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How I save hundreds of dollars on food delivery and takeout

Sept. 05, 2021
6 min read
Food delivery worker hands over takeout food delivery bag to customer
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Between the pandemic and moving to a New York City studio with a very small kitchen, my eating habits have shifted quite a bit over the last year and a half. Specifically, I've been taking out and ordering in more than I ever have in the past.

From delivery fees to service fees to tips and potential menu markups, food delivery may seem expensive. However, by maximizing my credit card benefits and some lesser-known tricks, I've been able to save hundreds of dollars and rack up a lot of points in the process.

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Free food delivery subscriptions

The first way I'm able to save on my orders is by taking advantage of the complimentary food delivery subscriptions I have access to through my cards.

Now through Dec. 31, 2021, I'm able to enroll for a complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months thanks to my American Express® Gold Card. This membership normally costs $9.99 per month and gets me unlimited free delivery and discounts on orders of $15 or more at eligible restaurants. As an added perk, I even get discounts on some Uber rides in the U.S. Uber Eats will auto-bill starting 12 months from initial enrollment at the current monthly rate.

(Photo courtesy Uber)

Next, thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve, I get a year of complimentary DashPass membership (normally $9.99 per month) when claimed by Dec. 31, 2021. This provides free delivery and reduced service fees on eligible DoorDash (and Caviar) orders of more than $12. Plus, I automatically get 5% back in DoorDash credit on all pickup orders. According to DoorDash, DashPass members save an average of between $4 and $5 per order by having a membership.

Although not advertised directly by Chase, my Sapphire Reserve also gets me Grubhub+ free of charge. I get these memberships as a part of the Lyft Pink subscription I get from my card. Similar to the other subscriptions, these programs offer free delivery, as well as some other perks like VIP access to customer service in the event of delays or other issues, access to exclusive rewards and donation-matching through Donate the Change on all Grubhub+ orders.

If you're a Sapphire Reserve cardholder and haven't activated your free year of Lyft Pink, keep in mind that the deadline for activating the benefit is March 31, 2022.

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Related: 8 easy strategies to save money on food delivery and takeout

Credit card dining credits

In addition to free food delivery subscriptions, several of my cards give me outright statement credits for food delivery spending.

My Amex Gold card comes with a $10 monthly dining statement credit that can be used toward participating dining partners (enrollment required). There are several different merchants to choose from but the one I always use it toward is Grubhub. While $10 might not seem like much, that's typically enough to cover a sandwich or salad each month.

At the beginning of the year, the Amex Gold also added a $10 monthly Uber Cash (up to $120 annually; enrollment required). Since I typically use public transportation to get around, I use this cash toward Uber Eats orders in the U.S. Again, while $10 might seem insignificant on the surface, it gets me a free lunch each month. Card must be added in Uber account to receive Uber Cash benefits.

Likewise, my Chase Sapphire Reserve provides up to $60 in DoorDash credit in 2021. This credit is automatically applied whenever I make an eligible purchase, up to the $60 cap.

(Screenshot courtesy of chase.com)

For those keeping track, that's already $280 in food delivery credits for this year. But it doesn't end there.

Several of my American Express cards, such as my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, are temporarily offering up to $20 back per month at U.S. restaurants, including food delivery services (up to 11 times). So, that's another $220 in dining credits per eligible card this year. (Enrollment is required through Amex Offers before redeeming.)

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Here’s how to use (and track) your September Amex statement credits

Promo codes and shopping portals

Finally, I never place a food delivery order without first checking for promo codes or shopping portal bonuses.

Most major delivery platforms routinely offer promotional codes that can help you save cash on your orders. New users can almost always get a discount on their first few orders by using a promo or referral code when signing up. For example, DoorDash is currently offering newly referred users up to $30 off ($10 off your first three orders).

Additionally, we frequently see discounts for existing users. Keeping track of these promotions can be tough so I built this guide to regularly round up the best discounts available.

(Screenshot courtesy of Grubhub.com)

On top of that, I'm sometimes able to stretch my savings further by going through an online shopping portal. For instance, when redeeming my Amex Gold's dining credit on Grubhub, I first go through Rakuten to earn an extra one Membership Reward point or 1% cash back on my order. TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece so I'm effectively getting 2% back on my orders. Similarly, I'm able to earn two Aeroplan miles per dollar on Uber Eats orders. Keep in mind, any rewards earned through a shopping portal are in addition to the points and miles you earn for paying with a dining credit card.

Related: Use these tips to maximize earnings on your next food delivery order

Bottom line

Travel credit cards are no longer just about travel. Many now also offer a number of food-focused benefits and credits. Stack those perks with promo codes and online shopping portals and you'll easily save hundreds of dollars each year as I do.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more