Best Credit Cards For Dining Out: 2019 Picks

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

There is a lot of amazing food in the world, but unfortunately eating away from home can be expensive. Although you can't change the prices on the menu, you can still make incredible savings if you use the right credit card for the job. We scoured the land, did the math and came up with a list of the best credit cards for dining. The answer to "which card is best?" will depend on a range of factors, your priorities and what kinds of benefits you want, but the good news is: You have many options.

Recommended Cards

HighlightsCredit NeededAnnual Fee
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold CardMost BenefitsExcellent/Good$250 (See Rates & Fees)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardFlexible Rewards RedemptionExcellent$95
Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Cash BackHigh Cash BackGood/Excellent--
Uber Visa Card
Uber Visa CardConsistently High PointsExcellent$0
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit cardFreedom in CategoriesGood/Excellent$0

Our Picks For Best Credit Cards for Eating Out

The following cards have made the cut and are what we consider to be the top credit cards for eating out. For a more personalized recommendation, use our tools to see which card will provide you the most savings.

Travel: American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

$250

See Rates & Fees

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn 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. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
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The American Express® Gold Card is a great choice if your goal is to make travel more affordable through dining. The card offers 4X Membership Rewards points for dining at restaurants worldwide, which is tied for the most amount of rewards points per dollar on this list. Additionally, while it may not be dining, you will also receive 4X points when shopping at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X). However, the card boasts a steep annual fee of $250, so keep in mind that you will need to spend a great deal to maximize the card's value while minimizing the cost.

Through dining, you will be able to rack up tons of points quickly. These points can then be redeemed with airlines or through American Express Travel. The combination of the American Express® Gold Card's high point values for dining coupled with the many travel benefits makes this card our No. 1 choice for people who want a strong balance between travel and dining benefits.

To see the rates & fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here

Exclusive Events: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Excellent

  • 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
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent card for earning dining and travel rewards, as well as gaining access to exclusive culinary events. This card is no stranger to “Best”-type lists—we have previously named it the best travel, airline and overall credit card. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, users can get 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. You can multiply this rate by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal. With these higher than average rates on meals and trips, it’s no mystery that the card’s extensive features are amazing for travelers and foodies.

Being a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholder can unlock perks and access to special culinary events that are often sponsored by the card. Examples include private dinners with famous chefs or events headlined by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. Note that these are often limited to major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, New York City, New Orleans and Chicago. A list of both culinary and other upcoming events can be found on this website.

Rotating Categories: Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back credit card is a rotating category cash back card that offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in categories that change throughout the year (activation required). For 2020, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com (October-December). One of the categories we have seen make an appearance every year is "Restaurants." At that time, the cash back rate you receive through the Discover it® Cash Back on dining out will be unmatched by most credit cards. Just keep in mind that you aren't guaranteed to receive "restaurants" as a category every year.

Currently, new card members also receive a special offer: Discover will double the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. That means, if you’re a new card member, you can receive an effective cash back rate of 2% on all spending and up to 10% on rotating categories (up to the $1,500 quarterly limit) during that first year. For your first cardmember year that this benefit applies, the Discover it® Cash Back will be one of the best credit cards to hold in your wallet – whether you’re paying for lunch or otherwise.

Choose Your Category: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card has an interesting and welcome feature: You can actually choose the category in which you earn 3% cash back. Once per calendar month, you can choose to earn 3% cash back from either gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement /furnishings. You will earn 1% cash back in all other categories, besides shopping at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, where you will earn 2% cash back. The cash back on the 3% and 2% categories is limited to the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter, you'll earn 1% thereafter.

This card is great for individuals who don't dine out often but would appreciate savings when they do. You can plan choosing to receive 3% cash back on dining during a month where you foresee yourself dining out often, like restaurant week or when friends are in town. When you don't intend to dine out often, you can simply change the extra cash back category and reap the savings elsewhere.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).