Earn up to 6x Points From Grocery Spending on Chase, Marriott Credit Cards

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Travel cards aren’t as valuable in a world that can’t travel. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of banks and travel brands adapting to circumstances quickly by enticing credit card spending. We’ve already seen:

Chase and Marriott are the latest to join the party, recently announcing the addition of grocery stores as a temporary bonus category for the majority of their travel-related cards. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get straight into it.

Chase Offering 3-5X Points on Grocery Spend

From May 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020, most Chase-issued travel cards earned 3-5X points on up to $1,500 per month in grocery purchases—including some grocery delivery services like Instacart.

This promotion has ended; however, no activation or registration was necessary, so you should earn extra points for qualifying purchases made during the promotion.

Eligible Cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring an 60,000 point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Earn 6X Points at Groceries with Most Marriott Cards

Starting today, all Marriott co-branded credit cards—except for the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card—will earn 6X points on grocery purchases through July 31, 2020. For Amex-issued cards, extra points earned are limited to U.S. supermarkets.

Screenshot from a Chase email saying "you now automatically earn 6X points total at grocery stores"

Key Terms:

H/T: FrequentMiler

What Stores Qualify?

It’s important to figure out what will or will not be considered a ‘grocery store’ before you shop. While true grocery stores shouldn’t cause too much questioning, major warehouse clubs and discount stores—including some Target, Walmart, and Costco locations—typically don’t qualify. The Merchant Category Lookup Tool is perfect for figuring out how your purchase will code. The AwardWallet team is busy making updates to reflect the new earning rates, so results may not be accurate right away.

Is This a Good Deal?

While 3X, 5X, or 6X might look and sound great, it’s important to remember that all points aren’t valued equally. For instance, Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are typically valued around 1.7¢ each or higher, while IHG points are typically only valued at 0.5¢ a piece. This drastically changes the value of your return, regardless of the multiplier.

As a reference point, these are the cards that we typically recommend for grocery spending under normal circumstances. Before today, there are two clear-cut winners to consider:

  1. Chase Freedom® This card currently earns 5% cash back—or 5X Ultimate Rewards when paired with a UR earning card—on up to $1,500 spent at grocery stores and supermarkets this quarter.
  2. American Express® Gold Card This card earns 4X Membership Rewards Points on up to $25K spent at U.S. supermarkets annually. With MRs typically valued around 1.8¢ a piece, this represents a 7.2% return.

With that said, there are a few standouts here. For example, the Sapphire Reserve earns 5X now, which represents an 8.5% return if we used a 1.7¢ valuation for Ultimate Rewards. That’s simply fantastic, although I wish the cap were higher than $1,500 per month. All the other cards earning 5X are United co-branded, and after the significant devaluations United has recently announced, you’re probably better off prioritizing other currencies.

In regards to Marriott cards, considering that most normally earn 1X or 2X on grocery spend, 6X is a substantial improvement. If you value Bonvoy points conservatively at 0.7 cents each, this translates to a 4.2% return. While not quite as lucrative as earning 5X URs on the Sapphire Reserve or Freedom Card, the higher $5,000–$7,500 cap still makes this a solid opportunity to stock up on Marriott Bonvoy points. Plus, the temporary bonus on Amex cards is good through July 31 instead of June 30 for the Chase cards.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card!
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
  • 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Final Thoughts

The motivation is pretty clear—a lot of people are spending more money on groceries now than they ever did before. Some grocery stores report up to a 30% increased demand in recent days! This makes a bonus in this category a win-win for cardmembers and card-issuers alike. Considering Amex is the only major card-issuing bank that previously offered bonuses for grocery stores year-round, this is a very timely development.

Which card will you be using at the grocery store in May and June?

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Comments

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    Apparently some of the Chase cards are also coding as 5x at Walmart Supercenters.

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    Seems you could buy some gift cards at the grocery stores and get some good bonus points also? Or are gift card purchases excluded?

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    Jealous of the offers you get in the states, what we get in Europe is really lackluster.

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    Thank you for including the link to the Merchant Category Lookup tool. Major grocery chains are fairly straight forward but I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t get the credit at a local independent store. Turns out they have two different designations depending on which part of the store one uses to check out – groceries and merchandise. It’s worth checking in advance if you’re planning on making significant purchases.

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    Used my CSR at a large chain wine/liquor/grocery store, Total Wine and More, to stock up the other day. According to your merchant lookup tool it should have coded as Groceries and triggered the 5x bonus. Nope: for some reason it coded as “Food and Beverage” and earned only 1x. Frustrating.

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    Wow, the 6x for groceries using the Marriott cards is even better than the current Chase Freedom 5x!

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    I didn’t know about this, with regards to the Marriott card. I don’t think it will change my spending though. Their recent category hikes are just too high.

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    Nice that you can use several different cards to max this benefit out. Good that Chase is proactively trying to help customers out and keep them satisfied during these trying times.

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    This is great news. Does this apply to Costco grocery purchases using Instacart for deliveries for both Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Reserve?

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    Maryjane says:

    I am disappointed that Chase did not offer more than 5X points for the Sapphire Reserve. Although it is a good deal, the fact that the Freedom card is offering that as one of their categories makes it seem not as premium! That being said, I think a lot of people will max out this category this quarter so then being able to use the Sapphire Reserve for the same number of points is very useful. I’ve already used my 300 dollar credit on Marriott purchases but that was also a very generous change.

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    I would agree with the comment on the Surpass value potentially being more lucrative. It would seem that it would really come down to which points do you need to top off for a particular award? Personally, I would like to see some other cards step forward on either grocery or preferably other categories with double or more the usual points/miles.

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    This definitely will be put to use. Hopefully I can take a much needed vacation with the wife and kids after all of this.

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    arshi007 says:

    Its good to see Chase making these changes to make cards compelling for existing card holders but overall I think AmEx is doing a better job with their offers. For groceries, the Freedom already is giving 5X for this quarter and if you have the AmEx Gold, none of these really are more compelling than just using that card.

    Chase should instead focus a bit more on making the chase offers more compelling.

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    Does the Chase card grocery spend bonus apply to grocery purchases outside the US as well?

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    Is this posted anywhere on Chase’s website? I’ve seen it mentioned in a bunch of blogs, but I haven’t seen any official notice from Chase anywhere. It sounds like some people are getting emails about it, but I haven’t gotten that email.

    Perhaps I’m being overly cautious, but I want to make sure this isn’t a targeted promotion just for the people who got the email.

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    Wow, this is amazing! Anyone know if Chase’s category is worldwide or just US? Amex is awful with this and NONE of what they’re offering with the Aspire helps in any way whatsoever. 🙁

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    I saw this email from Chase for my Marriott card and I will be finish up my Freedom limit first and then others. I read elsewhere that each card will give the bonus. So if I max out one I can do other card. Did you read this too?

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    The $300 restaurant credit is not very useful for most people at this moment.

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      Really? With the number of restaurants doing takeaway, I would think now is a great time for it.

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      It seems that the chain ones, which seem to have a higher proportion open now than independent restaurants, both accept credit cards, and are promoting the cashless option now. Even if I don’t want what most of them sell, even if they were in my neighborhood.

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    Great news! Does Costco code as groceries (and get the higher points XX)?

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    Decent offer, but the Hilton AMEX Surpass offer is potentially much more lucrative. Double points at grocery stores to 7/31 and all credit card points to 12/31 count as base points.