Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

The Largest National Supermarket Chain Expands Visa Credit Card Ban: What Does This Mean for the Future of Travel Rewards?

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

The Largest National Supermarket Chain Expands Visa Credit Card Ban:  What Does This Mean for the Future of Travel Rewards?

Meghan HunterThe Largest National Supermarket Chain Expands Visa Credit Card Ban:  What Does This Mean for the Future of Travel Rewards?Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Pulling out your credit card to pay for an item seems simple enough – right?  It is for the buyer, but in reality, the merchant is paying for that convenience.

When a merchant decides to accept credit cards, they have to pay a host of fees including fees to credit card issuers, credit card networks, and to credit card processors.  This can be a burden for small businesses, which is why you might be asked to pay extra for using a credit card in some establishments.

But late last year Kroger, the largest national supermarket chain in the US, decided to ban Visa credit cards at 21 stores in California.  And on April 3, 2019, the ban will expand to 250 locations in 7 states.

Now you might not shop at Kroger or its chains, like Smith’s or QFC, but if one of the largest US retailers is banning certain credit cards, what might this mean for those of us in the miles & points hobby and many of the best Visa credit cards?

How Might Travel Rewards and the Miles & Points Hobby Be Affected If Retailers Start Banning Certain Credit Cards, Like Kroger Is Doing With Visa?

Kroger Expands Visa Credit Card Ban

This news is unsettling because Kroger is huge – they operate 2,764 supermarkets and multi-department stores and are the second largest retailer in the US behind only Walmart.

If Kroger is feeling the pain from the costs associated with certain credit cards, will other retailers soon follow suit?  If Kroger expands the Visa card ban to all of its stores, I’m worried this is exactly what will happen.

Maybe Kroger is just flexing its muscle in the hopes that they can put the pressure on Visa because they do, in fact, still accept MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards.  But Visa charges Kroger more than the other credit card issuers do, and for now, Kroger is taking a stand.

A spokesperson at Visa gave us this statement, “Cardholders are Visa’s first priority. Our goal is to ensure that every cardholder can use their Visa card wherever they wish to shop. When consumer choice is limited nobody wins.

“The Visa network delivers significant value for merchants including access to more customers, increased sales, security and fraud protection, a quick and convenient checkout experience, and ongoing innovation and implementation of the latest technologies. Kroger enjoys all of these benefits, and there is a cost for these services, like any other.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Kroger and its family of stores and we continue to work toward a resolution so our cardholders can use their preferred Visa credit cards at Foods Co. and Smith’s without Kroger-imposed restrictions. Visa debit and prepaid cards continue to be accepted across all Kroger Stores, including Foods Co. and Smith’s.”

The Impact the Ban Will Have (Now and In the Future) on Travel Rewards

For everyone in the miles & points hobby, it’s already a task to keep track of which credit card to use for various types of purchases.  Will we soon have to track which store accepts which credit cards?  That would be a huge hassle because a number of the best credit cards for travel are Visa cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Kroger may be able to successfully negotiate lower Visa fees for itself, but that would impact the bank’s bottom line and, in turn, could affect how generous banks are (or aren’t) when it comes to travel rewards.  If banks are making less through fees, it’s likely customers like us who collect travel rewards that will be negatively affected.

Speculation aside, news like this is a gentle reminder to earn and burn your travel rewards.  Don’t hoard them and delay your dream trip!

Many of the Best Visa Credit Cards Earn Travel Rewards You Can Use to Help Offset the Cost of Your Next Vacation

The landscape of the miles & points hobby is constantly changing – deals come and go and a trick that works one day might not the next.  So it’s best to put the rewards you might earn with any of the best Visa credit cards to good use while you still can.

Do you believe Kroger’s Visa credit card ban will have a ripple effect on other major retailers?  And do you think it will have an effect on the miles & points hobby?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

12comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

If they do this I will change my shopping habits. There are many more choices and they will get my business.

I hope Kroger follows MMS because they will see that I too will stop shopping at Kroger. I have 3 stores to choose from across the street. Kroger may negotiate a cheaper fee, but at a cost of how many customers?

What’s Kroger? Sounds like the worst GMO food place you could think of . Invest in small business groceries and organic markets, time to go large chains

Kroger is one of the oldest grocery store chains. My grandmother worked for them during the Great Depression. They operate under different names e.g. Fry’s in Arizona and City Market in Colorado.

While you are at it Cindy might as well check your white privilege and stop indulging in gratuitous travel which is a large contributor to climate change.

Grand Solar Minimum the Ice Age is coming. We need CO2 above 400 ppm to 70,000 ppm so that life can thrive on the planet. AL boom Gore made his billion dollars with bogus CC. Solar system heating is now on the decline. Get up to date on the science of he SUN. AMEX gold 4X at US super arkets, US gas and 3X air.

It could also affect Kroger. If my Kroger stops taking visa I will shop at another store.

Agreed. If a store I shop at no longer accepted my preferred payment, I’d probably look elsewhere so that I could continue earning miles and points for my next free vacation!

They will lose customers, like me!

I don’t shop at Kroger, but this would definitely affect my decision of where to shop as well 🙁

Load more