BACK

10’000 Hours/GettyImages

Rewards

Foodies unite: These are the best credit cards for restaurants in 2021

Racking up cash back and rewards at restaurants has never been easier – no matter your credit

Summary

Is eating out part of your everyday routine? Score cash back or rewards points by paying with the right card at restaurants; these cards can help.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

In this world of Instagrammable dishes and celebrity chefs, food has long passed the point of simple sustenance and morphed into a full-blown event. If you count yourself among the nouveau gourmands dining out every weekend, why not get a return on your investment?

Read on to find the best rewards credit cards on the market if you love earning rewards while you’re eating out – regardless of your credit profile.

Best premium credit card for dining

Top pick: American Express® Gold Card

Amex Gold kicks off our recommendations for restaurants because it’s the card that gives you the most points of any card on the market when you dine at restaurants or shop at U.S. supermarkets.

At four times the points per dollar, it’s hard to find another card that competes when it comes to racking up rewards while you’re eating. As if to underline the point, there’s also a $120 dining credit – up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.

Bonus points and credits on travel give this card a healthy travel and dining combo, making it extremely attractive to those who want to live out their globe-trotting dreams.

The annual fee is $250, but the annual travel and dining credits largely eclipse that by themselves.

Here’s a closer look at the card’s benefits:

  • 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first six months
  • 4 points per dollar when you dine at restaurants and on Uber Eats purchases
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in annual purchases, then 1 point per dollar
  • 3 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or through Amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Up to $120 dining credit
  • Hotel Collection Benefits, up to $100, terms and limitations apply
  • $120 in Uber Cash each year, which can be used for U.S. Uber rides, Uber Eats delivery and more ($10 in credits per month); Must add the Gold Card to the Uber app to receive Uber Cash benefit
  • Complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership for 12 months (enroll by Dec. 31, 2021); Uber Eats Pas will autobill 12 months from the initial enrollment at the current rate at that time
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply

Note: Unlike typical credit cards, the American Express Gold Card allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.

Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers only 3X on travel and dining (after earning your $300 travel credit) without including U.S. supermarkets, its intro bonus value (when redeemed for travel through Chase) and travel credit are much higher than the Amex Gold card’s.

Plus, the emphasis with the Reserve is much more on travel, with a Global Entry credit and complimentary lounge access, so if you like more travel with your dining, this card is for you.

The card’s annual fee is $550, but when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, the 60,000 points you can earn after spending $4,000 in the first three months are worth $900 in travel expenses. That alone more than offsets the annual fee, at least in year one.

Check out Chase Sapphire Reserve’s features in more detail:

  • 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 3 points per dollar on travel and dining worldwide (excluding purchases covered by $300 annual travel credit)
  • 50% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Complimentary lounge access
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit of up to $100 every four years
  • No foreign transaction fees

Best for sign-up bonus

Top pick: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express is designed with a very particular user in mind – frequent travelers in search of luxury perks. With an annual fee of $695, you need to ensure you can get plenty of long-term value out of the card before taking the plunge and signing up.

Still, the Platinum card comes absolutely packed to the brim with statement credits and benefits that can more than offset the cost of its annual fee. You’ll enjoy the most comprehensive lounge access available with a credit card, up to $300 in credits toward digital or physical Equinox memberships (enrollment required, paid as $25 per month) and up to $200 in Uber Cash per year ($15 per month, plus an extra $30 in December), which can be used for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this card offers.

Other card details include:

  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
  • 5X points on eligible prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • 1X points on general purchases
  • 100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first six months
  • 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases) in first six months
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $240 digital entertainment credit (up to $20 in statement credits each month at eligible providers Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times, enrollment required)
  • $179 CLEAR annual statement credit for membership
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit (up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for fees like baggage fees at one qualifying airline)
  • Up to $200 Uber Cash credit annually on U.S. rides and eats
  • Up to $200 hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings
  • Up to $300 Equinox credit (up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships, enrollment required)
  • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit ($50 semiannually, enrollment required)
  • $695 annual fee

You’ll notice a particularly exciting benefit for dining on this list: For the first six months you have the card, you can earn an outstanding 10 points per dollar on eligible restaurant purchases (up to $25,000 in combined dining and Shop Small purchases). If you’re committed to the Platinum Card and looking to rack up some Membership Rewards, you can’t do better than that.

Best credit card for earning rewards on dining

Top pick: Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card*

While the intro bonus for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card is more modest than the premium cards listed here, it includes one of the largest cash back rates on any card for dining and entertainment.

The 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 still turn some cardholders off.

Take a closer look at the benefits Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card offers:

  • $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
  • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats until January 2023
  • 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, including Hulu, Disney+ and Netflix
  • 3% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Redeem cash back for any amount; rewards don’t expire
  • No foreign transaction fees

Alternative: U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

If you’re looking for a card that gives you rewards for dining with no annual fee, try the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card, which earns 4 points per dollar on dining and takeout (including food delivery services) and 2 points per dollar on groceries.

Some of the examples of eligible delivery services include Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates.

Take a look at what the Altitude Go Card offers:

  • 4 points per dollar on dining and takeout, including food delivery services
  • 2 points per dollar on gas stations, groceries (including grocery delivery and meal kit delivery) and streaming services
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • $15 credit for annual streaming service purchases
  • No annual fee

Best for flexible spending

Top pick: Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

The Citi Custom Cash card is a new addition to Citi’s card portfolio, but it’s already making waves. It offers a relatively unique earning scheme: Rather than pigeonhole users into a particular bonus category, cardholders earn 5% cash back in whichever eligible category they spend the most on each billing cycle (up to $500 spent, then 1%). This essentially creates a rewards rate that automatically adjusts to your spending, ensuring you earn a competitive rate of cash back no matter what is your focus any month.

Here’s a quick look at the details of the Citi Custom Cash:

  • 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $200 cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back)
  • No annual fee

As you’ve probably gleaned, one of the eligible 5% back categories is restaurants (excluded third-party dining services). Others include gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment. With the rewards rate changing as your spending does, you could rack up cash back on dining out one month and then switch to dining in the next.

Best restaurant credit card for credit builders

Top pick: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

The last thing any consumer still working on their credit needs is fees, but that doesn’t mean they should have to sacrifice getting cash back on dining and entertainment.

Capital One’s SavorOne Rewards Card, which requires you to have at least good credit to apply, gives an unlimited 3% cash back rate on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases and has no annual fee.

The intro bonus is pretty modest, but if you’re worried about fees more than you care about your rewards rate, this is the card for the conservative cash back collector.

Here’s a snapshot of all the benefits SavorOne has to offer:

  • $200 one-time bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months
  • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats until January 2023
  • Unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee

Alternative: Discover it® Secured Credit Card 

Perhaps you’re rebuilding your credit or starting to build credit history and still don’t qualify for the SavorOne above, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on dining rewards completely.

With the Discover it Secured card, you don’t have to. It allows you to build your credit and receive a consistent cash back rate. Discover will even match the cash back you receive in the first year.

Check out all the details below:

  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 on combined purchases each quarter
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically
  • Discover it matches the cash back you earn in the first year with no matching limits
  • Refundable security deposit
  • Social Security number fraud monitoring and alerts
  • No annual fee

Which of the best credit cards for restaurants should you get?

If you consider yourself a foodie and would like to earn rewards on dining, you have plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a premium rewards card or want to rack up cash back while rebuilding your credit, take your time comparing the cards to find one that fits your needs.

Comparing the best credit cards for dining

CardRewards rateAnnual fee
American Express® Gold Card
  • 4 points per dollar on restaurants and on Uber Eats purchases
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in annual purchases, then 1 point per dollar)
  • 3 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or through Amextravel.com
$250
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • 3 points per dollar on travel and dining
$550
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats until January 2023
  • 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services
  • 3% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
$95
  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5 points per dollar on eligible prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
$695
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
  • 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
$0
U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card
  • 4 points per dollar on dining and takeout, including food delivery services
  • 2 points per dollar on gas stations, groceries (including grocery delivery and meal kit delivery) and streaming services
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
$0
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats until January 2023
  • 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
$0
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 on combined purchases each quarter)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
$0

*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.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Rewards

Citi Double Cash Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

We crunched the numbers for the Citi Double Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited to help you decide which one takes the prize for best cash back card.

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report
Business
14.22%
Airline
15.51%
Cash Back
16.10%
Reward
15.90%
Student
16.78%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more