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Swipe the right card at the supermarket and you can earn big rewards for grocery purchases.
Whether you’re shopping for one or feeding the whole family, most of us head to the shops every week to purchase groceries, and points and miles fans can earn a ton of extra rewards by swiping the right card at the checkout. Groceries are one of life’s essential expenses and provide an excellent opportunity to bag additional points or cash back.
Below, we’ve put together the best credit cards for grocery purchases to help boost your rewards earnings on one of life’s fundamental needs, Food.
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The Best Credit Card for Groceries
Following its 2018 refresh, the Amex Gold cruises confidently into first place for grocery purchases. The card earns 4X Membership Rewards for every dollar spent in U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per year, a huge increase over its Amex stablemates. Unlike The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which requires you to make 30+ transactions each billing period to receive the 50% bonus Membership Rewards (taking the tally to 4.5X MR per $1 spent), the Amex Gold earns 4x on all US supermarket purchases up to $25K each year, even if you only make a single purchase.
So while the Amex EveryDay Preferred potentially earns 0.5 points per dollar more on U.S. grocery spending, earnings are capped at $6K per year and you must make a minimum 30 transactions per month to score the top rewards rate. The Amex Gold earns 4x points on up to $25K per year, making it a clear winner for the supermarket and groceries spending category.
Best Rewards Credit Cards for Groceries
Before we get into the cards with a permanent bonus on grocery spending, we should point out that the Chase Freedom® card is offering 5% cash back at Grocery Stores (along with Home Improvement Stores) from April to June 2019.
|Credit Card||Points Earned on Groceries||Other Bonus Categories||Return on $6,000 Grocery Spend||Annual Fee|
|American Express® Gold Card||4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).||4X points at restaurants worldwide|
3X points on airfare on a scheduled flight charged directly with the airline or amextravel.com (charter flights/private jet flights excluded)
|$408 (based on 1.7¢ per MR point) - A potential annual return of $1,700 if you max out the $25K spending cap on groceries||$250 - Rates & Fees|
|The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express||3X points at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year + make 30 or more purchases in a billing period and earn 50% extra points||2X at U.S. gas stations||$459 (based on 1.7¢ per MR point)||$95|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||6% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)||6% back on select US streaming services|
3% back on transit, including trains, taxi cabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
3% at U.S. gas stations
|$360||$95 - Rates & Fees|
|The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express||2X points at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year + make 20 or more purchases in a billing period and earn 20% extra points||N/A||$244.80 (based on 1.7¢ per MR point)||$0|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||3% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)||2% at U.S. gas stations||$180||$0 - Rates & Fees|
|FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card||2X FlexPoints on gas stations, grocery stores or airlines, whichever you spend the most on each billing cycle||2X FlexPoints at most cell phone service providers||$180||$0 for the first 12 months, then $49|
|Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card||3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after||N/A||$180 in year one & $150 thereafter||$59 annual fee, waived the first year|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.||N/A||$306 first year, then $153 after that (based on 1.7¢ per UR)||$0|
|Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card||6X at U.S. supermarkets||12X at Hilton properties|
6X at U.S. gas stations
3X for all other eligible purchases
|$144 (based on 0.4¢ per HH point)||$95 - Rates & Fees|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.||N/A||$120 (minimum if redeemed at fixed-rate of 1¢ per point, potentially much higher if transferred to airline partners)||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere.||N/A||$120 (minimum if redeemed at fixed-rate of 1¢ per point, potentially much higher if transferred to airline partners)||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that|
|Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card||2% cash back on every purchases||N/A||$120||$0|
|Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card||2% at grocery stores||4% cash back on dining and entertainment||$120||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that|
Amex has the supermarket and groceries category covered, landing the top five spots on the list, and collecting six of the top ten across a full spectrum of cards. You can choose an annual fee or no annual fee, Membership Rewards or cash back, and still select a card that offers top returns on grocery spending.
With so many great cards offering bonus rewards on supermarket purchases, we set our benchmark as the Fidelity Rewards Visa, which earns 2% cash back on all purchases. Cards had to provide better than 2% returns to make the cut. To help potential cardholders decide which card best suits their spending habits, we also dusted off the calculator to run some concrete numbers, based on the $6,000 spending cap on most of the Amex cards.
The Membership Rewards earning cards outperform their cash back counterparts by a fair margin, provided you can redeem Membership Rewards for more than 1.35¢ per point when transferred to travel partners. Any less than that, or for any use outside of travel, and you’re better off earning cash back with the Blue Cash cards. Not sure if you want the annual fee version of the card?
The magic spending threshold for the Amex cards is:
- EveryDay cards – If you spend more than $2,484 a year on groceries (provided you reach the 20% and 50% spending thresholds each month), you’ll come out ahead paying the $95 annual fee on the Amex EveryDay Preferred over the Amex EveryDay.
- BlueCash cards – If you spend more than $3,176 a year on groceries, you’ll come out ahead paying the $95 annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred (Rates & Fees) over the Blue Cash Everyday.
While the Freedom Unlimited, Hilton Ascend, and Fidelity Rewards Visa don’t perform as well on paper, they do have an advantage in the respect that bonus points and cash back aren't capped for big spenders.
What Purchases are Included/Excluded in the Groceries Category?
Alliant, Chase, and Fidelity don’t clarify what’s accepted in the groceries category, as the bonus points or cash back is on every purchase rather than specific purchases. Both American Express and U.S. Bank specify that the purchase must come under the correct merchant category code for supermarkets or groceries to earn bonus points or cash back, with Amex the only provider to label specific exclusions:
“… superstores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets…”
Any of the top five Amex cards will return a handy sum of points or cash back on grocery spending, but you’ll be hard-pressed to swipe any card other than the Amex Gold at the checkout.
Have a favorite credit card for grocery purchases we’ve missed off the list. Let us know in the comments below.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (Rates & Fees), Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
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