Americans are spending more on eating out: In 2017, the average expenditures on “food away from home” was $3,365, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from $3,154 in 2016 and $3,008 in 2015.
A number of websites rank cards with the best dining rewards, including CNBC Make It.
To avoid being charged any interest, only put expenses on your card that you’ll be able to pay off each month, especially since rates are at historic highs.
And these cards make most sense if you already eat out with some frequency, said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at Comparecards.com. “The last thing anyone should ever do is overspend just to get credit card rewards,” he said.
Before you apply for a card, figure out what the fees will be, Schulz said. The Amex Gold card comes with an annual $250 charge and the Citi Prestige costs $495 a year, while the Capital One Savor card is free the first year, and $95 after that. The Uber Visa card has no fee. “Take the time to do the math and make sure you understand what you’re getting into,” he said.
For those who are looking for a “solid, inexpensive” card, Kheel recommends the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Users will get extra points at restaurants, breweries and cafes.
You’ll also want to consider how you want to spend your rewards, Rossman said. The Uber Visa and Capital One Savor cards are cash-back, whereas the points you pick up on the Amex Gold or Citi Prestige cards can be transferred to redeem free flights and hotel stays.