All rewards credit cards aren’t the same, though. For this reason, it’s important to understand the value of the rewards earned and how they can be redeemed. We’ve done the hard work for you and narrowed the list down to the three top credit cards for eating out, as well as two notable mentions.
Best credit cards for restaurants and Dining Out
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Up to 2.5% Rewards at Restaurants + Up to $625 bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent credit card for earning cash back when dining out. The basic rewards rate is 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases. For dining out purchases, though — whether it be fast food or full-service restaurants — you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent.
If these points are used for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they are worth 25% more. That makes this a 2.5% rewards card at restaurants. That’s just the start.
To sweeten the deal, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with some attractive first-year perks. You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening the card. Using all those extra points you’ll rack up through dining purchases and first-year bonuses is easy. The three ways to redeem points are:
- Cash Back
- Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal
- Transfer to Frequent Travel Programs
Redeeming your points as cash back is pretty straight forward. Each point is worth one cent. So those 60,000 sign up bonus points would be worth a whopping $600!
Using your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal maximizes the value of your points. As noted above, you’ll get a 25% bonus, making 60,000 points worth $750. But there is an annual fee of $95.
Lastly, you can redeem your points by transferring them to participating frequent travel programs. This is a good option if you want the benefit of credit card travel rewards while still booking with your preferred airlines and hotels. Currently, the participating frequent travel programs include:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders receive exclusive access to culinary events in metropolitan areas as well. These include private dinner parties and cooking demonstrations with celebrated chefs.
All in all, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent choice for culinary enthusiasts and people who find themselves eating out a lot. The first-year bonuses make this card a very attractive option.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
4% Cash Back at Restaurants + $300 cash bonus
The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card rewards you with 4% cash back on dining. On top of that, you get 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. You also get a $300 bonus after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months.
There is no annual fee the first year, $95 thereafter and no foreign transaction fees.
Get more details here.
Up to 5% Cash Back + $150 Bonus
With the Chase Freedom, you’ll earn 5% cash back on select categories that rotate each quarter (up to $1,500 in spending per quarter). One quarter a year typically includes restaurants. The card pays 1% on all other purchases. Chase also pays a $150 bonus when you spend $500 on the card in the first three months.
There is no annual fee for this card. In addition, you’ll get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
AARP Credit Card from Chase
3% Cash Back at Restaurants
While AARP memberships are reserved for those 50 and over, you don’t have to be that age or a member of the organization in order to apply for an AARP Credit Card from Chase. The card is branded because Chase has sponsored the AARP Foundation in support of Drive to End Hunger. For everyone purchase made at a restaurant with the Chase AARP Visa Card, Chase will donate ten cents to the AARP Foundation in support of Drive to End Hunger. Since 2011, Chase has donated over $6 million to the program.
In addition to the charitable incentive to use this card, there are monetary benefits for you as well. Earn 3 points for every dollar you spend at restaurants with the AARP Credit Card from Chase. There is no limit to how many points you can accrue!
You can easily redeem your points for cash back once you hit the 2,000 points threshold. 100 points is equal to one dollar. So, 3 points for every dollar spent at restaurants means you’re getting 3% cash back on your dining out expenses. You can’t beat that rate.
The AARP Credit Card from Chase is a good choice for people who find themselves on the go a lot, as the card also offers 3% cash back on gas purchases. As with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, you’ll also earn one base point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
3x Points at U.S. Restaurants
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card pays 3x points at U.S. Restaurants. You’ll also earn 3x points at U.S. gas stations, 3x points on travel and 1x points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
On top of these rewards, you can earn a 20,000 point bonus when you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months. The card offers a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. And there is no annual fee.
Learn more about this and similar cards HERE.
If you have an affinity for eating out, use your credit cards responsibility, and want to make the most of your dollar, having a credit card that rewards you for dining purchases is a great idea. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is an excellent choice for people who live in metropolitan areas and want exclusive access to culinary events. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred card is good for people who spend just as much money on entertainment as they do on dining out. Lastly, the AARP Card from Chase is a decent option for people who want to support a charitable cause while still earning rewards.
Credit cards that offer rotating, bonus rewards categories are worth looking into as well. These cards offer a higher percentage of cash back for spending in certain categories at different times of the year.
Which card would you use for dining out rewards?