What Are The Best Restaurant Credit Cards?


A restaurant credit card would have been perfect for the Seinfeld crew!

In today’s fast paced society, many of us simply don’t have the time to slave away in the kitchen and cook up a meal. So instead, we find ourselves eating out a lot. If that’s you, or you simply just want to save money when you do eat out, then credit card restaurant rewards are right up your alley!

Is there such thing as restaurant credit cards in 2013?
Many years back, there were two restaurant cards… Discover Restaurant & Chase Profit. They gave 5% and 3% cash back at restaurants, respectively. Unfortunately those cards were discontinued and the cardholders were switched over to alternative credit cards.Today, there aren’t any specific restaurant cards, but there are a handful on the market that give up to 5% rewards at restaurants. These cards fall into two categories:

Rotating Rewards Programs – These are cards that give 5% cash back in categories that usually rotate every quarter.

For example, one or two quarters of the year they may give 5% on restaurants, fast food, and grocery stores, and the next quarter they may give 5% on apparel and department stores. The two credit cards that work this way are Discover It and Chase Freedom. While they have great excellent programs, unfortunately restaurants are only featured for a few months out of the year.

Consistent Rewards Programs – Most credit cards have reward programs that remain constant throughout the entire year. Some of them give higher rebates for spending on restaurants and fast food (I’ll go thru the best ones in a moment).

Which type is best for restaurants?
In my opinion, the best restaurant credit card will be one that gives you higher rewards all year long. You may not be getting the 5% but the trade-off is you get to earn a higher rebate at restaurants for 12 months out of the year instead of just 3 or 6 months.

Which restaurant cards do I recommend?
In addition to the two mentioned above, another one I would recommend is the Sapphire Preferred. It gives 2x points on dining, but something to keep in mind is that they let you convert points to several frequent flyer programs on a 1:1 conversion. That means it’s like earning 2 miles per dollar on dining, and as we all know, true frequent flyer miles are usually worth more than 1 cent each. Go here for more info about it.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

I’ve been using the citi forward card for a couple of years now. The benefits used to be better (5x amazon, points worth more for cash back) but I still think its the best one out there for eating out..

Unfortunately they stopped offering the Forward card in 2013. It’s only available as a student version now, for students only 🙁

Citi also has an awful online UI and their customer service is atrocious. Buyer beware…

For Citi Forward, 5 points per dollar is not the same as 5%. If you look at the cash you can get back using the points, you basically get $1 back for every $40 you spend at restaurants. That is the same as 1/40 or 2.5% back, which is the same as the “second best card” you mentioned. Am I missing something here?

Citi offers a plethora of $25 partner gift cards for 2,500 points (and $50 ones for 5,000 pts, etc). So when you go that route, you’re getting the full 1 cent per point, making your rewards worth 5% 🙂

If you want cash back, true, but if you redeem in Amazon gift codes, it ends up being 4% back on restaurants, bookstores, and entertainment. If you use Amazon somewhat regularly anyway, it ends up being an awesome deal. However, they don’t offer the card the anymore. I’m grandfathered in but I’m guessing at some point they’ll switch me over to something different. I’m just hoping it’s a while before they do.