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2021’s Best Credit Cards for Groceries, Plus 6 Runners-Up

Updated Sep 24, 2021 | Published Jan 14, 20197 min read

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At a glance

With groceries on every shopping list, it’s handy to have a credit card with extra points or cash back for milk, bread, eggs, and everything else you need. Some cards provide as much as 5% or 6% cash back, putting a nice little dent in your shopping bill each week.

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I love grocery shopping: wandering up and down the aisles, imagining what I’m going to cook, and comparison shopping for the best deals.

The only part I don’t enjoy? Checking out. Although I strive to shop frugally, I still end up spending beaucoup bucks on food.

If that sounds familiar, you might want to consider slimming your bill a bit by getting cash back at the grocery store with a credit card. We can’t help you resist last-minute candy purchases in the checkout lane, but we can tell you the best ways to pay. Solid options abound — here are our favorites.

The 7 Best Grocery Credit Cards

When it comes to comparing grocery store credit cards, you should ask yourself several questions:

  • Does the card charge an annual fee? If so, is it worth it?
  • Will you get a signup bonus for spending a certain amount after the account opening?
  • What percentage cash back will you get on grocery purchases?
  • Will you receive cash back rewards on other common expenses, like gas?

Best Grocery Card Overall

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

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Tada! We’re awarding this the best overall credit card for groceries.

With an insane 6% cash back on the first $6,000 of annual U.S. supermarket purchases (then 1%), it blows away the competition. 

While it does have an annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95), that can be more than made up for if you’re spending a few hundred bucks a month on groceries. It also earns 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, making it one of the best credit cards for gas and groceries. And that’s without taking its other rewards categories into account.

Don’t want to pay a fee? We’ve included the no-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) below, as well as a chart comparing the rewards you’d earn with each. (Rates & Fees)

Best Grocery Card for Low Spenders

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% on purchases for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

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This Amex card is another one of the best grocery cash back credit cards. It has no annual fee and a 3% cash back rate at U.S. supermarkets on the first $6,000 in spending (then 1%).

It’s a good option if you don’t spend a lot of money on groceries. Or if you split your food shopping between traditional supermarkets and stores like Target and Walmart (at which Amex will only give you 1% cash back).

Because, unlike the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review), there’s no annual fee you’ll need to offset with cash back rewards. So you can distribute your spending however you like without worrying about making the card worth the price.

Insider tip

In its definition of “supermarkets,” Amex doesn’t include specialty food stores; certain natural food stores; corner stores; superstores like Amazon, Target, or Walmart; or warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club or Costco.

Examples of places it does count include Gristedes, Foodtown, Meijer, Shoprite, Stop and Shop, Vons, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, and online supermarkets such as FreshDirect.

Its list of “select U.S. department stores” includes Bealls, Belk, Bloomingdale’s, Bon-Ton Stores, Boscov’s, Century 21, Dillard’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, and Stein Mart.

Here’s the full list of retailers included in Amex’s bonus categories.

Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday: Which Should You Get?

While we highlighted the major differences between these two cards above, a lot of it comes down to your annual grocery spend, assuming you do that shopping at U.S. supermarkets.

Here’s how much cash back you’d net, based on some sample spending. (We say “net” because the total cash back amounts for the Preferred card are after subtracting $95 for the annual fee.)

Annual Grocery Spend Blue Cash Preferred Blue Cash Everyday
$1,000 ($83/month) $60 – $95 = -$35 $30
$3,000 ($250/month) $180 – $95 = $85 $90
$4,000 ($333/month) $240 – $95 = $145 $120
$6,000 ($500/month) $360 – $95 = $265 $180

As you can see, people with low grocery budgets ($250 per month or less) will get more total cash back from the Everyday — but most everyone else would come out on top with the Preferred. 

That’s because the Preferred card offers twice as much cash back at U.S. supermarkets. It also offers 1% more cash back at U.S. gas stations, while the 6% back on streaming services and 3% back on transit give the card an even bigger lead. If you spend, say, $50 per week at U.S. gas stations, that extra 1% would lead to an additional $26 per year in cash back. Read our review for a more detailed analysis of which card might be more profitable for you.

While we think the Amex Blue Cash options are the best cash back cards for most grocery shoppers, here are five others that work well for particular needs.

Best Grocery Card for Travelers (Airline-Focused)

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American Express® Gold Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Purchase APRSee Pay Over Time APR

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This is a relatively new metal card from Amex, with excellent bonus categories for anyone who loves to eat and fly.

Not only will you earn 4X points in two food-related categories, you’ll also get a $120 dining credit each year, broken up into $10 per month. That credit is only good at a limited selection of merchants, but it does include two food delivery services — Grubhub and Seamless — which open up the options quite a bit.

This card earns Membership Rewards points, which may be worth from 0.5 to 2 cents per point or more, depending on how you redeem. At those rates, you’d be getting a cash back equivalent of 2–8% at U.S. supermarkets, so your take-home value could potentially be very high.

Best Grocery Card for Travelers (Hotel-Focused)

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Hilton Honors American Express Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

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Although it’s not a supermarket credit card per se, this is one the best cards for travelers who love Hilton hotels and are also seeking grocery rewards.

In addition to a generous 5X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations, it features no foreign transaction fees and complimentary Hilton Silver elite status, which comes with a point bonus and your fifth night free on award stays. You’ll also get solid rewards at Hilton, of course, and a whopping introductory bonus for a fairly low minimum spend.

You’ll need to redeem your points at Hilton hotels to get the best value. But the value you get will depend on exactly how you redeem, with an average expectation of about 0.4 to 1 cent per point (potentially better). At those rates you’d be getting a cash back equivalent of 2–5% at U.S. supermarkets.

An annual $6,000 U.S. supermarket spend would yield 30,000 Hilton Honors points.

If redeemed at one of Hilton’s lowest tier hotels for 5,000 points per night, that amount could get you a free weeklong stay. (Remember: Your fifth night is free with Silver status.)

Depending on where you book and how much you value hotel stays, that reward could potentially be worth more than the $265 you’d earn when spending $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets with the Blue Cash Preferred, as described above.

Here’s what you could get with 30,000 Hilton Honors points, for example:

Best Grocery Card for Foodies

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Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% intro on purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% - 24.99% Variable

Are you a foodie who enjoys dining out as much as you enjoy cooking? Do you frequent gourmet shops?

Then this card might be the one for you. Not only does it earn solid rewards at restaurants and grocery stores, but it also has a broad definition of the latter that includes meat lockers, freezers, dairy product stores, and specialty markets (superstores like Walmart are not included).

Best Grocery Card for Wholesale Clubs & BofA Customers

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Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% for 15 billing cycles, then 13.99%–23.99% Variable

Most grocery cash back credit cards don’t allow you to earn more than 1% back at wholesale clubs.

This card’s an exception, thanks to its wholesale clubs bonus category, which lets you earn more cash back at retailers like Sam’s Club and BJ’s. You won’t be able to use it at Costco, however, because it’s a Mastercard and Costco only accepts Visa credit cards. (For Costco shopping, check out the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (Review).)

If you do any of your grocery shopping at wholesale clubs, this card could double your rewards with 2% back instead of 1%.

The 3% and 2% bonus categories will apply to the first $2,500 of eligible purchases per quarter (then 1% is awarded), for a total of $10,000 per year. This is more than the $6,000 limit you’ll have for U.S. supermarkets with the Blue Cash cards above, although this card’s lower cash back percentage means you’ll be earning less for your spending at supermarkets.

Insider tip

When it comes to gas purchases, many cards don’t include gas stations at wholesale clubs or superstores like Target and Walmart. So be sure to check the fine print!

Best Grocery Card for Bad Credit

Discover it® Secured
  • Min. credit levelBad
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APRSee Terms

Most of the cards on this page are for people with good to excellent credit. So if you’re rebuilding your credit — and still want to earn rewards — this is your best option.

It’s a secured credit card, which requires you to put down a deposit (between $200 and $2,500) that then serves as your credit line. Secured cards are much easier to get than traditional (unsecured) cards, and they can help build your credit by reporting your payments to the credit bureaus.

Although most secured cards don’t offer rewards, this one actually has a pretty decent cash back program that rivals some reward credit cards.

Other Grocery Store Credit Cards to Consider

Because the cards above have dedicated categories for grocery stores, we consider them the strongest picks.

But there are some other options that could be good too, especially if you only want to have a single cash back card with broad bonus categories that cover a lot of stores. If that sounds like you, consider these cards.

General-Use Credit Cards

Discover it® Cash Back
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APRSee Terms

The 5% cash back calendar for the Discover it for 2021 is:

Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories
January – March Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
April – June Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, Select Streaming Services
July – September Restaurants, PayPal
October – December Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
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Chase Freedom Flex℠
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Here are the current and recent 5% cash back bonus categories:

Quarter 2021 Categories 2020 Categories
January – March
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Internet
  • Cable/Phone Services
  • Select Streaming Services
  • Gas Stations
  • Select Streaming Services
  • Internet, Cable, Phone Services
April – June
  • Gas Stations
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Fitness Club & Gym Memberships
  • Select Streaming Services
July – September
  • Grocery Stores (excluding Target and Walmart)
  • Select Streaming Services
  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods Market
October – December
  • Walmart
  • PayPal
  • Walmart
  • PayPal
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Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

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Co-Branded Credit Cards

Another reason you might want to opt for a different card? You always shop at a specific chain — especially one that’s not counted as a typical grocery store. If that’s the case, one of the following co-branded options may be the best grocery rewards credit card for you.

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Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
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  • Min. credit levelFair
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable
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Target REDcard™ Credit Card
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  • Min. credit levelFair
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR24.40% Variable
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Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0 (Costco membership required)
  • Purchase APR15.24% (Variable)

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How to Make the Most of Grocery Credit Cards

Whichever grocery card you choose, make sure to pay your bills on time and in full. That way you’ll avoid paying interest, which could quickly negate any rewards you earn from buying groceries.

While we included the APRs of our credit card picks, we didn’t use interest rates as a factor in our ranking. (Because if you pay your bill in full in every month, interest rates won’t matter for purchases.)

Before applying for a new card, check the terms and conditions — and make sure you’ll be earning a good reward rate at your preferred grocery store. Be sure to sign up for your regular supermarket rewards card, too, to qualify for special discounts.

Happy shopping, and happy eating!

Looking for credit cards to earn rewards at other types of stores? See our picks for the Best Cash Back Credit Cards in a variety of categories.

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For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

Written by

Susan Shain

Susan is a freelance writer who specializes in turning complex financial topics into engaging and accessible articles. She's been writing about personal finance for six years, and was previously the senior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a staff writer at Student Loan Hero. Her personal finance writing has also appeared in publications like MarketWatch and Lifehacker.

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