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People have become more reliant on food delivery services in the last two years than ever before, and that’s a change that’s likely to stick for the long term. Services like Seamless, Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats allow folks to order from their favorite restaurants but have the food delivered to their door instead of having to leave the comfort of their own home.
But if you’re likely to spend a larger portion of your monthly budget on food delivery going forward, which credit card should you use when you order food for delivery? We’ve rounded up the best credit cards for food delivery services, including cards that also offer a strong return for dine-in options, so that regardless of whether you’re eating in or dining out, you’ll have the best of both worlds.
The best credit cards for food delivery in 2021
Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best for delivery and dining
American Express® Gold Card: Best for Seamless and Grubhub
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for DoorDash
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best cheaper alternative for DoorDash
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for Uber Eats
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for dining and groceries
American Express® Green Card: Best for flexible travel rewards
All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by CNN. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through CNN.
Why did we select these cards as our best credit cards for food delivery in 2021? Dive into the details of each card with us and see how they stack up.
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for delivery and dining
The Chase Freedom Flex earns 3% cash back on all dining purchases, including eligible food delivery services. That means you’ll earn 3% cash back when you order food for delivery as well as when you go out to eat.
But dining isn’t the only bonus category on the Freedom Flex card. You’ll also earn 3% cash back at drugstores, 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 5% cash back on a set of categories that rotate every three months, up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter.
Plus, if you’ve lost income during the pandemic and you need help making ends meet, the Chase Freedom Flex offers 0% interest on all purchases for the first 15 months you have the card (then a variable 14.99% to 23.74% afterward). That introductory offer enables you to make here-and-now purchases and pay them off over a longer period of time, saving big bucks on interest.
The cherry on top is that the Freedom Flex currently comes with a solid sign-up bonus. New card applicants can earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months after you open the account, plus 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
Oh, and did we mention there’s no annual fee on the Freedom Flex card? (There isn’t.)
American Express Gold: Best for Seamless and Grubhub
Amex redesigned its Amex Gold card in 2019 to cater to both eating in and dining out, offering 4 points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets in the United States up to $25,000 per year (1x thereafter), and an unlimited 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide. Most food delivery services will code as “restaurants” on the Amex Gold card, meaning you’ll earn 4 points per dollar for those purchases as well.
You’ll also enjoy up to $120 in annual dining credits — which are broken up into $10 statement credits each month — when you pay with the Amex Gold at food delivery services Grubhub and Seamless, along with purchases at The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.
Earlier this year, Amex also added a few perks to the Amex Gold, including up to $10 each month in Uber Cash, which can be used either for Uber rides or for Uber Eats orders. And you’ll also receive a complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership for up to 12 months with the card when you enroll by Dec. 31, 2021.
Add it all together and while the card comes with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), the statement credits you’ll get can easily offset nearly your entire out-of-pocket cost.
The Amex Gold’s current 60,000-point welcome bonus — available after you spend $4,000 on purchases in your first three months of card membership — is the highest we’ve ever seen on the card. Those Amex Membership Rewards points are worth at least $600 when you redeem them via Amex Travel for airfare, and you can potentially get even more value than that with Amex’s transfer partners.
Finally, the card’s popular Rose Gold design, originally introduced in 2018 as a limited edition, is now available to all card members. So you can choose between standard Gold or Rose Gold when you apply for the card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for DoorDash
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an elite credit card for those who spend money primarily on dining and travel. It earns 3 points per dollar on all forms of dining globally (or 10 points per dollar if purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards), but it also provides up to $60 in annual DoorDash credits this year.
These credits are incredibly easy to use — just charge your DoorDash order to your Sapphire Reserve and you’ll get a statement credit offsetting the charge, up to $60 in 2021. You also don’t have to use the entire $60 in one fell swoop -— you can use it across several separate orders over time.
But before you place that DoorDash order, make sure you also take advantage of another Chase Sapphire Reserve perk — at least 12 months of free DashPass membership if you activate it by Dec. 31, 2021. DashPass is a program that offers free delivery from eligible DoorDash restaurants, and you can get it at no cost just by adding your Sapphire Reserve as the default payment method in the DoorDash app, then activating your DashPass membership.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an expensive card, but it somewhat softens the blow of its $550 annual fee with a $300 annual travel credit that covers any travel at all — parking lots, garages and ride-sharing included — charged to the card, and due to the pandemic, even gas and grocery store purchases through Dec. 31, 2021.
You’ll also get a complimentary Priority Pass membership with the Chase Sapphire Reserve that provides access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world. However, if you don’t expect to travel much during the rest of 2021 and are looking for a cheaper alternative that earns the same type of points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (below) is worth considering instead.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best cheaper alternative for DoorDash
The less-expensive version of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 2 points per dollar on all travel (or 5 total points for travel booked through Ultimate Rewards), 3 points for dollar on dining, select streaming and select online grocery purchases, 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides and a 60,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account — all for a reasonable $95 annual fee.
Another key benefit? Discounts on DoorDash food delivery orders via a complimentary DashPass membership, valid for at least 12 months when you activate it by Dec. 31, 2021, and a comprehensive suite of purchase and travel protections. Plus, most food delivery purchases code as “dining” on the Sapphire Preferred, so you’ll earn triple points when you have food delivered.
The points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be redeemed for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, or by using the card’s “Pay Yourself Back” tool at the same rate through Dec. 31, 2021, so you’re guaranteed at least $750 in value right off the bat from the sign-up bonus, and potentially much more if you take some time and effort to maximize Chase’s 14 airline and hotel partners.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t offer the same luxury travel perks — like airline lounge access and travel credits — as the Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, the $95 annual fee is significantly lower, and possibly a better choice right now if you’re not on the road as much as you used to be.
Read CNN Underscored’s review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Learn more and apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
American Express Platinum: Best for Uber Eats
If your preferred food delivery service is Uber Eats, the Amex Platinum is the card for you. It comes with up to $200 in annual Uber Cash credits — which are spread across all 12 months of the year at $15 a pop, plus an extra $20 in December — and you can use those credits on Uber Eats orders as well as Uber trips in the US. Also, like the Amex Gold, you’ll earn up to 12 months of an Eats Pass membership with the Amex Platinum as long as you enroll by Dec. 31, 2021.
Because the Amex Platinum is an ultra-luxury travel card, that’s actually just the start of its benefits. You’ll also earn up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits, access to the American Express Centurion Lounges, access to Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), access to Priority Pass lounges around the world (though not restaurants), Gold elite status at Marriott and Hilton and up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
But let’s be frank: The Amex Platinum isn’t a cheap credit card. At $695 a year (see rates and fees), you’ll need to be able to take advantage of all its perks to make it worth the investment. So you’ll need to consider whether the VIP perks of this card are worth the price.
However, if you think the Amex Platinum is right for you, new card members can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 in purchases in the first three months after opening the account. And to top it all off, you’ll also earn 10 points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during the first six months after opening the account.
Capital One Savor Rewards Card: Best for dining and groceries
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card costs $95 per year, but it earns 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, and given that food delivery services typically code as “dining,” that’s an exceptional return.
There’s also 3% cash back at grocery stores on the Capital One Savor and 1% on all other purchases. If you order groceries directly from the grocery store for delivery, you should earn the 3% cash back, though grocery delivery services themselves, such as Amazon Fresh, may code differently and not earn bonus cash back.
With the Capital One Savor, you’ll also earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months after opening the account. There are no foreign transaction fees, and the card includes perks such as extended warranty protection, travel accident insurance and complimentary concierge service.
If you’re willing to pay an annual fee to earn a bit more in cash back on your food delivery purchases, the Capital One Savor card could make sense.
American Express Green Card: Best for flexible travel rewards
The biggest advantage of the Amex Green card is its terrific earning rate of 3 points for every dollar you spend on dining and travel. Travel includes not only the usual flights, hotels and car rentals but also ride-sharing, taxis, subways, buses, tolls and even parking, while dining covers food delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub and others.
The Amex Green’s 45,000-point welcome bonus — available after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership — is decent for a card at this price point, as those points are worth at least $450 when redeemed for airfare via Amex Travel, and potentially even more when transferred to Amex’s airline and hotel partners.
Amex’s Membership Rewards points are very valuable if you know how to research airline and hotel award space, and can have a flexible travel strategy to maximize them. American Express has 21 airline and hotel transfer partners, which open up incredible redemption possibilities for those willing to put in the time and effort. It’s one of the more lucrative point currencies for advanced points and miles experts.
At $150 a year, the Amex Green is more expensive than the average $95 mid-tier credit card. But if you can take advantage of its bonus categories and perks, it’s not too hard to make up the difference in additional value.
Read CNN Underscored’s review of the American Express Green card.
Looking for the best overall credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2021.