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Food delivery services have skyrocketed in the past year — and credit cards companies are catching on.
With millions of people around the U.S. spending more time at home, delivery services such as Uber Eats, Grubhub/Seamless and DoorDash have become even more popular. A recent study from Motus, a workforce management company, found that meal delivery sales increased 164% in 2020. Over 45 million Americans used a food delivery app during the year.
Now, many issuers are shifting their credit card perks, traditionally focused on travel, to more general lifestyle benefits that can be used at home. Food delivery services were a natural choice, and several cards have added benefits related to that.
Restaurant owners and workers say that ordering directly from restaurants, bypassing third-party services, is a better way to support the industry — and we encourage you to do so whenever possible. Still, third-party platforms offer perks and discounts that can be very useful and help offset the annual fees of some credit cards. If you know how to maximize your card benefits, you can save money on your food delivery.
I have three personal favorites among the cards that offer notable food-delivery benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what they are, and whether they fit your needs.
American Express® Gold Card
The Amex Gold Card is the OG of food delivery and dining perks. Even before the pandemic, it offered a $120 yearly credit ($10 per month) to restaurants such as Shake Shack and The Cheesecake Factory, and delivery platforms such as GrubHub and Seamless (which are separate brands but part of the same company.) This is in addition to the 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar the card earns on all dining purchases.
The Gold card recently introduced a new benefit: Uber perks. As of February 1, cardholders now receive up to $10 in Uber credits every month, which can be used on Uber Eats purchases or Uber rides within the U.S. Cardholders also receive a complimentary Eats Pass for up to 12 months, which includes $0 delivery fees and 5% off on eligible orders over $15. This service would otherwise cost $9.99 per month, so there is significant value to be found here.
While the monthly credits on the Amex Gold card will be a permanent benefit, cardholders are eligible to receive a complimentary Eats Pass membership for 12 months when they enroll by December 31, 2021.
What’s more, Uber and Marriott recently launched a partnership where you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points on Uber purchases. You’ll earn 6 points per dollar on Uber Eats orders delivered to Marriott properties (minimum $25 order), as well as 3 points per dollar on Uber XL, Uber Comfort, Uber Black and Premium rides, and 2 points per dollar on all other Uber Eats orders (minimum $25 order). All you have to do is link your accounts and you can start earning points towards your next Marriott stay immediately.
I used this perk frequently pre-pandemic, and it’s been a staple of my pandemic credit cards strategy, too. I use this card probably more than any other in my wallet, and I like knowing that I am earning points for future travel while saving money on current dining purchases. The card does carry a $250 annual fee, but these $120 Seamless credits as well as $110 in Uber credits ($120 in 2022 and beyond) almost entirely offset it by themselves.
Not only am I earning 4x Amex points on all of my dining purchases, I’m also now earning valuable Marriott Bonvoy points. Both will come in handy once it’s safe to travel again.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
In the same vein, the Amex Platinum card offers a suite of Uber-related benefits that you can use for food delivery.
The card has always offered a $200 yearly Uber credit to cardholders ($15 per month and $20 in December) that can also be used on either Eats or rides. Like the Gold card, cardmembers can now also take advantage of a 12-month complimentary Uber Eats Pass when they sign up by December 31, 2021.
Whether you have both the Platinum and Gold cards or just one of them, the Uber perks are an easy way to get a lot of value out of your card membership. The Uber Eats Pass offer is also valid for cardholders of the American Express® Green Card, as well.
I have both the Platinum and Gold cards and am able to save up to $25 per month ($30 in December) on Uber Eats orders. Plus, by linking my Uber Eats account to my Marriott Bonvoy account as mentioned earlier, I’m also able to earn bonus Bonvoy points on my Uber Eats orders as well as rides. The Amex Platinum doesn’t offer bonus points on dining, and I hold the card because I value its other perks — but for me, the Uber credit helps make the card worth it by partially offsetting the cost of the $550 annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is another top contender in the dining world. It offers 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining, including takeout, delivery and at restaurants — and this also includes third-party platforms.
What’s more, Chase has partnered with food delivery service DoorDash to offer more perks to cardholders. Sapphire Reserve cardholders now get $60 worth of DoorDash credits, as well as a complimentary DashPass membership. Similarly to Eats Pass, DashPass includes free deliveries on eligible orders, as well as lower service fees. While the $60 credit doesn’t apply to orders on Caviar, which is also owned by DoorDash, the DashPass membership does apply — netting you free deliveries and discounts on Caviar orders, as well.
Where it gets really interesting, though, is that Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a one-year complimentary Lyft Pink membership. With this membership, you’ll get 15% off Lyft rides, priority airport pickups, and a free Seamless+ membership. Like its competitors, Seamless+ membership costs $9.99 per month and includes unlimited free delivery on all orders. But if you have a Lyft Pink membership, courtesy of your Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can link your Lyft account to Seamless and snag a Seamless+ membership, as well. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also earns 10x points on Lyft rides.
I also hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve and take advantage of all these perks pretty regularly. With it, I’m able to get free deliveries from DoorDash, Caviar and Seamless. I also keep an eye out for Caviar emails, which frequently contain promo codes to get $5 off orders of $20 or more. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve does carry a high $550 annual fee, it’s worth it for me as these perks closely match my spending and lifestyle habits, and help me ultimately save money.
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While these cards are my personal favorites, there are a few other travel rewards cards on the market that offer food delivery perks.
For instance, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® cardholders can now take advantage of a $20 monthly credit on dining, and Marriott Bonvoy American Express cardholders get a $10 credit — applicable to both third-party platforms as well as at restaurants directly. In fact, other co-branded travel credit cards such as the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, plus the Hilton Honors American Express Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card all offer various dining credits through 2021.
Many credit cards offer credits and benefits that will save you money on food delivery, and in some cases even waive delivery fees completely. Knowing which benefits come with which card will help you save money on something we are all doing more, and will help offset the cost of holding some cards with annual fees.