Here’s the Best Credit Card for Groceries, Plus 6 Runners-Up

Susan Shain

Susan Shain | Blog

Jan 14, 2019 | Updated Jul 18, 2019

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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

Best For Card
Overall Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review)
Low Spenders Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review)
Travelers (Airline-Focused) American Express® Gold Card (Review)
Travelers (Hotel-Focused) Hilton Honors American Express Card
Foodies Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review)
Wholesale Clubs & BofA Customers Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review)
Bad Credit Discover it® Secured Credit Card (Review)

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

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 of $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.

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back for:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000, then 1%)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back for:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
    • Select U.S. department stores (former cardholders only, until 7/31/19)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $250 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 25%

Key Features & Terms

  • Perks: Amex Offers, free credit score, complimentary ShopRunner membership
  • Annual fee$95
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 14.99%-25.99% Variable

Read more in our Review of the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® and Blue Cash Preferred® Cards

Best Grocery Card for Low Spenders

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1% cash back)
  • 2% cash back at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 15%

Key Features & Terms

  • Perks: Amex Offers, free credit score, complimentary ShopRunner membership
  • Annual fee$0
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months, then 15.24% - 26.24% Variable

Read more in our Review of the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® and Blue Cash Preferred® Cards

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 $100 more with its introductory bonus, as well as 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)

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants worldwide
    • U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. gas stations (former Premier Rewards Gold Card users only, until 10/4/19)
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 35,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $175–$700 (assuming 0.5–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 8.75–35%

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.

Key Features & Terms

  • Perks: Annual $120 dining credit, annual $100 airline incidental fee credit, travel benefits
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Purchase APR: N/A (this is a charge card, which must be paid off in full each month)

Read more in our Review of the American Express® Gold Card

Best Grocery Card for Travelers (Hotel-Focused)

Although it’s not a supermarket credit card per say, 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.

Spending Rewards
  • 19X points per dollar at Hilton properties
    • 7X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 12X Base points per dollar for being a Hilton Honors Silver member
  • 5X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus points for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 90,000 Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $360–$900 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 18–45%

Key Features & Terms

  • Perks: No foreign transaction fees, complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status
  • Annual fee$0
  • Purchase APR: 17.74% - 26.74% Variable

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

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).

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back on:
    • Dining
    • Entertainment
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash back for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 30%

Key Features & Terms

  • Perks: Concierge service, travel benefits, no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for 15 months, then 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

Read more in our Review of the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Grocery Card for Wholesale Clubs & BofA Customers

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).)

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back in your choice of one category:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drug stores
    • Home improvement or furnishing stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 20%

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.

Current Bank of America customers, take note: You can get a 10% bonus on cash back redeemed into an eligible bank account, and Preferred Rewards members can earn even more (up to a 75% bonus).

Key Features & Terms

  • Perks: Free FICO credit score, shopping and travel protections
  • Annual fee$0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 16.24%–26.24% Variable
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!

Read more in our Review of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Grocery Card for Bad Credit

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back (up to $1,000 per quarter, then 1%) at:
    • Restaurants
    • Gas stations
  • 1% cash back everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback match: New cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year, awarded at the end of the first year

Key Features & Terms

  • Perks: Free FICO credit score
  • Annual fee$0
  • Purchase APR: 25.24% Variable

Read more in our Review of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card

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

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%), in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback match: New cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year, awarded at the end of the first year

The 5% cash back calendar for the Discover it for 2019 is:

Quarter 5% Cash Back Category
January – March Grocery stores
April – June Gas stations, Uber, Lyft
July – September Restaurants, PayPal
October – December Amazon.com, Target, Walmart.com

Read more in our Review of the Discover it® Credit Card

 

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%), in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 30%

Here are the recent 5% cash back bonus categories, plus the 2019 categories up to the third quarter:

QUARTER 5% CASH BACK CATEGORY
2018: October – December Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay
2019: January – March  Gas Stations, Tolls, Drugstores
2019: April – June Grocery Stores, Home Improvement Stores
2019: July – September Gas Stations, Streaming Services (includes Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora and Spotify)

Read more in our Chase Freedom Review – Cash Back Reward Credit Card

 

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase

Read more in our Review of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

 

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back at:
    • Amazon.com
    • Whole Foods Markets
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Restaurants
    • Gas stations
    • Drugstores
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $75 Amazon.com gift card after you’re approved for the card

Read more in our Review of the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

 

Spending Discount
  • 5% discount at Target and Target.com

Read more in our Review of the Target REDcard™ Credit Card and Target REDcard™ Debit Card

 

Spending Rewards
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Costco (up to $7,000 per year, then 1%)
  • 3% cash back:
    • At restaurants
    • On travel
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from:
    • Costco
    • Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Read more in our Review of the Costco Anywhere Visa® and Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

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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