Best Cards Summary
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases the first year and then 1% back. You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in rotating bonus categories you activate and 5% back on travel purchased through Chase. Drugstore and restaurant purchases earn 3% back, and other purchases receive 1% back year-round.
Discover it® Cash Back
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: With Discover it Cash Back, you’ll get 5% cash back each quarter in rotating categories, such as Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. There’s no annual fee, and Discover will match your cash back earnings at the end of the first year. Discover it Cash Back has a 14-month 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers (then a 11.99% to 22.99% variable APR applies).
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) the first year and then 1.5% back. One of many perks includes a $200 welcome bonus earned after spending $500 within three months of opening the card.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: U.S. supermarkets are the highest-earning reward category on the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, with purchases gaining 3% cash back (on up to $6,000 annually, then 1%). Cardholders also get 2% back at U.S. gas stations and U.S. department stores, and 1% on other purchases. New cardholders earn $100 back after you make $1,000 in purchases on your card within the first six months. You’ll also earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases made within the first six months (up to $200 back).
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Why this is one of the best grocery credit cards: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card earns 12 points per dollar on Hilton purchases, six points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, and three points per dollar on all other purchases. You’ll earn 130,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 within three months of opening the account.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: Though this card is geared toward IHG hotel loyalists, grocery shopping can help boost points. You’ll earn the most points (up to 15 for every dollar spent) at IHG hotels, as well as two points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: With the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you will earn five points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants. You can earn seven Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar when you stay at Hilton hotels, and all other eligible purchases earn three points per dollar. This card charges no annual fee and offers complimentary silver status in the Hilton Honors rewards program as a perk.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: If Delta is your preferred airline, this card can help you earn free award flights faster. Delta purchases and purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets earn 2 miles per dollar, and you’ll earn 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. You’ll also get your first checked bag free on Delta flights, priority boarding on Delta flights and 20% savings as a statement credit when you charge Delta in-flight purchases.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: With the Citi Rewards+ card, you’ll earn two points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 spent per year, then one point per dollar). If you spend $1,000 in the first three months, you’ll also earn 15,000 bonus points.
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
Why this is one of the best grocery rewards credit cards: If you’re an Amazon and Whole Foods Market grocery shopper, this card offers 3% cash back on those purchases. You’ll also get 2% back on restaurant, gas and drugstore purchases, and 1% on everything else. As a bonus, you’ll get a $60 Amazon gift card just for getting approved.
U.S. News Survey: As Food Costs Soar, Shoppers Skip Grocery Credit Cards
As prices on supermarket staples climb amid the coronavirus pandemic, a U.S. News survey showed that consumers are spending more on groceries during the health crisis. Grocery rewards credit cards can save money, but many people are not taking advantage of them.
Here are some of the key survey findings:
- Cooking and eating centers at home: Consumers are doing more home cooking, ordering more takeout or delivery, and using online grocery services.
- While 59% of households spent at least $100 on groceries weekly before the pandemic, and now 67% spend that amount.
- Nearly three-quarters of consumers said they don’t earn credit card rewards on groceries.
About 60% of survey respondents said food shopping has changed during the coronavirus crisis, as consumers cook more at home and order groceries online.
About 59% of households were spending $100 or more on groceries before the health crisis. Now, 67% of households are spending triple digits on groceries weekly.
About 28% of respondents typically use a credit card to pay for groceries, leaving potentially hundreds of dollars in rewards on the table annually.
Most survey respondents said they don’t have a credit card that earns grocery rewards.
About 10% of consumers said they are using credit cards for groceries more than they were before the pandemic.
Some cardholders are incurring interest charges on grocery purchases by not paying monthly bills in full.
Most consumers surveyed said they aren’t using contactless payment options at grocery stores.
- U.S. News ran a nationwide survey through Google Surveys in June 2020.
- The sample size was the general American population, and the survey was configured to be representative of this sample.
- The survey asked 10 questions relating to grocery purchases and credit card habits.
How Can You Earn Rewards With Grocery Credit Cards?
The average family of four spends more than $11,000 on groceries annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If a grocery rewards credit card earns at least 2% cash back, you could get more than $200 back each year for supermarket spending.
Some cards give you even more money back for purchases you could already be making. The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, for example, earns 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets and then 1% thereafter; 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit; and 1% back on other purchases with no cap.
You won’t be limited to earning rewards at only the grocery store. These cards usually feature a few bonus rewards categories beyond groceries. This can make a grocery rewards card a good choice for earning everyday rewards.
What’s the Value of Grocery Credit Cards?
A credit card that earns generous rewards for grocery purchases could put hundreds of dollars back into your budget each year. But before you choose a card for your grocery expenses, calculate its potential earning value, factoring in any annual fee.
“Almost everyone can benefit from cards with grocery store rewards,” says Richard Kerr, founder of Award Travel 101, a Facebook community that helps members maximize rewards programs. He encourages consumers to look at grocery card bonuses and other card benefits.
Compare what you could earn in rewards with any card fees. The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express earns $400 cash back, for instance, when you spend $10,000 annually at U.S. supermarkets.
New cardholders will earn a $250 statement credit when you charge $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Combined, you can earn $700 in grocery rewards in the first year with this card.
How Should You Choose a Grocery Store Credit Card?
Consider your grocery spending level when choosing a credit card for grocery rewards. Some grocery rewards cards have limits on the bonus rewards you can earn on grocery purchases quarterly or annually.
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, for instance, earns 6% on the first $6,000 in annual U.S. supermarket purchases (then 1%). If you spend $10,000 on groceries annually, you will exceed the limit of the card’s bonus rewards for U.S. supermarket purchases.
Once the bonus no longer applies, you will earn much less at a rate of 1%.
Consider using multiple credit cards to maximize your potential reward earnings for grocery expenses. You could use the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express for your first $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases and then switch to another card with grocery bonus rewards for the rest of the year.
If you don’t want to juggle multiple credit cards or track your spending carefully, a card that offers unlimited grocery bonus rewards may be a better choice. However, cards with unlimited grocery bonus rewards may have lower cash back rates.
Another alternative is a card that doesn’t limit how much you can earn. If you have the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card and you are an Amazon Prime member, you can earn 5% back on purchases at Whole Foods Market with no cap. But the bonus can only be earned at Whole Foods Market, unlike other cards that earn grocery rewards with multiple grocery store retailers.
As with all credit cards, paying off your balance each month is a good idea to maximize the value of your grocery rewards. The interest charged on any balance you carry, with an average minimum annual percentage rate of about 17%, will easily outweigh the value of your rewards, even if you’re earning as much as 6% cash back. Also, avoid spending more than you normally would to earn rewards.
How Can You Maximize Rewards With a Grocery Credit Card?
Although everyday grocery spending can earn bonus rewards, certain strategies can help you rack up even more rewards. You can earn bonus rewards when you purchase gift cards for movie theaters, retail stores and other merchants at the grocery store, Kerr says.
Grocery stores often have their own rewards systems, so you could also earn credit card bonus rewards and grocery store loyalty points when buying gift cards there.
When using your credit card, consider which stores will count toward grocery store purchases. “Some stores, like Walmart or Costco, don’t actually code as supermarkets or grocery stores,” says Alex Miller, founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, a website that helps consumers maximize their credit card rewards.
If that’s the case, you won’t earn grocery store bonus rewards at that store. Because coding varies by card type and store location, Kerr suggests first testing a small purchase to make sure you can earn points with a retailer that is not exclusively a grocery store.
If it counts as a grocery purchase, then you can make larger purchases there because you know you’ll earn at the grocery store bonus rate. Score!