10 Best Cards to Earn Cash Back at Restaurants

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Looking to earn the most cash back when you dine out?

There are lots of cards that include restaurants as a bonus spending category.

Keep in mind, some of the best cash back cards aren’t advertised as such.  Instead, you might earn points, which you can then redeem for cash back or a statement credit.

Best Cash Back Cards To Use At Restaurants 2017

Earning Bonus Cash Back at Restaurants With Certain Cards Means You Might Get Up to 5% of the Cost of the Meal Back!

I’ll share my picks for the best cash back cards to use at restaurants!

Best Cash Back Cards to Use at Restaurants

Emily and I prefer to earn miles & points with cards, which we can then redeem for Big Travel!  Like Emily’s winter getaway to Cancun.

But I know lots of folks who like earning cash back!  And restaurant purchases can be an easy way to build up cash back rewards if you eat out often like me.

Here’s a list of cards which can earn you extra cash back at restaurants.

1.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

With the Sapphire Reserve, you earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining, which you can then redeem for cash back.

And this card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can use the card when you dine overseas and earn bonus rewards at the same time.

Million Mile Secrets team member Keith always uses his Sapphire Reserve to pay at restaurants.  And he earns the most points from this bonus category compared to any other rewards category with the card.

Best Cash Back Cards To Use At Restaurants 2017

Points Can Add Up Quickly When You Use the Sapphire Reserve for Dining Purchases. And You Can Redeem These Points for Cash Back!

Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program because the points are flexible and you can transfer them directly to airline and hotel partners.

Your points are only worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for cash back.  This means 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $100.

But these same points are worth $150 in travel through the Chase travel portal.  But folks who just want cash rewards might still prefer the easy cash back redemption option.

2.   Capital One® Premier Dining Rewards Credit Card

Link:   Capital One® Premier Dining Rewards Credit Card 

Link:   My Review of the Capital One Premier Dining Rewards Card

You can earn 3% cash back on dining purchases with the Capital One Premier Dining Rewards card.  And you can redeem your cash back with no minimum redemption amount.

Plus, this card has no foreign transaction fees.  So you can use it overseas to earn bonus cash back.

Best Cash Back Cards To Use At Restaurants 2017

Dining in London Like Emily and Her Mom? You Can Use the Capital One Premier Dining Rewards Card to Earn 3% Cash Back and Pay NO Foreign Transaction Fees

This card is great for folks strictly looking to earn cash back, especially with the 3% bonus for dining.

But it’s NOT the first card I’d recommend for folks who want to earn miles & points for Big Travel.  Because there are lots of other valuable travel cards, which earn more flexible rewards.

3.   AMEX SimplyCash Plus

Link:   SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the AMEX SimplyCash Plus

With the no annual fee AMEX SimplyCash Plus card you can choose to earn 3% cash back at US restaurants.

Then, you can redeem the cash back as a statement credit.

Best Cash Back Cards To Use At Restaurants 2017

You Can Purchase This Delicious Taco With the AMEX SimplyCash Plus Card and Earn 3% Cash Back!

Keep in mind, you must have a small business to qualify for this card.  But I’ve written about 7 quick small business ideas to become eligible for business cards.

And this card charges foreign transaction fees.  So it’s not good to use on overseas dining purchases.  Plus, the 3% bonus category only applies to US restaurants.

4.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining.  Similar to the Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem these points for cash back.

Team member Scott typically puts dining expenses on his Sapphire Preferred to earn the bonus points.

But instead of using the extra points for cash back, he saves them for more valuable rewards, such as free nights at Hyatt hotels.  Or for award flights on United Airlines and its partners like LOT Polish Airlines and TAP Portugal.

Best Cash Back Cards To Use At Restaurants 2017

Cash Back Is Great, but the Extra Points You Earn With Restaurant Purchases Using the Sapphire Preferred Can Also Go Toward Big Travel. Like a Free Night at Hotels Like the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

This card has no foreign transaction fees.  So you can earn bonus points AND avoid paying more for your meals when you’re traveling abroad.

5.   Chase AARP

Link:   Chase AARP Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase AARP Card

You can earn 3% cash back at restaurants with the Chase AARP card.

Some folks really like this card because you also earn 3% cash back at gas stations.  And the card has a 2% cash back category, which includes airfare and hotels.

And you do NOT have to be an AARP member, or retired, or over 50 to get this card.

But the card has a 3% foreign transaction fee.  So it’s not good to use overseas.

6.   Costco Anywhere Visa

Link:   Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Link:   My Review of the Citi Costco Visa

With the Citi Costco Visa, you can earn 3% cash back at restaurants & bars worldwide.

And folks with a Costco membership do NOT pay an annual fee with this card.

Best Cash Back Cards To Use At Restaurants 2017

Folks With a Costco Membership Don’t Pay an Annual Fee With the Citi Costco Visa and Earn 3% Cash Back at Restaurants & Bars!

But keep in mind, the cash back rewards on this card are different than other cash back cards.  Because you only receive a reward coupon once a year, which you can then redeem for cash back or for merchandise at Costco.

And this card has foreign transaction fees, so it’s NOT good to use when you travel overseas.

7.   Chase Ink Cash

Link:   Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ink Cash

The no annual fee Ink Cash is a small business card which earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (2% cash back) at restaurants.

Team member Scott uses this card when paying for business meals.  But he doesn’t use it abroad because it has foreign transaction fees.

And like the other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you’re not limited to redeeming your points for cash back.  You can combine your points with other cards and transfer them directly to travel partners.

8.   Citi DoubleCash

Link:   Citi Double Cash Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi Double Cash

With the no annual fee Citi Double Cash card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase.  And another 1% cash back when you make payments, as long you meet the minimum payment on your monthly statement.

Best Cash Back Cards To Use At Restaurants 2017

Get Up to 2% Cash Back Using the Citi Double Cash Card for ALL Purchases, Including at Restaurants

After you reach $25 in rewards, you can redeem your cash back for a mailed check, statement credit, or gift cards.

This is a straightforward cash back card for folks who don’t want to bother with separate bonus categories for different purchases.

9.   Chase Freedom

Link:   Chase Freedom®

Link:   My Review of the Chase Freedom

With the no annual fee Chase Freedom card, you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (on up to $1,500 in spending) in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus!

So spending the maximum in a quarter gets you $75 cash back.

In the past, restaurants have been included as a bonus category for at least 1 quarter.  I’ll be sure to let y’all know if restaurants are added to the calendar in 2017.

Let’s Hope Restaurants Make the Rotating Bonus Category for the Chase Freedom! Because You’ll Earn 5% Cash Back on Up to $1,500 in Purchases!

Note:  Many bars, especially ones that serve food, also code as restaurants!

10.   Discover it

Link:   Discover it

Link:   Discover it Cash Back Calendar

Similar to the Chase Freedom, folks can earn 5% cash back dining out with the no annual fee Discover it card when restaurants are included in the rotating quarterly bonus categories.

We’ll have to wait and see if restaurants are included in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2017.

With the 5X bonus, you can earn $75 cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter after you activate the bonus.  When restaurants are not included as a bonus category, you’ll only earn 1% cash back.

And for new cardmembers, Discover will match the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first 12 billing cycles.  So any purchases you made in the 5% bonus categories will get you 10% cash back!

Bottom Line

There are lots of terrific personal and small business cards you can use at restaurants to earn cash back, including some with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

For example, you’ll earn 3% cash back with the no annual fee Capital One Premier Dining Rewards card.  And there’s no minimum redemption amount.

Folks who qualify for a small business card can do well paying for meals with the AMEX SimplyCash Plus card, which earns 3% cash back at US restaurants when that’s your selected bonus category.

Or earn 5% cash back with the Chase Freedom or Discover it when restaurants are included in the rotating quarterly bonus categories.

Which card do you choose to pay the bill at restaurants?

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5 responses to “10 Best Cards to Earn Cash Back at Restaurants

  1. Flexperks AMEX also gives 3% on Food which is effectively 6cpm if we buy the best flight tickets

  2. What about Citi Prestige/Premier?

  3. At fast food restaurants US Bank Cash + can give 5%.