How to maximize your spending on these 5 meal-kit delivery services
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Some nights the last thing you want to do is turn on your stove and start meal prepping. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or simply lack time and energy to cook from scratch each night, a meal kit is a sure-fire way to prepare home-cooked meals.
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Numerous meal-prep-kit delivery services compete for the business of busy (or home-bound) consumers. The kits deliver easy-to-follow recipes, pre-measured ingredients and fresh produce and meats to your door.
Many meal-prep-kit services now partner with major grocery store brands, so you can purchase the kits in stores and earn rewards with a card earning bonus points on groceries. Likewise, certain credit cards earn bonus rewards from online purchases, helping consumers maximize credit card spend.
Here’s a deep dive into which credit cards are best, broken down by the major brands in the meal-prep-kit business.
Home Chef offers a wide variety of meal solutions, including traditional meal kits and oven-ready lunches and dinners. Meals include grain bowls, salads, sandwiches and tacos with fully cooked proteins that can be prepared easily at home or at the office.
Lunch kits are priced from $7.99 and dinner kits start at $9.95 per serving. In fall 2018, Home Chef partnered with Kroger Co. to offer its ready-to-cook meals in more than 900 stores nationally.
Consumers can earn 6% cash back by using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (up to $6,000 per calendar year; then 1%) to purchase Home Chef kits at Kroger stores or they can opt to earn valuable transferrable points with The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express (up to $6,000 per calendar year; then 1x) or the American Express® Gold Card (up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year; then 1x), at 3x and 4x Membership Rewards per $1 spent, respectively.
Additionally, in a new partnership, Wyndham Rewards members who sign-up for Home Chef at www.wyndhamrewards.com/homechef will earn 2,500 Wyndham Rewards points on their first box, plus 500 Wyndham Rewards points on each box thereafter.
The information for the The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Sun Basket offers meals for numerous diets, from vegetarian and gluten-free to pescatarian and paleo. They are also customizable each week. Sun Basket says 99% of their produce is organic, and their meals use only hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats and seafood.
Prices are in the mid-upper tier of home-prep-kit brands — ranging from $11 to $13 per serving for two or four people. Customers can skip a week on their subscription or cancel at anytime.
Although the service has no physical presence at grocery stores, you can still earn 2x miles per dollar by ordering Sun Basket via its app or online using the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. TPG Senior Editor Nick Ewen has also found that Sun Basket codes as a U.S. supermarket purchase with his American Express® Gold Card, allowing him to earn 4x points on his first $25,000 in spending each calendar year (then 1x).
Most of us order everything from dental floss to refrigerators on Amazon, so of course, the e-commerce titan would enter the meal-prep-kit arena.
The catch? They’re only available to Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh members who live in areas with Amazon Fresh grocery delivery or select Whole Foods stores. If you’re in such an area, some credit cards offer bonus points for spend on Amazon.com or Whole Foods.
Through Sept. 30, 2020, the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) might be your best bet, as Amazon is included in the card’s current 5% bonus categories on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter (enrollment required). The terms indicate that Amazon Fresh purchases do count as an eligible transaction this quarter — and if you have a higher-end Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can convert your cash-back earnings from the Freedom into fully-transferable Ultimate Rewards points.
If your goal is to earn straight cash back, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is a solid option since it offers an impressive 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. The Discover it Cash Back also offers 5% cash back on Amazon purchases when they’re in a quarterly bonus category — in 2020 it’s a bonus category in the fourth quarter (on the first $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate; then 1%).
In addition, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card allows you to choose your own bonus category with online shopping as one of the options. Purchases on Amazon.com (including Amazon Fresh) earn 3% cash back if that’s your bonus category (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%).
All the cards mentioned for Amazon Fresh have no annual fees.
The information for the Chase Freedom, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card, Discover it Cash Back has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related Reading: The best no-annual-fee credit cards
The German startup HelloFresh is now the largest meal-kit provider in the United States. Its kits are sold in supermarkets such as H-E-B and Giant Food, which allows you to use a grocery rewards card.
The company also has a fantastic app and website for online delivery. Measured ingredients arrive on your doorstep. You can cancel via the app or online but give them a minimum of five-day notice prior to your next shipment.
You can use a cash-back card such as the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express that earns 6% cash back* U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases then 1% thereafter, (if you live near a Giant Food store) or the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card that lets you select online shopping as a 3% cash back bonus category (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%). Or, the Target RedCard® provides 5% discount on every eligible Target purchase, including HelloFresh gift cards sold in store and online.
*Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
Related Reading: The best store credit cards
Launched in 2012, Blue Apron pioneered the meal-prep-kit delivery service industry in the United States. Their kits are designed for newbies or cooks who just want straightforward recipes.
Blue Apron appeals to the most harried consumers with 20-minute meals — as compared to its competitors whose meals can be prepped and cooked in 30 minutes. Subscribers on a two-person plan can choose to switch to four-serving meals for a week at any time without altering their subscription — a convenient option if you’re having guests.
Blue Apron doesn’t have an in-store operation, so your best bet is to use a card that offers bonus points/miles for online purchases or a fixed-earning card that earns 2x miles per dollar spent, such as the Capital One Venture Card, or a 2% cash-back card (1% when you buy and 1% as you pay) like the Citi® Double Cash Card.
Use online shopping portals to save more
To save even more on your home-delivered meal kits, check online shopping portals to earn cash back or airline miles prior to placing your custom-meal order. The Points Guy’s Senior Credit Cards Editor Benét Wilson earns 550 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points each week from her HelloFresh orders.
Many shopping portals will also offer nice bonuses for first-time orders, giving you the chance to try out different ones before settling into a longer-term commitment. Some of the best offers at the time of writing include:
- Earn 3,300 American miles (worth $46.20) for your first order with Sun Basket made through the AAdvantage eShopping portal.
- Earn 1,500 Chase points (worth $30) for your first order with Blue Apron made through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal and charged to your Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited.
- Earn $10 (or 1,000 Amex points, worth $20) for your first order with Home Chef made through Rakuten
With so many online shopping portals these days, it’s easy to become confused in finding the best one to use. Thankfully, the online aggregator CashBack Monitor displays the cash back, points and miles reward rates for various online portals, as well as airline and credit card issuer portals.
Take advantage of Amex and Chase offers
Several card issuers, including Amex and Chase, provide cardholders an opportunity to save — just by using your card. Amex Offers and Chase Offers give you bonus points or cash after spending a certain amount in a spending category or at a specific retailer.
Always check your card offers to see if you’ve been targeted for any promotions. Currently, several TPG staffers are seeing discounts at Sun Basket and Home Chef on Amex. I also was targeted for a Sun Basket Chase Offer on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. These offers are tied to the card you use, and all of the bonuses can be stacked with other promotions that you find online.
If you’re after American AAdvantage miles, be sure to check the SimplyMiles platform as well. We recently saw an offer for 500 bonus AA miles for a box from Sun Basket, a nice added bonus for using a card like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.
Meal-prep-kit delivery services are convenient for people with busy lives, but they can also be expensive — especially if you are ordering weekly. However, with the right rewards card, discount offers and an online shopping portal, you can save a considerable amount of cash or rack up tons of points and miles on your next order.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong.
Featured photo by Counter/Getty Images.
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