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When it comes to bonus categories, one of the most popular ones among TPG readers is dining (travel, unsurprisingly, is another top pick). And if you’re spending a lot on dining, you’ll want to know which credit card will maximize your rewards when enjoying a night out.

But it’s not as easy as just looking at the earning rate on a card and deciding that 3x on dining is better than 2x on dining. The value of the points or miles you’re earning is also an important part of the calculation, as it could mean that 2 points per dollar on one card is actually better than 3 points on another.

So rather than having to slog through every card in your wallet, we’ve done the math for you. For each card that offers valuable bonus rewards on dining, we calculated the bonus multiplier, the value of the points earned based on TPG’s most recent monthly point valuations, the annual fee and noted any special requirements about that card.

 

Category Bonus Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
American Express® Gold Card 4x 1.9 cents 7.6 cents $250 25,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. At US restaurants
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x 2 cents 6 cents $450 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express 7x 0.6 cents 4.2 cents $450 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months At US restaurants
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 2x 2 cents 4 cents $95 (waived 1st year) 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first months
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card 4x 1 cent 4 cents $95 (waived 1st year) $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 within the first three months
Uber Visa Card 4x 1 cent 4 cents $0 $100 after you spend $500 in the first 90 days
Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card (with Platinum Honors Rewards) 3.5x 1 cent 3.5 cents $95 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days Must have at least $100,000 with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
Citi Premier Card 2x 1.7 cents 3.4 cents $95 (waived 1st year) 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months
Citi Prestige 2x 1.7 cents 3.4 cents $450 Currently unavailable for new applicants. Currently unavailable for new applicants.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card 2x 1.7 cents 3.4 cents $0 Currently no welcome bonus for new applicants.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card 3x 1 cent 3 cents $0 30,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card (with Platinum Rewards) 3x 1 cent 3 cents $95 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days Must have at least $50,000 with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

As you can see, the American Express Gold Card leads the way. This recently launched card earns 4 points per dollar at US restaurants, equal to a 7.6% return based on our valuation of Amex Membership Rewards points. The only downside is that the bonus doesn’t apply to dining worldwide.

Meanwhile, the 3x bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which comes in second, is valid for dining both in the US and abroad. But keep in mind the $450 annual fee of that card. While you can offset a large portion of that fee with the card’s $300 annual travel credit, you’re still going to want to consider whether the points you earn on the card are worth the money you’re paying each year for it. The same goes for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, which is a great card for Hilton loyalists but an expensive one if your hotel focus lies elsewhere.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be your choice — it only earns 2 points per dollar on dining, but comes with a much lower $95 annual fee that’s even waived the first year. And if you don’t like paying annual fees at all, the Uber Visa Card is a surprisingly high #5 on this list. The card earns cash back so you can’t get extreme travel value with it, but at 4% for dining and no annual fee, it’s a card you might consider.

You won’t pay an annual fee in the first year with the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, making it also a decent contender. Since it earns 4% on all purchases that involve eating establishments — from restaurants to Starbucks to food trucks — it’s another one to consider if you’d rather deal with cash back instead of travel rewards.

If you’re interested in cash back, the Capital One Savor card offers 3% on all dining purchases and no annual fee. (Photo by Paula Vermeulen on Unsplash)
If you’re interested in cash back, the Capital One Savor card offers 4% on dining and entertainment. (Photo by Paula Vermeulen on Unsplash)

Bottom Line

The Amex Gold Card takes the cake here, offering the highest return on dining purchases — with the important caveat that this 4x bonus is only for dining purchases in the US, not abroad. For dining internationally, the Chase Sapphire Reserve remains the top pick, offering 3x points. But any of the cards on this list will get more value on dining purchases than a run-of-the-mill credit card, so make sure you pick the right card before you plan that night out — or in, since delivery services like Seamless count as dining with many cards.

Featured photo by Ali Inay on Unsplash.


This is The Points Guy’s permanent page with the best currently available credit cards for dining, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for updates. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older offers below.

American Express® Gold Card
Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Get the American Express® Gold Card in Limited Edition Rose Gold, only available until 1/9/2019.
  • Receive 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. Restaurants within the first 3 months, up to $100 back. Offer available to new Card Members who apply by 1/9/2019.
  • Plus, earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at participating dining partners. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.