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While not having to cook dinner can be a reward in itself, some rewards credit cards offer additional incentives that make dining out especially lucrative. And with the right card in your wallet, you could easily earn 1-3 percent cash back or more every time you patronize your favorite sit-down venue or hit the drive-thru for a quick snack.
If you're looking for a way to earn money while you nosh on family favorites, these rewards credit cards should be at the top of your list:
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Consistently named the top travel card in the nation, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card offers exceptional rewards for those who dine out frequently. With this card, you'll earn a standard 2x points for every dollar you spend on travel or dining out, plus 1 point for every other dollar you spend. Once earned, these points are available for use in the popular Chase Ultimate Rewards program. You can redeem them for travel, cash back, gift cards, or merchandise – or transfer them to popular loyalty programs like Marriott, British Airways, United MileagePlus Explorer, or Hyatt Gold Passport.
While the Chase Freedom® card only offers 1x points on regular spending, paying special attention to its bonus categories can help diners get ahead. From the beginning of July to the end of September in 2016, members will earn 5x points on their first $1,500 spent at restaurants. If you just have the Chase Freedom® in your wallet, you can redeem these points for a statement credit or gift cards, use them to book travel, or shop with points on Amazon.com. While all of those options are amazing, the best part about this card is that it will never charge an annual fee.
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
The CitiThankYou® Premier Card is another travel card that offers increased rewards for people who dine out frequently. With this card,you'll earn 3x points on travel including gas, 2x points on dining out and entertainment, and 1x points on all other purchases. Once earned, you can redeem your points for travel with a 25 percent discount or turn them in for gift cards at a rate of one cent per point. Plus, the Citi ThankYou® program makes it possible to transfer your points to an array of popular loyalty partners including Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™WorldElite MasterCard®
If you want to earn points good specifically for travel, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is yet another solid option. With this card, you'll earn a flat 2x points for every dollar you spend. Once you start racking up the points, all you need to do is use your card to book any type of travel experience, then redeem your points to cover the purchase at a rate of one cent per point. The best part about this card is that you don't have to worry about navigating a complicated rewards program or steering clear of blackout dates; since you redeem your points as a statement credit, you can use them to cover any type of travel including hotel stays, train tickets, flights with any airline, or tickets to your favorite attraction.
Citi® Double Cash Card
While the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn't offer additional rewards for dining out, it offers something better – a flat 2 percent in cashback for every dollar you spend. You earn an initial point per dollar spent when you charge a meal to your card, and another 1 point for each dollar you pay off. And since the flat 2x points is good for every dollar you spend across the board, this is a great no-fee card option for anyone who dines out and uses their card for regular spending.
Whether you want to earn cash back, points good for travel, or gift cards, there are more than a few cards to choose from that could easily fit the bill. And if you dine out frequently anyway, you might as well earn some rewards in the process.
Just remember, if you do use your card to earn points at restaurants, it's crucial to pay your balance in full whenever the bill comes due. No matter what, paying interest on your purchases isn't very appetizing.