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Restaurant Cards

Restaurant Card Deals: June 2017

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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.

  • Sign-on bonus: 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 signing up, so 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. The card lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. Plus, as a promotion, you can earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Read our in-depth Chase Sapphire Preferred review to see why this is a top pick.

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.).

Premier Rewards Gold Card
Apply for Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card: The Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express (a CreditDonkey advertiser) earns 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. 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 $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:
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.

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 Preferred Card
Read ReviewApply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
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 $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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 great way to earn flights and hotel stays. Our favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because of its bonus point offers and premium travel benefits. Read on to see if the Sapphire Preferred's annual fee is worth it for you... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsTravel RewardsPoint RewardsDining Rewards
Our Review: If you're looking for an all-purpose rewards credit card that offers a mix of travel perks, the Citi ThankYou 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 (waived for the first 12 months)... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
$95; fee waived for the first 12 months*


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsGas RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsDining RewardsCar Rental Insurance$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
11.74% - 23.74% 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 Chrome for Students card... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
13.74% - 22.74% Variable*
$0


Read Review
Our Review: An ultra high-end travel rewards card has been announced: the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Read on to see why it's worth the $450 annual fee... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.74% - 23.74% Variable
$450


Cash Back RewardsGas RewardsDining Rewards
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0%* for 7 months on Purchases*
N/A
16.24%* (Variable)
$0

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
Read ReviewApply for Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsAirline RewardsPoint RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitDining RewardsEventsCar Rental Insurance Extended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionBaggage InsuranceTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityRoadside Assistance
Dining Rewards: Earn 2X points at US restaurants. Terms Apply.
Our Review: If you spend a lot on airfare, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express may be worth considering. Read on for 10 reasons to consider this Amex card and 4 reasons to skip it... Read full review
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195


Read Review
StudentIntroductory Bonus Reward PointsPoint RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsDining Rewards
Our Review: College students - whose pockets always have receipts from a restaurant and who always have a concert planned in their near future - stand to benefit from the Citi ThankYou Preferred. This rewards credit card was designed for students who frequently dine away from the dorm cafeteria and never pass up an entertainment opportunity, whether it's to the movies, a museum, an amusement park, or a live performance of a favorite band... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0%* for 7 months*
N/A
14.99% - 24.99%* (Variable)
$0*


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsPoint RewardsGrocery RewardsDining RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance
Our Review: Does the Plenti® Credit Card from Amex offer plenty of value? There is no annual fee but is it worth your time?... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% on Purchases for 12 months
N/A
15.99% - 25.99% Variable
$0

Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express
Apply for Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating 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. Terms and limitations apply.
  • As a Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card Member you'll receive Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • 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.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsHotel RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsDining RewardsExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionBaggage Insurance Travel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Dining Rewards: Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants. Terms apply.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.24% - 20.24% Variable
$75


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsPoint RewardsDining Rewards
Our Review: If you're looking for a simple rewards card with a straightforward points structure the Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards card might be a good fit for you. There are no complicated rotating “bonus reward” categories, no expiration dates on points earned, and no annual fee -- purchases will earn you 1 point for each dollar you spend with the exception of dining and entertainment purchases which earn double points... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0%* for 12 months*
0%* for 12 months*
14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
$0*


Introductory Bonus Reward PointsAirline 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
16.74% - 24.74%* (Variable)
$450

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, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, and Citi Prestige® 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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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial 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: 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.