Is eating out part of your everyday routine? Score cash back or rewards points by paying with the right card at restaurants.
Credit card options have grown significantly over the years, and that’s especially true in terms of rewards cards. No matter what your spending habits or interests are, chances are good that you have a wide range of rewards credit card options to choose from that align with your goals.
If you’re a regular traveler, you have numerous travel-related credit card options to consider, and the same is true if you want to rake in flexible points or simply prefer to earn cash back on groceries or everyday purchases instead. There are even good credit card options geared toward food lovers who want to maximize what they earn on their spending at restaurants and dining establishments.
Whether you consider yourself a foodie or are simply a fan of visiting restaurants on a regular basis, it could benefit you to consider one of the best rewards credit cards on the market for restaurants. And you don’t have to have an excellent credit score to take advantage of what these cards offer, either, as there are good options for nearly every credit profile.
Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for flexible spending
Why we picked it: The spending cap on the Citi Custom Cash® Card notwithstanding, this card earns the most rewards per dollar out of all the cards on the list. The Citi Custom Cash offers a relatively unique earning scheme. Rather than limiting users to a particular bonus category, the card offers holders 5 percent cash back in any eligible category with the most spending each billing cycle (up to $500 spent, and then 1 percent). This essentially creates a rewards rate that automatically adjusts to your spending, helping you earn a competitive rate of cash back no matter what your focus.
One eligible category is restaurants — excluding third-party dining services — which is offered in addition to gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment. With the rewards structure adjusting to your spending, you could rack up cash back on dining out one month and then switch to groceries the next.
- No annual fee
- $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in six months (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points)
- 15-month 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers and purchases (then 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR)
- May transfer ThankYou points to a premium Citi ThankYou rewards card
- Rewards are limited to a single bonus category each billing cycle
- $500 spending cap per billing cycle
Who should apply: The Citi Custom Cash card is a good fit for those who spend consistently in one of the card’s bonus categories. Moderate spenders can also make the most use of the card, considering the $500 spending cap per billing cycle.
Who should skip: The 0 percent intro APR offer is a plus for a no-annual-fee cash back card, but keep in mind you’ll pay a high balance transfer fee of 5 percent ($5 minimum), which may eat into how much you would save on interest. If you have serious card debt that would be difficult to pay off within 15 months, you should probably look elsewhere.
American Express Gold Card: Best premium card for dining
Why we picked it: The next card that earns the most points per dollar when you dine at restaurants is the American Express® Gold Card.
At 4X points at restaurants and 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (though the U.S. supermarket category has a $25,000 spending cap per calendar year, then 1X point), it’s hard to find another card that competes in terms of food-related rewards. There’s also a $120 annual dining credit — up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly — when you pay with the Amex Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations (enrollment required).
- 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
- 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in six months
- Up to $120 in Uber Cash each year, which counts toward Uber rides and U.S. Uber Eats orders
- Flexible redemption options
- Terms apply
- $250 annual fee
Who should apply: If you spend big on food (whether dining out or cooking at home) and don’t want to pay a steep annual fee, this could be a great card for you.
Who should skip: Moderate spenders may find it difficult to maximize the card’s rewards and annual credits enough to make up for its annual fee. Plus, cardholders who don’t plan on redeeming their rewards for travel would likely enjoy a different card.
U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card: Best for travel beginners
Why we picked it: If you’re looking for a card that gives you rewards for dining with no annual fee, try the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card, which offers 4X points on dining and takeout and 2X points on grocery stores (including grocery delivery). Those who prefer to stay at home and getting takeout may want to know that the Altitude Go Card’s dining category also includes food delivery services, such as Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates.
The Altitude Go Card also earns decent rewards on other everyday categories: 2X points on gas, EV charging stations and streaming service purchases.
- 20,000 points if you spend $1,000 in 90 days
- $15 statement credit if you use the Altitude Go Card for your eligible streaming service purchases for 11 consecutive months
- 0 percent intro APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers (20.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR thereafter)
- Flexible redemption options including travel through the Altitude Rewards Center
- Relatively short intro APR period
Who should apply: If you’re searching for a card with no annual fee that provides great rewards on dining and takeout, the Altitude Go Card might fit the bill. You might also enjoy this card if you’re looking to dabble in the travel rewards space but aren’t ready to apply for a card with a major issuer.
Who should skip: If you like to put all of your purchases on one card, you might want to take a look at some flat-rate rewards options instead.
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for everyday categories
Why we picked it: For cardholders who prefer earning straightforward cash back while still leaving the option for travel open, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card* is a great choice. It offers one of the largest cash back rates on dining and entertainment out of any card and includes a decent cash back bonus on grocery stores.
The Capital One Savor Card also offers a great cash back bonus on tickets from Vivid Seats and a decent cash back bonus on grocery store purchases. However, the $95 annual fee may be too steep for some people.
- $300 when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
- 8 percent cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
- 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- 4 percent cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services
- No limits on cash back
- $95 annual fee
- High purchase APR (20.99 percent to 28.99 percent variable)
Who should apply: If you’re a big spender on dining and entertainment and you prefer cash back over points or miles, you’ll probably want to apply for this card. It’s also a great card for those of you with another card that earns rewards on gas, since the Capital One Savor Card earns bonus cash back on so many other everyday categories.
Who should skip: If you don’t want to pay an annual fee, you should keep shopping around.
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best no-annual-fee option
Why we picked it: The no-annual-fee sister card of the Capital One Savor Card, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card still packs a mighty punch. It offers an unlimited 3 percent cash back rate on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
While swiping the SavorOne Card, hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel will get you 5 percent, and Capital One Entertainment purchases will bring in 8 percent cash back.
- $200 cash bonus if you spend $500 in three months
- Cash back doesn’t expire for life of account
- Flexible redemption options
- 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (19.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable APR thereafter)
- High purchase APR (19.99 percent to 29.99 percent)
- Relatively short intro APR period
Who should apply:
Those looking for decent cash back without sacrificing any fees should consider this card. It’s also a great card for anyone who spends equally as much on streaming and grocery stores and entertainment as they do on dining.
Who should skip: If keeping track of bonus opportunities doesn’t appeal to you, you should opt for a flat-rate cash back credit card.
Comparing the best credit cards for dining
|Citi Custom Cash Card
|American Express Gold Card
|U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card
|Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
|Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
How to choose a card for restaurants
Choosing one card can be very difficult given the number of choices out there. In general, these are the things you should look for in a card you plan to use for restaurants:
- Bonus rewards on dining out or ordering in: Are you the type to eat out at a sit-down restaurant or order your favorite Thai food via Postmates? Make sure the card you choose still earns bonus rewards on your preferred method of dining, whether it’s delivery services, restaurants or grocery stores.
- Low or no annual fee: Stay conscious of whether you can afford the annual fee or make up for it through rewards and statement credits. If not, you could always opt for a no-annual-fee card which still earns decent rewards.
- 0 percent intro APR offer: Some of the best rewards cards also offer intro APR periods, which is great for cardholders who have a small amount of debt from other cards but still value earning rewards. Just be sure to apply for a card with an intro APR period long enough to pay off your balance in full. If not, a different card that focuses purely on bringing in cash back or points will serve you well.
If dining, grocery store shopping and entertainment are your major spending categories, it makes sense to get a card that maximizes the rewards potential for those purchases. When you’re searching for the right card, make sure you find one that checks the most boxes on your “want” list — and one for which you’re likely to get approved. But whatever card you choose, don’t forget to use it for all of your dining purchases, take advantage of limited-time offers, redeem your rewards strategically and always try to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
*All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.