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Restaurant Credit Cards

Restaurant Credit Card Deals: May 2020

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Credit Cards for Restaurants

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Credit Cards for Restaurant Rewards

This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the advertiser's affiliate programs.

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

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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?

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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:

  • Rewards structure: Look at how many points you can earn for dining out and whether points are awarded for other purchases. For instance, some cards will give you a little something extra back for your restaurant visits as well as every time you spend money on travel or entertainment. Ideally, you want a credit card that will give you their top level rewards across several categories that match your spending habits.

  • Bonus offer: As an incentive to draw in new customers, many card issuers offer bonus rewards for opening an account. These bonuses usually require you to charge a certain amount within the first few months of opening the new credit card. You want to think about how likely you’ll be able to meet the requirement. You don’t want to spend more than you would anyway just to get a bonus — that won’t save you any money on your food budget.

  • Fees and interest: The rule of thumb with rewards cards is the better the payoff, the higher the annual fee (usually). The key is to make sure you're going to be earning enough rewards with the card to offset the cost.

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:

  • Your options for redeeming rewards. How limited are they, and do you understand the terms?

  • If you can use the card for balance transfers. In particular, does it have a promotional offer where you can get 0% APR for a few months (although you’ll likely get charged a balance transfer fee)?

  • If there are any exclusive perks or benefits just for diners.

Which Card Is the Right for You?

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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:
    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
    Chase Sapphire Preferred: The Sapphire Preferred Card from Chase is a good choice if you drop a lot of cash at restaurants and on travel, and you want to snag a big sign-on bonus. Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This card lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

    Points can be transferred 1:1 to leading frequent travel programs including airline transfer partners. The card has no foreign transaction fees. The card also comes with premium travel and purchase protection benefits (including trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver). There is a $95 annual fee.

    Read our in-depth Chase Sapphire Preferred review to see why this is a top pick.

    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.).

  • American Express Gold
    Apply for American Express Gold Card
    American Express Gold earns 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. This card earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide. 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000/year in purchases, then 1x). 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. You can earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations (enrollment required). There is a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).

    This card includes benefits for travelers: There is no foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees) and a $100 airline fee credit to cover up to $100 per calendar year in incidental fees (such as baggage fees) at one selected qualifying airline. Terms apply.

    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 $250.

  • If you want to avoid the annual fee:
    Discover it Chrome: For a no-fuss way to earn rewards at restaurants without shelling out big bucks for an annual fee, the Discover it Chrome card may be right up your alley. The card pays 2% cash back on combined restaurant and gas purchases, up to the first $1,000 you spend at restaurants and gas stations each quarter. There are no rewards tiers to worry about, and there is no need to sign up for the bonus categories, which is great if you like to keep things simple.

    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).

Final Word

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.

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

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.

Credit Card Roulette

Credit Card Roulette

Want a chance to win a free meal at a restaurant? If you like games of chance, credit card roulette offers both a rush and potential savings. It's a simple game that ends in almost everyone eating for free. That is, everyone but the person who ...

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Read ReviewApply for Chase Sapphire Reserve
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Dining Rewards: 3X points on dining at restaurants
Our Review: With excellent rewards and premium travel benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is meant for frequent travelers. Read on to decide if the $550 annual fee is worth it for you... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.99% - 23.99% Variable
$550

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Read ReviewApply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Dining Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Our Review: Travel credit cards are a smart way to earn flights and hotel stays. Our favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because of its bonus point offer and premium travel benefits. Read on to see if the annual fee is worth it for you... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95


Read Review
Introductory Bonus OfferTravel RewardsPoint RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsNo Limits on RewardsDining Rewards$0 Fraud Liability
Our Review: If you're looking for an all-purpose rewards credit card that offers a mix of travel perks, the Citi Premier card deserves a look. This card offers triple reward points for travel, double reward points for dining and entertainment, and a long list of travel protections. Read on to see if the card is worth the $95 annual fee... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
$95


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsGas RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsDining Rewards$0 Fraud Liability
Our Review: Do you eat out and drive a lot? If you want cash back rewards without having to think too much, the Discover It Chrome could be the right fit for you... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
$0


Read Review
StudentIntroductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsGas RewardsDining Rewards
Our Review: If you are a college student on the go who doesn't have time to juggle rewards categories that change all the time, then you may want to consider the Discover it Student chrome card... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
12.99% - 21.99% Variable
$0


Introductory Bonus OfferAirline RewardsHotel RewardsPoint RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsNo Limits on RewardsDining Rewards$0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
$495

American Express Gold Card
Read ReviewApply for American Express Gold Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus OfferAirline RewardsPoint RewardsGrocery RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitDining RewardsEventsCar Rental InsuranceExtended Warranty Purchase ProtectionBaggage Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Dining Rewards: 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide.
Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
Our Review: If you spend a lot, the American Express® Gold Card may be worth considering. Read on for the pros and cons of the AMEX Gold Card... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/ASee Rates & Fees
$250

American Express Green Card
Apply for American Express Green Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
  • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
  • Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network - no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus OfferTravel RewardsDining Rewards
Dining Rewards: Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/ASee Rates & Fees
$150


Read Review
Our Review: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers a large bonus promotion, 3x bonus categories, and has no annual fee. Does it live up to the hype? Read on for the pros and cons... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers
14.49% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0


Read Review
Cash Back RewardsTravel RewardsGas RewardsDining Rewards
Our Review: The Citi Costco card offers high cash back for gas and Costco purchases, but there are limitations to know before you apply. Read on for the pros and cons... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.24%* (Variable)
$0


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
$95

Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card
Apply for Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • New! Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • New! No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsDining RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection
Dining Rewards: New! Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsGas RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsNo Limits on RewardsDining Rewards$0 Fraud Liability
Our Review: If you are a frequent traveler and enjoy flying with American Airlines, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard can save you money on airfare... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% - 24.99%* (Variable)
$99, waived for first 12 months*

Hilton Honors American Express Card
Read ReviewApply for Hilton Honors American Express Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsHotel RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsDining RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection Baggage Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Dining Rewards: Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants.
Our Review: Hilton Honors American Express Card is a popular hotel credit card. So what's the catch? Read on to see if the Hilton AMEX is worth applying for... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Apply for Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsBonus Hotel RewardsHotel RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsDining RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection Return Protection$0 Fraud Liability
Dining Rewards: Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95


Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsAirline RewardsBonus Hotel RewardsHotel RewardsConciergeDining RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection Baggage InsuranceRoadside Assistance
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.74% - 24.74% Variable
$450


Cash Back RewardsGas RewardsDining Rewards
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/A
10.99% for 6 months
22.99% Variable
$0

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi Premier℠ Card, Discover it® chrome, Discover it® Student chrome, Citi Prestige® Card, Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Discover it® Secured has 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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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.