The 3 Best Dining Rewards Credit Cards

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Whether you’re a takeout or dine-in kind of person, restaurant purchases probably make up a large portion of your monthly spend. In fact, the average U.S. family spends $250/month on dining out. If you don’t have a credit card that maximizes this portion of your budget, you are missing out on serious rewards – travel or otherwise.

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Continuing on in our series of the best credit cards for consultants, today we’re talking about the best credit cards for dining rewards. As always, we’ve done the research for you, and have made our selections for the 3 Best Credit Cards for Dining Rewards. The main criteria we took into consideration was the bonus potential on dining purchases. We used additional perks and rewards categories as tiebreakers.

Dining rewards cards aren’t for you? See our analysis on the best overall reward credit cards for consulting.

Best Dining Rewards Credit Cards

1. Citi Prestige Card

  • Get 5X ThankYou points on purchases at Restaurants (including cafes, bars, lounges, and fast food restaurants)
  • Get 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Get 5X ThankYou points on Airline and Travel Agency purchases
  • Get 3X ThankYou points on Hotel purchases

Citi’s flagship card has recently seen big changes. Citi has stepped up the perks it offers, as well as the annual fee (now a cool $495). Still, if dining constitutes a major part of your monthly spend, the Prestige Card is a strong contender to be your everyday credit card with a 5X point bonus on restaurant purchases.

Additional Perks

The Citi Prestige offers an annual $250 travel credit, and starting May 1, 2019, began offering Cell Phone Protection (damaged or stolen cell phone replacement) when you pay your monthly bill with the card.

One painful change has recently occurred to the card’s best known perk – the free 4th consecutive hotel night. This perk can now only be used twice per calendar year. Perhaps more important, cardholders will no longer be able to book their 4th night free through the concierge and be reimbursed later. You will now have to book directly through thankyou.com or by calling Citibank, meaning you will no longer earn credit toward hotel elite status for that night.

In addition, the card offers rewards we’ve come to expect from a premium rewards card:

  • Citi Price Rewind – a price protection program that reimburses you for the price difference (up to $200 per item) if the price of the item you purchased decreases within 60 days of purchase (you can receive up to $1,000 back per year).
  • Priority Pass Select membership – unlimited access to select airport lounges worldwide.
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck Application fee credit – get reimbursed up to $100 on your application fee for either
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (applies once every 4 years).
  • Travel Protection – includes trip delay protection, trip cancellation, interruption protection, and emergency assistance.
  • VIP Events – use Citi Private Pass procure presale tickets and book VIP experiences.

The Citi Prestige is great, but doesn't crack our Top 2 Premium Rewards Credit Cards

Which cards do?

See Now

2. American Express® Gold Card

Amex Gold Card Benefits include:

  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. Restaurants
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at international restaurants
  • A 35,000 Membership Reward Point welcome bonus after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months
  • 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. Supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com

Similar to the Citi Prestige Card, American Express has recently restructured the Amex Gold Card. With the recent improvements, the Amex Gold has now entered the realm of Dining Rewards Royalty.

This is the ultimate foodie Credit Card, whether you are dining out or bringing home groceries to become the next master chef.

Now offering 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, you also receive 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X).

While this list is dedicated to dining rewards, the Amex Gold is a much better option if your supermarket spend also makes up a bulk of your monthly budget.

You’ll love the 4X bonus on U.S. supermarket purchases. Photo by Artem Kim on Unsplash.

Additional Perks

In addition, the Amex Gold Card also offers a $120 dining credit, giving you $10/month at selected partners including GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations.

5 Reasons to get the Amex Gold Card

3. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits include:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Dining purchases worldwide
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all Travel purchases
  • A $300 annual travel credit is automatically applied to your first $300 in travel spend

A little bit different from our top two dining rewards credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers more consistency across categories, though a lower bonus specifically in the dining category. This card delivers incredibly high long-term value due to its plethora of perks. In the crowded field of luxury credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve continues to stand out.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on restaurant purchases worldwide. This is a perfect card for those who consistently spend on both dining and travel, giving you a huge sign-up bonus, hundreds of dollars in credits, and luxurious travel perks.

Currently, the Sapphire Reserve is offering 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. This equates to $750 in travel rewards via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, giving you almost double the value of the $450 annual fee right off the bat.

The Sapphire Reserve is our favorite card for combining travel and dining spend. Photo by Casey Lee on Unsplash.

Additional Perks

You also receive a $300 annual travel credit that is automatically applied to the first $300 in travel spend you charge each year (airfare, Uber rides, metro tickets, and more).

The value continues to stack up with no bonus limit on and dining purchases worldwide. In addition, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the most versatile in the industry, giving you a wide variety of transfer partners to maximize your points.

Finally, the Sapphire Reserve grants additional perks including Priority Pass Select membership, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement, primary rental car insurance, trip delay insurance, and more.

Conclusion

If dining rewards are the most important factor in your decision, go with the Citi Prestige Card.

If you have a family, the 4X bonus on supermarket spend (plus the 4X bonus on dining) makes the Amex Gold Card the most attractive option for you.

If overall travel and dining are your largest spending categories, the 3X bonus with the Sapphire Reserve is your best bet.

One other thing to consider: The Points Guy values Citi ThankYou points, American Express Membership Rewards points, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points differently. According to TPG, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the most valuable in terms of redemption value – if you care about more than just dining rewards, you should prefer a more well rounded card over the Citi Prestige.