Do you spend a lot eating out? You can still save money with the right credit card. Compare credit cards for dining out below.
Credit Cards for Restaurant Rewards
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If you’re usually eating out rather than slaving over a hot stove at home, make a point of using a rewards credit card every time you pick up the tab and save up some serious cash.
In fact, most of us could benefit from one of the many credit cards aimed at frequent diners. According to the 2015 Zagat Dining Trends survey, Americans dine out an average of 4.5 times per week and drop close to $40 per person for a meal, which is no small potatoes. Get something back every time you go out, and the rewards will add up quickly.
What to Look For
Picking a credit card that pays you back every time you drop in at your favorite restaurant is a hassle-free way to keep the cost down — and cut down on your guilt for eating out all the time.
But many rewards credit cards focus more on their travel rewards than the fact that they also give rewards for restaurant purchases as well. So you may not view one card over another as a “restaurant credit card.” You need to know where to look (and you’ve come to the right place!), and you’ll need to narrow down your choices because there are quite a few.
We’re going to help with the search and your decision. CreditDonkey has put together a guide to restaurant rewards cards that covers what you need to know about choosing the right card for you.
Restaurant Credit Cards: How Do They Work?
You want to look for a rewards card that lists restaurants as one type of purchase that will give you a higher amount back than other things you can buy with it. You could get 2X points, say, when you dine out rather than just the 1X you get on other purchases. Be sure to check out how the credit card company views restaurants — if you’re a frequent visitor of the takeout counter (we’re not here to judge), then be sure “fast food” will count.
You could either let your points rack up for a one-day splurge at a fancy restaurant or use them for an entirely different purpose than eating.
Here’s what you need to consider during your search:
If you normally carry a balance, you also need to look at the APR to see how much you're going to be handing over in interest each month.
At the opposite end of the priority scale are a few other matters that may sway your final decision:
Which Card Is the Right for You?
With so many options to choose from, nailing down the right one is no easy feat. To make things easier, we've rounded up a few restaurant credit cards that we think represent the cream of the crop.
If you're a big spender:
The card comes with an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95. If you regularly travel overseas, you won't have to worry about paying foreign transaction fees with this card (it has a $0 foreign transaction fee). Otherwise, all that dining at French cafes would add up much too fast (many cards charge a fee around 3% on every purchase made outside the U.S.).
In terms of how the annual fee compares, you're going to pay quite a bit more per year compared to the Sapphire Preferred card. The annual fee is $195, although you do get a $0 intro annual fee for the first year. Since it's a charge card, there's no interest, but you'll have to pay the bill in full each month. That's something to keep in mind if you prefer the flexibility of being able to carry a balance from time to time.
If you want to avoid the annual fee:
As far as the cost goes, there's no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. You won't get an upfront bonus with this card, but Discover will match all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year as a cardholder to thank you for opening a new account (for new cardholders only).
Whether you eat out often out of necessity (who has time to cook at home these days?), you’re usually dining out on the road for business, or you just love to go to restaurants and try new dishes, a restaurant credit card may be a fitting addition to your wallet. You could use it mostly for dining out or you may find it useful for everyday purchases as well.
Do the math to see which card will give you the most benefit (depending on how you’ll likely use it), and start saving up rewards for a nice night on the town.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.
Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it® chrome has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Disclaimer: The information for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, Discover it® chrome, Discover it® Chrome for Students, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students, and Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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