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Which purchases count as dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve?

March 06, 2020
5 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card benefits. It was originally published on Jan. 19, 2019.

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Even putting its amazing travel protections like primary car rental coverage and trip delay reimbursement aside, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and its cheaper sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, are among the best travel credit cards due to their amazing earning rates — 3x points on dining purchases worldwide on both cards, plus 2x points on travel on the Sapphire Preferred and 3x points on travel for the Sapphire Reserve. Plus, through March 2022, the cards earn 10x points and 5x points, respectively, per dollar spent on Lyft.

Chase’s definition for what counts as a travel purchase is quite broad, including virtually every trip-related charge, from Airbnb bookings to parking fees. But how does its definition of dining stack up? Luckily, it’s quite generous as well.

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Photo by Michael Berman / Getty Images.
(Photo by Michael Berman/Getty Images)

Here’s how “restaurants” are defined, according to Chase’s website:

Merchants in the restaurants category are merchants whose primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining, including fast food restaurants as well as fine dining establishments. Please note that some merchants that sell food and drinks located within larger merchants such as sports stadiums, hotels and casinos, theme parks, grocery and department stores will not be included in this category unless the merchant has set up such purchases to be classified in a restaurant category. In addition, gift card and delivery service merchants will not be included in this category unless the merchant has set up such purchases to be classified in the restaurant category.

While the term "restaurants" is pretty straightforward, in practice, this category is broader than it appears on the surface. Essentially, any establishment that serves (as opposed to sells) food or drinks counts. As long as a merchant classified itself in a restaurant category when applying to accept credit cards, the purchase will qualify.

For instance, bars (including ones that don’t serve food) and coffee shops such as Starbucks typically code as dining purchases. Additionally, in most cases, you’ll earn 3x points for spend with restaurant delivery services including DoorDash. Speaking of DoorDash, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cardholders now get at least one year of complimentary DashPass membership with DoorDash, which gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on eligible purchases (must activate by March 31, 2022).

If you want to get a sense of what to expect from businesses in your area, you can reference Visa’s handy merchant coding search tool. While it’s uncommon, sometimes restaurants aren’t categorized correctly, so if you feel like an eligible dining purchase didn’t code properly, you can always try disputing it with a Chase phone or Twitter representative to get the bonus points you think you deserve.

Related reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which card is right for you?

Bottom Line

To recap, the following are purchases that Chase typically counts as dining:

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Cafes
  • Coffee shops
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Juiceries
  • Restaurant delivery services (Caviar, DoorDash, Eat24, Grubhub and Seamless, but not Postmates)
  • Restaurants
  • University dining halls
  • Vending machines

Related: 10 programs that reward you for dining out

And here are dining-related purchases that Chase typically DOES NOT count as dining:

  • Amazon Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Catering services
  • Food and drinks establishments located within larger merchants
  • Grocery stores
  • Inflight food and drinks
  • Meal kit subscriptions

As with travel purchases, Chase’s definition for what counts as a dining purchase is quite extensive, so Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred cardholders have plenty of opportunities to earn 3x or 2x Ultimate Rewards points. Based on our valuations, that’s a return of up to 6% on these purchases. Plus, you could earn even more rewards by linking your card with dining rewards programs such as an airline dining program, Seated or Visa Local Offers with Uber.

Featured image by (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Point Guy)
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.