Enjoy going out to eat? You’re not alone. Pre-pandemic forecasts were projecting nearly $900 billion in U.S. restaurant sales in 2020, and by some accounts, Americans were eating out 5.9 times per week on average. While restaurant sales have tapered off due to coronavirus, plenty of people are ordering out to get their fix.

All that money spent on dining out begs the question: Are you maximizing your credit card rewards on restaurant purchases? Here are a few tips to capitalize on the benefits of a restaurant rewards card.

1. Register for Dining Programs

These programs allow you to earn points or miles when you dine at participating restaurants. Some, for example, reward you a percentage based on what you spend annually (5 percent back on $250 spent, or as much as 15 percent back on spending over $750), while others reward you with miles.

To maximize your rewards on your spending, use your restaurant credit card at these outlets. If the dining program rewards you with cash back, you’ll get cash back from that program as well as from your credit card.

2. Use Coupons

Group buying and coupon sites also offer coupons and offers at hundreds of retailers nationwide. And that’s on top of discounts at local restaurants listed on these sites. National restaurant websites list hundreds of nationwide chains offering certificates to eager diners, while checking a local business’s social media page could also net you a discount for liking it.

By using these coupons and paying for your meal with your restaurant credit card, you’ll defray the initial cost of your evening out, and further do so by getting cash back on your card for the remainder you’ve spent. Be warned: many of these offers come with expiration dates or other restrictions such as a minimum spend before the discount kicks in, so be sure to understand the deals and discounts in full.

3. Gift Someone

Most chain restaurants and local mom-and-pop spots offer gift certificates in various denominations. By using your restaurant credit card, like the Discover it® Chrome Gar & Restaurants card, to buy a gift card at the restaurant, you may still reap the rewards on that purchase for yourself as long as gift cards are eligible to earn rewards, so you can gift someone else and gift yourself. Plus, some restaurant credit cards offer portals to redeem the rewards you’ve earned on that credit card toward gift cards to restaurants, so check on your credit card issuer’s website for deal portals.

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.

Chrome Disclosure: You earn a full 2% Cashback Bonus® on your first $1000 in combined purchases at Gas Stations (stand-alone), and Restaurants each calendar quarter. Calendar quarters are defined as the three-month periods beginning January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1. Purchases at Gas Stations and Restaurants over the quarterly cap, and all other purchases, earn 1% cash back. Purchases made at Gas Stations include only merchants in the category that sell automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters may not be eligible. Restaurant purchases include only those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food locations. Certain digital wallet transactions qualify for 2% Cashback Bonus, for more information see Discover.com/digitalwallets. Purchases made through third-party payment accounts, mobile or wireless card readers, virtual wallets or similar technology will not be eligible if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details for rewards qualification. 2% Cashback Categories: In accordance with standard industry practices, merchants are assigned a merchant category code (MCC) typically based on their line of business, or the type of products and/or services they primarily sell or provide. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Even if you make purchases at a merchant of items that appear to fit in a rewards category, the merchant may not have an assigned MCC in that rewards category. Only purchases made from merchants located in the United States are eligible for 2% Cashback Bonus. In order for a purchase to qualify for the 2% Cashback Bonus Program, the transaction date must be before or on the last day of the offer or promotion. Rewards are added to your Cashback Bonus account within two billing periods. See Cashback Bonus  Program Terms and Conditions for more information about your rewards.