Best Dining Rewards Credit Cards

Best Dining Rewards Credit Cards

September 16, 2020         Written By Tracy Farnsworth

LowCards is a Citi partner. These offers, valid when the article was written, may have expired. View our full editorial disclaimer here.

LowCards is an American Express partner. View our full editorial disclaimer here.

By 2020, the restaurant industry saw revenues reaching over $860 billion. Six out of 10 people admitted they’d rather dine out or attend a memorable experience like a wine tasting or Brewfest than spend money on an item like a TV. Whether you’re traveling, working longer hours, or just want a night out, it’s likely that a significant portion of your monthly budget goes towards dining out. You might order takeout each week or dine at the restaurant. Either way, the meals you purchase add up.

If you regularly dine out, it’s a wise move to get a credit card with the best dining rewards. You’re spending the money on your meals, so why not get something in return? The best cards for dining out offer bonus rewards for qualifying restaurants and may offer surprising perks like access to special restaurant events hosted by celebrity chefs.

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Some rewards credit cards even allow you to transfer your reward points to get free hotel stays or airline miles. If this is the case, you could find yourself earning additional points on exotic cuisines in Asia, Europe, South America, or anywhere else you’ve dreamed of visiting. Imagine going to Italy and trying foods around the country all because you had the best dining reward card and cashed in your points for the amazing trip.

Make the most of your restaurant meals by choosing a credit card with the best dining rewards. Here are some of the best choices.

 

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®

Qualified applicants receive an introductory APR of 0% for a full year before the rate changes to a variable APR that’s based on your credit history. Also, if you make $1,200 in purchases within 90 days of opening the account, you get a $150 credit. There are no annual fees and points never expire.

What makes this the best credit card with restaurant rewards? Each quarter a specific category is chosen for 5x rewards. One of those categories is dining out. While you usually get 1 reward point for each $1 spent in categories like automotive, groceries, restaurants, and travel, during that quarter you’ll get 5 points for every $1 spent. It adds up quickly.

 

American Express Gold Card

While the American Express Gold Card does have a hefty annual fee, it’s worth it if you dine out regularly. After you apply and receive the card, if you make $4,000 in purchases in the first six months, you get 60,000 reward points added to your account. You also get four times the rewards points on grocery store purchases and restaurant purchases. You also gain three times the rewards on flights booked online with the airline.

 

Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card

Why choose the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card? Start with the new cardmember offer. Sign up and get a $150 cashback bonus when you make $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. There’s no annual fee. Plus, you get other benefits like a 0% APR for the first 15 months, free balance transfers, and no transaction fees on foreign purchases.

Purchases made on dining and entertainment get 3% cashback throughout the year. Enjoy limited-time bonuses, too. For example, Capital One and Uber Eats partnered to give SavorOne cardholders 5% cashback for a limited time.

You always get 2% cashback on grocery purchases and 1% cashback on all other purchases. Other benefits of the SavorOne card include special events like premium reservations with OpenTable, pop-up dinners with award-winning chefs, and exclusive invitations to chef’s tasting dinners held at the James Beard House. There’s no limit on how much you can get back with this restaurant rewards credit card.

 

Citi Double Cash Card

With the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer you get 1% cashback (unlimited) on all of your purchases. Once you make your monthly payment that’s at least the minimum amount due, you get another 1% cashback. You end up getting 2% cashback on all of your purchases, including restaurants, and never have any caps on the amount you get back.

Watch for sign-up offers like 0% APR for the first 18 months and no annual fee. After 18 months, the APR switches to a variable rate that’s based on your credit history. Those are some of the reasons this is one of the best dining rewards cards. The other is that Citi will send out exclusive invitations to events throughout the year. Among them are special dining experiences like wine tastings and discounts like 20% off take-out orders or 10% off dine-in meals.

 

Discover It Chrome

Restaurant and gas rewards are doubled with the Discover It Chrome Card. Get 2% cashback (up to $1,000) each quarter on restaurant and gas purchases. Everything else gives you 1% cashback (unlimited). There’s no annual fee on this card. Cashback rewards never expire.

This is one of our top restaurant rewards credit cards because Discover’s customer service team is highly rated. The company has a lengthy history of keeping its cardholders happy and taking care of problems quickly. The other reason is the Unlimited Cashback Match. At the end of the year, Discover matches your year’s rewards in a dollar-for-dollar match. What a way to end the year!

 

Petal 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card

If you don’t have perfect credit, the Petal Visa Card is a great choice for qualifying for restaurant rewards. The credit card welcomes people with less-than-perfect credit or limited credit history. You can pre-qualify and not impact your credit score if you want. Once you’re pre-approved, apply for the card and get 1% cashback on all purchases, including dining, 1.25% after making six payments on time, and 1.5% cash back after you’ve paid your bills on time for 12 months.

Why is this one of our top choices? In addition to the 1.5% cashback rewards, you can get up to 10% from certain merchants. There are no late payment fees or annual fees with the Petal Visa Card.

Other Ways to Get Restaurant Rewards

In addition to dining rewards cards, look for restaurants that offer additional rewards programs. Independently owned restaurants may have them. Many of the chain restaurants do have their own rewards programs that offer gift cards, free appetizers, free drinks, or BOGO deals. Rewards members also receive benefits like birthday freebies, free delivery, and priority reservations.

If you’re not sure where to start, Panera has a rewards program that gives you items like a free pastry or coupons off your next beverage purchase after every five visits or so. Chilis gives every member free chips and salsa, free desserts on birthdays, and other perks like free meals for children, and free non-alcoholic beverages.

Most chains have rewards programs. Some locally-owned restaurants also offer perks to regular diners, but you may need to ask. Here are some of the free restaurant rewards programs you should consider.

 

B.Good – Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend. Cash in those rewards for free items. With 50 points, you get a free side dish, 75 points is a free smoothie, and 100 points is a free entree. Rewards members also get to try new menu items earlier than others and a free item when you install the app.

 

Buffalo Wild Wings – You get rewards points when you order food from the restaurant or check-in using the app. Use those points for free food items, merchandise, or tickets to sports events. On your birthday, the restaurant gives free wings to rewards members.

 

Cold Stone Creamery – Treat yourself to ice cream at Cold Stone and get 1 point for every $1 you spend. When you get 50 points, you get a $5 gift certificate. Rewards members also enjoy a BOGO coupon on their birthdays, giveaways throughout the year, and 25 bonus points when they sign up.

 

P.F. Changs – Earn 1,000 points when you sign up. Get 10 points for every $1 you spend. When you get 2,000 points, you choose a free entree. You also get a free item on your birthday and access to new menu items before they’re made public.

 

Moe’s Southwest Grill – Become a rewards club member and get a free cup of queso when you join. You also get a free burrito on your birthday. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent and get a $10 gift certificate when you reach 100 points. Rewards members also get referral bonuses for referring friends to the program.

 

Starbucks – At Starbucks, rewards members get 2 points for every $1 spent when they pay using a Starbucks gift card or pay through the app. Those bonus stars add up quickly and give you free beverages and food items.

 

Pair a dining rewards credit card and restaurant rewards programs to get the most benefit from every meal you order from a restaurant. You get double the rewards this way.

 

Check to see if you can pre-apply for a restaurant rewards credit card. It’s a good way to see if you’re a qualified applicant without impacting your credit score. It takes minutes to get the results. If you are pre-approved, you’ll have a good idea of what offer the credit card company will extend to you. Once you’re armed with that knowledge, apply for a restaurant rewards credit card. Dine out and enjoy the perks you get with your new credit card.

If you need help finding the right credit card, use the Low Cards Credit Card Selection Tool to get started. The process only takes a few seconds, and we’ll match you with the best credit card offers to meet your needs.

 

Sources:

https://www.nrn.com/sales-trends/us-restaurant-sales-reach-record-863b-2019-nra-says

https://restaurant.org/research/restaurant-statistics/restaurant-industry-facts-at-a-glance

 

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 16, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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tracy

About Tracy Farnsworth

Tracy Farnsworth went straight from a business track in high school to a full-time job in mortgage banking in Burlington, Vermont. After having children, she built a freelance career in content writing and took online classes as time allowed. She completed Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing certificate programs with Ireland's online Shaw Academy and completed several courses in SEO and analytics. In her free time, she's the “mom” to a very clingy rat terrier, and the pair walk at least a mile every day. She's also a novice baker who is trying to master the art of sourdough bread.