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Best credit cards for dining and take out in 2020

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Best credit cards for dining and take out in 2020

Jason StaufferBest credit cards for dining and take out in 2020Million Mile Secrets Team

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The best card to use for dining spending depends on your goals. For example, some people prefer to earn flexible miles & points, which add up quickly and help you save money on travel. Others like to earn straightforward cash back, which equates to getting a discount on every meal. And don’t forget, you can earn bonus rewards for take out or delivery as well. To ensure you earn the bonus points, it’s best to order directly with the restaurant, but depending on the card issuer and the deliver service, you can earn bonus points for delivery as well.

No matter which credit card rewards you prefer to earn there is a card for you, so let’s take a look at the best credit cards for restaurants.

Best credit cards for restaurants in 2020

Information for the Ink Business Cash card, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card, Citi Prestige and Citi Premier card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets and has not been reviewed by the card issuer.

CardBonusAnnual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account$95
American Express®️ Green CardEarn 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening. Terms apply.$150 annual fee (see rates & fees) 
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit CardEarn $300 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.$95
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardEarn a $500 bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.$550
American Express® Gold CardEarn 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.$250 (see rates & fees)
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American ExpressEarn 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.$450 (see rates & fees)
Citi Prestige® CardEarn 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.$495
Using one of the best credit cards for restaurants to pay for meals is a great way to earn travel rewards. (Photo courtesy of SolStock/iStock)

Best credit cards for restaurants

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Best low annual fee Chase card

Bonus

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you’ll earn 60,000 bonus Chase points after spending $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Insider tip

Recently, Chase partnered with DoorDash to add perks to select Chase credit cards. With the Sapphire Preferred you’ll get at least one year of a complimentary DashPass membership, which normally costs $9.99/month. With DashPass you’ll get all delivery fees waived on orders of $12 or more with restaurants that participate in the DashPass program, in addition to reduced fees. You will need to activate this offer anytime before Dec. 31, 2021.

Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s benefits include, primary rental car insurance, trip delay coverage and baggage delay insurance. You’ll also earn 5x Ultimate Rewards point on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 2x points on travel and dining and one point per dollar on all other purchases.

Annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee is $95.

Our take

This is our top card for beginners and miles and points veterans alike. It has a reasonable annual fee, excellent travel insurances and earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to 13 different airline and hotel travel partners. The flexibility it gives you can be invaluable when it comes time to book your next trip.

Total value

This card’s bonus is worth $750 in travel (booked through the Chase travel portal), so subtracting the $95 annual fee leaves you with a first year value of at least $655.

American Express® Green Card

Best lower annual fee Amex card

Bonus

With the Amex Green card you’ll earn 30,000 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Insider tip

The Amex Green card earns 3x Amex points at restaurants worldwide, which isn’t the case for every American Express card. Some Amex cards only earn bonus points at U.S. restaurants.

Benefits

The Amex Green card comes with a few potentially valuable benefits. First off, you’ll get up to $100 in credit toward a CLEAR membership every calendar year and $100 in LoungeBuddy credits every calendar year. You’ll also earn 3x Amex points at restaurants and on travel purchases and one point per dollar everywhere else.

Annual fee

The Amex Green card’s annual fee is $150 (see rates and fees).

Our take

There are lots of great ways to use Amex points to book travel to just about anywhere in the world, so earning triple points on dining makes this card worth taking a look at. You can earn slightly more points at restaurants with the Amex Gold card (four instead of three), but with the Amex Green you’re committing to a smaller annual fee, which makes it a better choice for some people. For a deeper comparison check out our guide comparing the Amex Gold, Amex Green and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Total value

We value Amex points at two cents each, making this bonus and its benefits (statement credits) worth up to $800. That’s a first year value of $650 after paying the card’s $150 annual fee.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for cash back

Bonus

The Capital One Savor comes with a $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Insider tip

If you already have two Capital One credit cards you’ll find it difficult (if not impossible) to be approved for a third. Many reports indicate that this limit only applies to Capital One branded cards and may not extend to Capital One business credit cards.

Benefits

The biggest Capital One Savor card benefit is the card’s 4% cash back on dining purchases. You’ll also get 4% back on entertainment purchases, 3% back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases.

Annual fee

$95

Our take

When it comes to saving on a night out it’s hard to beat this card. You won’t find a cash back credit card that gets you a better return on both eating out and entertainment spending.

Total value

Once you include the cash back you’ll earn from meeting the cards minimum spending (at only 1% back), you’ll earn at least $330 the first year you have the card.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Best business card

Bonus

With the Ink Business Cash credit card you’ll earn a $500 bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Insider tip

While this is technically a cash back business credit card, it can be turned into much more. This is because you earn cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points that are worth one cent each toward a variety of redemptions. But if you have one of the Ultimate Rewards earning cards that has an annual fee (Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card) you can pool your points onto that other card and then transfer them to Chase’s travel partnersThe information for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Benefits

The card earns 2% back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each cardmember year. You’ll also earn 5% back at office supply stores and on cable, internet and phone services for the first $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year. All other purchases earn 1% back.

Annual fee

$0

Our take

On the surface, the American Express® Business Gold Card looks like a better business card option for your restaurant spend since it can earn up to 4x Amex points at restaurants. But the catch is that the Amex Business Gold earns 4x on the two bonus categories per billing cycle that you spend the most in on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1x (read our Amex Business Gold review to learn more about the bonus categories). So you aren’t guaranteed to earn the 4x bonus on restaurants purchases, plus the card also has a $295 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Since the Ink Cash card has no annual fee all the rewards you earn at restaurants are yours to keep, so it makes much more sense for most people.

Total value

This card’s bonus is worth a minimum of $500, but as we explained above, it could be worth much much more than that if you pair it with certain other annual-fee cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for earning Ultimate Rewards points

Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Insider tip

When you use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal the Sapphire Reserve makes your points worth 1.5 cents each. And you can pool the Chase points you earn with other cards onto your Sapphire Reserve, so this card can actually increase the return you get from other Chase credit cards.

Benefits

There is a long list of valuable Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits. The best perk is the card’s $300 in annual travel credits, which is automatically applied to a wide range of travel purchases. You’ll also earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining and travel purchases (not including the $300 travel credit) and all other purchases earn 1x.

The card comes with a Priority Pass membership, which gets you and up to two guests unlimited access to 1,200+ airport lounges. It also comes with top-tier travel insurance, including excellent trip delay coverage and primary rental car insurance.

Annual fee

$550

Our take

The Sapphire Reserve is our top rewards credit card for frequent travelers for good reason. The annual travel credit is incredibly easy to use and very few people won’t be able to take full advantage of it. Almost any travel purchase earns the credit including airfare, hotels, campgrounds, timeshares, rental cars, cruises, buses and trains, even certain tolls and parking can qualify. So if you normally spend at least $300 per year on those expenses anyway, then you’re essentially only paying $250 a year to keep it.

Total value

Since the Chase points associated with a Sapphire Reserve card are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel booked through the Chase site, the bonus is worth at least $750 in travel. But, when you transfer your points to travel partners we peg your Chase points value at two cents each. After you add in the card’s $300 in annual travel credits and subtract the $550 annual fee, the first year value is $750. This is a conservative number because we haven’t attached the value of the card’s lounge access or excellent built-in travel coverages.

American Express® Gold Card

Best for earning Membership Rewards points

Bonus

The American Express Gold card comes with an intro offer of 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Insider tip

This card’s annual airline fee credits of up to $100 only apply to an airline you select when you open the card and officially you can change your choice each January. But many of us on the Million Mile Secrets team have had success getting our selected airline changed mid-year by calling Amex and asking. This can exceptionally helpful in maximizing the credit’s value.

Benefits

With this card you’ll earn 4x Amex points at restaurants and 4x points on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets. In addition, the card earns 3x points on airfare purchased directly with the airline or through Amex travel and 1x on all other spending.

You’ll also get valuable credits. Every year you can earn up to $120 in dining credits at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. But, you can only earn up to $10 in dining credits per month. The card also comes with up to $100 in airline incidental fee credits every calendar year. This credit is valid for charges like checked bags, lounge passes and change/cancellation fees.

Annual fee

$250 (see rates & fees)

Our take

This card is a powerhouse for worldwide restaurant spending because it has no foreign transaction fees and there is no cap on the number of points you can earn. And when you use Amex points for expensive business or first-class flights to destinations like Japan and Europe the value of your points can skyrocket.

Total value

We value Amex points, on average, at two cents a piece, which makes the card’s bonus worth $700. The card’s up to $220 in annual dining credits and in yearly airline fee credits bring the first year value up to $670 after paying the $250 annual fee.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Best for earning hotel points

Bonus

The Hilton Aspire has a bonus of 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Insider tip

When you have any level of Hilton status you’ll get every 5th night free on points stays of 5+ nights. The free night cost is based on the average cost per night of the stay. This applies to Standard Room award stays and you can get up to four free nights per stay. And get this, you can use this benefit an unlimited number of times.

Benefits

The Hilton Aspire’s benefits include the ability to earn 14x Hilton points at participating Hilton hotels and 7x points at U.S. restaurants, on car rentals and on airfare purchases directly through the airline or on the Amex travel site. All other qualifying purchases earn 3x points.

As long as you have the card you’ll get Hilton Diamond status, which comes with a 100% bonus on the base points you earn at Hilton hotels, free breakfast and room upgrades (when available). You’ll also get up to $250 in credits at participating Hilton resorts every cardmember year, this credit is valid for most things you can charge to your room including room rates and hotel restaurant or spa charges. Every year the card also has up to $250 in airline fee credits with your selected airline.

And those aren’t even the best perks. When you open the card (and every year you renew) you’ll get a free weekend award night valid at almost any Hilton hotel (except this list of exclusions). And you can earn a second free weekend night if you spend $60,000+ on the card in a calendar year. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get a Priority Pass membership which will get you and up to two guests unlimited access to 1,200+ Priority Pass lounges.

Annual fee

$450 (see rates & fees)

Our take

If you can take full advantage of just a couple of this card’s perks it’s really easy to justify paying the Hilton Aspire’s annual fee. The wide range of benefits and generous welcome offer are why this card is one of our best American Express cards and one of our top hotel credit cards too.

Total value

The Aspire comes with up to $500 in yearly credits at Hilton resorts and for airline fees. The free weekend night is easily worth $200 and we value Hilton points at .5 cents each when used for hotel stays. That’s a first year total value of $1,000 once you subtract the card’s $450 annual fee.

Citi Prestige

Best for earning Citi ThankYou points

Bonus

The Citi Prestige comes with a 50,000 ThankYou-point bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Insider tip

If you have the Citi Prestige (or the Citi Premier℠ Card) the ThankYou points you earn with card’s like the Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi Rewards+℠ Card become more valuable because you can then transfer those points to any of the Citi transfer partners.

Benefits

When it comes to earning rewards, it’s hard to beat the Citi Prestige. The card earns 5x ThankYou points at restaurants and on air travel and 3x points on hotels and cruise lines. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

The Prestige also has a great travel-credit perk worth up to $250 a year and it is automatically applied to eligible travel purchases as you make them. And twice a year you can use the card’s 4th-night free feature when booking stays of 4+ nights through ThankYou.com.

Annual fee

$495

Our take

While the Citi Prestige card has exceptional earning rates and redeeming ThankYou points can be very valuable, this card isn’t what it used to be. You used to be able to use the 4th night free perk an unlimited number of times per year. On top of that, almost every Citibank credit card had its travel protections removed in 2019, so this card has a premium annual fee, but doesn’t come with rental car insurance or trip delay coverage.

Total value

We conservatively value Citi ThankYou points at 1.5 cents each when you redeem them with Citi’s airline partners. So this card’s intro bonus is worth around $750 in travel, plus you’ll get up to $250 in travel credits each year. After you pay the card’s $495 annual fee you’ll have a first year value of $505.

Qualifying for the best credit cards for restaurants

In general, to qualify for the best travel credit cards you’ll want a credit score over 700, but that’s not the only factor banks consider. They’ll also look at your income and credit history. On top of that, each bank has its own restrictions and there are even sometimes individual rules for a specific card.

The Chase 5/24 rule is the most famous of these rules. What it means is Chase will not approve you for its cards if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (not counting Chase business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months. In addition, you also can’t have more than one Sapphire card at the same time, so if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred you won’t be eligible for the Sapphire Reserve.

Amex limits you to earning a welcome bonus on a specific card to once per lifetime, so if you’ve ever had a specific Amex card before you won’t be eligible for the card’s bonus again. Citi also has application restrictions that vary a bit depending on the card. For example, the restriction on the Citi Prestige card is:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

So essentially, you aren’t eligible for the Prestige card’s bonus if you’ve earn a bonus with or closed another card in the ThankYou points family in the past 24 months.

Summary of the best credit cards for restaurants

For more travel and credit card news, deals and analysis sign-up for our newsletter here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, click here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • 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.

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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This article is surreal. No Citi Prestige, Amex Gold, or Uber card? This is the worst article I’ve ever read on this site.

The AMEX gold gives you 4 points per $1.

Not even mentioned?

My sentiments exactly!

I hate to say it but the quality of this site has gone way downhill. It used to be a must read and I read most their articles. Now, the articles feel like clickbait – “The top 3 card that will AMAZE you!!” – and either tell me stuff I already know or isn’t nearly as “amazing” as they would have had me believe.

Don’t forget that the AMEX Business Blue gives 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases, including restaurants, on up to 50K spend per year.

WTF I didn’t realize until this moment that your articles are not about the truth, but in fact, whatever card is paying you the most at the moment.

“Top Citi ThankYou Points Credit Card for Restaurants”
-Citi Premier Card

Are you f###ing kidding me? You are straight face lying to you readers the Prestige is objectively the best credit card for Citi ThankYou points considering it gives 5x…

“Top Credit Card Benefits on Card Earning Restaurant Points”
-How about the x4 MR points you get from the AMEX Gold?

Five weeks later and this article is still garbage.

The Ink Business Cash does NOT have 2x points for restaurants. Totally inaccurate!

Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year.

Hi J R!

I double checked on the Chase website and confirmed that the Ink Business Cash credit card also earns the following:

“Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.*”

Hope that helps!