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It’s not uncommon for a family to spend $600 a month on groceries. Many of us only think about how we can earn bonus points from our travel and dining spending. But using credit cards for grocery purchases helps pad your balance too. If you’re only earning 1% back on groceries with your current credit card, you’re missing out! Depending on the credit card, you can get cash back or travel rewards for your grocery purchases.
To earn cash back on groceries, you will have to buy them at U.S. supermarkets like Kroger, Publix, HEB, Safeway, etc. You will only earn the basic purchase reward rate (generally 1 point per $1) if you shop at stores like Target, Walmart, or Amazon because they sell many non-grocery items too.
Best Credit Cards for Grocery Purchases That Earn Rewards
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Expired)
- American Express® Gold Card
- Learn more about the Chase Freedom®: Cash Back Credit Cards
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Cash Rewards: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
Perk: 6% cash back on the first $6,000 U.S. supermarket purchases annually (then 1% thereafter)
If you want cash rewards, go with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. On your first $6,000 in annual U.S. supermarket purchases, you get 6% cash back (which equals $360). After that, your remaining grocery purchases earn 1% back. This the most rewarding credit card for grocery purchases because of the 6% bonus payout.
If you max out the 6% bonus, you’ll earn $360 a year! That’s $300 more than you might already earn with a credit card that only offers 1% back on grocery purchases.
In addition to earning 6% at U.S. supermarkets, you can also earn an unlimited 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. For all other purchase categories, you earn an unlimited 1% back.
Other Perks of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from Amex
New cardholders can also earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases during the first three months of account opening.
Although the Blue Cash Preferred is a cash rewards credit card, you can also enjoy these Amex benefits:
- Redeem reward for cash statement credit, gift cards, or shopping credit
- Secondary rental car collision and theft coverage
- Purchase Protection
- 2-day ShopRunner Shipping
- Amex Entertainment Access for ticket presales and member-only events
The Blue Cash Preferred is a good option when you want a primary credit card that earns cash back. It can also be a good secondary credit card if you can maximize the 6% U.S. supermarket reward.
However, if you are planning a trip abroad, you will want to use one of the best credit cards for international travel instead.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (Expired)
Perk: 3% cash back on the first $6,000 U.S. supermarket purchases annually (then 1% thereafter)
If you can’t justify the Blue Cash Preferred annual fee (See Rates & Fees) but still want to enjoy the benefits of owning one of the best cash back credit cards 2019, you can also go with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
While you’ll only earn 3% at U.S. supermarkets instead of 6% on the first $6,000, you still earn 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores, plus 1% on all non-bonus spending. By maxing out the 3% U.S. supermarket bonus, you will earn $180 in rewards each year and 1% on all remaining grocery purchases.
New cardholders can earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. The Blue Cash Everyday also has no annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
Travel Rewards: American Express Gold Card
Perk: 4x points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
This card comes with the ability to earn 4x Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year). After hitting the $25,000 limit at U.S. supermarkets, you will only earn 1x on remaining purchases. The American Express® Gold Card is a good option if you prefer travel rewards but you want to earn bonus points from your everyday spending.
Besides the 4x grocery and dining bonus, you also get 3x membership rewards points on flights booked directly with the airline or on AmexTravel.com. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1.
Airline and Dining Credits
The American Express Gold also offers two annual purchase credits. You can get up to $100 in statement credits annually for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline. Additionally, you get a $10 dining statement credit monthly when you order from one of these dining partners and pay with the Gold card (enrollment required):
- Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Shake Shack (only at participating locations)
This dining credit can save you $120 on dining annually. Plus Grubhub and Seamless (both online food delivery services) usually have a variety of options in most cities. You can use this credit to try something you wouldn’t normally eat.
Redeeming Your Rewards Points
This card is better when you prefer travel rewards to cash rewards. Although you can redeem your points for cash statement credits and gift cards, you’re better off with one of these two redemption options:
- 1:1 airline partner transfer partners
- Booking award flights on AmexTravel.com
These two redemption options value your points for at least 1 cent each. This is especially true with 1:1 point transfers. Some of the point transfer partners include Delta, JetBlue, Emirates, Etihad, and British Airways Avios.
The annual fee for the American Express® Gold Card is $250 (See Rates & Fees). However, if you factor in the $100 airline credit and the $120 dining credits, this effectively lowers the fee to $30 a year. If you prefer travel rewards to cash back, the Gold Card can be a better alternative to the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (our #1 recommendation).
While the Gold Card is a great option to maximize your airline, gas, and grocery purchases, this travel rewards card is a perfect complement to The Platinum Card® from American Express. The Platinum Card earns 5x Membership Rewards on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. It also earns 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Additionally, the Platinum Card has one of the best credit card offers July 2019. New cardholders can earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
Chase Freedom (Expired)
Perk: Up to 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, with new categories each quarter
The Chase Freedom® is an annual fee-free cash back rewards card that has a quarterly bonus category that rewards 5% on your first $1,500 spent. While the other card recommendations offer fixed rate grocery purchase rewards, the Chase Freedom has rotating 5% cash rewards categories. Although the Chase Freedom doesn’t offer 5% cash back on groceries all the time, you can enjoy it at least three months each year.
Each quarter, you get 5% back on a different set of purchase categories, up to $1,500. After you reach the $1,500 spending limit, all remaining purchases earn 1% for the rest of the quarter. Your other purchases earn 1% back. Learn more about the Chase Freedom®: Cash Back Credit Cards
Occasionally supermarkets will be a rotating category. Alternatively, stores like Wal-Mart, drugstores, and even wholesale clubs are sometimes included in the rotating categories.
Chase Freedom Flexibility
Owning the Chase Freedom can be beneficial if you want to earn cash back or travel rewards. As a member of the Chase Trifecta (and therefore one of the best Chase credit cards), you can transfer every Ultimate Rewards points to your Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred. By doing so, you will receive a 25% redemption bonus when you redeem your points for award travel. Each point is worth 1.25 cents instead of the usual 1 cent redemption value.
If you relish the idea of transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to a travel partner like Southwest Airlines, United, Avios (American Airlines partner flights), or even hotel programs including IHG, Marriott, and Hyatt, your Chase Freedom points can be worth double if you own a Sapphire or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
Even if the idea of redeeming your Chase points for award travel isn’t your cup of tea, they are still very valuable for cash statement credits and gift cards. Plus, you won’t pay an annual fee with the Chase Freedom. Even if it’s your “daily driver”, it’s a free way to earn points on grocery purchases. Plus, you can build your credit score at the same time!
Learn more about the Chase Freedom®: Cash Back Credit Cards
What About Hotel Rewards Cards?
Some co-brand hotel credit cards will award bonus points on grocery store purchases as well. This option can be valuable if you like redeeming for credit card rewards for hotel nights. Overall, hotel rewards points are often less valuable as they usually have a value less than 1.0 cents each (10,000 points=$100).
Note that with the options listed above, your rewards points are always worth 1 cent each or even as much as 2 cents when you can transfer them to an airline frequent flyer program.
Free Hotel Nights: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Perk: Earn 6x points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
Not only do you earn 6x bonus points for eligible U.S. supermarket purchases with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (formerly known as the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card), but you can also earn a free weekend night. This credit card offers a double reward for your grocery purchases.
When you spend $15,000 in total card purchases each year, you get a free weekend night certificate. Since most households spend between $400 and $1,000 on groceries every month, your grocery purchases alone are almost enough to qualify for the free hotel night. Combine that with U.S. gas station and U.S. restaurant purchases and you’re likely to hit that $15,000 goal.
To help you reach your spending milestone, you also earn bonus points on these categories:
- 12x points per $1 on eligible purchases charged directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
- 6x points on eligible purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants
- 3x points on remaining eligible purchases
You also get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. With Hilton Honors gold status, you can get the 5th night free when you pay for your first four nights with points. Plus, you can enjoy space-available room upgrades.
While the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is primarily a hotel rewards card, you also get 10 free Priority Pass Select airport lounge passes each year too. The free nights potential is why this is one of the more advantageous credit cards for grocery purchases.
Summary of Best Credit Cards for Grocery Store Purchases
At the end of the day, the best credit card to buy groceries with depends on how easily you can redeem your rewards points. If you prefer travel rewards, a cash back card will be nice but you can’t bank those rewards points up for a future trip. On the other hand, cash back cards offer immediate rewards that can be used to lower your monthly statement balance because they are easy to redeem.
Groceries are one of the largest monthly expenses for most households. However, with one of the above, you have an easy way to earn bonus points on this necessary expense. If you’re not already using one of the credit cards for grocery purchases, it’s time to start!
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
- 1 Best Credit Cards for Grocery Purchases That Earn Rewards
- 2 Cash Rewards: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
- 3 The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (Expired)
- 4 Travel Rewards: American Express Gold Card
- 5 Chase Freedom (Expired)
- 6 What About Hotel Rewards Cards?
- 7 Free Hotel Nights: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
- 8 Summary of Best Credit Cards for Grocery Store Purchases