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Best credit cards for dining out

Finding the best credit card when you go out to eat can mean valuable rewards and benefits just for getting dinner. CardRatings editors break down the best credit cards for dining out in multiple categories.
Christina Majaski, CardRatings Contributor Last Updated, October 22, 2020

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers (terms apply) from our partners. How we make money.

LIST OF WINNERS

Everyone likes to step out (or order in) a meal from a restaurant once in a while. Sometimes, it's just the easiest answer to "what's for dinner" especially if you're rounding up kids and tying up loose ends at work. Unfortunately, there aren't many credit cards with rewards programs that let you earn on those purchases so you're often stuck with the default 1% for your purchases at restaurants (if that). The good news is that there are more cards on the market that award you specifically for your meals, whether it's in a fancy restaurant, at a drive-thru fast food restaurant, or even if it's takeout or delivered. What's more, is that groceries are often awarded in these credit card rewards programs, so you can earn extra rewards on all of your meals — even the ones you decide to make and eat at home.

Here's our list of the best credit cards to use when you dine out. Some have annual fees; some are better for travel or small businesses. In any event, if you want to find a credit card that awards your foodie purchases, you'll find the best ones here.

BEST CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS FOR DINING OUT

5
About Our Ratings

Why Why Like It: This cash-back rewards credit card works on the Chase Ultimate Rewards® system so you can choose to redeem your rewards for cash back OR for travel. You can also transfer your rewards to several airline and hotel loyalty programs. You can earn earn 5% in quarterly rotating categories that you activate, plus 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back at restaurants, 3% back at drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases.

The Bonus: Earn a $200 bonus after you spend just $500 in the first three months. Also, rack up 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) during your first year as a cardholder.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% back on the first $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly categories each time you activate. You also earn 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back at restaurants, 3% back at drugstores and 1% back on your other purchases. Check out the current quarterly categories.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card offers a healthy 3% cashback on all forms of dining, including takeout and home deliveries. And if you like to cook for yourself, you can earn 5% cashback on all grocery purchases up to $12,000 per year.
  • As many folks are ordering takeout during the pandemic, the Freedom Flex℠ card offers a nifty benefit in the form of a free 3-month DoorDash membership. The next nine months are offered at a 50% discount.
  • If you dine out regularly, the sign-up bonus is easy money in your pocket. You earn $200 for spending just $500 over the first three mons after your Freedom Flex card is activated. That 40% bonus is almost unheard of in the industry.
  • This card has a $0 annual fee, meaning all the cash back you earn goes straight into your wallet.

CONS:

  • This card has a 3% foreign transaction free. You might consider leaving it at home and tucking another card in your wallet when you travel out of the country for business or pleasure.
  • You need good to excellent credit to be approved. And depending on that credit worthiness, your starting interest rate could be on the high side. If you tend to carry a substantial balance, month-to-month, your cash back could easily be devoured by interest payments.

Read our full Chase Freedom Flex℠ review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Earn up to 5% rewards in a number of everyday spending categories, including 3% back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery). This card also offers a signup bonus opportunity worth $200 in cash and Ultimate Rewards® points, Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

The Bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 within three months of opening an account. Plus, you can earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, 3% back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery), 3% back at drugstores and 1.5% cash back on other purchases.

Credit Score Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • Like its sibling card (Chase Freedom Flex℠), this card puts cash in your pocket right out of the gate, with a $200 bonus when you spend just $500 over the first three months after card activation.
  • If you're a "foodie", you will want Chase Freedom Unlimited® in your wallet. If you like to cook, you will earn 5% cash back on all grocery purchases, up to $12,000 per year. That's a maximum cash back of a cool $600. Prefer to have someone else do the cooking? You can earn unlimited 3% cash back on all dining purchases, including eat-in, tale-out and home deliveries.
  • A $0 annual fee is always an attractive feature. But when you add on 0% APR on purchases for up to 15 months from card activation (then, 14.99% - 23.74% Variable), that adds up to a huge savings on interest payments with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

CONS:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited has some fees that you need to be aware of so that you're not caught off-guard. If you travel out of the country for business or pleasure, there is a 3% fee on all foreign transactions.
  • The 0% APR introductory offer does NOT include balance transfers. There is a balance transfer fee of Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater., whichever is greater, on each transfer.
  • After the 15-month 0% APR introductory period, the interest rate jumps to 14.99% - 23.74% Variable), depending on your credit worthiness. Keeping that deadline in mind could save you quite a bit in interest payments.

Read our full review of Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This flat-rate cash-back rewards card allows you to earn as much as 2% cash back on your purchases. It also offers a lengthy intro 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers so you can save money if you need to transfer a balance from another card (after the intro period, the APR becomes 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)). Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: There isn't a traditional bonus with this card, but it does offer introductory 18 months of no interest on balance transfers (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 1% cash back when you make your purchases and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases. This is like earning 2% cash back on all your purchases.

Credit Score Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • Citi Double Cash offers a simple cash back offer of essentially earning 2% on all purchases, including all dining options. You earn 1% as soon as you make the purchase (using the card) and another 1% when you pay for it (making your statement payment).
  • This card has a nice introductory rate of 0% on balance transfers for a full 18 months (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)). If you are presently carrying a substantial balance on another card, this can mean huge savings.
  • Redemption options include a check, direct deposit, a gift card or statement credit.
  • A $0 annual fee is always a great way to start a relationship with a credit card.

CONS:

  • This card does not offer a sign-up bonus.
  • While the balance transfer offer is nice, you should be aware that there is still a balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. (whichever is higher) on all transfers.
  • This card also charges a 3% fee on foreign transactions, so it might not have a place in your wallet when you travel out of the country.

Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This is a card designed to reward you for eating. Earn 3% cash back on your dining and entertainment purchases, 2% back at grocery stores.

The Bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash-back bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months as a cardholder.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 3% cash back on your dining and entertainment purchases, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on all your other purchases.

Credit Score Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card is one of those cards that was literally constructed with "foodies" in mind.
  • The beauty of Capital One® SavorOne℠ is the simplicity of its rewards program. No rotating categories or multiple tiers. You earn 3% cash back on all dining and entertainment purchases. This includes, of course, eat-in, take-out and delivery dining options. You also can earn 2% cash back on all grocery purchases, if you prefer cooking yourself.
  • Looking to put some money in your pocket quickly? Capital One® SavorOne℠ offers a sign-up bonus of $200, just for spending at least $500 over the first three months after the card is activated.
  • No one likes fees, which is something else to love about this card. There is a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. That means you will want to take it with you when you travel out of the country and keep racking up the cash back on your trips for business or pleasure.
  • On top of that, this card is offering an introductory interest rate of 0% APR on all purchases for 15 months after your card is activated (then, 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)).

CONS:

  • You will want to pay attention near the end of your 15-month introductory rate period. After that expires, your interest rate jumps to 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable).
  • You need a Good to Excellent credit score (at least 690) to be approved for the card.
  • Outside of dining, entertainment and groceries, you'll be earning just 1% cash back on your other purchases.

Read our full Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Earn 4X points on takeout, food delivery and dining out plus 2X points at grocery stores and on grocery delivery, which is nice for dining out and grocery shopping.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. This bonus can be worth $250 toward merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more. Plus, you can save on interest with an intro 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days (then 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable).

Annual Fee: $0*

Rewards Rate: Earn 4X points on takeout, food delivery and dining out; 2X points at grocery stores, on grocery delivery, at gas stations, and on streaming services; and 1X point per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Credit Score Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • This card has a $0 annual fee and doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. This makes it an attractive addition to your wallet when traveling out of the country on business or pleasure.
  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is a terrific card for "foodies”. You earn 4X points for each dollar spent on all dining options. You also earn 2X points on all grocery purchases, gas stations and streaming services.
  • To help get you started piling up points, you will earn 25,000 bonus points for spending just $1,000 over the first three months after the card is activated. The redemption rate is a penny a point when redeeming cash back, travel, gift cards or merchandise. That means if you make $3,000 in dining purchases over the first three months you have the card, you will have earned 37,000 points, which translates to $370 in redemption value.
  • This card also offers an introductory interest rate of 0% on all purchases for the first 12 months you have the card then 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable.

CONS:

  • You need Excellent credit (720 or above) to be approved for this card.
  • After the introductory rate expires, your interest rate will jump to 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable, depending on credit worthiness.

Read our full U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card review.

BEST TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS FOR DINING OUT

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Earn tons of perks and features usually reserved for a luxury card plus you can earn three points per $1 spent on dining and on travel and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

The Bonus: Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® bonus points – worth up to $750 in travel – after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $550; an additional $75 for each authorized user.

Rewards Rate: Earn three points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that isn't eligible for the annual $300 travel statement credit reimbursement and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Credit Score Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • If you like points rewards programs, Chase Sapphire Reserve® has one of the best. You can earn 3X points for every dollar spent on any dining purchases. If you spend $15,000 a year on dining, that would be 45,000 points. That translates to a $450 statement credit or $675 worth of travel expenses if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Right out of the gate, this card offers a delicious sign-up bonus of 50,000 points when you spend at least $4,000 over the first three months after the card is activated. That translates to a $500 statement credit or $750 worth of travel when you book through Chase.
  • As an added bonus, receive a $300 travel rewards bonus each year on your card activation anniversary.
  • For fans of delivery, you will love the free one-year DoorDash membership. In addition, you will receive up to $120 in door dash credits, divided evenly between 2020 and 2021.

CONS:

  • The perks and rewards are attractive but they come with a steep price tag. The annual fee may be off-putting for many potential applicants. You need to be certain you will make use of the card on a regular basis in order to make full use of the perks and earn enough rewards to offset that fee.
  • You need an excellent credit score (750 and above) in order to be approved.
  • There is no introductory interest rate for purchases or balance transfers.

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases at supermarkets, then one point per $1). Plus, this card comes with a $120 dining credit-a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with your card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within your first six months as a cardholder.

The Annual Fee: $250

Rewards Rate: Earn four times the Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases at supermarkets, then one point per $1). Earn three times the Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com; and one point per $1 on your other purchases.

Credit Score Needed:  Good, Excellent

PROS:

  • This card is tailor made for folks who prefer to let others do the cooking. Cardholders can earn 4X points for every dollar spent on dining worldwide. This includes eating in, take out and home delivery. Points can be redeemed in a number of ways. The highest rate of redemption is on travel booked through American Express travel and on gift cards (1 cent per point). A statement credit redeems at .6 cents per point. Points can also be transferred to many different airline partners.
  • If you do happen to like cooking for yourself, you can also ear 4X points per dollar on groceries, up to $25,000 per year.
  • To help get you started, this card offers a bonus of 35,000 points when you spend at least $4,000 over the first three months after card activation.
  • Another tasty perk comes in the form of an annual $120 ($10 a month) dining credit. It can be used at participating restaurant partners. There is also a $100 annual travel credit (that can be used on incidentals like baggage fees and in-flight purchases) and a $100 activities credit on vacations more than $3,000.

CONS:

  • Membership has its privileges but they come with a price tag. The annual fee is substantial if you don't plan to make regular use of the card.
  • As you know, American Express encourages its members to pay off their balance every month. You do also have the option of "paying over time."
  • Another drawback, travel rewards must be redeemed through amextravel.com.

Read our full American Express® Gold Card review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Earn one of the most valuable bonuses you'll find on a no-annual-fee card as well as a flat rate of 1.5 miles per dollar spent on your purchases.

The Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending just $1,000 on purchases in the first three months which can be worth $200 in travel.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn a flat rate of unlimited 1.25 miles for every $1 you spend, with no caps or categories.

Credit Score Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee so it’s a good card to use even if you’re dining out abroad.
  • You can earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account, which is worth $200 in travel.
  • Earn a simple flat rate of 1.25 miles per $1 spent on all of your purchases, including dining out.
  • Earn 5X miles per $1 spent on Uber Eats until January 31, 2021.

CONS:

  • Except for the promotional offer with Uber Eats, the rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent is one of the lowest rates you’ll earn on your purchases.
  • This is primarily for travel purchases so many of the benefits are geared toward those who travel. If that isn’t you, consider one of the other cards available when you dine out.

Read our full Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This card awards 3 points for each dollar you spend at restaurants so if you like to dine out, you'll be able to earn a good chunk of points. You also earn triple points at gas stations, on air travel, at hotels and at supermarkets.

The Bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 with your card within the first three months of opening the account. These points can be worth $600 in gift cards when redeemed through thankyou.com.

Annual Fee: $95

Rewards Rate: Earn 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants and supermarkets as well as on air travel, at hotels and at gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar for all other purchases.

Credit Score Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • This card awards one of the highest rates for purchases at restaurants so when you dine out, you should be able to really rack up some points.
  • This card also awards multiple other purchase categories that you likely use on a day to day basis such as gas station and supermarket purchases.
  • The bonus is one of the most valuable bonuses available, worth $600 in gift cards if you redeem your points through thankyou.com.

CONS:

  • There is an annual fee that can get expensive if you don't earn the bonus or earn rewards in the bonus purchase categories.
  • You'll get the best value from your points if you redeem for gift cards through thankyou.com. If you aren't a fan of gift cards or prefer earning cash back, you should consider one of the other cards available.

Read our full Citi Premier® Card review.

BEST SMALL BUSINESS CARD FOR DINING OUT

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This no-annual-fee business card offers flexible rewards that you can combine with the Chase Ultimate Rewards® you've earned through other cards. But it's a great card for dining out because you can earn 2% back on the combined $25,000 spending each account year on gas station and restaurant purchases.

The Bonus: New cardholders can earn a bonus of $500 after spend you $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% cash back on purchases at office supply stores and purchases of internet, cable and phone services (up to $25,000 in combined spending each account anniversary year). Also earn 2% back on the combined $25,000 spending each account year on gas station and restaurant purchases. Earn 1% back on your other purchases as well as in the bonus categories once you reach the spending cap.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • No annual fee is always a good place to start with any credit card.
  • This card offers an introductory rate of 0% on all purchases for 12 months (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable). This can save a lot of money on interest.
  • By way of a sign-up bonus, you get the chance to earn $500 cash back when you spend at least $3,000 over the first three months after the card is activated.
  • You also earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 (combined expenditures) you spend on office supplies, internet, cable and phone service.

CONS:

  • You need Good or Excellent Credit (690 or better) to be approved for Ink Business Cash.
  • After the 12-month introductory rate expires, your interest rate will jump to 13.24% - 19.24% Variable.
  • You earn just 2% cash back on the first $25,000 (combined) spent each year at restaurants and gas stations. Other cards have a higher rewards offer on dining purchases.
  • There is no balance transfer introductory rate.

Read our full review of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.

WHAT IS THE BEST DINING CREDIT CARD?

The best dining credit card is the one that offers the most rewards and perks when you use it at restaurants. Depending on your spending habits, this could mean a rewards credit card with an annual fee or one without, that awards you for the purchases you make the most frequently.

That said, the best credit card for dining out, that offers the most rewards and perks, according to CardRatings experts, is the Chase Freedom Flex℠. This card not only awards 3% cash back at restaurants — including on takeout and delivery, but it also awards 5% cash back up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate quarterly (activation required). This is significant because not all dining and restaurant cards award bonus rewards for takeout and delivery (which is especially needed right now). Plus, the rotating categories that earn 5% per quarter often includes other food-related categories that earn 5% cash back — one of the highest cash back rewards available.

Best of all, there’s no annual fee and new cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 in within the first three months of opening the account. You also earn bonus cash back of 5% on grocery purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®) for the first $12,000 spent during your first year as a cardholder. So, this card more than covers your bases when it comes to food.

EARNING REWARDS ON TAKEOUT FROM RESTAURANTS

Dining out at restaurants via takeout is more common today than ever, especially with so many options for delivery. You can dine out with any of your favorite restaurants from fast food to fine dining, without leaving your living room. But, can you earn restaurant rewards if you don’t actually go to the restaurant?

For the most part, when it comes to takeout, you’re ordering and paying the restaurant directly so you’ll usually earn the same rewards you would if you had made a reservation, gotten dressed up, drove to the restaurant and dined in. If you order from the restaurant and pick up your food to eat at home, you should earn any rewards you’d usually earn from the restaurant. The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been a popular card for restaurants, whether you eat in or takeout, because you earn 3% cash back on dining purchases. (There’s also a pretty decent one-time bonus of $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months for new cardholders.)

CAN YOU EARN RESTAURANT REWARDS FROM FOOD DELIVERY SERVICES?

Along with takeout, getting delivery from your favorite restaurant is increasingly popular, especially with services like UberEats and GrubHub gaining popularity. With delivery, you don’t even have to leave your house to pick anything up. You can have nearly anything you feel like eating delivered to your house.

However, earning rewards from those purchases is a little trickier. Most of the time, you’ll pay through a third-party instead of directly to the restaurant, so it’s possible your purchase won’t code as dining. Depending on the issuer, for example, UberEats might code as dining or restaurants, allowing you to earn any bonus rewards you’d usually earn for dining out at restaurants (even though you had dinner delivered). For instance, Chase Sapphire Reserve® counts GrubHub and DoorDash as dining. If you use one of these delivery services, the Reserve card awards 3X points on dining at restaurants. Plus, if you active by Dec. 31, 2021, you also get a complimentary DashPass subscription which saves on delivery fees on your DoorDash orders with eligible restaurants.

Also, Chase Ultimate Rewards® recently partnered with the dining hub, Tock. The Chase Dining hub gives you access to reservations and experiences through Tock’s network of everything from restaurants to wineries. If you use your Chase Sapphire, Freedom or Ink card, you can redeem points for purchases through the dining hub, where Sapphire Preferred points are worth 25% more and Sapphire Reserve, 50% more through April 30, 2021.

If you aren’t sure if your food delivery will code as dining out and you want to earn rewards on your deliveries, it’s best to check with your issuer beforehand. Here are some other ways foodies can maximize credit card rewards as well.

See Rates and Fees for the American Express® Gold Card

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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