on restaurants and eligible U.S. delivery services like Uber Eats. If you redeemed your points for airfare through American Express Travel, you’d earn $140 worth of rewards on a $3,500 spend. Plus, the card carries up to $120 each year in dining credits to select merchants (via up to $10 statement credits each month after enrolling) and another up to $120 in Uber Cash each year (via up to $10 account credits each month, expiring at the end of the month), which can be used toward U.S. Uber Eats orders.

Check out these popular flat-rate and tiered bonus rewards cards to get a sense of how much you could earn on a $3,500 annual dining spend:

Card name Dining rewards rate and perks Estimated rewards earned, plus perk value
Basic cash back card (example) 1% cash back $35
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card 1.5% cash back on all purchases $52
Chase Freedom Unlimited 3% cash back on dining purchases $105
American Express Gold Card 4X points on restaurant and eligible takeout and delivery purchases, plus up to $120 per year in dining credits for eligible purchases and up to $120 per year in Uber Cash for U.S. orders (terms apply, enrollment required) Up to $380 ($140 earned via card spend if points are redeemed for travel through Amex Travel, plus up to $240 in annual value via dining-related credits)

Although rewards and benefits like these can be mouthwatering, it’s important to review your spending habits and consider how you’ll realistically use your rewards before choosing a restaurant card. For example, a no-annual-fee cash back card may be a better fit for you than a pricey luxury travel card if you don’t usually spend enough to take full advantage of a slightly higher rewards rate or flashy perks.

Pros and cons of dining rewards cards

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Earn additional rewards on one of the most popular everyday expenses most cardholders can take advantage of.

  • Checkmark

    Dining bonus categories are easy to find across a range of cards — this bonus category is often found on cards focused on both travel and everyday spending rewards.

  • Checkmark

    Dining rewards cards often come with perks and annual credits that can cover restaurant and delivery service purchases.

Cons

  • If you tend to cook at home more than dine out, a grocery rewards card can be much more lucrative.

  • Dining categories often exclude caterers and specialty eateries, including cheese and wine shops, farmer’s markets, fish markets, bakeries and restaurants within hotels, amusement parks, sports venues.

  • It may be hard to find a card that rewards certain categories in addition to dining, such as online shopping or transit, which could be inconvenient depending on your spending habits.

Who should get a restaurant credit card?

Since so many different types of cards offer rewards at restaurants, it may be difficult to tell whether a restaurant card specifically is worth a slot in your wallet. A dining credit card may be an especially valuable tool if you fall into one the following camps:

Restaurant regulars

Naturally, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of a dining card if you frequently go out to eat or order delivery. However, you don’t have to be a die-hard restaurant patron to consider a dining rewards card. Restaurant credit cards often carry extra everyday categories, and sometimes dining credits and perks, to pick up the slack when you’d prefer a home-cooked meal. Dining bonus categories also aren’t as specific as other popular categories like travel or grocery stores tend to be, so a dining card usually doesn’t need merchant research ahead of time.

Ultimately, a dining card will earn boosted rewards often enough to satisfy the average spender (especially if there’s no annual fee). You’ll have plenty of reward opportunities from your usual visits to restaurants, bars, cafés, fast food chains and more.

Traveling foodies

Several major rewards cards bundle dining rewards and perks with travel bonus categories since the reward opportunities often arrive hand in hand. Frequent travelers that don’t often find themselves near a kitchen have plenty of chances to earn rewards at restaurants and fuel future trips. Similarly, cardholders with adventurous palates can squeeze even more value from their dining experiences by using their card to earn rewards toward a culinary experience abroad.

In the same vein, dining cards often carry other supplementary bonus categories like transit, gas and groceries. They’re often a handy companion for road warriors, commuters and grocery grabbers so that you can also earn rewards when filling up your gas tank or pantry.

Delivery service aficionados

If your doorstop is a common destination for delivery drivers, there’s a good chance a dining credit card can earn pocket additional rewards. Depending on the credit card, you might also be able to enjoy a complimentary delivery service subscription or even statement credits to cover some of your orders. However, it’s important to read your dining category’s fine print since some credit cards may not reward your favorite delivery services.

Who should skip a restaurant credit card?

Although restaurant credit cards aren’t as hit-or-miss based on spending habits like travel cards and other specialized options may be, a dining-oriented card might not be as rewarding for:

Home chefs

It may be harder to make the most of your restaurant rewards card if you mostly cook at home. Although several dining cards also offer supermarket categories, a dedicated grocery store credit card may pose better rewards rates for groceries if that’s a much larger aspect of your budget.

Specialized spenders

It’s true that dining credit cards tend to carry additional bonus categories for other everyday expenses, but the rewards rates may be skewed to favor restaurants. Plus, it can be hard to find a restaurant card that rewards certain categories at the same time, such as online shopping, department stores or transit.

If dining isn’t one of your biggest expenses and you want to limit the number of cards in your wallet, you might want to instead grab a flat-rate card or a different tiered bonus category card that better suits your primary spending categories.

Caterers and particular patrons

Many dining credit cards exclude catering as a rewards-eligible dining purchase, along with food at specialty stores like farmer’s and fish markets, cheese and wine shops, candy shops, bakeries and etc. If you work at a hotel, supermarket, wholesale club, sporting venue or amusement park, meals and concessions at dining establishments within these locations aren’t usually covered by typical dining categories either.

A flat-rate rewards card is probably your best bet to earn boosted rewards on these food purchases instead.

How we chose our best credit cards for restaurants

All credit cards from our partners are rated with a 5-star scoring system. Singling out the best restaurant cards means focusing our evaluation on key ingredients that distinguish cards in this category, such as:
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    Rewards value
    Since many restaurant credit cards are cash back or travel cards with varying rewards value, both a high rewards rate and redemption value are necessary to stand out. Top competitors provide at least 3 cents back in rewards per dollar spent on dining purchases, although extra food-related bonus categories like groceries and dining delivery services give cards an edge.
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    Easy, everyday usability
    Excellent restaurant cards should fit into a variety of reward strategies. Our other ideal factors include broad bonus category coverage, diverse reward options and a simple redemption process. Comprehensive coverage is key, so we favor dining categories that also cover café, bar, dining delivery service and specialty food merchant purchases.
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    Welcome offers and ongoing perks
    Like our leading rewards and travel cards, the best options deliver valuable, reasonably accessible welcome bonuses. Strong additional benefits — especially dining credits and similar features — that build notable ongoing value cement our picks as well.
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    Low fees
    The mark of a quality restaurant credit card is unobtrusive rates and fees. Although no annual fee is stellar, a solid premium card’s annual fee should be easily justified and offset with its premier rewards and perks. Intro APR periods, no foreign transaction fees and a low ongoing APR also inform our choices.

Frequently Asked Questions