Grocery Stores are a major expense for many people, regardless of how often they travel. Therefore, having a grocery store credit card is a great way to earn points, miles, or cash back. Fortunately, the best grocery store credit cards have very lucrative earning structures. And some of them also have nice travel perks.
Cards that are great for warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club are not included. That category might be discussed in a future post. Instead, regular supermarkets and grocery stores will be the focus.
Transferrable Points Cards
American Express cards dominate the grocery store rewards category. Therefore, two powerful Membership Rewards (MR) point–earning cards are highlighted. Fortunately, these cards offer some of the most versatile and generous rewards in the industry for travelers.
American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card earns 4x MR points at US Grocery Stores and Restaurants worldwide. This earning structure makes it one of the best cards for grocery stores for many people. Just remember that there is a combined $25,000 annual spend limit for both categories.
Plus, the Gold Card also offers $220 in dining and airline credits each year. These credits can help justify the card’s $250 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) if you can fully use them.
Furthermore, the Gold Card currently has a sign-up bonus worth 35,000 points, which can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first three months. The minimum spend requirement used to be just $2,000 within the first three months. But Amex doubled it to $4,000 in October 2019 to better align with competitors. Unfortunately, this makes the Gold Card’s bonus much less desirable than it used to be.
The American Express Gold Card is a great choice if you want a balance between perks and rewards. And it’s a relative bargain compared to the Platinum Card, whose earning structure is terrible for everyday spend. However, the Platinum Card is unrivaled for those who want travel perks.
American Express Everyday Preferred
The American Express Everyday Preferred Card earns 3x MR points at US Grocery Stores. It also earns 2x points at US Gas Stations as well as one point per dollar for non-bonus purchases.
You will earn a 50% points bonus if you use the card at least 30 times per month. This means that you can earn 4.5x points at Grocery Stores, 3x points at Gas Stations, and 1.5x points on non-bonus spend. The Everyday Preferred card has the potential to be better than the Amex Gold Card if the points bonus is included.
This card has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year), which makes it a less expensive option than the Gold Card. It also has a sign-up bonus worth 15,000 points, which can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
The Chase Freedom earns 5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points in quarterly rotating categories, which often includes grocery stores once per year. It practically prints points if you can max out the categories each quarter. However, there is a $1,500 spend limit each quarter. This means that you will earn only one point in bonus category spend if you exceed that limit.
Furthermore, the Chase Freedom comes with a sign-up bonus worth 15,000 UR points (or $150 in cash back). This bonus can be earned after spending just $500 in the first three months. But you need to have either the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred alongside this card to officially turn your bonus into UR points.
The Chase Freedom is a great card for beginners. Plus, it’s a great supplement for those who want to earn Chase UR points quickly. One of the best parts is that it has no annual fee, making the Freedom a keeper for many.
Cash Back Cards
Cash back cards are not as rewarding as transferrable points cards for travelers. However, they shouldn’t be disregarded, especially in 2020. Cash back can oftentimes cover travel expenses that transferrable points can’t. American Express dominates the cash back market as well with two more of its cards featured.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card earns an industry-leading 6% back at US Grocery Stores and for select Streaming Services. It also earns 3% cash back at Gas Stations and for Local Commuter Transit. Plus, it earns 1% cash back for non-bonus expenses. However, such a nice earning structure is countered by a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year).
Furthermore, this card comes with a $250 sign-up bonus that can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Earning the bonus is like getting 25% cash back (not including regular earning) for the first $1,000 in spend you put on the card.
American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card earns 3% at US Grocery Stores. Plus, it earns 2% at Department Stores and Gas Stations; as well as 1% cash back for non-bonus expenses. The Blue Cash Everyday has no annual fee. But that’s why it has much lower earning potential than its “big sibling”. It’s also the only American Express card to have a bonus category dedicated to Department Stores.
Moreover, this card comes with a $150 sign-up bonus that can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Earning the bonus is like getting 15% cash back (not including regular earning) for the first $1,000 in spend you put on the card.
Discover’s flagship card is like the Chase Freedom in that it earns 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories. Grocery Stores are also a regular category for the Discover It, which offers the potential to earn up to $75 cash back each quarter.
Discover also has an unconventional sign-up bonus that solely depends on how much you spend. They will double the amount of cash back earned within the first 12 months. You would need to spend $3,000 in the 5% categories to earn $150 in cash back. That requires you to maximize any two categories, which can take up to 6 months.
One of the easiest ways to earn travel rewards or cash back is by using a grocery store credit card. This is especially true if you have a large budget for groceries and/or a family. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options available that cater to different people. Travelers might prefer the Amex Gold Card while cash back lovers might prefer one of the Amex Blue Cash Cards or the Discover It.