BEST FOR REWARDS STRATEGISTS

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.
  • 1% Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Intro offer
$200 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

BEST FOR EVERYDAY SPENDING

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% 1.5% on all other purchases
Intro offer
Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 8% Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
  • 5% Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • 3% Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • 1% Earn 1% on all other purchases.
Intro offer
$200 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 26.49% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x 3x on dining.
  • 2x 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Intro offer
60,000 points 
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

BEST FOR DINING PERKS

Apply now
On American Express's secure site
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
See if you're pre‐approved for this card with CardMatch™
Rewards rate
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • 3X Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Intro offer
60,000 points 
Annual fee
$250
Regular APR
18.24%-25.24% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On U.S. Bank's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5% 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose.
  • 5% 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center.
  • 2% 2% cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants.
  • 1% 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Intro offer
$200 bonus 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.74% - 26.74% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Comparing the top credit cards for restaurants

Card name Rewards highlights Bankrate score
Citi Custom Cash Card 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

4.4 / 5
Read full card review
Chase Freedom Unlimited 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases

1.5% cash back on all other purchases

4.6 / 5
Read full card review
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) 4.4 / 5
Read full card review
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3X points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs)

2X points on all other travel purchases

4.6 / 5
Read full card review
American Express Gold Card 4X points at restaurants (including takeout and U.S. delivery services like Uber Eats; on up to $25,000 per year, then 1X points)

3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel

4.3
Read full card review
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card 5% cash back on purchases in two choice categories (up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1%) and on prepaid airfare, hotel stays and car rentals through the Rewards Travel Center

2% cash back on one choice everyday category

3.2 / 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.

Read our Citi Custom Cash Card review.

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.

Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

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).

Read our Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards review.

Jump back to offer details.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for travel rewards on dining

  • 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, the card includes a complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription for your first 12 months, which could save you tons on take out and restaurant delivery orders (must enroll by Dec. 31, 2024).
  • 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 2 miles per dollar on general purchases.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

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). 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.

Read our American Express Gold Card review.

Jump back to offer details.

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). You can also earn unlimited 2 percent cash back on one everyday category, including grocery stores, restaurants or gas stations, so the card makes sense as a standalone rewards option.
  • 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.

Read our U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature review.

Jump back to offer details.

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’s 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 (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 spends $2,375 per year on food away from home. However, the report notes that this figure — a steep drop in spending compared to previous surveys — likely reflects a decline in restaurant spending during the pandemic. Based on pre-pandemic spending trends, we expect the average cardholder now spends 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, even if the latter offers a higher rewards rate, flashy perks or more potential value.

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. Fortunately, everyone needs to eat, so a no annual fee restaurant card isn’t hard to justify. 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 prefer homecooked 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 deliver 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 to choose a credit card for dining out?

Slimming down the diverse menu of available restaurant credit cards to select which works best for your wallet can be an intimidating task. Asking yourself the following can be a great launch point to help you decide whether a dining card suits your rewards strategy:

How often do I eat at or order from restaurants versus eating at home?

It isn’t hard to justify a dining credit card since many offer broad category coverage with no annual fee to account for, so asking yourself “How often do I eat out?” isn’t the best measure of whether a restaurant-oriented card will come in handy. Instead, it’s better to compare your budget for groceries and find your ideal card’s rewards category balance based on where you get most of your food.

If the overwhelming majority of your food is grocery purchases, then a grocery card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express will be a more lucrative option since it earns 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 percent). On the other hand, a premium dining card like the Amex Gold or the Capital One Savor (if you aren’t a big traveler) is a better fit if you avoid cooking whenever possible.

However, the Capital One SavorOne is a great middle ground if you hit grocery stores and restaurants roughly equally because of its equal 3 percent cash back on dining and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target).

Where do I make my dining purchases?

Dining bonus categories generally cover a similar spread of merchants, but it’s important to consider each card’s fine print when it comes to picking the right restaurant rewards card. For instance, you might want to consider the SavorOne over the Freedom Unlimited if you drop into your local bakery every morning since Capital One’s dining category specifically covers bakeries while Chase’s dining category specifically excludes these merchants.

However, the Freedom Unlimited may be a better choice if your routine includes getting lunch from restaurants in hotels, wholesale clubs or supermarkets since its boosted 1.5 percent general spending category will cover these purchases while typical dining categories won’t.

What are my biggest expenses besides dining?

Quite a few restaurant credit cards offer additional bonus categories for other popular expenses besides dining, so the most valuable card may reward another one of your biggest categories. To give you an idea, frequent flyers and transit travelers will likely milk more rewards from the Chase Sapphire Preferred thanks to its focus on travel-related categories. Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is better at pharmacies in addition to dining due to its twin 3 percent drugstore category.

What kind of rewards do I prefer, and how do I want to earn them?

Considering the goal of any rewards card is to earn as many rewards as your normal spending habits allow, it’s important to decide what you want from your rewards and how much work you’re willing to invest. Naturally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Gold are better choices than a cash back card if you want to use your rewards to fund future trips. On the other hand, a cash back card is better if you want a bit more flexibility from your rewards but you’ll mainly use them to offset your daily spending.

Many dining card rewards programs are designed around tiered bonus categories — especially if you want travel rewards — but cash back can work differently based on your program preferences. Flat-rate cards are perfect if you want a streamlined experience without juggling bonus categories, and a few cards like the Capital One SavorOne and Bank of America Customized Cash allow you to simplify the process further by setting your cash back to redeem automatically after reaching certain criteria.

If you prefer flexibility and dining isn’t always your biggest expense, a few cards allow you to choose monthly or quarterly bonus categories like the Customized Cash and the U.S. Bank Cash+. Some cards reward dining with rotating quarterly categories, such as the Chase Freedom Flex℠, which supplements your balance with boosted cash back on popular seasonal expenses.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

*Information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

about the author
Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit ...
about the editor
Nouri Zarrugh is a writer and editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com, focusing on product news, guides and reviews. His areas of expertise include credit card strategy, rewards programs, point valuation and credit scores, and his stories on building credit have been cited by Mic.com, LifeHacker, People.com and more. Through his thorough card reviews and...

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.