18 Best Credit Cards for Restaurants | Rewards, Cashback & More (2016)

best-credit-cards-for-restaurants

credit card advice

Sean Garrity
By: Sean Garrity
Posted: October 5, 2016
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

I’ve always considered myself a foodie. From the perfectly constructed burger to a beef tenderloin served with a truffle butter sauce, I welcome it all. Foodie or not, one thing I think that we can all appreciate is having the ability to fill up on rewards while filling up our bellies.

If you’re looking for air miles, gas rebates, points and gifts, or just straight cash back, there is definitely a card out there for you. Everyone eats out, so why not make the most of the experience and earn perks while you dine.

We’ve put together a list of some of the best cards diners can use at restaurants to maximize rewards or cash back offers. Students, businesses, and people at any credit level can benefit from these cards. So, before you put on that lobster bib, be sure to check them out!

 Cash Back | Air Miles | Rewards
0% APR  | Businesses  | Students
Bad Credit  | Fair Credit  | No Credit

The Best Restaurant “Cash Back” Cards

Cash, everyone can use more of it. Food, well, I can always use more of it. If you’re anything like me, it’ll be a smart move to look into these cards that earn top billing for their large cash back multipliers and low APRs.

These cards give you the most cash back every time you eat out. So, even if you’re watching your weight and choosing healthy options, your wallet will still grow.

Discover it® Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover'ssecure website

  • Our Take: "One of our favorite cards, with long 0% intro APRs, low ongoing APRs, awesome cash back rewards, and lots more.
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases
  • Matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers)
  • No limit to the amount of cash back that can be matched"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
14 months
0%
14 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Redeem for cash — any amount, anytime
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
15 months
0%
15 months
14.24%-23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+ See more cash back cards

The Best Restaurant “Air Miles” Cards

If you’re on vacation or travelling for business, odds are pretty good that you’re going to be dining out — a lot. Many savvy travelers make their credit cards pull double duty by using them to pay for their meals while simultaneously earning miles for their next trip. If you’re looking for miles, these cards should be at the top of your list.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24%-23.24% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Excellent Credit

+ See more air miles cards

The Best Restaurant “Rewards” Cards

Obviously, diners not on the road can earn perks, too. Taking advantage of a restaurant rewards card is easy: just go out, eat a great meal, and let the gifts and rewards roll in. These are excellent choices for diners to earn points, gifts, and other perks while they eat.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24%-23.24% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Excellent Credit
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 3X points at U.S. gas stations, 2X points at U.S. restaurants, 1X point on other net purchases every day
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, after that the variable APR will be 13.24%-25.24%
  • Enjoy exclusive offers on airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, and cruises
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, cash redemption options or merchandise through Go Far™ Rewards
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Credit Card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
15 months
0%
15 months
13.24%-25.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+ See more points & rewards cards

The Best Restaurant “0% Intro APR” Cards

Diners looking to carry a balance can also find great cards that won’t break the bank. These cards have 0% introductory APRs, so you can treat your friends and family to a night out and not have to worry about racking up additional charges. So, go ahead and order dessert for everyone; they’ll love you for it.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard for free
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
15 months
0%
15 months
13.24%-23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
15 months
0%
15 months
14.24%-23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See more 0% Intro APR cards

The Best Restaurant “Business” Cards

Businesses need credit cards for a variety of reasons, but entertaining clients and keeping employees fed while on the road are probably the most common. These cards will  keep clients coming back and energize your workforce to stay on the grind. They’ll also pump money back into your business with their great cash back rewards.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • Rewards don't expire, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount, anytime
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earning unlimited 1.5% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.24%-21.24% variable APR after that
  • No annual fee
  • Use Spark Cash Select across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • Rewards don't expire, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount, anytime
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
N/A
13.24% - 21.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit

+ See more business credit cards

The Best Restaurant “Student” Cards

Getting good grades? We have the cards for you. Students get a nice cash back bonus for high GPAs each school year with these cards. They’re also perfect for dining out when that cafeteria meal plan has lost its luster.

Discover it® for Students Review

at Discover'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Our Take: "The lack of fees, combined with great perks like cash back and free credit score tracking, make this credit card a solid deal for college students.
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases with no limits
  • No annual fee
  • $20 cash back each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher (maximum 5 years)"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
6 months
10.99%
6 months
13.24%-22.24% Variable
$0
Fair Credit
Discover it® chrome for Students Review

at Discover'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Discover matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year - automatically. Only for new cardmembers.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter—no sign-ups needed. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements & online.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
6 months
10.99%
6 months
13.24% - 22.24% Variable
$0
Fair Credit

+ See more student credit cards

The Best Restaurant Cards for “Bad Credit” (<650)

If you’re looking for a card and have a less-than-ideal credit score, there’s no need to worry. Here are some of the best options to get you up and running if you’re trying to rebuild your credit. Prequalification is quick and easy, so you can start planning your night on the town right away.

Emporium Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Up to $5,000 Spending Limit in Less than 60 Seconds! Shop from over 100,000 brand name products such as Apple, Samsung, Sony, Gucci, Prada and much more with low easy payments.
  • Less than Perfect Credit Accepted. Approval is quick and easy. Must be 18 years or older, have a valid checking account and a verifiable source of income.
  • Up To 12 Months Same As Cash
  • 50% Early Payoff Discount
  • No Hidden Fees
  • Return at any Time
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See website for Details
N/A
Poor, Fair, Limited, or Damaged Credit

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It’s a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad Credit

+ See more cards for bad credit

The Best Restaurant Cards for “Fair Credit” (651-700)

Diners with fair credit have access to some nice perks with these cards. Low APRs, cash back, and fraud protection are just some of the bonuses that come with them. The best thing about using these cards is that they’ll pave the way to an even more robust credit ranking.

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 23.24% variable APR after that
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
0% for 9 months
23.24% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

+ See more cards for fair credit

The Best Restaurant Cards for “No Credit” (0 Credit Score)

If your credit history is limited or nonexistent, these cards will provide a good jumping-off point. These cards will allow you to start out strong and build a healthy credit score while enjoying cash back bonuses and other perks.

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 23.24% variable APR after that
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
0% for 9 months
23.24% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

+ See more cards for no credit

Eat to Live and Live to Eat with Rewards & Cash Back

You don’t have to be a foodie like me to get the biggest bang for your credit card buck at a restaurant. We all eat out from time to time, so why not add another side item to your meal in the form of big rewards?

Whether you’re a business traveler looking for miles, a connoisseur searching for the best Dim Sum, or just going out for pizza with the family, one of these cards is right for you. We all must eat to live, but we can also live to eat — especially when we’re getting paid for it.