After more than a year of varying lockdowns, travel restriction, restaurant closures and ongoing limits to international travel, Americans are primed to celebrate the return to normal life. It seems as if the entire country is champing at the bit to return to bars and restaurants and to bring a Roaring 20s mindset back to nightlife. If you’re one such reveler, finding the best credit card for dining out can help you celebrate and put a little cash back in your pocket.
The best credit card for dining out will vary based on your credit score, how much you take advantage of other rewards options, as well as your needs for balance transfers and your willingness to pay annual fees. However, if you take the time to do a little research, you should be able to find a card that matches your lifestyle.
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The Best Credit Card for Dining Out (if You’re a Traveler)
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is routinely identified as one of, if not the best credit card for dining out and offers a wide variety of rewards for travelers. It’s currently offering a 60,000-point bonus if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. With this card you’ll receive an annual $300 travel credit and will then earn 3x points on worldwide travel and dining out.
All these perks come at a price though; the Sapphire Reserve card has a $495 annual fee and requires Excellent credit to qualify. There’s also a 5% balance transfer fee and no introductory APR, which means this card is not for borrowers looking to build credit or save money through debt consolidation. This is the best credit card for dining out if you’re a jetsetter that routinely spends money on travel and dining; if you haven’t bothered setting up TSA PreCheck (which this card offers a credit for every four years), then you probably don’t travel enough to take full advantage of this card.
The Best Credit Card for Dining Out (Without an Annual Fee)
If you’re looking for the best credit card for dining out but are a thrifty saver that’s paying off your credit card balance every month and can’t imagine paying an annual fee, you may want to consider the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature card. This card offers 4x points on dining, takeout, and food delivery as well as a 20,000-point bonus with $1,000 of eligible purchases in the first 90 days.
This card is available to borrowers with Good or Excellent credit and features some added benefits for debt reduction. Namely, a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months. The card, unfortunately, has a 3% balance transfer fee which makes consolidation a little less attractive, but using this as a replacement for an existing high-APR card and prioritizing paying that card off is a viable option for getting rid of debt.
The Best Credit Card for Dining Out (on a Budget)
For borrowers whose typical dining experience is more drive-through than eat-in, U.S. Bank also offers the Cash+ Visa Signature card which allows you to designate two categories each quarter where you’ll receive 5% cash back on your first $2,000 of eligible expenditures. This is the best credit card for dining out if you’re someone who either spends a lot of time on the go (traveling for work, long commutes, etc.) or regularly relies on fast food for emergency weeknight meals (working parents, for instance).
Like the Altitude Go card, this offers an introductory 12-month APR, requires Good or Excellent Credit, and has no annual fee (but also has a 3% balance transfer fee). Because you’ll be responsible for designating your quarterly categories, this card does require a little more effort to make sure you’re maximizing your rewards from fast food dining.
These three cards are just an example of the best credit card for dining out, and your individual financial situation (as well as your travel preferences) may make other cards better for you. If you’re looking for a new travel and dining card, these three are a good place to start your research.