Grocery Stores are one of the most common bonus categories among points and miles cards. This is because groceries are a major expense for most people, regardless of how often they travel. It’s also a special category among points and miles enthusiasts because of the possibility of manufactured spending. But grocery store cards are a great way to earn rewards regardless of what type.
Cards that are great for warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club are not included. That category might be discussed in a future post. Instead, regular supermarkets and grocery stores will be the focus.
Transferrable Points Cards
American Express cards dominate the grocery store rewards category. Therefore, two powerful Membership Rewards (MR) point–earning cards are highlighted. Fortunately, these cards offer some of the most versatile and generous rewards in the industry for travelers.
American Express Gold Card
American Express’ golden charge card earns 4x MR points at US Grocery Stores and Restaurants worldwide. There is a shared $25,000 annual spend limit for both categories. Such earning makes it one of the best cards for grocery stores for many people.
Plus, the Gold Card also offers $220 in dining and airline credits each year. These credits can help justify the card’s $250 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) if you can use them to the fullest.
The Gold Card currently has a sign-up bonus worth 35,000 points, which can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first three months. The minimum spend requirement used to be just $2,000 within the first three months. But Amex doubled it to $4,000 in October 2019 to better align with competitors. Unfortunately, this makes the Gold Card’s bonus much less desirable than it used to be.
This is a great card if you want a balance between perks and rewards. You will receive a nice suite of perks as well as the credits for a $250 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) It’s also a relative bargain compared to the Platinum Card, whose earning potential is terrible for everyday spend. However, the Platinum Card is unrivaled for those who want more perks.
American Express Everyday Preferred
The Everyday Preferred Card earns 3x MR points at US Grocery Stores. It also earns 2x points at US Gas Stations and a single point per dollar on other purchases.
You will earn a 50% points bonus if you use the card at least 30 times per month. This means that you can earn 4.5x points at Grocery Stores, 3x points at Gas Stations, and 1.5x points on non-bonus spend. The Everyday Preferred card has the potential to be better than the Amex Gold Card if the points bonus is included.
This card has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year), which makes it a less expensive option than the Gold Card. It also has a sign-up bonus worth 15,000 points, which can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
This no annual fee Chase card earns 5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points in quarterly rotating categories, which often includes grocery stores once per year. The Chase Freedom practically prints points if you can max out the categories each quarter. There is a $1,500 spend limit each quarter. This means that you will earn only one point in bonus category spend if you exceed that limit.
The Chase Freedom comes with a sign-up bonus worth 15,000 points. It can be earned after spending just $500 in the first three months. But you need to have either the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred alongside this card to transfer your points.
Either way, this card is great for beginners and as a supplementary card for those who want to earn Chase UR points.
Cash Back Cards
Cash back cards are not as rewarding as transferrable points cards for travelers. However, they shouldn’t be pushed aside. Cash back can oftentimes cover travel expenses that transferrable points can’t. American Express dominates the cash back market as well with two more of its cards highlighted below.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
Amex’s flagship cash back card earns an industry-leading 6% back at US Grocery Stores and for select Streaming Services. It also earns a nice 3% at Gas Stations and for Local Commuter Transit. However, the Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) to counter its rich earning structure.
This card has a $250 sign-up bonus that can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Earning the bonus is like getting 25% cash back (not including regular earning) for the first $1,000 in spend you put on the card.
American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card
The Blue Cash Everyday earns a nice 3% at US Grocery Stores. It also earns 2% at Department Stores and Gas Stations. Despite having lower earning potential than its “big sibling”, the Blue Cash Everyday has no annual fee. It’s also the only American Express card to have a bonus category dedicated to Department Stores.
This card has a $150 sign-up bonus that can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Earning the bonus is like getting 15% cash back (not including regular earning) for the first $1,000 in spend you put on the card.
Discover’s flagship card is like the Chase Freedom in that it earns 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories. Grocery Stores are also a regular category for the Discover It, which offers the potential to earn up to $75 cash back each quarter.
Discover also has an unconventional sign-up bonus that solely depends on how much you spend. They will double the amount of cash back earned within the first 12 months. You would need to spend $3,000 in the 5% categories to earn $150 in cash back. That requires you to maximize any two categories, which can take up to 6 months.
Grocery shopping is one of the easiest ways to earn travel rewards and cash back. This is especially true if you have a large budget for groceries and / or a family. Grocery Stores are a common bonus category because food is a common expense for most people.