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A number of credit card have been offering limited-time bonuses for spending at supermarkets and grocery stores since the beginning of the year but with most of those bonuses ending at the end of this month, this is a good time to take another look at which cards will offer the best return on grocery spending from 1 April onwards.
The Best Cards For Grocery Spending
Right now, these are the best cards to use when you’re doing your grocery shopping:
- The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
- The American Express Gold Card Gold
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (through 30 April 2021)
- Citi Premier Card
The Blue Cash Preferred Card
The Blue Cash Preferred Card offers 6% cash back on up to $6,000 of spending at US supermarkets per year and that’s the highest rate of cash back offered by any card in this category. That alone makes this a fantastic card to use when you’re next at the supermarket.
On top of this stellar rate of cash back at US supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred Card also offers 6% cash back on select streaming services, 3% cash back on transit purchases and gas station spending, and 1% cash back on spending in all other categories.
The Blue Cash Preferred Card is currently offering new applicants $300 back in statement credits after they spend $3,000 in the first 6 months so $500 of spending per month (for 6 months) will trigger the welcome offer. That should be a reasonably straightforward target for most people to hit and when you consider the fact that grocery stores now sell a lot more than just groceries, this is a bonus that can probably be earned without moving any spending away from the card’s key bonus category – U.S. supermarkets.
Note: The welcome bonus is only available to applicants who have not held this card before.
The American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card is a card that’s well worthy of consideration if you’re looking for a strong return on your spending at US supermarkets because no other Membership Rewards card can match the Gold Card’s earnings.
Cardholders will earn 4 points/dollar on up to $25,000 of spending at US supermarkets per year, so as I value Membership Rewards Points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value I know I can get out of them with very little effort), that effectively sees the Amex Gold Card offering a fantastic 6% rate of return.
The Gold Card’s strong earnings don’t end there as it offers 4 points/dollar at restaurants worldwide and 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com – no Amex card offers stronger earnings in both categories.
The Amex Gold Card comes with a $250/year annual fee (rates & fees) but to help cardholders offset this fee, the card also offers up to $120/year in dining credits at select restaurants and food delivery services, a $100/year Hotel Collection credit and $10/month in Uber Credits.
Just in case all of that isn’t enough to tempt you into making sure that the Gold Card is part of your portfolio, American Express currently has a welcome bonus on this card which offers new applicants 60,000 bonus points (which I value at $900) when they spend $4,000 on their new card in the first 6 months of card membership, and the Rose Gold version of the card is now a permanent option too.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is Chase’s premium travel card that offers cardholders some truly fantastic benefits and great earning rates but which also comes with a significant annual fee ($550).
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card making an appearance in this post because, through 30 April 2021, holders of the card will automatically earn 3 points/dollar on up $1,000 of grocery store purchases per month.
As I value Chase Ultimate Rewards Points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value I know I can get out of them with very little effort), that effectively sees the card offering a solid 4.5% rate of return.
On top of this, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card earns 3 points/dollar on travel spending and dining, 10 points/dollar on all spending with Lyft, and, among a host of other benefits, it offers cardholders a $300 travel credit which Chase has now said can be used to offset gas station and grocery store spending through 30 June 2021.
Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier Card got a makeover in June 2020 which saw the card’s bonus spending categories change to include supermarkets and grocery stores.
Cardholders will earn 3 points/dollar on all grocery store and supermarket spending with no cap on the number of points that can be earned, so as I value Citi’s ThankYou Points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value I know I can get out of them with very little effort), that effectively sees the Citi Premier Card offering a return of 4.5% on grocery spending worldwide.
As well as offering a good return on spending at grocery stores and supermarkets, the Citi Premier Card also offers 3 points/dollar at restaurants worldwide, 3 points/dollar on air travel and hotel spending, and 3 points per dollar on gas station spending which makes it one of the most rounded Citi cards around.
The Amex Limitation
Before you decide which card you should be using when grocery shopping (or which card to apply for), it’s important to consider a limitation that the American Express cards have – unlike the cards issued by Chase, American Express cards only offer bonuses for spending at U.S. supermarkets.
There are two key takeaways from that statement:
- American Express has been very careful to state that bonus points are earned for spending made at stores that it categorizes as “supermarkets”. This can mean that some smaller local establishments will not be recognized as a supermarket and spending at such establishments will not earn bonus points or cash back (whichever your card earns).
- If you find yourself shopping outside of the United States, an Amex card will not earn you a bonus for supermarket spending. This point is currently considerably less important than the first, but it’s one that’s worth keeping in mind as travel begins to open up.
For most people this doesn’t diminish the value of the American Express cards at all, but it’s something to bear in mind when you come to pay at the checkout.
All of the cards discussed above are currently great cards to hold in your wallet if you’re trying to maximize your returns when shopping for groceries. I have chosen not to suggest which card I consider to be the best as each has its own merits, and a card that’s best for one person may not be best for the circumstances of someone else – that’s part of the fun of the miles and points world.
What card do you use when you’re paying for your groceries?