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Credit Cards

The best credit cards for restaurants and dining out of June 2021

We analyzed 32 popular dining cards using an average American's annual spending budget and digging into each card's perks and drawbacks to find the best credit cards for restaurants based on your consumer habits.

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It's easy to see the appeal of dining out: good food, nice ambiance, and someone else has to do the dishes. But all that delicious convenience can be expensive.

In fact, the average American spends about $3,675 a year, or roughly $306 a month, on dining, according to a sample budget based on the latest spending data available from the location intelligence firm Esri.

But there are some easy ways to offset these costs if you use the right credit card. We analyzed 32 popular rewards cards using an average American's annual budget and digging into each card's perks and drawbacks to find the best options based on your consumer habits. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best cards.)

Choose a card from our list and you could earn you over $100 a year on restaurant spending. Some also offer excellent rewards on grocery shopping, too, in case you want to eat in from time to time.

Here are Select's picks for the top cards for restaurants and dining out:

Winner

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3X points on travel worldwide (immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit), 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    16.99% to 23.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit for travel purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every four years
  • Priority Pass™ Select lounge access at 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Special benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Free DashPass subscription for a minimum of a year when you activate by December 31, 2021
  • $60 DoorDash credit in 2021
  • Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership

Cons

  • High $550 annual fee, but it can be offset by taking advantage of all the card’s perks
  • No introductory APR
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,469
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $3,346

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is geared toward foodies and frequent travelers who are looking for luxurious perks, such as free airport lounge access and complimentary hotel room upgrades. Cardholders earn a competitive 3X points on dining and travel worldwide. Based on Select's calculations, we found the average American using this card could earn an estimated $165 per year in rewards for dining purchases alone (assuming you redeem rewards for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®, receiving 50% more value).

The value of Chase rewards points varies depending on how you use them. If you redeem points for cash and gift cards, each point is worth $.01, which means that 100 points equals $1 in redemption value. (See more on how the value of points is calculated.)

This card has a unique benefit where all points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 redeemed toward airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This perk is a great way to get the most value for your rewards.

While this card has a robust rewards program, it also comes with a steep $550 annual fee. All the card's added credits and benefits provided by Chase can help offset the annual cost. The $300 annual travel credit effectively reduces the annual fee to $150. Cardholders can take advantage of a Priority Pass™ Select membership that has a value of about $429. They also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit of up to $100 every four years.

Runner-Up

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery, plus, Uber Eats purchases) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Seamless and eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The American Express® Gold Card is an ideal card for food lovers, offering a high 4X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Cardholders also earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on the American Express Travel website and 1X Membership Rewards® points on all other purchases. Based on Select's calculations, we found the average American using this card could earn an estimated $147 per year in rewards for dining purchases alone.

Membership Rewards® points value varies depending on how cardholders redeem them. You can use them in a variety of ways, from paying with points at checkout to redeeming for gift cards or a statement credit to booking travel. (See more on how the value of points is calculated.)

Beyond rewards points, this card offers a great additional perk that helps reduce the $250 annual fee to an effective $130. Cardholders can benefit from an annual $120 dining credit ($10 a month) at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.

This card also provides money-saving Amex Offers that can earn you a statement credit or additional Membership Rewards® points at select businesses. For example, a recent offer for Il Mulino restaurant in New York City gives cardholders a $20 statement credit if they spend $100 of more. These offers are location-based and additional terms apply.

Learn more: Amex Green Card review: An experiential travel card for the eco-friendly consumer

Best for No Annual Fee

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

On U.S. Bank's secure site
  • Rewards

    4X points on takeout, food delivery and dining, 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations and 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR, currently 14.99% to 23.99%

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 23.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • High 4X points on takeout, food delivery and dining
  • Annual $15 credit for eligible streaming service purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

    • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $581
    • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,104

    Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

    Who's this for? Food lovers who want to earn more rewards on dining purchases but don't want to pay an annual fee should consider the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card, which provides one of the highest rewards rates on takeout, food delivery and dining at 4X points. Based on Select's calculations, we found the average American using this card could earn an estimated $147 per year in rewards for dining purchases alone.

    If you prefer to order takeout or food delivery and watch a movie at home, you can benefit from this card's annual $15 statement credit on eligible streaming subscriptions, such as Netflix and Hulu. That's in addition to the 2X points you earn on streaming services, as well as on gas station and grocery purchases. All other eligible purchases earn 1X point per $1 spent.

    U.S. Bank is offering a limited-time bonus for new cardholders: earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. You can redeem points for a statement credit, gift card, travel or merchandise.

    There's also an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, which is great for financing new purchases or refinancing debt. After the intro period, there's a 14.99% to 23.99% variable APR.

    Beyond rewards and special financing, the Altitude Go card offers noteworthy travel perks, such as no foreign transaction fees, auto rental collision damage waiver and travel and emergency assistance services.

    Best for Food Delivery

    Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    Information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
    • Rewards

      4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 4% on eligible streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

    • Welcome bonus

      Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

    • Annual fee

      $95

    • Intro APR

      0% for the first 12 months on purchases; N/A on balance transfers

    • Regular APR

      15.99% to 24.99% variable

    • Balance transfer fee

      3% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

    • Foreign transaction fee

      None

    • Credit needed

      Excellent/Good

    See our methodology, terms apply.

    Pros

    • Unlimited 4% cash back on entertainment purchases
    • 8% cash back on all Vivid Seats ticket purchases through January 2022
    • Ability to redeem rewards at any amount, unlike some other cards with $25 minimums
    • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

    Cons

    • $95 annual fee
    • Cable, digital streaming and membership services are excluded from the 4% cash-back rate
    • No introductory 0% financing offers for purchases or balance transfers
    • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $588
    • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,741

    Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

    Who's this for? The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the few cash back cards that offers unlimited 4% cash back on dining purchases. This card allows you to maximize rewards on fast food, restaurants, ice cream trips and more. Plus, you can enjoy foodie-centric perks, such as exclusive access to premium reservations with OpenTable.

    This card is also a good choice for people who regularly attend entertainment events, such as concerts and plays, since those transactions earn unlimited 4% cash back. Additionally, you get exclusive access to premier culinary experiences, sports and music events, such as the NYC Wine and Food Festival and iHeartRadio Music Festival.

    If you buy a lot of resale event tickets, consider using this card since you earn 8% cash back on all Vivid Seats ticket purchases through January 2022.

    Best for Fast Food

    U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

    Information about the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
    • Rewards

      5% cash back on two categories you choose quarterly (on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter, then 1%); 2% cash back on one everyday category; 1% cash back on everything else

    • Welcome bonus

      $200 after you spend $500 within the first 90 days of account opening

    • Annual fee

      $0

    • Intro APR

      0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on balance transfers

    • Regular APR

      13.99% to 23.99% variable*

    • Balance transfer fee

      3%, minimum $5

    • Foreign transaction fee

      2% to 3%

    • Credit needed

      Excellent/Good

    *See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

    Pros

    • No annual fee
    • High 5% cash back on select entertainment purchases, when you activate bonus categories
    • Low spending required to earn a good welcome bonus

    Cons

    • 5% cash back is limited to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter
    • Activation is required to earn 5% cash back
    • 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee
    • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $478
    • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,790

    Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

    Who's this for? The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card offers the highest rewards rate on fast food purchases: 5% cash back. Cardholders can choose to earn 5% cash back on two bonus categories each quarter, on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases, then 1%. Based on Select's calculations, we found the average American using this card could earn an estimated $84* per year in rewards for dining purchases alone.

    Currently, fast food restaurants, such as Subway and McDonald's, earn 5% cash back. You can choose fast food as a 5% category every quarter to maximize cash back. Other categories include department stores and select TV, internet and streaming services.

    You also get 2% cash back on one everyday category, such as grocery stores or gas stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Cardholders can update their preferences every quarter, so you can change categories based on your needs.

    This card also comes with no annual fee and a generous welcome bonus of $200 after you spend $500 within the first 90 days of account opening, which is like earning 30% cash back.

    You can also enjoy no interest on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles (after 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR), so if you need to pay off high interest debt, this may be the card for you. 

    *We assumed half of all dining purchases you make are at eligible fast food restaurants and that you choose fast food and department stores as 5% categories every quarter. We also assumed you made these selections for the bonus 2% cash back category: groceries for two quarters, gas for one quarter and dining for one quarter.

    Best dining cards

    Category Winner Runner-up No annual fee Food delivery Fast food
    Credit card
    Chase Sapphire Reserve®
    American Express® Gold Card
    U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
    Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
    U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
    Rewards10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022; 3X points on travel worldwide (immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit); 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide; 1X point per $1 on all other purchases4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants and shop at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25k per calendar year in purchases then 1X); 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com; 1X points on all other purchases4X points on takeout/food delivery and dining; 2X points at grocery stores/grocery delivery; 2X on streaming services and gas stations and 1X points on all other eligible purchases4% cash back on dining and entertainment; 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases5% cash back on two categories you choose quarterly (on your first $2000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter then 1%); 2% cash back on one everyday category; 1% cash back on everything else
    Estimated dining rewards earned each year$165$147$147$147$84
    Estimated rewards earned after five years$2755$2969$2104$1741$1790
    See below for our methodologyLearn MoreOn Chase's secure siteLearn MoreOn the American Express secure siteLearn MoreOn U.S. Bank's secure siteLearn MoreInformation about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.Learn MoreInformation about the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

    Our methodology

    To determine which cards offer the best value for dining out, Select analyzed 32 of the most popular credit cards offered by the biggest banks, financial companies and credit unions that allow anyone to join and offer bonus rewards on dining out. Bonus rewards means a cardholder earns 2% or 2 points per dollar in a given category. In this case, restaurants.

    We compared each card on a range of features, including cash-back rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit score and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

    Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

    Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

    Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

    It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming points/miles for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

    Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

    While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

    For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

    Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.