Credit Cards and Food Delivery: What Are the Rules on Rewards Rates?

Even if you've mostly traded dining out for delivery, drive-thru, takeout or cooking at home, you can still usually earn bonus points on that food. But not all such purchases will qualify.

Funto OmojolaJun 10, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically shifted how we shop and dine out. For many, gone are the days of leisurely wandering among grocery stores aisles or breaking bread at restaurants. Instead, many of our meals — or the ingredients to prepare them — are picked up curbside or delivered to our door by a third party.

Having credit cards in your wallet that offer elevated rewards on groceries and dining is always useful; you gotta eat, after all. But these days, it's ideal if those cards' same rich rates also apply to food delivery purchases, whether it's takeout orders made through DoorDash or groceries delivered through Instacart.

For our top credit cards for groceries and dining, here’s a breakdown of what qualifies for the highest reward rates when it comes to food delivery.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
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Annual fee: $0. (But you must be an Amazon Prime member to get this card, and there is a yearly fee for that.)

Food-related rewards: 

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and at Whole Foods Market.

  • 2% back at restaurants.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: The 5% back applies to deliveries placed through Amazon.com and many of its various delivery subsets, including Amazon Fresh, Prime Now and Prime Pantry. It also applies to orders made through WholeFoods.com.

While the the card's 2% back at restaurants applies to delivery or takeout purchases made directly from restaurants, it does not apply to those made through third-party meal delivery services.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
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Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95. Terms apply.

Food-related rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent per year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1% back). Terms apply.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: In addition to purchases bought in-store at U.S. supermarkets, the 6% back also applies to U.S. supermarkets that offer the option of ordering online. You'll also be eligible for the 6% rate when you order through third-party delivery services Instacart and Peapod, as long as the underlying purchase is at an eligible U.S. supermarket. (Note that delivery service Shipt does not qualify for the bonus 6% rate). Terms apply.

Delivery purchases made with Amazon Fresh and FreshDirect also are eligible to earn the 6% back. Terms apply.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card
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Nerdy tip: The $0-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has the same eligibility rules on grocery deliveries as the Preferred version, but it features a less robust rewards rate: 3% back on up to $6,000 a year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%). Terms apply.

American Express® Gold Card

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Credit Card
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Annual fee: $250. Terms apply.

Food-related rewards:

  • 4 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at restaurants.

  • 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year).

  • Terms apply.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: Online delivery orders made through stores that are considered U.S. supermarkets qualify for the card’s 4x bonus rate. Purchases made through the grocery delivery services Peapod and Instacart are also eligible for that rate, but only if the underlying grocery store is considered an eligible U.S. supermarket. Delivery purchases made with Amazon Fresh and FreshDirect can also qualify. Terms apply.

The card's 4X rate on dining applies to in-house dining and drive-thrus, but also takeout and delivery, including those made through qualifying meal delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. Terms apply.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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Annual fee: $0.

Food-related rewards: 3% back in a category of your choice (from a list of six, including "dining" and "online shopping") and 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 of combined bonus category/grocery store/wholesale club spending per quarter. (After hitting that threshold, 1% back on these purchases).

How those rewards apply to food delivery: For the dining category, the 3% rate applies to purchases made directly from an eatery, whether you're ordering a sit-down meal, drive-thru, delivery or curbside pickup, as long as the establishment's merchant category code, or MCC, is "dining." That bonus rate also applies if you're ordering through a third-party delivery service like DoorDash or Uber Eats.

Similarly, if you select online shopping as your 3% back category, that rate would apply to any grocery delivery transaction made online (again, assuming the MCC is "grocery").

The card's 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs applies to online grocery orders made through delivery services, such as Instacart, Shipt and Peapod.

Nerdy tip: With this card, your earnings on groceries can actually vary depending on what 3% category you choose. For example, if you picked “online shopping" as your rotating bonus category, then your online grocery purchases would be eligible to earn 3% back, not 2% (up to the quarterly spending cap and depending on the merchant category code). But if you selected a different rotating bonus category (gas, home improvement, etc.), then a grocery or wholesale club delivery purchase would earn only 2% back, up to the quarterly cap.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Food-related rewards:

  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.

  • 3% back at grocery stores.

Dining includes purchases made at restaurants, fast-food places, coffee shops, cafes, lounges, bakeries, bars, nightclubs and more.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: Delivery purchases made directly from restaurants as well as those made through most meal delivery services will be eligible for the card’s 4% rate on dining. Likewise, the card’s 3% back at grocery stores applies to online grocery orders made through most delivery services. (Big-box retailers like Target and Walmart are not eligible for the 3% rate.)

For both cash-back categories, earning eligibility will ultimately depend on the delivery service in question. For example, DoorDash is categorized as dining, therefore customers can earn 4% back on purchases made through the service. However, Blue Apron and Instacart fall in the grocery store category, so those earn 3% back.

Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
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The $0-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has similar bonus categories and the same eligibility rules as its more expensive sibling card.

Its rewards on dining are lower, though. With this version of the card, you'll get only 3% cash back on dining and entertainment (but the same 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases).

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

Annual fee: $0.

Food-related rewards:

  • 5% back at Walmart.com and on purchases made through the Walmart app.

  • 2% back at restaurants.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: The card's 5% rate on online purchases applies to items you buy online for in-store pickup as well as for Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery (where available).

As for its 2% back at restaurants, delivery or takeout purchases made directly from restaurants would qualify for the bonus rewards. This 2% rate, however, does not apply to purchases made through third-party meal delivery services.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Flex
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Annual fee: $0 (for either card).

Food-related rewards:

  • 3% back on dining.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: The 3% back on dining applies to purchases made directly from restaurants as well as those made through third-party food delivery apps. However, in order to be eligible, the delivery service must be coded as “dining.” This is the case for the major food delivery apps, including DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ also features 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter. The 5% bonus calendar has historically included categories that are (or can be) related to food delivery options, such as restaurants, grocery stores, wholesale clubs, Amazon.com and more.

Both cards also come with a free three-month subscription to DashPass, which is DoorDash's subscription service. It provides unlimited deliveries for a $0 delivery fee on orders over $12.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Citibank Costco-Anywhere Visa Card Credit Card
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Annual fee: $0. (But you must be a Costco member to get this card, and there is a yearly fee for that.)

Food-related rewards:

  • 3% cash back at restaurants.

  • 2% back at Costco and Costco.com.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: This card's 3% category includes traditional dining establishments, but also cafes, bars, lounges and fast-food restaurants. Delivery, drive-thru or takeout from these places would qualify for the bonus rewards. However, the card's terms do specify a few places that don't qualify for the 3% rate: purchases made at bakeries and certain restaurants/cafes inside department stores, grocery stores or warehouse clubs.

This 3% rate will also apply to purchases made through third-party food delivery services — as long as the delivery service is coded as an eligible “restaurant,” based on its MCC. If a delivery service is classified as "delivery" or another noneligible category, you will not earn the 3% back.

The card's 2% category is straightforward and includes grocery delivery purchases made through Costco.com.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
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Annual fee: $0*.

Food-related rewards: 

  • 4 points per $1 spent on dining, including takeout and delivery.

  • 2 points per $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery.

How those rewards apply to food delivery: The card’s 4x rate applies to all the big third-party meal-delivery services, including DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Seamless. Likewise, cardholders will earn the 2x rate for grocery delivery purchases, including those made through meal-delivery services.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Food-related rewards: 

  • 5% cash back in two categories of your choice (from a list of options that includes "fast food").

  • 2% back in one of three "everyday" categories (including "grocery stores" or "restaurants").

How those rewards apply to food delivery: Unlike most other cards that reward restaurant spending, this card considers "fast food" and "restaurants" as entirely separate categories. That's confusing, but it will be important to remember.

U.S. Bank says the majority of meal-delivery services — including DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Seamless — are categorized as fast food and therefore would qualify for earning 5% back (if you choose that as a bonus category). An exception, the issuer notes, is Postmates, which falls under the restaurant category and would therefore be eligible only for the 2% bonus rate (if you choose restaurants as an "everyday" bonus category).

Online grocery delivery orders — including those made through Shipt and Peapod — would qualify to earn 2% back at grocery stores if you choose that "everyday" option. But as noted above, since U.S. Bank considers most meal delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats as fast food, those kinds of purchases would not qualify to earn a 2% rate at restaurants (if you choose that as your everyday bonus category).


To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

Information about the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®, and the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. They are no longer available through NerdWallet.

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