For most Americans, grocery shopping eats up a huge chunk of their monthly budget – especially these days. And even though travel is not top of mind for many right now, you can (and should) still be earning all the points, miles, or even cashback you can to put toward future travel.
As luck would have it, there has perhaps never been a more rewarding time to use a travel rewards credit card at the grocery store. As more Americans are staying home, grocery spending is up across the board. Banks have seized on this by offering some of the most lucrative credit card spending bonuses for grocery shopping we’ve ever seen.
We’ll break down the best cards for grocery shopping at U.S. grocery stores. If you spend a lot on this category, one of the cards listed below should be at the top of your wallet – at least for now.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Normally, we would never recommend using the Platinum Card® from American Express at the grocery store. That’s because it typically earns 1x American Express Membership Rewards point for every dollar you spend at U.S. grocery stores.
But that all changed in November when American Express launched their best-ever welcome offer bonus on the Platinum Card from American Express.
You can now earn up to 125,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first six months of card membership. That’s up from the standard offer of 60,000 points – plus you’ve got twice the usual three-month period to earn them. But it gets even better.
In addition to the welcome bonus itself, you’ll also earn 10x points for every dollar you spend at both gas stations and at supermarkets in the U.S. on up to $15,000 in combined purchases in the first six months of card membership! That’s the biggest bonus you’ll find for spending at supermarkets or gas stations, period (terms apply).
If you maximize it by spending $15,000 over six months in these two categories, you’d earn another 150,000 Membership Rewards points on top of whatever welcome bonus you receive.
Critically, this new offer is not available for existing cardmembers – if you already have the card, you won’t be eligible to earn 10x points per dollar spent on gas and groceries. But even if you have had the Platinum Card in the past, you may still be eligible for this huge new offer.
And make sure to check CardMatch to see if you are eligible for the 125,000 point welcome bonus for the same $5,000 spending requirement over the first 6 months of card membership.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Flex
New Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex cardholders will earn $200 cashback after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of card membership. If you hold either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, that $200 can be converted into 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.
In addition to the bonus cash back or points, new cardmembers will also earn 5% back (or 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on up to $12,000 of spending at grocery stores for the first 12 months. Unfortunately, this excludes stores like Target and Walmart.
If you already have a Chase Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Flex, you won’t be eligible to earn 5% back (or 5x points) on grocery store purchases. But if you don’t have either of these cards, it is a phenomenal deal – especially when you consider that neither card has an annual fee.
Make sure to read our post comparing the Freedom Unlimited & Freedom Flex cards to see how they’re alike and different.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card should be a mainstay for your grocery store spending. And that’s been true since long before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the travel and credit card rewards landscape.
The card offers 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in spending each year. After that, you will earn 1x point per dollar spent.
Not to mention, the card is currently offering its best-ever welcome bonus offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of card membership. And you can even get targeted for a 75,000 point offer with the same spending requirement via CardMatch.
Unlike other cards higher on this list, this isn’t a temporary benefit. Since the card was refreshed back in 2018 it has offered 4x points per dollar spent on groceries, making it a staple on this list, and a frontrunner in the conversation about the best credit cards for grocery shopping.
Spending $6,000 each year at U.S. grocery stores and supermarkets with this card would yield around 24,000 Membership Rewards points. To me, that alone is nearly enough to justify the annual fee in and of itself.
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve
In October, Chase announced that the Chase Sapphire Reserve will now earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent on grocery purchases up to $1,000 each month through April 30, 2021. That’s a huge improvement over the 1x point per dollar spent at the grocery store the card typically earns.
Still, it falls short of both the Amex Gold and Platinum Cards – and even the no annual fee Chase Freedom cards. But there are other reasons why you may want to use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card at the grocery store.
First, Chase has made updates to the Reserve card’s $300 annual travel credit. In October, Chase announced that the $300 credit could now be used towards gas and grocery purchases through June of 2021. All you have to do is spend money on either category (or on travel) and Chase will automatically reimburse you until you reach the $300 threshold.
And in addition to the new flexibility with the travel credit, one of the best reasons to use a Chase Sapphire Reserve Card at the grocery store right now is the new Pay Yourself Back feature. Through April of 2021 (and likely beyond that date), you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay yourself back for purchases made at grocery stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores.
When you do so, each point will be worth 1.5 cents towards groceries. That means you can erase a $100 charge at a grocery store using just 6,666 points. It is a great new benefit that provides a ton of flexibility for using your points.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase also announced that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will now earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent on grocery purchases up to $1,000 each month through April 30, 2021.
That’s a decent improvement over the 1x point per dollar spent at the grocery store the card typically earns, but in my opinion, still falls short of other options on this list.
But like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Pay Yourself back feature can be used to erase grocery store purchases from your account through April of 2021. Each point will be worth 1.25 cents so a $100 purchase can be erased with 8,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
It’s a great deal – especially if you are not ready to travel (or book travel).
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
The Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier Card is another solid option for grocery store spending as it earns 3x Citi ThankYou points for every dollar spent at grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and on-air travel and hotels.
You’ll also earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on the card in the 3 months of card membership, and the card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Click Here to learn more about the Citi Premier Card.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Not everybody values points and miles. And if you spend a lot of money at U.S. supermarkets but would rather earn cashback, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is another good option.
The card earns 6% cashback at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 of purchases each year. After that, you will earn 1% back. Spending $6,000 each year at U.S. supermarkets with this credit card would yield $360 cashback – almost four times the amount you pay for the card’s annual fee.
- Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 within the first six months of card membership
- 6% cashback on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- 3% cashback on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
- 6% cashback at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
- 3% cashback at U.S. gas stations.
- 1% cashback on other purchases.
- Annual Fee: $95 (waived for the first year of card membership). See rates & fees.
- Terms Apply
Click Here to learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
As travel fell off a cliff in 2020, banks have pivoted and are trying to reward consumers for their current spending. And nowhere is that more obvious than with grocery stores.
There has arguably never been a more rewarding time to shop at the grocery store. But many of these offers are only available for a limited time, so don’t wait to take advantage!