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What Are The Best Credit Cards For Dining? [2019]

One Mile at a Time
What Are The Best Credit Cards For Dining? [2019]

What Are The Best Credit Cards For Dining? [2019]

There are lots of great ways to earn points — you can earn them through credit card welcome bonuses, you can earn them by maximizing everyday spend, and you can even buy them directly from loyalty programs when there are sales.

The most straightforward way to earn as many points as possible is to be sure you’re maximizing the return you receive on everyday spend. Cards offer different bonuses for spend in different categories, ranging from dining to grocery stores to gas to travel. Having a credit card that earns you as many points as possible in a category you frequent is crucial.

For example, I spend a lot on dining and travel, but very little at grocery stores and gas stations (which I’m sure is true for many people, especially millennials).

Dining is a big spend category for many, so in this post I wanted to look at what I consider to be the most rewarding cards for dining spend. I wrote a post along these lines a few months back, though there’s a new best card for this, so I figured it was time to update the list.

What qualifies as dining spend?

In general, the “dining” category is broader than you might think. The first thing to understand is that it’s up to individual merchants to decide how they categorize themselves. Sometimes they won’t be categorized correctly, and some businesses use Square, where they may also not have selected the right merchant code.

In general the dining category goes beyond just sit-down restaurants. They generally include coffee shops, frozen yogurt stores, fast food establishments, and more. They don’t, however, include grocery stores.

The best credit cards for dining spend

Here are what I consider to be the 11 most rewarding personal credit cards for dining spend, starting with the most rewarding:

1. Citi Prestige Card

Reward for dining spend: 8.5% (5x points, which I value at 1.7 cents each)
Card annual fee: $450 (increasing to $495 as of September 1, 2019)
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 5x points on your dining spend globally

Learn more about this card here (note that the card isn’t currently open to new applicants, though should be again shortly).

2. American Express® Gold Card

Reward for dining spend: 6.8% (4x points, which I value at 1.7 cents each)
Card annual fee: $250
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, though only offers 4x points for dining spend in the US

Learn more about this card here.

3. Chase Sapphire Reserve® 

Reward for dining spend: 5.1% (3x points, which I value at 1.7 cents each)
Card annual fee: $450
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 3x points on your dining spend globally

Learn more about this card here.

4. U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card

Reward for dining spend: 4.5 (3x points, which can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards travel)
Card annual fee: $85
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 4% cash back on your dining spend globally

5. Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Reward for dining spend: 4% cash back
Card annual fee: $95, waived the first year
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 4% cash back on your dining spend globally

Learn more about this card here.

6. The Uber Visa Card

Reward for dining spend: 4% cash back
Card annual fee: no annual fee
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 4% cash back on your dining spend globally

Learn more about this card here.

7. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Reward for dining spend: 3.4% (2x points, which I value at 1.7 cents each)
Card annual fee: $95, waived the first year
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 2x points on your dining spend globally

Learn more about this card here.

8. Citi Premier℠ Card

Reward for dining spend: 3.4% (2x points, which I value at 1.7 cents each)
Card annual fee: $95, waived the first year
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 2x points on your dining spend globally

Learn more about this card here.

9. Capital One® SavorOne(SM) Cash Rewards Credit Card

Reward for dining spend: 3% cash back
Card annual fee: no annual fee
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 3% cash back on your dining spend globally

Learn more about this card here.

10. The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Reward for dining spend: 3% (2x points, which I value at 1.5 cents each)
Card annual fee: $95
Other things to be aware of: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can earn 3% cash back on your dining spend globally; furthermore, spend on this card will get you closer to elite qualifying nights and free night certificates, so there’s lots of value to be had.

Learn more about this card here.

®Credit Card from Chase

Reward for dining spend: 3% cash back
Card annual fee: no annual fee (though an AARP membership is required — there’s no age requirement for that)
Other things to be aware of: This card has foreign transaction fees, so you’ll only want to use this card for US dining

Bottom line

Hopefully the above list gives a card for every budget and rewards preference. From a no annual fee card earning 4% cash back, to a premium card earning 5x points, there are lots of great options to choose from for your dining spend.

Historically the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been my go to card for all dining spend, though recently we’ve seen changes to two cards that potentially trump that.

The American Express® Gold Card offers 4x points on US dining spend, while the Citi Prestige Card offers 5x points on dining spend globally, making it the best card out there for dining spend, in my opinion.

Earning a return that I value at up to 8.5% on all dining purchases is pretty incredible.

What credit card do you use for dining purchases?

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