The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries


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Last year my Chase credit card, with which I had earned 5% back on groceries and gas since 2007, suddenly changed. They switched to some sort of rotating-category-that-earns-more-points system that I didn't particularly care for. Every few months, I have to opt in all over again to take advantage of whatever category they're giving the most points for that month. Even though I do my best to keep up with credit card rewards, I don't take credit card reward hacking to the extreme. I'd prefer not to have to carry around 10 cards in my wallet.

Nevertheless, I do prefer to get the most points in categories that I actually spend a lot of money on. After our mortgage, the highest percentage of our monthly expenses comes in the form of groceries. We prefer organic and local food, which can be pricey. So, I set out to determine which credit cards actually give the highest percentage back on groceries. (See also: Best Cash Back Credit Cards)

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®

Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard

  • Bonus offer: 2,500 points after first use; 0% APR for 6 months on balance transfers and purchases
  • 2x points on groceries, gas, and utilities
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Redeem for flights, shopping, dining and more -- Use your points like cash to pay for any purchase you've made.

If you want some more flexibility with where you do your grocery shopping, but still get some extra rewards for it, this card is a great choice.

Click here for more details on the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard

Target REDcard®

    Target

  • 5% off everything at Target
  • $0 annual fee
  • 1% of your REDcard purchases get donated to your choice of eligible K-12 schools

If you shop at a SuperTarget for groceries, the Target RedCard gives you 5% off at everything you purchase at the register. This isn't just a grocery rewards credit card; the cardholder will receive the same discount on all Target purchases (including at Target.com). If you have a Target nearby that also sells groceries, this is a great way to save 5% on food, as well as a variety of other department store purchases. Unfortunately, this card has no affiliation with any credit card payment network such as Visa or MasterCard, so you can’t use it outside of Target stores.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • Sign up offer: Get $100 back in statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Sign up offer: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (after that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99%)
  • 3% cash back at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at US gas stations & select US department stores
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms and restrictions apply

The Blue Cash Everyday card is largely the same as the Blue Cash Preferred, but it has no annual fee and half the rewards across the board. Nevertheless, 3% cash back on groceries and 2% cash back at gas stations and select major department stores still represents a competitive rate of return. Finally, this is one of the few American Express cards offered without an annual fee.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards

  • Sign up offer: $100 cash rewards bonus for making $500 in purchases in the first 90 days
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 3% cash back on gas
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • $0 annual fee
  • Get 10% bonus if you redeem rewards directly into your Bank of America checking or savings account (instead of a statement credit)

There is a $1500 per quarter limit on the 2% and 3% grocery stores and gas rewards ($1500 combined purchases between the two). However, if you are already a Bank of America card holder, the extra 10% bonus is attractive. Cardholders can receive their cash-back rewards as a direct deposit in any checking or savings account, as a statement credit, or even as a payment towards a mortgage held by Bank of America.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

  • Choose and change your 5% and 2% cash back categories every quarter
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 each quarter (combined) on two categories of your choice
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one category
  • Earn $25 Cash+ Bonus when you redeem $100 or more in a single redemption (limit 1 per year)

This card offers flexibility in your "bonus" categories which other cards don't offer, so it's a great card for those who can't find a card that offers bonus categories that are useful. 

The Best Credit Card Offer for You

If you like credit card rewards programs, but have recently been unhappy with changes to your card, it may be time to consider a new one. The best way to choose a cash-back rewards card is to simply look at what your biggest category of spending is each month, and find a card that gives you the most cash back on that category. For me, this category was groceries.

What's your biggest category of spending each month? Do you earn extra credit card points for those cards?

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Guest's picture
Guest

Also be sure to check for sign-up bonuses. I had the same complaint about the Chase card changes, but I figured that the $200 sign-up bonus from a similar rotating rewards program from Citi-Bank would be more "rewarding" in the short term (2-3 years) than the other programs available.

Guest's picture

I have the blue cash amex. didn't know i could save 3% at grocery stores. very cool! does this apply to stores like trader joe's and whole foods?

Guest's picture
Maria Adams

Here is the list of supermarkets that Amex counts:

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/content/rewards-info/retail.html

It looks like Whole Foods made that list! :)

Examples of merchants* that accept the Card and where you can earn additional rewards include:
Gristedes
Foodtown
Pathmark
Shoprite
Stop and Shop
Vons
Whole Foods
Winn-Dixie
Online supermarkets such as FreshDirect

*This is not a complete list.

Examples of merchants where you will NOT earn additional rewards include:
Specialty stores (e.g., fish markets, cheese shops, wine shops, and other specialty food stores )
Superstores (e.g. Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart)
Warehouse clubs (e.g. BJ's Club and Costco Wholesale)

Guest's picture
Harm

I'm not sure, but I think the higher cash back would apply at WF and Trader Joe's.
However, I think it does NOT apply to grocery shopping at WalMart and Target. Ask,
before you go on a grocery buying buying spree at WalMart with the expectation
of the higher rewards. I'm not a member at a club store, so I don't know about
those....

Guest's picture
me

TJ's shows up as a supermarket on my rewards card. I never shop at WF.

Guest's picture
Aaron

Walmart and Target show up as discount stores unfortunately on the AMEX bill, so you don't get any cash back.

Guest's picture
Grace

The cash registers closest to the grocery section at Walmart ring up as groceries.

Guest's picture
sumiya 18

american express card not only gives discount on purchasing gas but also on groceries and others.there is no annual fee having this card.about 2% cash back from departmental store one can get.

Guest's picture

The Blue Cash from AMEX is a good card to have. Although I don't condone credit cards since I help peolple get out of debt for a living, if you had to use one for groceries the first one would be the ideal card.

Guest's picture

I personally have the 6% back AMEX card, I recommend that one the most! Very good perk for a credit card I think.

Guest's picture
Scott

At the grocery store, you can buy no-fee giftc ards for many non-grocery merchants .. including iTunes, Home Depot, Kohl's, etc. You can even buy an American Express or Visa gift card. You get your 6% cash back. Then, you use the gift card for your other purchases. It works!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

I love shopping at Target generally but I don't see them as a viable grocery alternative. You can pick up basics like eggs, milk, peanut butter etc, but their selection isn't big enough I still have to make a second trip.

But our local Target is a big supporter of our local schools. It wouldn't hurt to do more shopping there.

Guest's picture
Ree Klein

I use Costco's AMEX card, which offers 3% on gas, 2% on restaurants and 1% on everything else. For me it makes sense and has netted me a pretty nice check at the end of the year.

HOWEVER, I am completely against using credit cards to accrue "benefits" for anyone who is in debt. The cash system is the only answer until you are debt free and really know how to handle a credit card. Meaning...you never carry a balance.

Just my 2 cents...
Ree ~ I blog at EscapingDodge.com

Guest's picture
frugal jon

My Target Redcard is a VISA as well. They also offer it as a debit card.

Guest's picture

I have Visa Signature Card From Bank of America but don't find the discounted value in my monthly bill.

Guest's picture
Guest

Discover did the same thing, played the game of luring you to their card, then changing the rules. All of them are doing that these days because their customers were making good on those initial offers. Had to do something about that! So, I'm looking for a credit card (not American Express--rejected at too many merchants) that offers consistent rewards on groceries. Any ideas besides Target?

Guest's picture
Guest

Consider also gasoline money, $0.25 per mile on my car, and time spent checking out if it is worth for an extra dollar. I find Capital One only redeems $0.50 per $1.00 earned.

Guest's picture
Maria Adams

On the topic of credit card rewards, I use a free app called Wallaby that keeps track of my rewards and bonuses for me (including rotating quarterly categories). Just wanted to share it because I find it useful.

Guest's picture
Guest

Don't forgot AMEX blue cash preferred! 6% up to 6K annually