My 5 favorite credit cards for earning rewards on dining out, no matter how much you spend

I have to be honest. Restaurants are consistently one of the toughest line items in our budget for for my wife and me to manage.

Not only do we love food, but we also enjoy the experience of enjoying a relaxing meal together. And when life gets busy (as it always seems to), sometimes eating out is just faster and more convenient.

But one of the things that takes a bit of the sting away from our monthly out-to-eat expense is knowing that we own credit cards that give us great rewards on dining. In general, dining rewards are not the first factor that we consider when picking a card. Other factors like the welcome bonus, annual fee, and redemption flexibility are usually higher on the priority list.

But when two cards offer similar features, a better earnings potential on dining (or other bonus categories), can tip the scales. With that in mind, here are my picks for the five best cards for dining in 2019.

The 5 best credit cards for earning rewards on dining out

American Express Gold Card

Welcome bonus: 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months

Category bonuses: 4x points on dining and up to your first $25,000 of purchases at US supermarkets (then 1x); 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com

Extra perks: Up to $120 annual dining credit; up to $100 airline fee credit per calendar year

Annual fee: $250

The American Express Gold Card offers the best blend of value and earnings potential for restaurant lovers. First of all, the 4x points that it gives on dining purchases is fantastic (tied for second place with the Uber Visa card). But it’s the American Express Gold Card’s $120 annual dining credit that puts it over the top.

After enrolling, cardholders can earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits each month when they pay with their card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

If you love dining out, the American Express Gold Card is hard to beat.

Citi Prestige Card

Welcome bonus: 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening

Category bonuses: 5x points on dining and air travel; 3x points on hotels and cruise lines (1x points on everything else)

Extra perks: Complimentary 4th night hotel stay; up to $250 travel credit every calendar year; transfer points to travel partners

Annual fee: $495 ($75 for each authorized user)

Out of all the cards on our list, the Citi Prestige Card offers the highest rewards rate for dining out — 5x points. You’ll also earn 5x points on air travel and 3x points on hotels and cruise lines.

While the bonus categories are great, it’s important to point out that this card does come with a hefty $495 annual fee.

For that reason, you should probably only choose the Citi Prestige Card if you can take full advantage of its numerous travel benefits like its complimentary 4th-night hotel stay, $250 annual travel credit, and VIP lounge access at airports.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Welcome bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months

Category bonuses: 3x points on dining and travel (1x points on everything else)

Extra perks: $300 annual travel credit; points are worth 50% more when used to book travel on Chase Ultimate Rewards

Annual fee: $450 ($75 for each authorized user)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives 3x points on dining out worldwide as well as travel. You’ll receive a $300 travel credit each year that can be used for reimbursement on hotel, airline, car rental, and other travel purchases as well.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve also gives cardholders the ability to transfer points to any Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partner, such as Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Hyatt, and others. Chase Sapphire Reserve points are worth 1.5 cents per point (50% more) when you use them to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

This card does charge a high $450 annual fee. But if you can take full advantage of the available rewards, it could be worth every penny.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express

Welcome bonus: 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Category bonuses: 3x points on dining out and ordering in, gas, rideshares and transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, and select streaming services. (1x points on everything else)

Extra perks: No blackout dates on air travel booked through Go Far Rewards; no spending cap on bonus categories

Annual fee: $0

If you’re looking to avoid an annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card offers amazing value. It gives 3x points on a wide variety of bonus categories including dining, transportation, hotels and homestays, and many streaming services.

Another great thing about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card is that takeout purchases earn the same 3x rewards rate as other restaurant purchases. And if you want to redeem your points towards air travel, there are no blackout dates when you book through Go Far Rewards.

Uber Visa Card

Welcome bonus: $100 after you spend $500 in the first three months

Category bonuses: 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotels and airfare, 2% back for online purchases (1% back on everything else)

Extra perks: Up to $600 of phone theft and damage protection; $50 streaming subscriptions credit after spending $5,000 or more on your card per year

Annual fee: $0

The Uber Visa® Card is a credit card aimed squarely at millennials — especially those who use the Uber app on a regular basis.

This card offers an industry-leading 4% back on all dining purchases. And like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, the 4% dining bonus category includes when takeout orders from delivery services like UberEATS. You’ll also earn 3% cashback on hotel and airfare.

Once you’ve accumulated at least $5 in rewards, you can redeem them for Uber Credits. You can also redeem rewards as cash back via direct deposit, a statement credit, or gift cards. It’s important to point out, though, that there is a $25 minimum on cash back redemptions.

Uber knows that millennials love their phones and their streaming services, so they’ve included some perks to entice them. The Uber Visa® Card will pay up to $600 if your phone is damaged or stolen. And if you spend at least $5,000 on the card in a year, you can earn a $50 statement credit for streaming services.

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