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Choosing the Best Restaurant Dining Card for You

Last Updated: December 6, 2023
3 min read

Key points about: choosing the best dining credit card for you

  1. A restaurant rewards credit card lets you earn rewards on dining purchases.

  2. You can maximize rewards by using your dining rewards credit card at restaurants with loyalty programs.

  3. Some cards have an annual fee, so it’s important to determine if the rewards you’ll earn outweigh the cost of the annual fee.

Getting rewarded for doing the things you normally do is a huge benefit. That’s one reason why restaurant reward credit cards are so enticing. But with so many options, how can you know which is the best dining credit card for your needs?

Here are a few tips to capitalize on the benefits of restaurant rewards credit cards to help you find the best one to fit your spending habits.

What’s the right dining rewards credit card for you?

Put simply, the right rewards credit card for you is the one with terms best suited to your habits, lifestyle, and credit profile. You’ll have to shop around to see what’ll work for you. Some cards are better if you have an excellent credit score, while others are geared toward students applying for their first credit card.

Did you know?

Discover® offers student credit cards that can help you build a credit history1 and earn rewards on your everyday purchases. If approved for a Discover student card, you can earn cash back rewards for not only restaurant purchases but for gas purchases and more.

Before opening a restaurant credit card account, it’s helpful to keep some questions in mind.

Where do you eat out most often?

If you eat at certain restaurants or chains often, you’ll want to make sure that the chain accepts the restaurant rewards credit card you’re considering. That way you’ll earn rewards on your purchases there.

What type of rewards do you want to earn for dining out?

Credit card issuers offer different types of rewards on different cards, so take time to study the membership reward profile of the card you’re considering. For example, are you looking for a card with a welcome offer, such as an intro APR for the first year? Do you want to be able to redeem your rewards in the form of statement credits or cash back? How generous are the card rewards for dining purchases, relative to other cards in the marketplace? The right reward card is the one that best matches your personal spending habits.

What fees does the card have?

Some dining rewards credit card options may charge certain fees, like an annual fee. If so, you may want to estimate the value of the dining rewards you’d earn on your dining purchases in a typical year, and weigh that against the cost of the card. Then you can determine if the annual fee would cancel out any rewards you may earn.

To make the most of your restaurant rewards card, try to find one with no annual fee. One option may be the Discover it® Cash Back Card, which also offers rewards and a bonus after your first year. We’ll automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. There is no limit to how much we’ll match. 2

Does the card offer other perks or protections that are important to you?

For some cards, dining rewards are just one part of the rewards equation. With that in mind, you may want to consider what other types of purchases the card rewards besides dining, if any, and at what rate. A cash rewards credit card may offer cash back rewards on gas purchases or other eligible purchases.

Use your restaurant rewards credit card with dining loyalty programs

A restaurant rewards credit card allows you to earn points, cash back, or miles rewards at participating restaurants if you pay with your restaurant rewards card.

Using your dining rewards credit card at restaurants that also have an independent loyalty program gives you rewards from both the dining credit card rewards program and the restaurant loyalty program.

Use coupons with your dining credit card

Group buying and coupon sites showcase coupons and special offers on eligible purchases at hundreds of retailers nationwide.

By using coupons, then paying for your meal with your restaurant rewards credit card, you’ll cut down on the cost of your evening out, and get dining rewards for the amount you’ve spent on the credit card.

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  1. Build credit with responsible use: Discover reports your credit history to the three major credit bureaus so it can help build your credit if used responsibly. Late payments, delinquencies or other derogatory activity with your credit card accounts and loans may adversely impact your ability to build credit.

  2. Cashback Match: We’ll match all the cash back rewards you’ve earned on your credit card from the day your new account is approved through your first 12 consecutive billing periods or 365 days, whichever is longer, and add it to your rewards account within two billing periods. You’ve earned cash back rewards only when they’re processed, which may be after the transaction date. We will not match: rewards that are processed after your match period ends; statement credits; rewards transfers from Discover checking or other deposit accounts; or rewards for accounts that are closed. This promotional offer may not be available in the future and is exclusively for new cardmembers. No purchase minimums.

  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.