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Restaurant Credit Cards

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

© CreditDonkey

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?

© CreditDonkey

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 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X on dining and 2X on all other travel purchases.

    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 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. This card earns 4x points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000/calendar year in purchases, then 1x). 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. You can earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required. There is a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). 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.

Best Food Tour

Best Food Tours

Here's a treat for foodies. These are the Best Food Tours in the United States that you'll want to join.

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Read ReviewApply for Chase Sapphire Reserve
At Chase's Secure Site
  • New Offer: 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.
  • 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 every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
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
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$550


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
$95

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 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 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
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
Dining Rewards: 3X points on dining
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
16.74% - 23.74% Variable
$95


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0

American Express Gold Card
Read ReviewApply for American Express Gold Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • Updated $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Dining Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
Updated $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. 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/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$250

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Read ReviewApply for Chase Freedom Unlimited
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Intro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
Dining Rewards: Earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
Our Review: With an intro cash back offer and no annual fee, does Chase Freedom Unlimited® live up to the hype? Read this in-depth review to see how it stacks up... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.74% - 24.49% Variable
$0

Chase Freedom Flex
Apply for Chase Freedom Flex
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
Dining Rewards: Earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.74% - 24.49% Variable
$0


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/ASee Pay Over Time APR
$150


Read Review
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
16.74%* (Variable)
$0


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.24% - 23.24% 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.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Pay with Miles: take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
  • 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.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Dining Rewards: Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.24% - 26.24% Variable
$0


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.49% - 26.49%* (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 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at 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
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
17.24% - 26.24% Variable
$0


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.24% - 26.24% Variable
$450


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.24% - 26.24% Variable
$95


Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/A
10.99% for 6 months
24.49% Variable
$0

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi Premier℠ Card, Discover it® chrome, Discover it® Student chrome, American Express® Green 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, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® 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 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.

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