The 18+ Best Credit Cards for Groceries & Supermarket Spending [2021]

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 could 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 in our article today, 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 welcome bonus? Welcome bonuses can add significant value. These bonuses are usually 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 anticipated 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 Amex Blue Cash Preferred card more than makes up for it with 6% back at U.S. supermarkets and additional earnings on gas, streaming subscriptions, and transit (taxis/rideshares, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more).

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 annual fee in value.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

If you’d prefer to have a credit card that’s less expensive to own and you still want those supermarket rewards (3% back at U.S. supermarkets), try the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card.

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 is a sampling of credit cards that earn grocery/supermarket rewards and don’t charge an annual fee.

The CapOne SavorOne card with unlimited 3% cash-back and the Hilton Honors card with 5x earnings are both worthy choices for earning at grocery stores.

The Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% cash-back on groceries (and all other purchases), but those earnings become more valuable when paired with a premium Chase card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. That’s because the cash-back is earned as valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points that 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 card is the go-to credit card for gas and grocery shopping. The card earns 3 points per dollar spent at grocery stores and military commissaries, plus 5 points per dollar spent on gas.

Bottom Line: Selecting a card with no annual fee that earns well at grocery stores is a win-win. You’ll be earning rewards on a card you can keep for the long-term without the cost of a fee each renewal period. 

Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for Groceries

St. Michel France
Membership Rewards points earned on your American Express card can be used to book travel anywhere in the world, like Mont Saint-Michel in France. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

American Express® Gold Card

The Amex Gold card is incredibly rewarding for spending at grocery stores. You will earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases.

This opportunity equals the ability to earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points each year, just for maximizing spending in 1 bonus category.

This card is best for a traveler who wants a 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 on dining and takeout.

Don’t be put off by the annual fee — there’s a generous welcome bonus, statement credits for dining out at specific restaurants and food delivery, and more benefits to offset the fee.

Best Airline Credit Card for Groceries

You wouldn’t select an airline-branded card specifically for shopping at grocery stores, however, here are a few airline cards that do offer bonus earning on those purchases.

Delta-Branded Cards

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

  • The no-annual-fee AAdvantage MileUp card might seem like an unlikely choice for supermarket spending, but this card earns 2 AAdvantage 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.

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 a hotel-branded card solely for earning rewards at supermarkets, but it could be an excellent decision if Hilton, IHG, or Marriott were your hotel brand of choice.

The Hilton Surpass card earns 12 points per $1 at Hilton properties and 6x at U.S. supermarkets, and the Hilton Honors card earns 7 points per $1 at Hilton and 5x at U.S. supermarkets. Check out all the ways to earn Hilton Honors points if you’re a Hilton loyalist by accessing our complete guide.

The IHG Premier card earns 25 points per $1 spent at IHG properties and 2 points per $1 on groceries, gas, and restaurants.

The Marriott Boundless card earns 17 points per $1 spent at Marriott properties (due to the card’s Silver Elite status bonus earnings) and 2 points per $1 on all other purchases (including groceries). For more ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, check out our guide.

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

Best Quarterly Category Credit Card for Grocery Stores & Wholesale Clubs

Chase Freedom Flex 5x categories Q3 2021
Grocery stores and wholesale clubs are common quarterly bonus categories. Image Credit: Chase

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card

Credit CardBenefits & Info

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card


Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommendation (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0

Having this no-annual-fee credit card that offers rotating bonus categories each quarter allows you to earn cash-back on a variety of purchases. Grocery stores and wholesale clubs are commonly featured as bonus categories throughout the year.

Total earnings from 5% spending categories are capped at $75 per quarter ($1,500 in purchases); after that purchases earn 1% cash-back.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

You’ll earn unlimited 2% cash-back at grocery stores when you select this option each quarter. You’ll also earn 5% cash-back on 2 bonus categories of your choice on up to $2,000 in purchases when you select from up to a dozen additional bonus categories.

Hot Tip: If you were to spend the maximum in bonus categories each quarter on your Freedom Flex card, you would earn $300 each year. Not bad for a no-annual-fee card that earns flexible, transferable rewards.

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

Earning 2 points per dollar spent or 2% cash-back (or better) 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 or flat rate earnings that help you build rewards faster.

If you want the simplicity of not having to keep track or register for ongoing bonus categories, selecting a card with flat-rate earnings on all purchases could be a consideration.

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

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.

Maximizing Grocery Store Rewards

Gift card choices Chase
Grocery stores sell dozens of gift cards you can use for future expenses or gifts. Image Credit: Chase

Most grocery stores sell more than groceries. Here are some ideas on how to maximize earnings each time you make a shopping trip to your local supermarket.

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 much more!

If your grocery store will allow the purchase with a credit card, you may be able to 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 card welcome bonuses — or when the amount of any rewards earned exceed the amount of the fees.

Purchasing gift cards (at grocery stores) that you’ll use in the future, for your own purchases or as gifts, is a way to earn more rewards on the spending you’re doing already.

Hot Tip: Mastercard cardholders can get 2 free months of Instacart Express, including free delivery on orders over $35. Cancel at no charge before the 2 months is over to avoid the annual plan fee ($99 per year). This offer is valid through September 2021. 

Earn More at the Grocery Store With These Additional Purchases

Perhaps you have a local grocery store 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 the most recent 2021 USDA statistics, the average household family of 4 spends between $1,169 and $1,370 per month on food at home.

Let’s ballpark that to an estimate of $1,200 per month for an annual expense of $14,400 spent each year (not including eating out, which is another expense that could be earning rewards).

If you’re spending that much money on groceries (or other supermarket purchases) 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.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards card, Bank of America® Cash Rewards Card, PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards card, Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, and SunTrust Secured Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

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 Amex Blue Cash Preferred card 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 normally 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 normally 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 the Freedom Flex 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 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 rebuilding 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 card, in the article.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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8 comments

  1. Lance D Brady October 1, 2019

    Which 3 cards were you referring to in your hot tip for maximizing all the categories to get that money back? I know one was obviously the Freedom but the other two I did not know unless I missed something. Thanks for the great article.

    Reply

    • Hi Lance. Thanks for reading and for the kind words. I was referring to the Discover cards and the Freedom, however, the Discover cards, which are excellent for quarterly supermarket categories had to be removed from the table for compliance reasons.

      Reply

  2. Christine, you are not clear on what the third card is.. I guess there are TWO Discover IT cards.. but you do not mention that in the article.. in fact you mention Freedom and Discover IT… then you say that there are 3 cards. This is what Lance wanted more clarification on.

    Reply

    • Hi Brent. You are correct that the Discover cards are the other 2 cards but they had to be removed from the table due to compliance reasons. I’ll update my previous answer to
      reflect this. Thanks so much.

      Reply

  3. Virginia Darr May 1, 2020

    What supermarkets does American Express give you 4x the points for? What do I have to do to get the extra points?

    Reply

  4. Do all grocery store purchases earn grocery store bonuses or just certain items purchased at grocery stores?

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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