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Best Restaurant Credit Cards for July 2022

Restaurant credit cards can earn you up to 5% back on your meal.

Restaurants are charging higher prices as with everything else these days -- the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that food away from home now costs 7.4% more than a year ago. A restaurant credit card that maximizes your cash back while dining out or getting takeout is a great way to combat the additional costs if you pay off your statement balance in full and on time.

With these picks, you can earn up to 5% in rewards, along with other relevant perks like welcome bonuses, entertainment perks and delivery benefits. These restaurant credit cards have different credit score requirements and annual fees, so there is an option for everyone.

Best restaurant credit card overall

Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
APR15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 months on purchases
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 15 months on balance transfers
Balance Transfer APR15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card allows cardholders to earn 5% cash back on their highest eligible spending category, on up to $500 of expenditure within a billing cycle, then 1%. Restaurants are an eligible category. This 5% gets applied automatically depending on your spending within the billing cycle, so be sure to use this card primarily for restaurants.

Other eligible spending categories include gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment. 

Check out our full review of the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card for more information.

Restaurant rewards with a welcome bonus

See Rates and Fees
Card Highlights
Intro OfferIntro Offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
APR16.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% for 12 billing cycles on purchases
Recommended Credit Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • 4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery.
  • 2X points on streaming services.
  • 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • 1X point on all other eligible purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 12 billing cycles on balance transfers
Balance Transfer APR16.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater
Foreign Transaction Fees N/A
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery.
  • 2X points on streaming services.
  • 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • 1X point on all other eligible purchases.

Our Take

At one of the highest rewards rates for restaurants around, and with no annual fee, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card is a great choice for most people's restaurant and dining expenditure. You'll earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining. At a value of 1 cent per point, this means you're receiving 4% back. The welcome bonus is also a great way to score some extra rewards toward meals out.

For dining and entertainment

Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
APR16.49% - 26.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR16.49% - 26.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases.

Our Take

With the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, there are no spending caps on your dining rewards. And you can earn the same good cash-back rate on entertainment and popular streaming services, so this card is good for a night out on the town or at home with takeout and Netflix. Entertainment purchases include ticket purchases made at movie theaters, sports promoters, theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys.

For more details, see our full review of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Best for delivery

Card Highlights
Intro OfferIntro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
APR15.74% - 24.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% on all other purchases
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR15.74% to 24.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Our Take

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers 3% cash back on dining, plus at least 1.5% cash back on any other purchases, making it the best pick if you want to maximize rewards for dining and everyday spending. The welcome bonus offers an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases for up to $20,000 of spending in the first year, so you can net a total of 4.5% cash back on dining for the relevant time frame. Plus, there's no annual fee. 

A unique offer with this card right now is the complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash. As long as you activate by December 31, 2024, you can enjoy unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees from thousands of restaurants for three months on qualifying food purchases. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at 50% off for the next nine months.

See our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited for more information.

Best restaurant credit card for limited credit

Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR13.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Limited/Fair/Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.

Our Take

If your credit is fair or limited, it may be difficult to qualify for one of our above picks. But all hope is not lost -- while most credit cards for fair or limited credit do not offer any rewards systems, the Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa credit card, issued by WebBank, Member FDIC, does. There is no specific restaurant or dining category for rewards, but a blanket rewards rate of up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases has you covered. You earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away, and then another 0.5% after 12 on-time monthly payments.

FAQs

How do you choose the right credit card for restaurants?

With so many excellent restaurant and dining credit cards on the market, it can be difficult to choose the best one for you. The fact is that many of the cards on our list offer comparable dining benefits, which means you may need to look a little closer at the rest of the terms and rewards.

Pay attention to whether there's a limit on the dining rewards you can earn and see what combination of rewards and terms best fits your lifestyle and spending habits. 

How do restaurant and dining cards work?

Restaurant and dining credit cards reward you for spending at certain food establishments. When you spend money at restaurants, on takeout or on food delivery (when applicable), you'll earn an elevated rewards rate. Depending on the credit card company, you may be able to use your rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel, statement credits and other shopping. Some providers may offer a higher rewards rate on your points for certain redemption options.

As always, cash-back points are only worthwhile if you don't overspend and pay off your balance in full each month. Otherwise, the interest and penalty fees you may accrue will offset your cash-back earnings and may end up costing you.

How do restaurants process tips on credit cards?

Typically, cardholders input a tip amount for servers or bartenders after the bill for the meal has already been charged to the card. The charge is later modified to reflect the tip before the total is finalized for processing with the credit card issuer -- often this happens before the restaurant closes for the night. Still, you may see the initial amount show up on your credit card account until the adjustment processes. This could take several days.

Can you earn rewards at bars with restaurant and dining cards?

Each credit card comes with different rules about what you can and cannot earn elevated rewards for. For example, some issuers only offer elevated rewards on money spent at actual restaurants, while others include takeout and delivery. Although bars are typically classified as restaurants, there may be a few instances where they are not.

Also, some cards may allow you to earn points at bars if they are also dining establishments, while others may allow elevated rewards at all establishments regardless of whether they serve food.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card. 

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.