The Best Credit Cards for Groceries & Supermarket Spending

Women shopping grocery store

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Whether you do major weekly grocery shopping to feed a family of 5 or grab some rotisserie chicken on your way home from work for a solo meal, we all spend money at the grocery store.

Doesn’t it make perfect sense to be earning points/miles/cash-back for the spending you’re doing already!? Looking ahead a year from now, you’ll still have spent money on groceries…but you’ll also have earned valuable rewards.

These are rewards you can use to subsidize a vacation, pay for school clothes, or enjoy a celebratory group dinner at a nice restaurant. It’s your choice!

At this point you’re probably asking yourself which credit card is best for spending on groceries and at supermarkets in general. After all, supermarkets sell more than just groceries, and there are probably other items you buy elsewhere that can be purchased at the supermarket.

We’ll happily answer that question and more in this article as we cover:

  • How to select a credit card that earns rewards at grocery stores
  • The best credit cards for earning cash-back, points, and miles for grocery/supermarket spending
  • How to maximize your earnings by buying things other than groceries at supermarkets

Let’s take a look at some of the best credit cards for earning rewards on supermarket purchases.

How to Select a Grocery/Supermarket Rewards Credit Card

First, credit cards that reward supermarket purchases are not limited to earning rewards on those purchases. Reward bonus categories will likely include more purchase options that earn rewards. This is a good thing.

While we’re focusing on earning the most rewards for grocery/supermarket spending, to maximize earnings, your credit card selection should have additional earning potential that matches your other spending priorities.

When selecting a credit card that earns grocery spending rewards, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Does the card have an annual fee? Just because a credit card charges an annual fee doesn’t mean you should pass on that card. You might realize benefits that far exceed the value of the annual fee.
  • Is there a sign-up bonus? Sign-up bonuses add significant value. They can usually be earned after meeting minimum spending amounts in the first few months after card approval, but each offer will differ.
  • Are rewards capped at a certain amount? If so, you’ll want to calculate how much you’ll actually earn on the card at your current spending levels.
  • Are there additional bonus categories on the card? Selecting a card that allows you to earn on more than 1 category is the best scenario.

Bottom Line: If you spend a lot on groceries, finding a credit card that rewards those purchases is important. But you’ll want to consider cards that have other bonus earning categories that match your spending habits to maximize earnings. 

Best Cash-Back Cards for Groceries

American Express offers 2 credit cards that deliver excellent earnings on grocery/supermarket purchases.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Despite its annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express more than makes up for it with additional earnings on groceries, gas, and department store purchases.

Add a nice welcome bonus statement credit after making minimum required purchases in the first 3 months after card approval, and you’ll have received far more than the $95 annual fee in value.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

If you’d prefer to have a credit card where you don’t have to pay an annual fee but still want those supermarket rewards, try the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

With this card, you’ll still be earning rewards at supermarkets, plus additional cash-back at gas stations and department stores.

Stacks of Coins
You don’t have to pay an annual fee to earn supermarket rewards. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Best $0 Annual Fee Credit Cards for Groceries

A credit card that earns grocery and supermarket spending rewards is even better if you don’t have to pay an annual fee on the card.

Here are 6 credit cards that earn grocery/supermarket rewards and don’t charge an annual fee.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5% cash-back, but those earnings become more valuable when paired with a premium Chase card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

That’s because the cash-back is earned as valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, which can be redeemed for travel for up to 50% more in value when transferred to premium cards.

If you’re qualified military or other member of PenFed Credit Union, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is the go-to credit card for gas and grocery shopping. The card earns 3 points/$1 at grocery stores and military commissaries plus 5 points/$1 spent on gas.

St. Michel France
Membership Rewards Points earned on your American Express® Gold Card can be used to book travel anywhere in the world. Image by Christine Krzyszton.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for Groceries

American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card is incredibly rewarding for grocery spend! You will earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year in purchases.

That is huge and basically can’t be beat.

This card is best for a traveler who wants a credit card for earning rewards on flight purchases (3X points per $1 spent) and on everyday purchases, who will also find value in redeeming those rewards for travel.

Another big bonus is that you’ll earn 4X points at US Restaurants as well, with no spending limits!

Don’t be put off by the $250 annual fee — as there’s a generous welcome bonus, airline fee credits, statement credits on certain grocery spends and more. See here for details.

Best Airline Credit Card for Groceries

AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

  • The Citi AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card (Learn More) might seem like an unlikely choice for supermarket spending, but this card earns 2 American Airlines miles for every dollar spent at supermarkets. Grocery delivery services also earn 2 miles per dollar spent on the card.
  • If you fly on American Airlines, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar for any purchases you make with the airline and 1 mile per dollar for all other purchases.

This card does not charge an annual fee.

Best Hotel Credit Cards for Groceries

Perhaps you wouldn’t naturally consider your hotel-branded credit cards for earning rewards on grocery purchases, but many hotel credit cards actually offer grocery stores as a bonus spending category.

It wouldn’t make sense to apply for these cards solely for earning rewards at supermarkets, but it would be a simple decision if Hilton, IHG, or Marriott were your hotel brand of choice.

The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card earns 12 points/$1 at Hilton properties, and the Hilton Honors American Express Card earns 7 points/$1 at Hilton. Check out all the ways to earn Hilton Honors points if you’re a Hilton loyalist by accessing our complete guide.

The Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier card earns 10 points/$1 spent at IHG properties and 2 points/$1 on gas, groceries, restaurants.

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Card earns 6 points/$1 spent at Marriott properties and 2 points/$1 on all other purchases. For more ways to earn Marriott Rewards Points, check out our guide.

Bottom Line: Travel rewards credit cards often charge annual fees, but these cards also offer travel benefits that usually more than offset the cost of that annual fee. Just be sure to select travel rewards credit cards with benefits you will actually use. 

Chase Freedom quarterly categories
Grocery stores and wholesale clubs are common quarterly bonus categories. Image courtesy of Chase.

Best Quarterly Category Credit Cards for Grocery Stores / Wholesale Clubs

These no-annual-fee credit cards offer rotating bonus categories each quarter, allowing you to earn cash-back on a variety of purchases throughout the year.

Grocery stores and wholesale clubs are commonly included in as many as 3 out of 4 quarters each year.

Credit Cards With Quarterly Bonus CategoriesRewards
  • 5% cash-back on up to $1500 in purchases each quarter

Total earnings from 5% spending categories are capped at $75 per quarter on all of these cards, and purchases after that earn 1% cash-back.

Hot Tip: If you were to spend the maximum on groceries at supermarkets/wholesale clubs in only 3 quarters on all 3 cards, you would earn $675 a year on 5% categories. If you maximized all 4 quarters on each card, you would earn $900 cash-back. And none of these cards charge an annual fee!

Best 2% or 2 Points/$1 Credit Cards for Groceries

Earning 2 points per dollar spent or 2% cash-back on your grocery purchases is a respectable return. These credit cards not only earn that much, but they offer additional earning potential and other bonus spending categories that help you build rewards faster.

With the exception of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (Learn More) which has the $95 annual fee waived the first year, these cards have a $0 annual fee.

Bottom Line: Having a credit card that earns 2% cash-back or 2 points/$1 spent on groceries is great…but it’s even better if the card has additional bonus earning categories. 

Best Grocery Rewards Credit Card for Less-than-Perfect Credit

If you have no credit or your credit history has some flaws, you can still qualify for a credit card that earns rewards for grocery/supermarket spending.

Secured credit cards work the same as other credit cards, but they’re specifically designed for consumers with bad/no credit, so they require a security deposit that is held with the card issuer.

The SunTrust Secured Credit Card is a secured card that serves the purpose of rebuilding/building your credit, but it also allows you to earn cash-back during the process. You’ll be earning:

  • 2% cash-back on up to $6,000 spent annually for gas and grocery purchases
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

Hot Tip: If you’re working on getting your credit back on track, be sure to select a card that reports your new positive credit activity to the credit bureaus like this card does.

Gift cards
Grocery stores sell dozens of gift cards you can use for future expenses. Image courtesy of Chase.com.

Maximizing Grocery Store Rewards

Maximize Earnings With Gift Card Purchases

Nearly every major grocery store sells gift cards. Whether you are able to buy the gift cards with your credit card and earn rewards will depend on the store’s policy.

The list of gift cards you’ll find sold at grocery stores is nearly endless, and can include the following:

  • The store’s own gift card (Safeway, Giant, Albertsons, etc.)
  • Other grocery stores such as Whole Foods
  • Retail merchant gift cards
  • Chain restaurants (Panera, Olive Garden, Chili’s, etc.)
  • Specialty retailers (Amazon)
  • Entertainment (Netflix, Fandango, iTunes, etc.)
  • Transportation/travel (Uber, Southwest Airlines, Hotels.com, etc.)
  • Home/garden (Lowes, Tractor Supply Co., etc.)
  • Visa/MasterCard/American Express Gift Cards
  • …and more!

If your grocery store will allow the purchase with a credit card, you can also purchase Visa, Mastercard, and American Express gift cards that can be used to pay other bills such as insurance, utilities, and medical bills.

Keep in mind that Visa, Mastercard, and American Express gift cards carry fees, so you would only purchase them to meet initial minimum spending requirements for sign-up bonuses — or when rewards earned exceed the amount of the fees.

All gift cards can be used for future purchases or as gifts.

Purchasing gift cards (at grocery stores) that you’ll use in the future is a way to earn more rewards on the spending you’re doing already.

Earn More at the Grocery Store With These Purchases

Maybe you have a local grocery store like mine that’s more like a department store: it has everything you need including clothing, electronics, outdoor furniture, and much more.

To maximize your supermarket rewards, consider purchasing items that you wouldn’t earn rewards on elsewhere.

Here are some of the items grocery stores may carry in addition to groceries:

  • Bakery, deli, and catering for office functions/parties
  • Pharmacy, medicine, wellness
  • Baby gear
  • Pet supplies
  • Tools
  • Patio furniture
  • Home decor
  • Bedding
  • Lawn maintenance supplies
  • Clothing
  • Automotive items

Bottom Line: If you’re earning rewards on your supermarket purchases, consider purchasing additional items at supermarkets that you would have normally purchased elsewhere without earning rewards.

Final Thoughts

According to 2017 USDA statistics, the average family of 4 (with 2 children under 12) spends between $717-$1,057 per month on a low-cost to moderate grocery budget.

Let’s average that to an estimate of $900/month for an annual expense of $10,800. (This doesn’t include eating out of course, which is another expense that could be earning rewards.)

If you’re spending that much money on groceries and not earning rewards, it makes sense to consider a credit card that earns on those purchases!

You’ll need the discipline to pay off your card each month, of course, but you’ll end up with cash-back, points, or miles that can be turned into something of value you wouldn’t have had otherwise.


*Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

FAQ

Which is the best credit card for groceries?

If you spend a lot on groceries, the best card for earning rewards on grocery/supermarket purchases will be one that delivers the most rewards for the amount you spend. You’ll have to start by estimating how much you spend annually and do the math.

For example, spending $6,000 on groceries with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and earning 6% cash-back delivers $360 in total cash-back. You’d need to spend $18,000 on a 2% cash-back credit card to earn the same $360.

Does Walmart count as a grocery store?

No, Walmart does not count as a grocery store and will not earn bonus rewards. Occasionally, however, you will find Walmart listed as a bonus category on credit cards that have quarterly rotating bonus categories.

You will have to register in advance to be eligible, but once you have one of these credit cards you will receive reminder notices to do so. Credit cards that have quarterly bonus categories include Chase Freedom®, Discover It® Cash Back, and Citi® Dividend Card.

How do grocery reward credit cards work?

Credit cards that reward purchases at supermarkets do so by giving you cash-back, points, or miles for spending money on the credit card for those purchases.

For example, if you have a credit card that pays 3% cash-back on groceries and you spend $200 on groceries, you’ll receive cash-back of $6.

Many credit cards that reward grocery purchases also reward other spending such as at gas stations, department stores, and restaurants.

Over the course of a year, you could earn several hundred dollars in rewards just for the spending you’re already doing.

Can I get a credit card that earns rewards if I have bad credit?

It is possible to get a credit card even if you have bad credit. Secured credit cards are designed specifically for those who have no credit or bad credit.

Because you’ll be building or re-building credit, the credit card issuer requires you to put down a security deposit that they will hold while they extend credit to you.

Fortunately there are secured credit cards that do offer rewards. We have mentioned one of them, the SunTrust Secured Credit Card, in the article.

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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