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Americans spend more annually on groceries than any other major household expense that can be easily paid for with a credit card. You should have a rewards card that maximizes this big chunk of your budget. But unlike with travel rewards credit cards where the choices are plentiful, there are only a handful of points and cash back cards that offer groceries as a bonus category.
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s hard to find a card that pays more than 1 cent per dollar on your supermarket shopping. We found five credit cards that pay rewards worth $150 or more annually for the typical household. Consumer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average household spends $4,121 on “food at home,” so $150 is enough to buy nearly two weeks of groceries for free each year. And if your grocery budget is bigger, you stand to benefit even more from a rewards card tailored for grocery spending.
The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries
First, let’s take an overall look at the five best cards to have when you’re at the supermarket, ranked by value on grocery spend:
|Earning Rate on Groceries||Value of Points (based on TPG valuations)||Total Value Per Dollar Spent|
|The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express||3x points up to $6,000 per year, plus a 50% bonus when you use the card 30 times a month||1.9 cents each||8.55 cents|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||6% cash back up to $6,000 per year; then 1%||1 cent each||6 cents|
|Target REDcard||5% savings on qualifying purchases at Target||N/A||5 cents|
|The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express||2x points up to $6,000 per year, plus a 20% bonus when you use the card 20 times a month||1.9 cents each||4.56 cents|
|Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card||6x points||0.6 cents each||3.6 cents|
Let’s dive deeper into the details of these credit cards, including not only the bonuses on grocery store spending, but also the total first-year value of each one.
Grocery rewards: Earn 3x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x).
Other rewards and perks: Earn 2x points at US gas stations and 1x points on other purchases. Use your card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Welcome bonus: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $1,000 in purchases in your first three months.
Annual fee: $95
Estimated annual cash back/points from grocery spending: 12,363 points valued at $352.35 (if you make 30 or more transactions each month)
Keep in mind: Since this card is part of Amex’s Membership Rewards program, points are more valuable than the standard 1 cent each you’ll find with most cash back cards. According to TPG’s latest valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 1.9 cents apiece. That means for every dollar spent at a grocer, you’ll earn 3 points worth 5.7 cents, or slightly less than the 6% cash back you’d earn with the Blue Cash Preferred. Then if you hit 30 monthly transactions, those 3 points per dollar spent turn into 4.5 points per dollar spent worth 8.6 cents apiece, making this the most valuable grocery card available.
Taking into account the welcome bonus and annual fee, I estimate a typical cardholder who paid for nothing but groceries with this card could earn at least $424.90 during the first year of cardmembership. (I did not take into account the potential transaction bonus in this figure.)
Grocery rewards: Earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
Other rewards and perks: Earn 3% cash back at US gas stations and at select US department stores and 1% back on other purchases.
Welcome bonus: Receive a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Annual fee: $95
Estimated annual cash back/points from grocery spending: $247.26
Keep in mind: When it comes to earning grocery rewards, not all stores are treated equally. American Express says you won’t earn 6% cash back at the following types of stores:
- Specialty stores like fish markets, cheese shops and wine shops
- Superstores, like Amazon, Target and Walmart
- Warehouse clubs like BJ’s Club
Including the welcome bonus and annual fee, the typical cardholder could earn at least $352.26 on groceries during the first year of cardmembership.
Grocery rewards: Earn 5% savings on qualifying purchases at Target.
Sign-up bonus: None
Annual fee: None
Estimated annual cash back/points from grocery spending: $206.05
Keep in mind: Target offers the REDcard as either a debit or credit card. Since this card is only valid at Target, my math assumes you’ll do all of your grocery shopping at Target — it doesn’t take into account any other shopping you might do at the large retailer. Also, unlike with other cards, you won’t actually redeem anything — you’ll just save 5% at checkout.
Since there’s no annual fee or welcome bonus, the estimated first-year value is the same as the estimated grocery spending savings.
Grocery rewards: Earn 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x)
Other rewards and perks: Earn 1x points on other purchases. Use your card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Welcome bonus: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points after making $1,000 in purchases in your first three months.
Annual fee: $0
Estimated annual cash back/points from grocery spending: 8,242 points valued at $156.60.
Keep in mind: This card earns slightly less value than the EveryDay Preferred, but you’ll pay no annual fee, so if grocery shopping is your number one goal for a card like this, Amex EveryDay is worth considering. Otherwise, choose the Preferred version, which offers more bonus categories, a larger welcome bonus and a larger monthly bonus based on number of uses. I estimate the first-year value of the Amex EveryDay to be worth $346.60
Grocery rewards: Earn 6x Hilton Honors points for each dollar at US supermarkets
Other rewards and perks: Earn 6x Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at US restaurants and at US gas stations; Earn 12x Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio; earn 3x bonus points for all other eligible spending. Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of cardmembership.
Annual fee: $95
Estimated annual cash back/points from grocery spending: 24,726 points worth $148.36.
Keep in mind: This card may not be a good choice for general points and miles collectors, but could make sense to Hilton loyalists who want to maximize Hilton Honors points. TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents apiece, less than many other programs. That makes the 6x supermarket bonus look far less attractive. However, the other features of the card are more promising — with the bonus and subtracting the annual fee, I estimate the first-year value at $653.37.
If you’re willing to put in some work, using business credit cards with an office supply store bonus — like the Ink Business Cash Credit Card or the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express — to buy gift cards toward grocery shopping could help you earn 5% cash back. There aren’t necessarily a lot of grocery options to choose from, however, as Staples is showing just two grocery-related gift cards online: Whole Foods and Safeway. Of course, you may find more options in the chain’s physical stores. The office supply chain limits online gift card purchases in any one order to $2,000 or less “due to federal anti-money laundering regulations.”
There are also two other cards that have lower grocery reward returns, but when combined with their welcome bonuses, offer high overall first-year value. Those are the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a first-year return of $129.81 on grocery spend and $444.81 in total, and the basic Hilton Honors Card from American Express, which earns $123.63 in grocery spend return and $423.63 in total for the first year.
Everybody needs groceries, so you should be taking advantage of a card that offers bonus categories for supermarket shopping. Just keep in mind that the best card for groceries may not be the same card you should be using on other transactions, such as when you dine at a restaurant or fill up at a gas station. But before you head to the grocery store, make sure at least one of the above cards is in your purse or wallet in order to rack up plenty of travel rewards or cash back.
- $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
- Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
- Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
- Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
- $95 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees