Why now is the time to get a card that earns rewards for groceries

Jan 21, 2022

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Lately, I am home more than ever. The pandemic has significantly shifted my habits, as I have cut back on everything from travel to going out for meals.

With this change, I am finding myself cooking more meals at home, meaning I’m prioritizing always having a full pantry. However, more meals at home equals higher grocery bills, thanks, in part, to rising food costs.

According to the Department of Agriculture, food prices increased by 3.6% between 2020 and 2021.

Realizing these higher-than-average food costs are unlikely to come down as the pandemic continues, I’ve started reevaluating my credit card strategy.

Related: 6 foolproof ways to maximize rewards on grocery spending

Up until now, I had rarely focused on my grocery purchases, but that is about to change. If you are like me and want to pay more attention to grocery store spending in the new year, these are the credit cards to consider adding to your wallet.

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Best credit cards to earn grocery bonuses

American Express® Gold Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The American Express® Gold Card is one of the best cards for big supermarket spenders. With this card, you’ll earn 4 Membership Reward points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar spent. This amount is significantly more than what the average household spends, which means you’ll likely earn the full bonus for all of your purchases. Since American Express points are worth 2 cents each, according to TPG’s monthly valuations, this is effectively an 8% return on all of your grocery purchases at U.S. supermarkets.

Related: What are American Express Membership Reward points worth?

The card also awards 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on the Amex Travel Portal.

However, with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), you’ll want to make sure the rewards you are earning are worth the cost. Fortunately, perks like up to $120 annual dining credits and up to $10 monthly in Uber Cash help offset the fee. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Related: American Express Gold review

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

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Another Membership Reward-earning credit card is The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. If you have this card, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar spent. When you swipe your card 20 or more times in a single billing period, you’ll earn 20% more points on those purchases (minus returns and credits).

While this card is a great option for earning grocery bonuses, if you find that your grocery bills are quite high, you may be better off choosing The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which charges a $95 annual fee. This card earns 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, with the same $6,000 cap (then 1 point per dollar spent). Plus, you’ll receive 50% more points on purchases if you swipe your card at least 30 times in a single billing period.

Without the 20% and 50% bonus taken into consideration, the break even point between the two cards (after factoring in the annual fee) is $4,750.

Related: Amex EveryDay vs. Amex EveryDay Preferred: Which should be in your wallet?

The information for the Amex EveryDay has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. 

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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If you are looking for a way to instantly receive a return on your high grocery store bills, a cash-back card may be your best option. With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you’ll enjoy 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per calendar year, then 1%. While this is an extremely easy way to get cash back in your pocket to lower your purchases, the earning cap may be on the lower end for some.

Additionally, this card offers a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 thereafter (see rates and fees). This allows you to try it out for the first year without an out-of-pocket cost to ensure that the card truly works for your needs.

You’ll also earn earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit (including taxis and ride-hailing services, parking, tolls, trains and buses) and U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else.

Related: Blue Cash Preferred Amex review

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Should you find yourself wanting to cut overall expenses without paying an annual fee, a cash-back card like the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card may be an ideal option for you. Every time you use this card at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), you’ll earn 3% cash back. There is no cap to the amount of cash you’ll earn.

What’s more, you’ll earn 8% cash back on Vivid Seats tickets, as well as 3% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services. On everything else, you’ll earn 1% cash back.     

Related: Capital One SavorOne review

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

For anyone who loves Whole Foods or prefers ordering groceries online through Amazon, there’s the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, which can save cardholders a boatload of money. When you use this card at Whole Foods or on Amazon.com (non-grocery orders included), you’ll earn 5% cash back. Additionally, you’ll receive 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.

An added bonus is that when you use this card for Amazon purchases and those made at other stores, you’ll receive purchase protection. With this service, you’ll be covered if a product is damaged or stolen within the first 120 days of your purchase as long as the claim is no more than $500 and your account’s claim totals do not exceed $50,000 in that calendar year.

While this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, know that an Amazon Prime membership, which currently costs $119 a year, is required.

Related: Amazon Prime Rewards review

The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa 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. 

Target RedCard

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Anyone who regularly frequents Target for groceries and other purchases should consider signing up for the Target RedCard. Unlike other cards where you have to request cash back or wait for a check in the mail, the Target RedCard automatically deducts 5% from your total during checkout. This includes non-grocery items and any item purchased on Target’s website.

However, groceries purchased at other stores do not receive this 5% discount, so if you’re not exclusive to Target when grocery shopping, it may not be the right fit for your spending habits.

Related: Target RedCard review

The information for the Target Red 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. 

Bottom line

As food prices continue to rise and families spend more time at home because of the pandemic, it’s important to maximize rewards earnings when going to the supermarket.

Fortunately, there are several credit cards available to help you save more on groceries. Whether you want a traditional travel card, a cash-back option or a brand-specific card, there’s usually a card that will work well with your spending habits.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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