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If diving into a meal at a hot new restaurant is a highlight of your week, or you just frequent eat at restaurants of any kind, a credit card with bonus dining rewards may be perfect for you. While some cards offer rotating bonuses of up to 5% on restaurants and dining, other cards may give you even better value with everyday bonuses on restaurant purchases.
Whether you value cash back or travel rewards, there is a great dining credit card out there for you. The next time you grab sushi, a burrito, a quick coffee on the run, or sink your teeth into a gourmet burger, you’ll want to swipe one of these top cards to get the best value back on every dollar you spend.
Capital One Savor
The best credit card for restaurants is the Savor card from Capital One. This cash back Mastercard offers an unlimited 4% cash back on the dining and entertainment categories. You’ll still earn 2% at the grocery store when you cook for yourself. The card offers a 1% reward everywhere else.
The card is packed with valuable benefits for Millennials and other frequent diners. Those include a complimentary Postmates membership for 2019, no foreign transaction fee, exclusive access to Capital One events and ticket sales, and useful travel and purchase protections.
New cardholders can start with a $500 cash back bonus after spending $3,000 on new purchases in the first 3 months after opening a new account. The card charges a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. But the bonus alone is enough to cover 6 years of annual fees, so that shouldn’t be a big turnoff when considering this top cashback credit card.
American Express Gold
The Gold Card from American Express got a refresh in 2018, and the new benefits and rewards program is competitive and lucrative. Cardholders earn an unlimited 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar at US restaurants, 4x points per dollar at US grocery stores up to $25,000 in annual purchases, 3x on flights booked directly through airlines or at Amex Travel, and 1x everywhere else.
American Express cards are known for luxury features, and the Gold card doesn’t disappoint. Travel and purchase protections are standard with most American Express premium cards, this one included. It also offers up to $120 per year in statement credits when you shop at certain restaurants and food services, and a $100 fee credit on airline incidental charges.
The card currently offers a big 50,000-point bonus after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months. That’s enough for two round-trip domestic flights if you book well. This card charges a $250 annual fee, but it’s easy to see how you can get more than that back in value from benefits and rewards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the top premium travel credit cards overall, and it works great for regular dining. It offers 3x points per dollar on restaurant and travel purchases worldwide and a heap of other massive benefits. However, it does carry a sizable $450 annual fee.
This card has so many benefits it is hard to fit them in a short summary! They include an annual $300 travel credit each year that covers things like flights and hotels. It includes airport lounge access through a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Cardholders get 1.5 cents per dollar redeeming for travel through Chase or can transfer to a long list of partners at a 1:1 point ratio to book awards directly.
The card currently offers a 50,000-point signup bonus worth at least $750 toward free travel after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. If you love international travel and restaurants, this card is one of the best out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
If the $450 annual fee from the Chase Sapphire Reserve is too much to stomach, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is a great alternative. This premium card offers 2x points per dollar on travel and dining and charges a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
This card offers many purchase and travel protections, no foreign transaction fee, and 1.25 cents per dollar when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel. You can also transfer to the same list of 1:1 transfer partners as the Sapphire Reserve card offers, which includes United, Southwest, Marriott, and many other popular brands.
The card currently offers a 50,000-point signup bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. That’s worth at least $625 when booking through Ultimate Rewards. But if you transfer to a travel partner like United or Southwest, that could easily net you two free round-trip domestic flights.
Barclays Uber Visa
This card does offer rewards for riding on Uber, but you get even bigger rewards at restaurants. Earn 4% back on restaurants, takeout, and bars including Uber Eats. Get 3% back on flights, hotels, and vacation home rentals. Earn 2% back on Uber, online shopping, and video and music streaming services. Cardholders earn 1% everywhere else.
Depending on your shopping habits, those rewards can add up fast. While the benefits are not the strongest out there, the rewards are great for a card with no annual fee. Cardholders get a bonus $50 statement credit for online subscription services after spending $5,000 per year and up to $600 in cell phone damage protection if you pay for your bill with the card.
New cardholders can earn a $100 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days after opening a new account. For dining cards with no annual fee, this one is the winner!
Spend and pay off your cards with care
Credit cards are a great way to earn rewards for purchases you already make, but use them with caution. Never spend on the card if you can’t afford to pay it off in full by the monthly due date. If you pay the card off in full each month, you can avoid interest costs completely!
Also, don’t use credit card rewards as an excuse to overspend. Always stick to the budget you set up in Mint. Interest and overspending can easily cost more than the rewards you get from a card, so use it wisely to get the best results in your own personal finances.
Make sure to use your rewards card for every possible purchase to maximize what you earn.
You might have a big pile of cash back or a free flight before you know it.
Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California. He is a former bank manager and corporate finance and accounting professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online side hustle full-time. He has in-depth experience writing about banking, credit cards, investing, and other financial topics. You can connect with him at Personal Profitability or EricRosenberg.com.