18 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out in 2019

18 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out in 2019

credit card advice

Marcie Geffner
By: Marcie Geffner
Posted: May 7, 2019
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

Dining out is a great way to earn points or cash back rewards if you pay for your meal with a card that offers this benefit. Some cards offer excellent dining out rewards. Others? Not so much.

To maximize your rewards in this category, you should use a card that’s among the best. Where and how you use the card will also affect your ability to maximize the dining rewards. Here are 18 cards to consider for every type of spender — and eater.

Overall | Cash Back | Rewards | No Annual Fee | Students | Business | FAQs

Best Overall Cards for Dining Out

The best overall cards for dining out give you great rewards in this category and a nice mix of other perks.

  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

This card is a great all-around choice. The rewards program gives you unlimited 4% cash back for dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores (excluding Wal-Mart, Target, and other superstores), and 1% back for all other purchases. This card also has no foreign transaction fees, complimentary concierge service, extended warranty protection, 24-hour emergency replacement cards, and retail price protection, among other benefits.

2. Uber Visa Card

While one may think the Uber Visa Card is best for ridesharing, it’s also a great rewards card for foodies.

Barclays Uber Visa Card

  • 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants, takeout, bars & UberEats
  • 3 points per $1 spent on select travel purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on select online purchases, streaming services, and Uber rides

Cardholders will receive one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for cash, gift cards or Uber Cash to pay for Uber rides. You’ll need at least 500 points, worth $5, to get Uber Cash or 2,500 points, worth $25, to get cash back or a gift card. This card has no annual fee and is issued by Barclays Bank.

3. American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card gives you four points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and grocery stores. The grocery category is capped at $25,000 of spending per year (after that, grocery purchases get a lower reward).

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • $250 annual fee

This card also gives you a statement credit, up to $10 per month, when you use it at GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. Capture that credit every month, and you’ll recoup $120 of the card’s $250 annual fee. Points can be redeemed for travel or gift cards or at Amazon.com, among other options.

Best Cash Back Cards for Dining Out

Dining out can put a dent in your budget, but dining out with the right card can give you cash back to offset the cost.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

This card gives you 4% cash back for dining out at restaurants, cafés, bars, lounges, fast food chains, and bakeries. You’ll also get 4% back for ticket purchases at movie theaters, professional and semi-professional live sports events, theatrical productions, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls, and bowling alleys. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

5. Uber Visa Card

The Uber Visa Card gives you points redeemable for gift cards, cash back, or Uber Cash to pay for Uber rides. Each point is worth $0.01.

Barclays Uber Visa Card

  • 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants, takeout, bars & UberEats
  • 3 points per $1 spent on select travel purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on select online purchases, streaming services, and Uber rides

Everything else drops into the one-point-per-dollar bucket. You’ll need at least 500 points, worth $5, to get Uber Cash or 2,500 points, worth $25, to get cash back or a gift card. This card must be linked to your Uber account to redeem points for Uber Cash. This card is issued by Barclays Bank and has no annual fee.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • Plus, earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on everything else
  • Bonus rewards capped at $2,500 is combined bonus category purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

This card gives you 3% cash back in the category of your choice. The options are gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and home improvement and furnishings. You’ll also get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back for all other purchases. That might sound rather mundane, but there’s also a bonus opportunity that lets you earn up to 5.25% cash back in your choice category, 3.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1.75% for all other purchases.

To qualify for this Preferred Rewards program, you’ll need an eligible Bank of America checking account and a combined balance of $20,000 or more in your Bank of America and Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch accounts. You can change your choice category once per month through Bank of America’s online or mobile banking.

Best Rewards Cards for Dining Out

These cards give you points you can redeem for airline tickets, hotel rooms, dining out, gift cards, and more.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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 $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 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
19.24% - 26.24% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

This card has a $450 annual fee, but it gives you an annual $300 statement credit toward your travel purchases. After that, you’ll earn three points per dollar for airfare, hotels, fine dining, restaurants, and cafés. Other purchases earn one point per dollar. Redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you’ll get a 50% bonus. That turns 50,000 points into $750 toward your travel bookings.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

This card gives you two points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and one point per dollar for other purchases. Redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and you’ll get a 25% bonus. That turns 60,000 points into $750 toward your travel spending. The card’s annual fee is $95.

9. American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card gives you four rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and grocery stores with a $25,000 yearly cap in the grocery category.

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • $250 annual fee

You’ll also get a monthly statement credit of up to $10 if you use this card at GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, or participating Shake Shack locations. Points can be redeemed for gift cards or travel or at Amazon.com, among other options.

Best No-Annual-Fee Cards for Dining Out

These three cards offer rewards for dining out with no annual fee, so you can eat out without eating into your budget.

10. Uber Visa Card

The Uber Visa Card gives you four points per dollar spent dining out or ordering in from Uber’s food delivery app, UberEats. Travel expenses earn three points per dollar. Eligible online shopping and streaming services and Uber rides earn two points. Other purchases get one point.

Barclays Uber Visa Card

  • 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants, takeout, bars & UberEats
  • 3 points per $1 spent on select travel purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on select online purchases, streaming services, and Uber rides

Each point is worth $0.01. To get Uber Cash to pay for Uber rides, you’ll need at least 500 points, worth $5. To get a gift card or cash back, you’ll need at least 2,500 points, worth $25.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • Plus, earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on everything else
  • Bonus rewards capped at $2,500 is combined bonus category purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

This card gives you a choice of 3% cash back in one category of your choice, plus 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% for other purchases. The categories are: dining, travel, drug stores, gas, online shopping, and home improvement and furnishings.

The Preferred Rewards program can boost your cash back to as much as 5.25% in your selected category, 3.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1.75% for other purchases. To enroll, you’ll have to have an eligible Bank of America checking account and a combined balance of at least $20,000 in eligible Bank of America, Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch accounts.

With this card, you’ll get three points per dollar spent at restaurants, bars, and fast food places, plus three points per dollar for certain other purchases, including airlines, hotels, timeshares, car rentals, cruise lines, travel agencies, gas stations, trains, taxis, limos, and parking fees. Everything else earns one point per dollar. Points can be redeemed for travel, cash back, gift cards, and other items.

Best Student Cards for Dining Out

Student cards typically don’t offer big rewards, but these card options give you cash back and student-centric perks to get started.

Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit 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 & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • 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% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
15.24% - 24.24% Variable
$0
Fair

This card gives you 2% cash back on your first $1,000 on purchases at merchants classified as gas stations, full-service restaurants, cafés, cafeterias, and fast food locations combined each quarter. Other purchases earn 1% cash back. There’s also a one-time Cashback Match for new cardmembers. The match is applied at the end of the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your account is open.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit 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 & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • 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% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
15.24% - 24.24% Variable
$0
Fair

This card gives you an opportunity to earn 5% cash back in a different category each quarter. Examples of categories include gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. You must activate the category to receive the reward and there’s a maximum spending cap each quarter. Other purchases earn 1% cash back. This level is unlimited and doesn’t require activation. There’s also a one-time Cashback Match for new cardmembers applied at the end of the first year the account is open.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.2

OVERALL RATING

4.2/5.0
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get Eno®, your Capital One® assistant, to manage your account via text, receive alerts, and shop safer online
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.96% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

This card gives you 1% cash back for all of your purchases. Make your payment on time, and that level jumps to 1.25% for that month. There’s no annual fee, but if you carry a balance, this card has a relatively high annual percentage rate (APR).

Best Business Cards for Dining Out

These three business cards come with some dining out perks valuable for the occasional — or frequent — business lunch.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 21.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

This card gives you one point per dollar spent plus two bonus opportunities. Spending up to $25,000 per year at restaurants and gas stations will earn two points per dollar. The same bonus and spending cap apply to purchases at office supply stores or for internet, cable, or phone services. There’s no annual fee. Points can be redeemed for cash back or travel rewards, purchases at Amazon.com, or gift cards.

17. American Express®Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card gives you four points (one base point, plus three bonus points) per dollar spent in two spending categories of your choosing each month. U.S. restaurants are one of the categories.

American Express® Business Gold Card

  • 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants when you select it as an optional category
  • 1 free year of G Suite Basic and ZipRecruiter Standard
  • $295 annual fee

Bonus points are earned for your first $150,000 of combined purchases in your top two categories per calendar year.

18. SimplyCash®Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card gives you 5% cash back for purchases at office supply stores and for cellphone services, and 3% cash back in another category of your choice — U.S. restaurants is one of the options.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card

  • 3% cash back at U.S. restaurants when you select it as an optional category
  • 14.49%, 19.49%, or 21.49% variable APR, based on creditworthiness
  • No annual fee

All other purchases earn one point per dollar. You also have the ability to buy above your credit limit with no overlimit fees — just be sure to pay back the full amount charged above your credit limit each month.

How Do Dining Rewards Cards Work?

Dining rewards cards give you points or cash back when you use the card at a restaurant or other dining establishment. Cash back is usually in the form of a statement credit. Points can be redeemed for rewards such as travel, gift cards, or credit toward Uber rides or Amazon.com shopping.

Rewards programs differ in how they classify specific purchases, so you should read the rules to find out what your card offers.

Percentage rate icon on a white background

Most major banks tend to offer 3% cash back or 3X points per dollar spent on dining purchases.

Places that serve meals or beverages as their primary business activity usually count toward dining rewards. Places that serve meals or beverages but have another primary business activity usually count toward other reward categories.

For example, if you buy a sandwich at a grocery store’s deli counter, that purchase will probably count toward your card’s grocery category rather than its dining out category.

There’s no standard reward for restaurant purchases, although cards issued by major banks tend to offer 3% cash back or three points per dollar spent as a minimum. A card that offers more may be considered a “dining out” card.

Some restaurant rewards cards don’t charge an annual fee, but others do. And those fees can be high — up to $250 a year or more. Cards that charge a relatively high annual fee tend to offer more cash back or points for the same level of spending. They also tend to offer more perks that you may or may not use. Always read the disclosures before you apply for a card. If you normally carry a balance, the card’s APR should be an important consideration.

Which Credit Card is Best for Restaurants?

There is no one best card to earn cash back or rewards for purchases at restaurants. Rather, all the dining out cards have slightly different features and benefits and different APRs for purchases and balance transfers. When you choose a card, you should look at the whole package before you decide which card is best for you.

If you dine out often, a restaurant rewards card can boost your cash back or reward points. But some dining out cards charge annual fees. If you’re a big spender at restaurants and bars or you plan to use other benefits that a specific card offers, paying an annual fee might be reasonable for you.

Required Spend to Make Up Annual Fee with 1% Rate Differential

If a card’s fee isn’t in your budget or you won’t use enough of the card’s benefits to offset the fee, that card may not be a good choice for you even if the dining out rewards are attractive.

If you carry a balance, you should look at a card’s APR before you start to drool over the rewards. While rewards are nice to have, you may be better off financially with a lower APR card that has fewer or no rewards. Don’t spend more than you can afford just to earn cash back or reward points on food — it’s really not worth it.

If you dine often enough to make this type of card a must-have, be sure to read the reward program’s rules before you apply so you can make sure your dining out purchases will count in the dining out category for that card.

Does Fast Food, Starbucks, or Takeout Count as Dining Out?

The answer is maybe yes, maybe no, or maybe sometimes.

Some card rewards programs count fast food, takeout, and other quick-stop dining toward rewards in the dining out or restaurant category. Others don’t. And even if some of these purchase count, they may not all count or they may not all count in the same way.

To find out how a particular card’s program will categorize a specific purchase, you’ll have to read the rules and disclosures and possibly do some additional research.

One bit of research that may be helpful involves learning how transactions at certain dining establishments are coded. These codes, formally called Merchant Category Codes or MCCs, determine what reward level is applied to your purchase.

If you have a Visa-branded card, you may be able to find some clues by looking up various restaurants, takeout, and fast-food establishments in Visa’s supplier locator directory.

Screenshot from the Visa website

Visa’s supplier directory may help you look up various establishments to determine which reward level is applied to your purchase.

American Express typically limits its rewards to U.S. restaurants and travel. That means if you dine out in a foreign country and use an Amex card, your spending likely won’t count toward your rewards the same way your domestic dining with the same card will.

If you’re not sure whether a specific purchase will earn a specific reward, you can call your card company and ask. If the answer is no when you believe it should be yes, you may be able to request an exception. Card companies are competitive. If you’re a good customer, yours may be willing to honor your request and give you the extra reward points or cash back as a courtesy.

Swipe Your Way to Discounts at Your Favorite Eateries

With so many cash back offers and rewards points programs to choose from, it should be a snap to find a dining out card that fits your needs. Read the footnotes before you apply, and you’ll soon be saving money at all of your favorite eateries.