Credit Cards

The 9 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out

Everyone enjoys a night out once in a while. Maybe you are one of those people who dine out more frequently. Then, you could be in the market for a credit card that will reward you for making all of those expenditures.

The credit card companies are always looking for ways to attract new customers to their credit cards. Thus, rewards programs have started to cater to individuals’ lifestyles with more specificity as of late.

You can now earn more points, miles, or cash back when you pay with a credit card at your favorite restaurants. This has given gourmands and foodies, in particular, an opportunity to get more from their spending at their favorite dining establishments.

Restaurant purchases have grown in popularity as a qualifying category on credit cards. They are typically featured on most travel credit cards. These credit cards reward their customers with miles or points. These rewards can be applied to future travel purchases on things such as airfare, hotels, and rental cars.

Business credit cards also offer increased rewards on your dining expenses. Many rewards credit cards are including restaurants. They are one of the many categories in which consumers can earn more rewards on what they spend.

It does not matter whether it counts as a revolving category for one-quarter. Nor if it is featured as a permanent component of the credit card’s reward earning potential. Paying for dinner can now help you get that much closer to a free airline ticket. It may even earn you cash back. This reward can be applied directly to your monthly statement. With these credit cards, you can save money eating out!

There are so many credit cards out there. Therefore, it can be tough to figure out which one is best suited for your particular needs. Narrowing it down to just the credit cards that offer generous bonuses and rewards on dining can help.

However, even then you could still be searching high and low for just the right credit card. We have done the heavy lifting for you. Here we track down the nine best options for using credit cards at restaurants.

Finding the Best Card

Perhaps you happen to be one of those people who make a majority of their purchases at dining establishments. In that case, a credit card that rewards you for that expenditure is certainly going to be the preferable option for you.

However, you need to look a little closer at the other facets of your credit card. These   features can have just as much of an impact on your spending.

Now it is time to start to do some comparison shopping for your credit card. Make sure to check out the annual percentage rate (APR) for each one first. The APR is going to determine just how much you will be spending in interest. That is if you elect to carry a balance from month to month. You want to go for something on a lower end, preferably finding a credit card that offers a 0% introductory APR for an initial period of time.

That is another incentive a lot of the credit card companies will extend to new customers. It is the ability to enjoy no APR for six months to a year or longer.

Consider what the APR is applied to as well. That is because some credit cards will have different rates for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. Be careful about paying on time. That is due to the fact that you could be subject to a penalty APR which can get as high as 29.99%

Check out what fees you’re being charged on each of your credit cards. Some of them might require you to pay an annual fee. That, in turn, may not be worth it over another credit card that will not cost you anything for ownership.

You could also be charged for fees for a number of other things. These include balance transfers, foreign transactions, cash advances, and late fees. Know before you apply. Thus, you will not be surprised later.

Of course, the rewards you can earn and how you can redeem them is a big part of selecting the right credit card. Let us say you’re applying for a rewards credit card. You need to know what you can earn and the ways to benefit from it.

This can make all the difference when it comes to picking a credit card. Find what kind of rewards are offered, be it points, miles, cash back. Are there minimums or restrictions in place? Spending limits may be imposed on your rewards as well.

Before you apply, you should also be sure you can get approved. Most credit cards with rewards programs require good to excellent credit in order to receive the credit card. Therefore, if your credit score will not get the job done you may want to wait before applying.

Now you have an idea of what you need to consider as you compare. Here are the nine best credit cards for dining out. You should include them all in your search.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

This credit card from Chase is tailor-made for people who like to dine out. It offers great rewards. Additionally, it affords access for cardholders to exclusive culinary events. You can also earn the most rewards on dining and travel purchases. It gives 2.5% rewards to dollars.

All other purchases get you 1.25%. Plus, they even have a pretty amazing bonus for new customers. They offer 50,000 points after making $4,000 worth of purchases in the first three months of credit card ownership. You will have to pay an annual fee for this access. Yet, it may well be worth it for those consumers who like to use their credit card at restaurants.

  • APR: 16.24% – 23.24% Variable, based on your credit.
  • Fees: $0 annual fee for the initial year. $95 each year after that.
  • Perks: Chase has a booking tool that lets you make reservations for flights, hotels, and rental credit cards with your points. No need to contact any other travel booking sites, Chase does it all for you. If you do not have enough points for a reservation yet, you can combine points and cash together to book that trip. You will save 20% in the process, but only if you book through the tool.
  • Drawbacks: You’re going to need excellent credit to get this credit card. Chase only hands this one out to those who have the best scores.

2. Discover IT

If you want to earn big rewards on dining as well as other categories, then the IT credit card has you covered. This is one of those credit cards that have rotating categories. This means that you can get more rewards on the featured category for that particular quarter.

Restaurants are one of their categories. Thus, when it goes active for the quarter, you can get up to 5% back on a spending limit of up to $1500. Maybe dining isn’t the active category.

In that case, you can still earn up to 1% on all dining purchases, without a spending limit. This credit card also has one of the best fraud protection safeguards in the industry. This is their “Freeze IT” feature.

  • APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for one year then it rises to an 11.24%-23.24% variable based on your credit score.
  • Fees: $0 annual fee. $0 foreign transaction fee. 3% balance transfer fee after 12 months.
  • Perks: The IT credit card comes with a pretty great sign-up bonus. The company will match all your cash back rewards earned in your first year. That means you can get double the rewards. You can even redeem your rewards as a check, direct deposit or credit that can be used on
  • Drawbacks: Discover isn’t accepted as widely as MasterCard, Visa, or even American Express. Thus, you may be a bit limited by where you can use IT.

3. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Citi’s credit card uses a points system where you can earn points based on each dollar you spend. Let’s say that money is spent dining out. Then, the credit card will give you unlimited double points. This allows you to earn the most rewards on culinary delights, and maybe even a show or a movie afterward.

All other purchases will get you one point for each dollar. New customers can enjoy 15,000 bonus points. To get them you need to spend just $1,000 in the first three months of using the credit card.

As for redeeming your points, there are no minimums to contend with when you want to use them. This card is similar to the Chase Sapphire credit card. Citi also has a similar booking tool that can make travel reservations for you with points. You can also make other purchases from concert tickets to electronics at the same portal.

  • APR: 0% introductory for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. Your APR runs between 14.24% and 24.24%, depending on market rates and cardholder creditworthiness after the initial period. Cash advance APR is 25.49%, penalty APR is 29.99%.
  • Fees: No annual fee. No foreign transaction fees. Late payments and returned payment fees $35. Balance transfer fees are $5 or 3%, whichever is higher. Cash advance fees are $10 or 5%, whichever is higher.
  • Perks: Citi Price Rewind can get you money back on your purchases should something you bought a drop in price within 60 days of your date of purchase. You do not even have to do anything to get that money returned to you. Citi does the searching for you. When it gets an alert on something you bought, you are automatically refunded the difference.
  • Drawbacks: Not much, this is a pretty great credit card all around. Though, you will need very good credit to get approved for one.

4. Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard

There are consumers who do not want to deal with rotating categories. These folks would rather get a rewards rate on dining and everything else that they buy. For them, the CashForward World MasterCard from Barclays is a great option.

This credit card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Unlimited means anything you buy with no spending limits. Thus, you can eat out as often as you wish and get rewarded for it every time. Even better, the credit card will reward you for redeeming what you earned. Therefore, you win both ways!

  • APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and transfers for one year, then it rises to a variable rate of 15.24% to 23.24%
  • Fees: $0 annual fee. 3% balance transfer fee. 3% foreign transaction fee. 5% cash advance fee.
  • Perks: You get a 5% redemption bonus when you are ready to cash in your rewards. You can redeem as a cash deposit, gift card, or applied as credit toward your statement. You also get access to credit monitoring and your FICO score. Standard fraud protection safeguards are also in place.
  • Drawbacks: The perks are limited as those are about all you get. There’s also a minimum redemption of $50. So it may take you a bit longer to enjoy the benefits of earning your rewards.

5. Chase Freedom

Another credit card from Chase makes the list with their very popular Freedom credit card. This one also has rotating categories contend with as you earn your rewards. Restaurants are one of them. They also include warehouse club stores, supermarkets, and gas stations.

Therefore, while dining out may be a big component of the credit card’s value, it is not the main focus. That may suit some consumers just fine. That is especially when they realize that they’re getting 5% cash back.

This reward is for whichever category is active for that quarter with a spending limit of $1,500. When dining is not the active category, you can still get the standard 1% cash back on those purchases. This is also one of the few credit cards on our list that will not require excellent credit for approval.

  • APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers after 15 months then it rises to a variable rate of 14.24%, 19.24%, or 23.24%
  • Fees: $0 annual fee. 5% balance transfer fee after 15 months. 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • Perks: Two sign-up bonus opportunities for a total of $175 cash back after spend and adding an authorized user to the account. Chase offers industry leading consumer protections including purchase, price, and fraud protection on all items bought with the credit card.
  • Drawbacks: In order to earn that 5% on the rotating categories you must manually opt in each time it rotates. This can be a headache since you have to remember when the categories change so you do not lose out on your earnings. All other purchases at 1% require not opt-in.

6. Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Perhaps you want to turn your dining purchases into free air travel. Then, the Venture Rewards credit card from Capital One has you fully covered. Your rewards are earned as airline miles that can be used on flights to any destination in the world.

The way it works is simple too. For every dollar you spend on the credit card, you earn two airline miles. Two to one ratio isn’t bad. You can earn an additional 40,000 miles after spending just $3,000 in the first three months of ownership. Thus, it may be time to set some reservations at all of the hottest restaurants in the city.

  • APR: 13.24% – 23.24% Variable, based on your credit.
  • Fees: $0 annual fee for the initial year. $59 each year after that. No foreign transaction fees.
  • Perks: Earning miles means you can hold on to them for as long as you wish. They will not expire and you will not have to fight with blackout dates to use them either. Miles may also be applied to booking hotel rooms in addition to airline flights.
  • Drawbacks: Despite having it waived for your first year, the annual fee is a bit of a bummer. It is not incredibly expensive at $59 a year. However, there are other credit cards that have a higher fee, and plenty that do not have any at all.

7. TD Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card

This Visa from TD Bank expressly caters to foodies. These folks enjoy spending all of their time and money in fine dining establishments and greasy spoon diners with equal fervor.

That is because this Cash Rewards Visa offers users 2% cash back on all dining purchases anywhere. This includes places like five stars restaurants, and even five and dime coffee shops. Though, earning your cash back does not end at the dining establishments. You can still get 1% back on everything else you buy too.

  • APR: 0% Introductory APR on all purchases and balance transfers for one year. APR rates rise to a variable of 13.24%, 18.24% or 23.24% on approved credit.
  • Fees: $0 annual fee. $0 foreign transaction fee. 4% balance transfer fee.
  • Perks: Sign-up bonus of $100 cash back on $500 in the first three months. Access to Visa Signature concierge services and free VantageScore monitoring of your credit. TD Bank lets you redeem your rewards through an online portal. There are more than 400 redemption options on things like discounted travel reservations and other merchandise.
  • Drawbacks: There are none. This is a pretty great credit card that is worth it for all avid diners.

8. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

This is another credit card that will reward you in miles every time you dine out. It has one of the more generous rewards programs available right now. For every dollar you spend, you get 5 rewards miles.

However, you need to be careful about which establishments you visit. Only those restaurants that are part of the credit card’s Mileage Plan are eligible for rewards. You can make it somewhat easier to earn miles. That is because you can get three rewards miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines flights.

  • APR: 14.24% APR on all purchases. No introductory APR.
  • Fees: $75 annual fee.
  • Perks: The miles you earn are good for air travel on other airlines outside of Alaska. You can also book flights with Delta, American, British Airways and many It’s good for destinations around the world.
  • Drawbacks: The idea of having to coordinate your dining habits with the Alaska Airlines website might be a drawback to many consumers. You can only earn rewards at restaurants that participate in the program. Thusly, you need to check to see which ones are eligible. Even more annoying is that you can only earn the maximum five times rewards on certain dates.

9. Chase AARP Visa Credit Card

Yet one more credit card from Chase brings us this one branded with the AARP. It is a basic credit card that does not come with too many fancy perks or additional features. All it does is offer a solid rewards program of 3% cash back on any purchases made at restaurants along with gas stations.

There are no rotating categories or checking with a website as to when you can eat at certain establishment. Redemption is easy as well. You do not even need to be an AARP member to get approved. You will need great credit, though, with a score of 700 or higher.

  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. 16.49% APR on purchases after the initial period.
  • Fees: $0 annual fee.
  • Perks: Again, not much to write home about in terms of any big advantages. However, there is a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points after spending just $500 in total purchases within the first three months. What’s pretty cool about this credit card is that when you spend money at restaurants you can earn points. You will help out low-income individuals who can’t afford food. That is because Chase will donate $0.10 to the AARP Foundation for each purchase you make.
  • Drawbacks: You do need that 700 credit score to get this credit card.

Our Final Thoughts

Among the things you should stop wasting money on, going out to dinner shouldn’t be high on that list anymore. Consumers who enjoy eating out can now get rewarded quite handsomely for indulging their passions and their stomachs. These nine credit cards represent the best options available right now for the big spenders at restaurants, delis, and diners.

You can earn big rewards from dining out. Conversely, you will not get the same rewards from supermarkets on all of these credit cards. In order to claim the most rewards for culinary expenses, those purchases must be made at a dining establishment.

There is sometimes a little confusion for consumers. They may think that buying ready-made food at the grocery store will qualify for the dining out rewards. Unfortunately, they do not. These credit cards strictly reward you for going out to dinner or picking take out to go. Do not despair. Using credit cards for groceries can still get your rewards with many of the choices on our list.

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