Earn More Rewards On Your Groceries With These Credit Cards

Earn More Rewards On Your Groceries With These Credit Cards

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CNN —  

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through the LendingTree affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Groceries are a significant part of the monthly budget for most American households, which means you want to earn as much cash back or travel points on your supermarket purchases as you can. Fortunately, not only are there a number of great credit cards for grocery shopping, but some cards even feature limited-time bonuses on groceries.

But which credit card is best for groceries right now? CNN Underscored has picked our current favorite credit cards to use at the supermarket. The right card truly depends on your needs and shopping habits, but rest assured — there’s a card for everyone.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for cash back at U.S. supermarkets
American Express® Gold Card: Best for travel rewards
Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best sign-up bonus
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: Best for groceries and gas
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature: Best for Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh
Target REDCard: Best for groceries at Target
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express: Best for travel rewards with no annual fee

All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by CNN. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is not currently available through CNN.

Why did we pick these as our best credit cards for groceries this year? Let’s dive into the details of each of these cards and see how they compare to one another.

If you spend more money at grocery stores than anywhere else, then the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express is for you. Although some other cards are currently offering more rewards on groceries for a limited time, this card will always give you a great return on your supermarket purchases 365 days a year.

The Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back as a statement credit at U.S. supermarkets for up to $6,000 in purchases per year (then 1% cash back after that). There’s no other card that offers this much cash back on groceries on an ongoing basis, so this is truly the best card when it comes to getting cash into your pocket.

Aside from the 6% cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred also offers a strong 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. There’s a good chance you’ve upped these subscription services in recent years, so this is one way to save some money in that department.

You’ll also receive 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit with the Blue Cash Preferred. As life gets back to normal, these will undoubtedly become a larger portion of your monthly budget again, so this is an ideal card to use on those categories as well.

All cash back earned with the Blue Cash Preferred comes in the form of reward dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits, so getting your cash is easy.

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Depending on how much you spend on groceries, paying an annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred card after the first year could make sense.

Keep in mind that the Blue Cash Preferred currently has a $0 introductory fee for the first year, but after that it carries a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees). However, if your family makes at least $6,000 in purchases at US supermarkets each year — which is an average of $500 per month — then the annual fee pays for itself quite quickly.

But if your grocery expenses aren’t that high, you might consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express instead. The Blue Cash Everyday is a no-annual-fee card (see rates and fees) and earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1% cash back). That means if you spend less than about $3,166 in grocery purchases annually, you’re better off with the Blue Cash Everyday instead of the Blue Cash Preferred after the first year.

Related: Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred or Amex Blue Cash Everyday best for you?

Learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred.
Learn more about the Blue Cash Everyday.

The American Express Gold Card is a top-notch card for groceries, as you’ll not only get a relatively high return, but also some incredible baked-in benefits. It’s not a cheap credit card with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), but you might find that the perks outweigh the fee.

With the Amex Gold, you’ll earn 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1x), 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, 3 points per dollar spent for flights booked directly with airlines or at amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.

Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each. That means you’re looking at an effective 8% return at U.S. supermarkets, which is the highest total return you’ll see for groceries on any credit card on an ongoing basis, even if other cards on our list are better for a limited time.

Aside from earning a lot of points, the Amex Gold also offers several annual statement credits. Right now, the easiest one to take advantage of is the up to $120 in dining credits. With this perk, you’ll earn up to $10 in statement credits each month when you use your card to pay at select merchants, including Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations (enrollment is required before you use this benefit).

Grubhub

If you’re ordering regularly via Grubhub, you can get up to $120 in annual dining credits with the Amex Gold card.

With both Grubhub and Seamless on this list, if you order out regularly, you can easily use up these credits each month. And with the Amex Gold, you’ll also get $10 each month in Uber Cash, which can be used for either Uber rides in the U.S. or Uber Eats deliveries (enrollment required).

Related: CNN Underscored’s review of the American Express Gold card.

Learn more about the American Express Gold Card.

If you have significant grocery expenses and don’t already have a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, this might be the perfect time to consider one. While it’s already a top-notch no-annual-fee credit card with potentially flexible rewards, Chase’s recently launched sign-up offer on the Freedom Unlimited really makes it a no-brainer.

Right now, new Chase Freedom Unlimited card holders can earn $200 in bonus cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months after you open the account. But in addition, if you get the card now, you can also earn a whopping 5% cash back on your grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) in the first year you have the card, up to a maximum of $12,000 in spending.

On top of 5% cash back on groceries as part of the sign-up offer, you’ll also earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 3% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 3% on drugstore purchases and 1.5% on all other purchases. So even after the first year is over, you’ll continue to earn strong rewards.

Related: Earn 5% cash back on groceries with this Chase Freedom Unlimited offer.

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Along with its other bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 3% cash back at drugstores.

But if you want more value for your rewards, there’s a way to get even more from this card. If you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a premium Ultimate Rewards card — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve — you can convert your cash back from the Freedom Unlimited into Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a ratio of 1 cent for 1 point, then transfer the points to your premium Chase card.

Related: Read CNN Underscored’s review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card.

Once you’ve converted your rewards to points, you can redeem them based on the options available on your premium card. That means you can use them at the Chase travel portal — where your points are worth between 1.25 cents apiece with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and 1.5 cents apiece with the Chase Sapphire Reserve — or with Chase’s “Pay Yourself Back” tool, which lets you redeem points for purchases you’ve made in eligible categories, including grocery stores, dining establishments (including delivery and takeout) and home improvement stores.

Now, if you want a card with quarterly bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Flex is a great option as well. Its sign-up offer is exactly the same as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, but instead of earning 1.5% cash back on all your non-bonus category purchases, you instead earn 1% cash back with the Freedom Flex but have access to a rotating set of 5% bonus categories, as well as cell phone protection.

Related: Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Which is best for you?

Learn more and apply now for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

If you like to buy in bulk — and save money along the way — there’s a good chance that you’re frequently at Costco. And if you drive regularly, you probably spend a lot of money on gas as well. People who fall into this bucket may find that the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is a great option for both your grocery and gas needs.

With this card, you’ll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (for the first $7,000 per year, then 1% thereafter), 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases and 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and costco.com. This is a no-annual fee card, but it does require you to have a Costco membership, which starts at $60 per year.

You’ll notice that the strong suit for this card is actually on gas purchases. Yes, you’ll earn 2% cash back on groceries, but that only matches what you’d get on CNN Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, which earns 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% cash back when you pay it off.

However, Costco only takes Visa cards at its stores, and since the Citi Double Cash is a Mastercard, it’s not an option for your in-store Costco purchases (though you can use it at costco.com, which accepts credit cards other than Visa).

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