The 7 Best Credit Cards for Pharmacies & Drugstores [2021]

Woman at pharmacy

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If you’re finding yourself frequently visiting the pharmacy or drugstore to make purchases, you should think twice before swiping any random credit card in your wallet.

The truth is that it’s possible to earn lots of generous rewards by using the right credit card for these purchases.

Whether you’re purchasing over-the-counter medications, getting your prescriptions filled, or are just frequently buying wellness-related supplies, having the right credit card in your hand could get you closer to your dream vacation!

In this post, we’ll show you how to pick the best credit card for your pharmacy and drugstore purchases. We’ll then walk you through the best choices that we’ve identified with the best rewards.

What To Look for in a Credit Card for Pharmacies and Drugstores

Customer Checking Out at Pharmacy
Image Credit: Gorodenkoff via Adobe Stock

Credit card rewards are a complex topic. One of the biggest misconceptions about earning bonus points is that you’ll earn extra points wherever you shop just because you think your purchase qualifies.

The truth is that merchants and stores categorize themselves as a certain type of seller, and this decision is finalized way before you make your purchase.

For example, many consumers consider Costco to be a grocery store and/or supermarket, but in the eyes of credit card companies, Costco is almost always a warehouse club, which automatically excludes Costco purchases from earning bonus points under the grocery store category.

The same principle applies to pharmacies and drugstores — to max out your rewards, you’ll need to make sure that the credit card issuer you’re using (e.g. Visa) considers your local pharmacy or drugstore as an actual pharmacy or drugstore in its system.

For example, if you look at purchases made with a Visa credit card, one of the easiest ways to confirm that your purchase will code correctly is to use the Visa Supplier Locator.

Once you’ve confirmed that your purchase is an eligible pharmacy or drugstore transaction, you’ll need to figure out which credit cards offer the best possible rewards for these purchases.

The 7 Best Credit Cards for Pharmacies and Drugstores

1. Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card

Credit CardBenefits & Info

Chase Freedom Flex℠


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 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99% - 24.74%.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommendation (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0

The Freedom Flex card is one of Chase’s newest credit cards. It replaced the Chase Freedom® card, which isn’t open to new applications anymore.

But we’re not looking back because this phenomenal no-annual-fee credit card is built with the consumer in mind.

To start, you’ll earn a cash-back welcome bonus on this credit card. Then, you will earn according to this accrual structure:

As you can tell, this immensely attractive card is marketed as offering cash-back rewards, but the story actually gets even better. If you also have an Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can actually convert your cash-back rewards into transferable Ultimate Rewards points.

And when you convert your cash-back into Ultimate Rewards points, you open up a completely new world of possibilities to redeem your points, which is why you’d double your return on spending.

Your 5%, 3%, and 1% cash-back would then be equal to 5x, 3x, and 1x Ultimate Rewards points earned, respectively. 3% cash-back at drugstores is convertible to 3x Ultimate Rewards points, which, by our valuations, is equal to a return on spend of 6%!

When you hold this credit card, you also get access to fantastic benefits like cell phone protection (up to $800 per claim, up to 2 claims every 12-month period, with a $50 deductible per claim, and up to $1,000 per year), trip cancellation and interruption insurance, secondary rental car coverage, extended warranty, purchase protection, zero liability protection, and fraud alerts.

Why We Like Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

By itself, the Freedom Flex card does not earn Ultimate Rewards points. Therefore, your rewards would only be redeemable at a 1 cent per point value for cash-back, gift cards, travel through the Chase travel portal, and for Shop at Amazon.

But if you pair the Freedom Flex card with an Ultimate Rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can then increase the value of your points by making use of Chase’s terrific airline and hotel transfer partners for luxury travel experiences.

2. Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

The Citi Custom Cash card is our runner-up because it allows you to earn up to 5x points on drugstore purchases!

Although this no-annual-fee card is marketed as earning 5% cash-back on your top eligible spending category, your rewards can actually be converted to Citi ThankYou Points!

Before we get into that, though, let’s talk about the card’s features. To begin, you can get a welcome bonus by signing up for this product. But on an ongoing basis, you’ll earn 5% cash-back on purchases in your top eligible spending category, up to the first $500 spent (1% cash-back thereafter).

Citi’s eligible spending categories are:

Also, this card doesn’t have any rotating bonus categories you need to sign up for — your highest-spending bonus categories are adjusted each billing cycle automatically!

So if you spend up to $500 on drugstores every billing cycle, you could earn 5% cash-back or even 5x Citi ThankYou Rewards Points, which is equal to $25 or 2,500 points — an 8.5% return on spend!

Why We Like Earning Citi ThankYou Rewards Points

As we mentioned above, we are big fans of Citi ThankYou Points because these transferable points are some of the most valuable and useful available.

But if you didn’t have a ThankYou Rewards credit card, your rewards would be redeemable for cash-back, direct deposit payments, checks, gift cards, and extremely limited redemption options with ThankYou Points.

However, if you also have a ThankYou Rewards card like the Citi Premier℠ Card or the Citi Prestige® Card, you can transfer your rewards to travel partners and book incredible award travel using these points.

3. Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

The Freedom Unlimited card is our third-favorite option because it shares a lot of the same characteristics as the Freedom Flex card with a few notable differences between the 2.

A decently-sized welcome bonus is currently offered on the Freedom Unlimited card to help you jumpstart your rewards.

You’ll also notice a very similar rewards structure:

  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% cash-back on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • 3% cash-back on dining
  • 3% cash-back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases

Both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Freedom Flex card earn 3% cash-back on drugstore purchases. There are 2 main differences in rewards between these 2 cards:

  • The Freedom Unlimited card offers an elevated 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases compared to the Freedom Flex card’s 1%
  • The Freedom Flex card offers 5% cash-back on rotating quarterly bonus categories, while the Freedom Unlimited card does not

Just like the Freedom Flex card, the Freedom Unlimited card earns rewards that are convertible to Ultimate Rewards points if you have an eligible Ultimate Rewards card, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, or Ink Business Preferred card.

That means your drugstore purchases earn 3% cash-back is convertible to 3x Ultimate Rewards points, and with a value of 2 cents apiece, your drugstore purchases will earn you a return on spend of 6%.

Other crucial perks you’ll have by holding this card are secondary rental car coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, zero liability protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and fraud alerts.

Hot Tip: We offer a detailed comparison of the Freedom Flex card and the Freedom Unlimited card to help you decide which card might be best for your situation.

4. Citi® Double Cash Card

The no-annual-fee Double Cash card is issued by Citibank, and it happens to be one of our favorite credit cards for everyday purchases.

Unlike many of the most popular rewards credit cards, this product doesn’t currently offer a welcome bonus in terms of points.

However, it does offer the ability to earn up to 2% cash-back on purchases — 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off your bills. There are no caps on earning rewards.

Remember, if you have a card like the Citi Premier card or the Citi Prestige card, you can convert your rewards to Citi ThankYou Rewards Points at a 1% to 1x ratio.

Since your 2% cash-back is convertible to 2x ThankYou Points, your return on spending is equal to an estimated 3.4%!

You may also find an introductory 0% balance transfer offer when you open this card.

Other benefits of this credit card include zero liability for unauthorized purchases, fraud protection, flexible pay dates, a late fee pass, and access to Citi Private Pass for event tickets.

5. AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays

The AARP Essential Rewards card is one of Barclays’ newest credit cards available, and it’s an incredibly relevant option for this article.

To start with, this credit card offers a small welcome bonus when you sign up for the card. You can then earn unlimited cash-back on the following purchases:

  • 3% cash-back on gas and drugstore purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
  • 2% cash-back on medical expenses
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

There’s also usually a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers offered upon sign-up. This credit card offers fraud liability protection, complimentary online access to your FICO credit score, rewards that never expire, and more.

Your rewards are redeemable for cash-back, an AARP membership, and more at BarclaysUS.com.

6. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

One of Bank of America’s best cash-back rewards credit cards is the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, which offers you the ability to earn cash-back rewards without an annual fee.

You’ll be eligible to earn a small welcome bonus and enjoy a 0% introductory APR offer on purchases and balance transfers.

In addition, you can earn up to 3% cash-back as follows:

  • 3% cash-back in the category of your choice — choose between gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, and home improvement and furnishings
  • 2% cash-back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

In total, you can earn 3% and 2% cash-back on the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter.

You can make changes to your chosen category once each calendar month, too.

And if you pair this with Bank of America Preferred Rewards, you can actually earn up to 75% more cash-back on every purchase! That means your 3% category could go all the way up to 5.25% cash-back and your 2% category could go all the way up to 3.5%.

Other card features include access to your FICO score online, contactless chip technology, zero fraud liability, overdraft protection, and more.

7. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

The CapOne Venture card is one of Capital One’s flagship credit cards.

This credit card offers the highest welcome bonus of all the cards on the list, as well as access to a transferable rewards program in Capital One Miles, and the ability to earn an unlimited 2x Capital One miles on purchases.

Earning 2x Capital One miles on your spending is equal to a return on spend of approximately 2.8%, according to our valuations.

This card offers more travel benefits than the other options in this list, including a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit, secondary car rental coverage, lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, roadside dispatch, and more.

Shopping-related perks include zero liability fraud protection, purchase security, extended warranty, and no foreign transaction fees.

Why We Like Earning Capital One Miles

Capital One Miles is one of the main transferable currencies available — according to our valuations of around 1.4 cents per point, earning 2x Capital One miles is equal to a return on spend of 2.8%.

With a respectable list of airline and hotel transfer partners, Capital One miles are transferable at mostly a 2:1.5 ratio with a few offering 1:1 ratios and 2:1 ratios.

Capital One miles can be redeemed for luxury award travel or statement credits, gift cards, travel purchases booked via Capital One Travel, and more.

Other Cards for Pharmacy and Drugstore Purchases

All of our recommendations so far were focused on spending at merchants classified as pharmacies or drugstores.

But what if you get your prescriptions filled at Walmart, Whole Foods, or even supermarkets like Kroger or ShopRite?

If your pharmaceutical purchases are made at Amazon or Whole Foods, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is a great option, as it earns 5% cash-back. 

Similarly, the Capital One Walmart Rewards™ card will fulfill your pharmacy needs with 5% back as long as you make your purchase at walmart.com or the Walmart app. 

Lastly, if your pharmacy shopping occurs at a grocery store or supermarket, the absolute best card is the American Express® Gold Card that earns:

  • 4x points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year (1x thereafter) and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
  • 3x points per $1 spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or at Amex Travel
  • 1x points per $1 spent everywhere else

It also offers a slew of different benefits that make this card a no-brainer!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the best credit cards for pharmacy and drugstore purchases, it’s impossible to make a general recommendation without understanding your personal shopping tendencies.

For example, if you make your purchases at a traditional drugstore like CVS or Rite-Aid, the best cards to use are the Freedom Flex card, Citi Custom Cash card, and Freedom Unlimited card.

If you are interested strictly in cash-back rewards, you would probably benefit from the AARP Essential Rewards card or the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card.

But on the off-chance that you can put these purchases at a grocery store or supermarket like Kroger, the best card beyond a shadow of a doubt is the Amex Gold card.

Whatever the case, there’s a terrific choice for you!


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, Citi Prestige® Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card, AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, and Capital One Walmart Rewards™ card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

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


Frequently asked questions

What is the best card for pharmacies and drugstores?

We believe that the Freedom Flex card, the Freedom Unlimited card, and the Citi Custom Cash card provide the best rewards for purchases at drugstores.

With the Chase cards, you’ll earn 3% cash-back with the option to convert your rewards to 3x Ultimate Rewards points, which is equal to a return on spend of 6%.

With the Citi Custom Cash card, you’ll earn 5% cash-back with the option to convert your rewards to 5x ThankYou Rewards Points, which is equal to a return on spend of 8.5%!

Which credit card gives the most cash-back on drugstores and pharmacies?

The credit card that gives the most cash-back on drugstore purchases is the Citi Custom Cash card.

The Citi Custom Cash card offers 5% cash-back on your first $500 in purchases on your top eligible spending category every billing cycle (of which drugstores are an eligible spending category).

What counts as drugstore for Chase?

According to Chase, “Merchants in the drugstores category specialize in selling prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, supplements and various health-related items. These merchants may also sell cosmetics, toiletries, greeting cards, and various household items such as cleaning supplies and packaged foods and drinks. Some merchants that sell a wide variety of goods including these items, and which may contain an onsite pharmacy, for example, warehouse clubs, discount stores, or grocery stores, are not included in this category.”

You can find out what counts as a drugstore for Chase by using the Visa Supplier Locator.

Can you pay for prescriptions with credit card?

Yes! You can almost always pay for your prescriptions using a credit card. However, the final say is given by your specific pharmacy.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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