What to look for in credit cards for restaurants and dining

When you’re considering a credit card for restaurant spending, you need to look beyond the perks. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you evaluate your options.

Rewards rates on all purchases

Just because you’re getting a credit card for dining out doesn’t mean you should ignore all the other rewards categories.

For instance, with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card, you can earn up to 5% cash back in their rotating bonus categories, which could include eating out. However, with the Citi Premier® Card, you consistently earn 3X points on restaurants, as well as supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and more

Find the card that maximizes your overall rewards earning potential.

Introductory bonus offers

With introductory bonus offers, you can earn a large amount of rewards in a short amount of time. With that said, it’s easy to spend money you wouldn’t typically spend in an effort to secure the bonus.

Even if the credit card you select has an attractive intro offer, be sure to only use your card for regular, planned purchases that you know you can pay back on time.

Here’s our list of the credit cards with the best sign-up offers.

Bonus category caps

Not all credit cards offer unlimited cash back in bonus categories like dining at restaurants.

Before you apply for a new credit card, make sure you check the card details to see if there are caps associated with the bonus categories. If you know you’ll spend more than that amount, consider a different credit card with unlimited rewards.

Annual fees

While some cards offer amazing cash back rates, they may not be worth it if the card comes with a large annual fee.

For instance, the American Express® Gold Card offers excellent cash back rewards, including 4% back on dining out and grocery store purchases. However, the card also comes with a steep annual fee of $250.

Before you select your credit card, think through your spending habits to see if the annual fee outweighs the cash back you’ll earn.

Read more: When is an annual fee credit card worth it?


Whether you enjoy dining out, takeout, or both, the five credit cards mentioned above can help you earn money back and make the most of your spending.

Many of the credit cards mentioned offer at least 3% cash back or 3X points on restaurant spending, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Citi Premier® Card.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders can earn the same, plus a free three-month subscription to DoorDash as an added benefit.

And, Discover it® Cash Back cardholders can earn as much as 5% back on dining out through their rotating bonus categories each quarter.

Featured image: Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock.com

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