The Best Grocery Credit Cards and Why it May Not Matter

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The Best Grocery Credit Cards and Why it May Not Matter

Million Mile SecretsThe Best Grocery Credit Cards and Why it May Not MatterMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

Grocery Category Bonuses

Readers often ask what the best cards are for grocery purchases.  So I made a table of my favorite cards which give a bonus for buying groceries.  Please comment if you know of a better card for groceries!

The Best Cards for Buying Groceries

I actually don’t go out of my way to use a specific card for groceries since I prefer to use my limited spending towards completing the minimum spending on new credit cards.

We also don’t spend enough on groceries to make it worth while, but some folks with large families or businesses may spend lots on groceries.

If you don’t spend a lot on groceries, you may be better off with a card with no annual fee (but with a grocery category bonus) which you can keep for a long time instead of paying an annual fee.

Also note that some grocery cards only give you the additional points for shopping at stand-alone supermarkets (like Kroger, Safeway, etc.), and NOT  for shopping at super-stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Super Target, or Wal-Mart Super Centers.

So these cards may be useless if you shop for groceries at super-centers which usually have a lower price than stand-alone supermarkets.

Buying Gift Cards

That said, many grocery stores sell gift cards to other retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy etc.  And many grocery stores sell Visa or MasterCard gift cards.

You can now add a PIN to these gift cards and use them to load your Bluebird card at Wal-Mart and then pay your loans and bills which you otherwise couldn’t pay with a credit card.

So it could make sense to buy gift cards from grocery stores with a credit card which earns extra miles, points, or cash back at grocery stores.  The terms and conditions of some cards say that you won’t earn miles and points for gift card purchases, but in my experience the transaction is coded as being from the grocery store and you do earn miles and points.

Huge Selection of Gift Cards
Gift Cards in Grocery Stores

But I don’t recommend going overboard and buying lots of gift cards and maxing out our credit cards.

Here are MY favorite picks for buying groceries with a credit card.

1.   Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% cash back on supermarket spending & 3% cash back at gas stations.  There is a $6,000 limit per year (~$500 per month).

Note that you may get a better sign-up bonus ($250 vs. the usual $150) if you check your special offers via creditcards.com

  • Step 1:   Click on this link to see your exclusive offers from creditcards.com
  • Step 2:  Enter your name and address, but you can leave your social security number blank.
  • Step 3:  You will see offers including a 45,000 mile Delta offer.  The card application page took a few minutes to load for me.

If you don’t spend much on groceries you may be better off with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express or the Penfed Platinum Rewards card.  Both these offer 3% cash back for grocery shopping, but which have no annual fee, which means that you can keep them for a very long time and help build your credit score.

Update: Citi ThankYou Preferred no longer has groceries as a bonus category.

2.   Citi Thank You Preferred

I like the Citi Thank You Preferred because it has the highest category bonus (5 points per $1) on groceries (& drugstores & gas) and because it has no annual fee. 

Unfortunately, the 5X points are valid only for the 1st 12 months, so this isn’t a card to keep  for the long term.  But it could be useful in the short-term for those of you who have a lot of drugstore and grocery store purchases!

3.   American Express Premier Rewards Gold

I wouldn’t go out of my way to get this card with the current 25,000 point bonus. (offer expired) Instead, I’d wait for the 50,000 point offer to return.

If you already have the card, it could be worth the 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 on groceries.  But you’d have to spend a LOT on gas to justify the $175 annual fee, so I wouldn’t keep this beyond the first year.

That said, you do get 15,000 bonus points for spending $30,000 in 1 calendar year, so it could be worth it if you are a Big Spender.  Or if you spend heavily on air fare which earns 3X points or gas which earns 2X points, but not otherwise.

Bottom Line

It is tempting to chase after grocery category bonuses.

But I’d make sure to use a card which doesn’t have an annual fee (like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express or Penfed Platinum Rewards).

If you do pay an annual fee for a card like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card which earns a bonus for gas, do the math to see that paying an annual fee (after the sometimes free first year) makes sense for you.

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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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The old amex blue card which is still available is worth a mention as well.

I can verify that I’m still getting 2x on grocery stores with the PRG. The card now has lots of targeted offers for users to get statement credits. The best is a $5 credit every time you spend $25 at a BP gas station through 12/31. And these credits apply to all the authorized users as well. My wife and I have already gotten $55 in statement credits in the last 3 weeks. So I’m hoping that if this continues throughout next year that the credits will offset the $175 annual fee. If so, then this card is great.

AMEX has dropped 2x points on grocery stores a few months ago when they added computer hardware stores. From their website:

2X points on US purchases for advertising in select media, shipping and at gas stations

2X points on US purchases made directly from select computer hardware, software and cloud computing providers

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Tom Yackel – The application page still says “2X points at US supermarkets”

I wanted to apply for Blue Cash Preferred. I was checking couple of days and there was $250 cash back after the initial purchase. I am not finding the same offer now. Can you please send me the direct link for that offer?

Thanks.

I recently signed up for the no annual fee Am. Express blue Everyday card, received it in the mail and I’m excited to start using it. I’m a little confused though because there is no mention of the $100 bonus for $1,000 spent in first 3 months. I went back to look at the offer and it does say if you have an American Express card you may be excluded from this deal. I technically do have an American Express card, one I have NEVER actually used, signed up for several years ago, no idea why, and never canceled it. I don’t think it is even a rewards card! Could that card be the reason why I’m not getting the bonus here? Or could I still earn the bonus and they just didn’t mention it in the welcome letter hoping I forget and then don’t spend the $1,000 in the first 3 months? I am still going to keep and use this card, plan to use mainly for groceries. Just a little disappointed about possibly losing that $100 bonus.

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Casey – I’d call the number at the back of the card and ask them to confirm the sign-on bonus.

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