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Many rewards credit cards offer bonus spending categories: When you use your card to pay for purchases with certain types of merchants or retailers, you can earn multiple points or miles per dollar spent. Travel and airfare are popular categories for premium rewards cards, and over the past year, groceries and streaming entertainment subscriptions have also become lucrative bonus categories.
Dining, including takeout and delivery services, remains one of the most common—and popular—credit card bonus categories. Some of the best credit cards for restaurants earn bonus points on restaurant purchases and even offer statement credits to help you save on food delivery subscription services.
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American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card is probably the single best rewards card for restaurant spending thanks to two key features. First, it earns an incredible 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, including many takeout and delivery services. Not only that, but cardholders can link their card with their Uber account using the Uber app to receive up to $10 in Uber Cash each month, which can be applied to UberEats orders in the U.S. (as well as Uber rides).
The card accumulates 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year (then 1 point per dollar after that); 3 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com; and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases. Cardholders are eligible for up to $10 back per month in statement credits at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations. Add that and the Uber Cash perk together, and you're looking at up to $240 per year in savings, which should go a long way toward offsetting the card's $250 annual fee.
Right now, the American Express® Gold Card is offering most new applicants up to 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months. Keep in mind, unlike typical credit cards, this card allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all. Terms apply.
You may be matched with this and other cards at Experian CreditMatch™
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Though the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card has always offered bonus points on restaurant spending, recent partnerships with DoorDash and Lyft have made it even more valuable to people who carry this card.
The card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel (after earning the annual $300 travel credit) and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Caviar. Not only that, but cardholders are eligible for a $60 statement credit for DoorDash purchases in 2021 and can register for free DashPass benefits for at least 12 months upon activation before December 31, 2021. DashPass is a premium subscription that normally costs $9.99 per month and includes waived delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more from participating restaurants on DoorDash and Caviar (if your accounts are linked).
Thanks to Grubhub's partnership with Lyft, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders who enrolled for a free 12-month Lyft Pink membership can also enjoy complimentary Grubhub+ benefits with Grubhub and Seamless during their Lyft Pink membership. Grubhub+ usually costs $9.99 per month and includes free delivery on orders of $12 or more from participating restaurants as well as other exclusive perks.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is currently offering new applicants 60,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Its annual fee is $550.Read full review
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
1X points on All Other Purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit.
- Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
This card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants including takeout and eligible delivery services, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Cardholders can register for complimentary DashPass benefits that should be good for at least 12 months from activation on or before December 31, 2022, and up to a maximum of 24 months.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is currently offering 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus a $50 statement credit toward grocery purchases in the first year the account is open. Its annual fee is $95.Read full review
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases
2X points on Travel
1X points on All Other Purchases
Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Earn an unlimited 3% cash back on entertainment and dining purchases, including restaurants as well as most delivery services.
The SavorOne also earns 3% cash back at grocery stores, excluding superstores like Walmart and Target, and 1% back on everything. Not bad for a card with no annual fee, especially considering its current welcome offer is a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.Read full review
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
3% cash back on Groceries
3% cash back on Streaming Services
1% cash back on All Other Purchases
Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after that
- No foreign transaction fee
- No annual fee
Do Bars And Coffee Shops Count as Restaurants?
The terms "dining" and "restaurant" can be a bit confusing when it comes to credit card categories. That's good news for consumers, though, since many credit cards that offer these bonus categories actually extend them to merchants beyond what you might think are included.
For instance, Chase categorizes "Dining/Restaurants" as merchants whose primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining, including fine-dining establishments as well as fast food restaurants. But you'll also find that many delivery services, including DoorDash and Grubhub, are counted in the dining category, as are some coffee shops and many bars. Those merchants that sell food within other facilities such as sports stadiums, theme parks or hotels are usually not included.
For its part, American Express divides restaurants into U.S. and global groupings, and excludes those that are located within other businesses such as hotels, casinos and event venues, as well as bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, caterers, theatre clubs, breweries, bakeries and meeting venues. Still, many purchases you may think fall into these categories are in fact coded as restaurant charges and thus earn bonus points.
Credit card issuers depend on merchants to categorize themselves for the most part, so if a café or bar lists itself as a restaurant, that's how the charge will earn points. Before you make any purchases, you can check this handy Visa Supplier Tool to see how a specific merchant is probably categorized by most issuers.
Are There Limits to Rewards Earned?
Some credit cards limit the number of bonus rewards you can earn in certain categories. For example, using the American Express® Gold Card, you can earn 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, but only on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; you'll earn 1 point per dollar after that. However, the card does not have a cap on its dining bonus category. Likewise, there are no earning caps with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card when it comes to dining.
Before you commit to a specific card for your dining buys, double-check the terms and benefits. That way, you can ensure your earning potential is not capped, or that you can at least maximize your rewards by spending up to any dollar ceilings there might be.
What Credit Score Do I Need for a Restaurant Rewards Card?
While some rewards credit cards are targeted to customers who are just getting started with credit or looking to build their credit history, the best credit cards for restaurants tend to be geared toward folks with good to excellent credit. That usually means you have a long history of paying off your bills responsibly and on time, and carry little to no debt.
Before applying for a credit card, get a free copy of your credit report and score from Experian so you will know what issuers see when they receive your application and whether it's worth applying for a certain card. You can also check out Experian CreditMatchTM for credit card offers that suit your needs.
Some of the best rewards credit cards include restaurants and dining among their bonus categories. By using such a card for your dine-in, takeout and delivery purchases, you can rack up extra rewards like points or cash much faster than with other everyday expenses. Just be sure you do so responsibly—and maximize any other perks the card might offer.