Best Credit Cards For Groceries And Supermarkets (May 2020)

Filed Under: Advice, Credit Card Comparisons
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We all have to eat, whether that comes in the form of eating at restaurants or at home. I’ve written in the past about the best credit cards for dining out, and in this post wanted to write about the best credit cards for grocery store and supermarket spending.

This is a category that’s more important to me than ever before, given that we’ve finally started cooking in our household.

There are lots of great credit cards offering bonuses on supermarket spending, whether you want to earn cash back, transferable points, airline miles, or hotel points.

In all cases, I’ll only be looking at cards earning at least 2% back (or the equivalent of that based on my valuation of points).

What Qualifies As Grocery Store or Supermarket Spending?

We all have different places that we buy our groceries, so to start it’s probably worth clarifying for the purposes of credit cards what qualifies as grocery store spending, and what doesn’t. Here are a few things to be aware of up front:

  • The grocery store category generally excludes warehouse stores, Walmart, Target, drug stores, convenient stores, etc.; so you should only expect to earn bonus points or bonus cash back when shopping at “traditional” grocery stores, whether that’s Publix, Albertsons, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc.
  • For American Express cards offering bonuses on grocery store spending, this is limited to U.S. supermarket locations only; so foreign grocery store spending doesn’t earn you bonus points or bonus cash back, and neither will a mini-market or other non-supermarket location where you may purchase groceries
  • This also all comes down to how a particular merchant chooses to categorize themselves; for example, while I imagine it’s not supposed to be the case, I’ve also found that liquor stores are sometimes categorized under the “grocery” category
  • Generally, I’ve found that Instacart orders from supermarkets earn bonus points or cash back, but that’s also not consistently the case

5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries and Supermarkets for May 2020

1. American Express Gold Card

While you can potentially earn a better return on the Amex EveryDay (see below), the American Express Gold Card is the all-around better choice for those who don’t want to fuss with managing how many transactions they have each cycle. The card earns 4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to the first $25,000 per calendar year. The card comes with a slew of other benefits, and you also earn 4x points on dining purchases worldwide, making it one of the top cards for dining and restaurants as well. This card does have a higher annual fee, but it’s such a well-rounded card, and a great option for those looking for a more simplified strategy.

Reward for U.S. supermarket spending: 4x Membership Rewards points (which I value at 6.8%)
Card annual fee: $250
Other things to be aware of: This card offers bonus points only on U.S. supermarket purchases, and only on the first $25,000 spent every calendar year

2. Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card

When leveraged correctly, the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card offers the best return of any credit card on purchases at U.S. supermarkets. The card earns 3x points at supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year. When you make at least 30 transactions with the card in a billing cycle, you earn 50% bonus points, bringing the total rewards up to 4.5 points per dollar. The card earns 2x points at U.S. gas stations with no caps, and you can also leverage the 50% bonus with that bonus category.

Reward for U.S. supermarket spending: Up to 4.5x Membership Rewards points (which I value at 7.65%)
Card annual fee: $95
Other things to be aware of: This card offers bonus points only on U.S. supermarket purchases, and only on the first $6,000 spent every calendar year; the card offers 3x points at supermarkets, but if you have at least 30 transactions per billing cycle you earn a 50% points bonus, for 4.5x points

3. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express earns cash back instead of Membership Rewards points. You can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on the first $6,000 in purchases per year. This card is great for people who value cash back rewards instead of travel rewards. It also earns 3% cash back on transit purchases and at U.S. gas stations.

Reward for U.S. supermarket spending: 6% Cash Back At U.S. Supermarkets
Card annual fee: $95
Other things to be aware of: This card offers cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, and only on the first $6,000 spent every calendar year

4. Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card earns 1% cash back on every purchase, and then an additional 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase. If you have another Citi card that earns ThankYou points, you can convert the cash rewards points to ThankYou points, which transfer to a number of different airline partners. This is a rewarding card for spending not at grocery stores, but any other purchases that you wouldn’t otherwise earn bonus points on. The card doesn’t have an annual fee either, making the return even more lucrative.

Reward for grocery store spending: 1% + 1%
Card annual fee: $0
Other things to be aware of: This card doesn’t actually offer bonus points specifically on groceries, but does offer 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for a purchase, making it a very well rounded card

5. American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp card is another great card with no annual fee. It earns American AAdvantage miles, which aren’t as flexible as transferrable points. The card has no cap on how many miles you can earn, so if grocery purchases are one of your biggest expenses, this card could offer an excellent return on your weekly grocery bill.

Reward for grocery store spending: 2x AAdvantage miles (which I value at 2.8%)
Card annual fee: $0
Other things to be aware of: Earning 2x miles on grocery stores with a no annual fee card with no limit is excellent

Best Overall
Well-rounded card with good earnings rates in multiple categories
American Express Gold CardLearn More
Best Return
4.5x points at US supermarkets when leveraged properly
Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit CardLearn More
Best Cash Back
The best cash back card for US supermarkets
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American ExpressLearn More
Best No Annual Fee
2% cash back, or 2x ThankYou points with the ThankYou Premier or Prestige
Citi Double CashApply Now
Best Mileage Card
2x AAdvantage miles on all of your grocery purchases, on a card with no annual
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardApply Now

Best Credit Cards for Groceries by Category

Given that groceries are such a big budget item, it’s no wonder that there are tons of cards competing to be at the front of your wallet. We’ve done the comparison work for you, so you can easily choose the best credit card for your grocery purchases (keep in mind that Amex cards only offer bonus points at U.S. supermarkets):

Best Credit Cards for Earning Points

Personally, I love to earn points for my credit card spending, since I can get outsized value with those points by redeeming them for international first & business class tickets. So while it’s not for everyone, there are some incredible cards that can earn you lots of bonus points on your grocery store and supermarket purchases.

What are the best points cards for grocery store and supermarket spending?

Best Points Credit Cards for GroceriesReward for U.S. Supermarket SpendingOther things to be aware of

Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card
Up to 4.5x Membership Rewards points (which I value at 7.65%)
• Annual Fee: $95
• This card offers bonus points only on U.S. supermarket purchases, and only on the first $6,000 spent every calendar year; the card offers 3x points at supermarkets, but if you have at least 30 transactions per billing cycle you earn a 50% points bonus, for 4.5x points

American Express Gold Card
4x Membership Rewards points (which I value at 6.8%)
• Annual Fee: $250
• This card offers bonus points only on U.S. supermarket purchases, on the first $25,000 spent every calendar year, and is our best overall credit card for supermarket and grocery spend

Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Up to 2.4x Membership Rewards points (which I value at 4.08%)
• Annual Fee: $0
• This card offers bonus points only on U.S. supermarket purchases, and only on the first $6,000 spent every calendar year; the card offers 2x points at supermarkets, but if you have at least 20 transactions per billing cycle you earn a 20% points bonus, for 2.4x points

Citi Double Cash (review)
1% back when you purchase, 1% when you pay, and this cash back can be converted to ThankYou Points (which I value at 3.4%)
• Annual Fee: $0
• While there’s no bonus category specifically for supermarkets, the ability to earn an effective 2x ThankYou Points on all purchases with no cap is excellent

Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
2x Membership Rewards points (which I value at 3.4%)
• Annual Fee: $0
• While there’s no bonus category specifically for supermarkets, the card offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year, which is excellent

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
6x Hilton Honors points (which I value at 3%)
Note: see below for details on a temporary bonus for this card
• Annual Fee: $95
• This card offers 6x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card (review)
2x AAdvantage miles (which I value at 2.8%)
• Annual Fee:$0
• Earning 2x miles on grocery stores with a no annual fee card with no limit is excellent

Avianca Vuela Visa® Card (review)
2x Avianca LifeMiles (which I value at 2.8%)
• Annual Fee: $149
•This card offers 2x miles at gas stations and grocery stores

Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card
2x Asiana miles (which I value at 2.8%)
• Annual Fee: $99
• This card offers 2x miles at gas stations and grocery stores

JetBlue Plus Card
2x TrueBlue points (which I value at 2.6%)
• Annual Fee: $99
• This card offers 2x TrueBlue points at restaurants and grocery stores

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
2x Venture miles (which I value at 2.55%)
• Annual Fee: $95
• This card earns 2x Venture miles on all purchases, which can either each be redeemed towards the cost of a travel purchase, or can be transferred to an airline partner at a ratio of up to 2:1.5

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
1.5x points (which I value at 2.55%)
• Annual Fee: $0
• This card earns 1.5x points per dollar spent on all purchases, and those points can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points if you have it in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Bonus: Chase Freedom®
Varies
Note: see below for details on a temporary bonus for this card
• Annual Fee: $0
• This card offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, and sometimes the card offers 5x points on grocery store spending, so keep an eye on that

Temporary Earning Bonuses for Groceries

Consumer behavior is a bit different at present, and card issuers are responding by adding new (temporary) bonus categories to some of the best travel credit cards. As a result, the potential return on spend is much higher than normal, but the details can be tricky, so you’ll want to pay attention to the dates and dollar limits for each card.

Here’s a visual guide for how we’re approaching grocery and supermarket spend right now, using our valuations of miles and points:


Download/save the PDF here

In general, it makes sense to max out your Ultimate Rewards-earning cards first. These offer the best return on spend (provided you’re able to redeem the points efficiently), so we’d recommend prioritizing your spending on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and then the Chase Freedom, before venturing on to other cards. Of course, if you are saving up for a particular reward that you need to top off for, or have significant supermarket spend, using one of the program-specific cards can be a good strategy too.

Here are all the cards offering temporary bonuses on supermarket and grocery spend right now:

Temporary Earning Bonuses for Groceries & SupermarketsCredit Cards
8.5% return
5x points on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
8.5% return
5x points on up to $1,500 of combined spending for the quarter (May-July 2020)
Chase Freedom®
7% return
5x miles on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
United Club Card
7% return
5x miles on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
United Club Infinite Card
7% return
5x miles on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
 United Presidential Plus
6% return
12x Honors points at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020) with no cap
Hilton Surpass
6% return
12x Honors points at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020) with no cap
Hilton Aspire
5.1% return
3x points on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
4.8% return
4x Delta SkyMiles at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020) with no cap
Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
4.8% return
4x Delta SkyMiles at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020) with no cap
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
4.8% return
4x Delta SkyMiles at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020) with no cap
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
4.8% return
4x Delta SkyMiles at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020) with no cap
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
4.5% return
3x Hyatt points on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
 Hyatt Credit Card
4.5% return
3x Hyatt points on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
World of Hyatt Credit Card
4.2% return
6x Marriott Bonvoy points on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases per card between May 1 and July 31, 2020
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card
4.2% return
6x Marriott Bonvoy points on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases per card between May 1 and July 31, 2020
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card
4.2% return
6x Marriott Bonvoy points on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases per card between May 1 and July 31, 2020
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
4.2% return
6x Marriott Bonvoy points on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases per card between May 1 and July 31, 2020
Other Marriott cards that are no longer open to new applicants
4.2% return
3x miles on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
 MileagePlus Explorer
3.9% return
3x Avios on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
 Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card
3.9% return
3x Avios on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
British Airways Visa Signature Card
3.9% return
3x Avios on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
 Iberia Visa Signature Credit Card
3.9% return
3x Rapid Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
3.9% return
3x Rapid Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
3.9% return
3x Rapid Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
1.5% return
3x IHG Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
HG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
1.5% return
3x IHG Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending per month between May 1 and June 30, 2020
 IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card

Keep in mind that the Citi Double Cash offers an effective 3.4% return on all spend, so if you’re earning less than that, it probably doesn’t make sense to use a card, even if it is technically offering a bonus on groceries.

Best Credit Cards for Online Grocery Orders

If you don’t have a grocery store nearby, don’t have the time to go to the store or simply want to avoid the crowds, then ordering your groceries online may be the way to go. Here’s how you can maximize your online grocery orders for the top providers.

Amazon

Amazon offers several grocery delivery services including Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods.

If you’re a loyal Amazon Prime member, you may want to opt for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card as it will save you 5% on groceries. However, Chase often has special offers for Amazon grocery services where you can save up to 10% on orders. In that case, it’s better to use a card like the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited. Just don’t forget to activate your Chase Offer.

If you’re an Amex cardholder, you should consider using the Amex Gold Card (4x on the first $25,000 in purchases; then 1x), the Amex EveryDay Preferred® Credit Card (3x up to $6,000 per year) or the Blue Cash Preferred (6% cash back up to $6,000 per year; then 1%).

Walmart Grocery

Walmart has been quick to catch up with some of Amazon’s most popular features and innovations, including grocery delivery.

Walmart Grocery lets you order groceries online, and either pick them up locally or have them delivered. Groceries ordered through the Walmart Grocery app typically code as groceries. That means you can earn 4x points with an Amex Gold Card or 6% cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. Walmart is in the process of phasing out the Walmart Grocery app and rolling it into the Walmart mobile app. When that happens it may impact how the purchases are coded, and the earnings of any bonus points.

If you’re someone that spends a lot of money at Walmart, they have their own cobranded credit card issued by Capital One. It has no annual fee, and you earn 5% back for orders place on Walmart.com or via the Walmart apps.

Instacart

Instacart is another popular grocery delivery service. It’s available all over the US, and they partner with a number of different supermarkets and local pharmacies and retailers. Prices may be higher on the app than they are in stores, but for the convenience of delivery it may be worth paying more. Delivery is free for your first order. After that delivery starts at $3.99 for a single order, and there are monthly and annual subscriptions that include free delivery.

If you’re a frequent Instacart shopper, you’ll want to make sure you maximize your credit card earnings. Instacart purchases may either be processed by Instacart directly, or by the merchant. If Instacart processes the transaction, the purchase will code as groceries. That means you can earn 4x Amex points with the American Express Gold Card or 6% cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.

If the merchant charges you directly, any bonus on spend will depend on how that merchant is coded. Grocery stores should code as grocery stores, but pharmacies may code as pharmacies, or retailers may code as shopping. This is a case of “your mileage may vary”. You can check how the charge will code with a small transaction before making any large purchases and expecting bonus points.

Postmates

While Postmates may be more widely known for delivering food and drinks, you can also order groceries with them as well. Unfortunately Postmates transactions now code as either “courier services” or “business services”, and thus aren’t eligible bonus for grocery purchases on many cards.

If you’re making a lot of purchases with Postmates, your best option is to use the Citi Double Cash card that earns 2% cash back on all purchases, or 2x points on every purchase when paired with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige.

FreshDirect

Fresh Direct is an online grocery service that started in New York City and has expanded to New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Washington, DC. They’re a more “boutique” on demand grocery service, and they’re wildly popular in the markets they serve.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area serviced by FreshDirect, be sure to use a credit card that has a bonus category for grocery purchases. FreshDirect purchases code as groceries, so you will earn 4x points with the Amex Gold Card or 6% cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Supermarket Spending in May 2020

While I like earning points, a lot of people prefer to earn cash back for their supermarket spending. This is especially true for families with a lot of people to feed, where earning cash back that you can put back into household expenses is useful.

So, what are the best cash back cards for grocery store and supermarket spending?

Best Points Credit Cards for GroceriesReward for U.S. Supermarket SpendingOther things to be aware of

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
6%
• Annual Fee: $95
• This card offers 6% cash back only on U.S. supermarket purchases, and only on the first $6,000 spent every calendar year

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card & Amazon Business Prime American Express Card
5% (Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market only)
• Annual Fee: $0
• These cards offer 5% cash back only on grocery purchases made at Whole Foods or via Amazon Fresh

Citi Double Cash (review)
1% + 1%
• Annual Fee: $0
• While there’s no bonus category specifically for supermarkets, the ability to earn an effective 2x ThankYou Points (which I value at 3.4%) on all purchases with no cap is excellent

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
3%
• Annual Fee: $0
• This card offers 3% cash back only on U.S. supermarket purchases, and only on the first $6,000 spent every calendar year

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
2%, up to 3.5%
• Annual Fee: $0
• In other categories, this card earns up to 3% cash back, but there’s a trick to really maximizing value with the card, where you can earn up to 5.25% cash back on certain categories

Amazon Business American Express Card
3% (Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market only)
• Annual Fee: $0
• This card offers 3% cash back only on grocery purchases made at Whole Foods or via Amazon Fresh

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
2%
• Annual Fee: $95 (waived first year)
• This card offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on everything else

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
2%
• Annual Fee: $0
• This card offers 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on everything else

Bottom line

There are some really fantastic credit cards for grocery store and supermarket spending, ranging from earning 4.5x points transferable points, to earning 6% cash back. No matter your budget, using the right grocery credit card can earn you hundreds (or thousands!) of bonus points each year.

Just be sure to pay attention to the exact terms, as not everywhere you may purchase food codes as grocery/supermarket spend with all banks. When you make a purchase at local stores, I always recommend checking afterwards how they’re categorized. For example, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by bodegas, liquor stores, Instacart, etc., also sometimes coding as grocery stores or supermarkets. This often determines which cards I’ll use for those purchases going forward.

What cards do you use for grocery and supermarket spending?

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Comments
  1. Doesn’t the freedom quarter run from April 01 through June 30, 2020 and not from May 01, 2020 through July 31, 2020 as listed in the pictures and text above?

  2. Also, Marriott Bonvoy cards in the graphic is listed as 4.2% return but then in the table below they are all listed as 4.8% yet ranked below the. 4.5% Hyatt cards. Clearly a typo based on your reasonable value of 0.7% per point times 6 points which is 4.2%

  3. I would add a note that FreshDirect charges alcohol purchases separately from other items, and in my experience, the FreshDirect alcohol charge registers as groceries for Amex cards, but not for Chase cards (though the “main” FreshDirect charge does come through as groceries for Chase).

  4. Tested my Chase Reserve card at Walmart and bought a few groceries. Coded at 5X…good until the end of June.

  5. @Steve L.

    What variety of Walmart was it—”regular”, superstore, neighborhood? Did you buy in-store?

  6. @Christopher Smith

    Variety doesn’t matter. I think if that Walmart has a “supermarket” section (think fresh fruits and veggies) it will code as x5, without them it will code as x1.

  7. If i have to buy a new fridge for ~$1k at Home Depot does it make sense to buy $1k worth of home depot cards at my grocery store and get the mega bonus on the CSR? Big difference in getting 5x on “grocery” vs 1.5x on freedom unlimited at HD. I guess risk is chase sees it was all gift card and not grocery?

  8. Just for completeness sake, Hello Fresh (meal kit delivery service) codes as groceries on AMEX Gold. I imagine this is also true for Blue Apron (though I don’t subscribe to this and can’t confirm).

  9. @Eskimo Good to know, and I’ll definitely try. Walmart Grocery (the pickup service) did *not* code as “groceries” for me.

  10. Liking the downloadable cheat-sheets in PDF. I have my own in Excel for my specific cards, but these cover those and are done for me :).

  11. I guess this is off topic, and I’m not sure if you’ve posted about this already, but the Citi Prestige card is offering the $250 travel credit on grocery purchases and restaurants at the moment.

  12. I go through grocery.walmart.com to do my online grocery orders. This is paying at 5x when done like this.

  13. I go to Whole Foods and Kroger’s once a week. 4X with my Amex Gold. I still expect something from AMEX when it’s time to pay the $250 AF. $100 statement credit or 5K bonus.

  14. I had read that the Hyatt cards (both new and old) were only 3x the points, not 5x. Is this verified somewhere?

  15. Amex points have no cash value beyond .01 per point. Where blogger she the stupid idea that any points are worth more than. What they can redeemed for in cash in the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You can claim they can be used for more but they are never WORTH more. You have been fooled !

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