Best grocery credit card: Everything from increased earning rates to unlimited cash back and big travel rewards

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Grocery bills are a common expense in many household budgets, and using one of the best credit cards for travel to pay for your supermarket shopping can be a really easy way to earn cash back or points. But many of the best rewards credit cards don’t earn extra points for purchases at supermarkets.

With the coronavirus outbreak most of us are limiting out expenditures to essentials, like groceries. And if you want to get the most back for your purchases, these cards are all solid options.

Best credit card for Groceries

The information for the Chase Freedom and Amex EveryDay Preferred has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Summary of the Best grocery credit cards

CardGrocery benefitsOur review
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Earn 5% cash back (5 Chase points) on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) for the first year you have the card, on up to $12,000 in qualifying purchasesRead our review of this card, which has one of the easiest rewards earning structures around!
Chase FreedomEarn 5% back the first $1,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, fitness clubs and for gym memberships from April 1 to June 30, 2020.Learn about the Chase Freedom's other perks here.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressEarn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets, then 1%. Terms apply.Uncover the rest of this card's bonus categories here.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressEarn 3% cash back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets, then 1%. Terms apply.Learn more about why this is a great no-annual-fee card here.
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 3x Amex points on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year, then 1x. Terms apply.See how this card compares to the Blue Cash Preferred.
American Express® Gold CardEarn 4x Amex points on the first $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets, then 1x. Terms apply.
This is also one of our top cards to use at U.S. restaurants.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardEarn 12x Hilton points at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020). Terms Apply.Find out how to earn free nights with this card here.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® CardEarn 6x Marriott points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets through July 2020Check out our fullreview of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card here.
Citi® Double Cash CardEarn 2% cash back - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay.Find out why this is our best overall cash back card.
Having one of these cards in your wallet will help you save at the supermarket. (Photo by Igisheva Maria/Shutterstock.)

Best grocery credit cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for new cardmembers earning cash back (or Chase Ultimate Rewards points)

Bonus

With Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You also can combine the points you earn with other eligible Chase cards, which helps you save money on travel.

Benefits

The main Chase Freedom Unlimited benefit is the ability to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases, with no minimum redemption amount. You’ll also get 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

In addition, new cardmembers will earn 5% cash back (5 Chase points) on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) for the first year you have the card, on up to $12,000 in qualifying purchases. That’s an incredibly fantastic earning rate for one of the most common expenses in a household!

Freedom Unlimited cardmembers are eligible for three months of complimentary DashPass, too, which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on DoorDash orders of $12+ at participating restaurants. You must activate this benefit by Dec. 31, 2021 to qualify and after the first three free months, you can continue the membership at a 50% discount for the next nine months.

Annual fee

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee.

Our take

If you don’t want to bother with bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a great way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Especially if you’re a new cardmember and can take advantage of the 5% 5% cash back (5 Chase points) on grocery store purchases.

The total value of this card will depend on your spending habits. But if you’re a new cardmember who maxes out the grocery bonus your first year, you’ll earn a whopping $600 cash back — in addition to the rewards you’ll earn for other purchases. That’s a solid deal because you don’t have to pay an annual fee to keep the card.

Chase Freedom®

Best rotating bonus category

Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months of opening your account.

The cash back you earn with the Chase Freedom card can be much more valuable if you have any of these Chase credit cards:

This is because you can pool the Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Freedom card onto one of the above travel credit cards and then transfer them to any of the Chase transfer partners.

Each quarter you can earn 5% back on the first $1,500 in combined purchases. Right now, July 1 through September 30, 2020, you’ll get 5% cash back (5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) with Amazon.com and Whole Foods when you activate the bonus.

You’ll also earn 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and 1% back on all other purchases.

The Chase Freedom credit card has no annual fee.

The Chase Freedom card is a solid cash back card, but it really shines when you pair it will other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. For example, the rewards you can earn instantly become at least 50% more valuable if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. That’s because with the Sapphire Reserve your Chase points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site.

If you max out this card’s bonus categories you can earn an extra $300 per year. That’s a solid deal because you don’t have to pay an annual fee to keep the card.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Best for cash back

Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first three months of opening your account.

According to Amex, superstores (Walmart, Target, etc.) and warehouse clubs (Costco, BJs, etc.) won’t earn bonus cash back. But there are sometimes store-specific cards that are good for those purchases, which we highlight at the bottom of this article.

The Blue Cash Preferred’s benefits go far beyond U.S. supermarket purchases. You’ll also earn 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit. The transit category includes Uber, Lyft, taxis, trains, tolls. subway, buses and ferries. The card also earns 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, but if you pay for your streaming service as part of a bundle the transaction may not qualify.

On top of all that, it earns 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each calendar year, then 1%. Terms apply.

$95 (see rates & fees).

Even if you only open the Blue Cash Preferred for its grocery bonus category you’d still be coming out ahead every year because maxing out that bonus earns you $360. That’s a solid return for a credit card that earns cash back. Also, a big part of what makes cash back worth it for so many is the simplicity of being able to use it for any expense.

After you subtract the annual fee from the intro bonus you have a first year value of $155 before you earn a single penny of cash back.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best for cash back with no annual fee

Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first three months of opening the account.

You can only earn an intro bonus on a specific American Express card once per lifetime, but the Blue Cash Everyday and Blue Cash Preferred are considered different products. So if you’ve had one you are still eligible for the bonus on the other.

The Blue Cash Everyday earn 3% back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each calendar year, then 1%. And purchases made at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores earn 2% back. All other spending earns 1% cash back. Terms apply.

$0 (see rates and fees).

This card earns half the bonus cash back rate as the Blue Cash Preferred on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets. That equates to earning $85 less per year in cash back once you pay the Blue Cash Preferred’s $95 annual fee see rates and fees. So this card is a better option only if you can’t qualify for the Blue Cash Preferred or can’t justify paying that card’s annual fee because you won’t max out the U.S. supermarkets bonus category every year.

Because this card has no annual fee you’ll earn no less than $150 first year, as long as you qualify for the intro bonus offer.

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Best for low spenders earning travel rewards

Earn 15,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in your first three months from opening the account.

If you can find a friend to refer you to the Amex Everyday Preferred you might be able to get a much more generous welcome offer, plus your friend will earn bonus points too.

The Amex Everyday Preferred earns 3x Amex points on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets every calendar year, then 1x. The card also earns 2x points at U.S. gas stations and one point per dollar on everything else.

But get this, you can increase the rewards you earn in a billing cycle by 50% if you make 30 or more purchases during that same billing period. So this card has the potential to earn up to 4.5x points at U.S. Supermarkets.

$95

If you plan on making at least 30 purchases with this card every billing period you won’t be able to find a card that consistently offers a better return for purchases at U.S. supermarkets.

We value Amex points at two cents each when you transfer them to Amex’s travel partners. That makes the first year value of this card at least $205 after deducting the annual fee.

American Express® Gold Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith)

Best for big spenders earning travel rewards

Earn 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening the account.

If you want to be able to transfer Amex points to someone else’s airline or hotel rewards account they will need to have been an authorized user on your account for at least 90 days. Luckily, the first five authorized users you add to your Amex Gold account are free ($35 for each addition authorized user beyond five).

If you’re a heavy spender on groceries, you can’t beat the American Express Gold card. It earns 4x Amex points at U.S. supermarkets on the first $25,000 spent per calendar year, then 1x. The card also earns an uncapped 4x Amex points on dining, 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and one point on all other purchases.

This is also one of our best credit cards for restaurants because it earns up to $120 in dining credits each year â€” you’ll get up to $10 in credit per month when you use your card at participating restaurant partners. The card also comes with up to $100 in annual airline fee credits with your selected airline. And it has no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

$250 (see rates and fees).

There are so many great ways to use Amex points to get outsized value for your rewards. And this is the best rewards credit card for earning Amex points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. So if you spend a lot in those categories and want to earn travel rewards, this is the right card for you.

At a value of two cents per point, the intro bonus is worth $700 in travel. With the cards dining and airline credits (up to $220 per year, combined) and after paying the $250 annual fee the first year value is $670.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Best for earning hotel points

Earn 130,000 Hilton points after spending $2,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.

If you have any level of Hilton status you get access to the 5th night free perk. With it, you’ll get every 5th night free on points stays (up to four free nights per stay), the discount is based on the average cost of all the nights during the stay. The good news is that the Hilton Surpass comes with Gold status as long as you have the card, so you’ll always have access to this benefit.

The Surpass earns 12x Hilton points per dollar of eligible purchases at Hilton hotels, 6x points per dollar for eligible purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants and 3x points everywhere else. And any calendar year that you spend $15,000+ on the card you’ll earn a free weekend night certificate valid at any Hilton hotel except these locations.

As I mentioned earlier, the card comes with Hilton Gold status, which gets you free breakfast at Hilton hotels. You’ll also get 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge visits per year.

$95 (see rates and fees)

The Surpass is one of the best hotel credit cards for earning mid-tier elite status. The reason for this is that Hilton Gold status is the only mid-tier elite status (with the major hotel chains) that comes with a free breakfast benefit. On top of that, you’ll have a hard time finding a card with a lower annual fee that also gets you access to Priority Pass lounges.

This card’s first year value is at least $530 based on our .5 cents valuation of Hilton points and after deducting the cost of the annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Best for earning Marriott points

Bonus offer

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with 75,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.  

Insider tip

Because COVID-19 has negated much of the value of this card’s travel perks, you can use the up to $300 Marriott credit at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery) from June through August 2020.

Benefits and perks

The top Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant benefits from this card include an annual statement credit (up to $300) to use each membership year at participating Marriott hotels (including room charges) and an annual free night (at participating Marriott hotels worth up to 50,000 points) after you renew your card.

Through July 2020, you’ll also earn 6x Marriott points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets.

The card also offers Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership (you can bring up to two guests) and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (a value of up to $100) every four years. These are musts for frequent travelers.The card has a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Annual fee

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant has an annual fee of $450 (see rates and fees).

Our take

The annual fee is high, but the additional money-saving perks can make it worth the annual fee, depending on your situation. The annual free-night award is particularly valuable because it’s valid at hotels that cost up to 50,000 Marriott points per night.

We value Marriott points at .8 cents each, making the bonus ($800) and Marriott credits ($300) worth $650 after you pay the annual fee. That’s a solid bonus when you consider that we’re not even adding in the annual award night.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for unlimited cash back with no annual fee

This card currently has no intro bonus offer.

If you have the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premierâ„  Card you can transfer the rewards you earn with the Citi Double Cash to Citi’s travel partners

The Citi Double Cash card earns 2% cash back, 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay.

$0

This is one of the best cards to use for everyday spending that doesn’t fall into another card’s bonus category. Because most cards only earn 1% on non-bonused spending with the Citi Double Cash you’re essentially doubling your return on those purchases. Not bad for a card with no annual fee.

This card has no intro bonus, so the first year value depends solely on how much you spend on the card.

The information for the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Store-specific card options

Most of the cards on this list are issued by Amex and according to its terms superstores (including Target, Walmart and Amazon) and wholesale clubs (like Costco and BJs) won’t earn bonus points. So if you do most of your grocery spending at these stores you may want to look into opening a card specifically for these purchases.

Here are a few good options.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

This card is issued by Chase, so it is subject to the 5/24 rule, which means you won’t be eligible for it if you’ve opened 5+ card from any bank in the past 24 months. You’ll also need to be an Amazon Prime member to qualify. It earns 5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods, making it one of the best credit cards for Amazon purchases.

It also earns 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

There are plenty of good credit cards to use at Costco, including this one. With it you’ll earn 4% cash back on the first $7,000 on eligible gas purchases at Costco and gas stations worldwide each annual reward period (1% thereafter). It also earns 3% cash back at restaurants worldwide and on eligible travel purchases. When you make purchases at Costco you’ll earn 2% cash back and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

The Target REDcard gets you a 5% discount on all qualifying target purchases. So even though you’re not earning rewards it’s a great option if you do most of your grocery shopping at Target. You’ll also get free shipping on most purchases made on the Target website.

The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, Target REDcard credit card and Costco Anywhere Visa card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

  For more travel and credit card news, deals and analysis sign-up for our newsletter here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here

For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Surpass Card, please click here

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, click here

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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! :)

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Vincent Carloni
1 year ago

Why isn’t the Amex EveryDay Preferred included in your list? It’s 4.5 pts.

Amol
1 year ago

Amazon Prime Visa for 5% at Whole foods, Chase Freedom Unlimited every where else.