We All Buy Groceries — Here are the Cards That Will Earn You the Most Cash Back

We all have to eat. When it comes to things people buy most often, food has to be at the top of the list. So, it should come as no surprise that many credit cards offer incentives for grocery purchases, most in the form of cash back rewards. We researched the offers and assembled a list of the best credit cards for groceries.

Some great credit cards for groceries have come and gone. Many of you might have the old Sallie Mae Barclaycard MasterCard, an amazing card for all-around rewards with 5% back on gas and groceries and no annual fee. Unfortunately, that card is no longer available, but let’s look at some of the top cash back cards for grocery store shopping.

Cash Back Cards

American Express Blue Cash Preferred®

The Blue Cash Preferred® card is a front-runner for cash back at grocery stores. It clocks in at 6% cash back at grocery stores in the United States, up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then, it drops to 1%). It also offers 3% cash back at gas stations,  for the first 6 months 5% Cash Back on eligible travel purchases (up to $200 back), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The card carries a $95 annual fee, but you’d earn that back after $1,250 in groceries (just spending around $100/month). Furthermore, the current offer on the card gives you $150 back after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, which would pay for the annual fee for the first two years.

You can learn more about the card here.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday®

The Blue Cash Everyday® card is very similar to the Preferred, but with no annual fee. Instead of 6% cash back, it offers 3% cash back at grocery stores, again capped at $6,000 in spending per year. It also carries a similar cash back bonus of $100 back after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, as well as 2% cash back at gas stations, for the first 6 months 5% Cash Back on eligible travel purchases (up to $200 back), and 1% on all other purchases.

This is a great card if you don’t think you’ll spend enough money each year to cover the Preferred’s $95 annual fee.

You can learn more about this card here.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ is a solid all-purpose card, and offers 2% cash back on groceries. It also offers 2% on warehouse stores and 3% on gas, and all of the cash back rewards are available on up to $1,500 in purchases quarterly. It has no annual fee and currently boasts an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 60 days after opening your card.

Currently, they are also offering a $100 cash reward bonus, just for spending $500 in purchases within 90 days of opening the account.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back rotating quarterly on up to $1,500 in purchases in that three-month period. Chase changes the categories every 3 months, and right now, unfortunately, we already passed the grocery store bonus period (it ended on June 30th). This is a great card as the quarterly rotations can really add up for other common purchases like restaurant meals, online shopping, and department stores. This card has no annual fee, and earns 1% on all other purchases. It also has a sign-up bonus of $150 back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months.

(Of note, the Discover It® Cashback Match™ card is a similar rotating-category card that earns 5% cash back, though grocery stores are not currently listed on their cashback calendar.)

Points Cards

American Express Everyday® Preferred

The Everyday® cards by American Express are the points-earning counterparts to the Blue Cash cards. The Preferred card earns 3x Membership Rewards points at supermarkets up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 2x points at gas stations, and 1x everywhere else. It also carries a neat 50% points bonus if you use your card 30 or more times in a billing period, effectively netting you 4.5x MR points. The sign-up bonus right now is 15,000 MR points after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, though historically it’s been as high as 30,000 points.

The Everyday® Preferred has a $95 annual fee, so it’s a little steeper than its cash back cousin, but Membership Rewards points are relatively valuable and carry a lot of redemption flexibility. The real key to earning the most value from this card is whether or not you’ll use it for those 30 or more times in a statement cycle.

Learn more about this card here.

American Express Everyday®

The Everyday® card, similar to the Blue Cash Everyday® card, carries no annual fee. It earns 2x Membership Rewards points at supermarkets up to $6,000 in purchases per year and 1x everywhere else. Instead of the 50% points bonus, it offers 20%, though you’ll need to use the card just 20 times in a billing period to earn that.

Learn more about this card here.

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold

The Premier Rewards Gold card is a very flexible card that can earn you significant Membership Rewards points.  When purchasing groceries, you’ll earn 2x Membership Rewards points, but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also earn 2x points at restaurants and gas stations, and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines. That makes this card a great points earner, and it carries some additional benefits on top of that. The card offers a $100 airline fee credit for incidentals like baggage fees, and carries a hefty sign-up bonus: 50,000 MR points after spending $1,000 in 3 months.

The downside to this card is its $195 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. Consider this card if you want to use it for more than just groceries, as the sign-up bonus and 3x airline points are quite valuable.

American Express® Hilton HHonors™ Surpass

If you’re interested in Hilton points, the HHonors Surpass is a really compelling card. You’ll earn 6x Hilton HHonors™ Bonus points for every dollar you spend at grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations. You’ll also earn 12x points at participating Hilton hotels, and 3x points on all other purchases. The card also carries complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold status, earning you a 25% HHonors base points bonus, and every 5th night free on standard room stays of 5 nights or more. There are other Gold status benefits, as well, like complimentary wi-fi and late check-out. The current sign-up bonus on this card is 100,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

This card has a $75 annual fee that is not waived, but it’s a compelling card if you’re looking for a hotel card, particularly if you find yourself frequenting the Hilton line.

My Picks

If I were choosing one of these, I’d have to go with either the Blue Cash Preferred® or Everyday® Preferred. A solid 6% cash back just can’t be beat, and you can argue that the MR points earned by the Everyday® Preferred can match or exceed that value. The Blue Cash Preferred® quickly earns back its annual fee and can net you significant cash back if you’re a big grocery buyer, to the tune of $295 annually if used to its capacity. The Everyday® Preferred, when used properly, can earn you 27,000 MR points in a year, and at a rough value of ~$0.02/point, that’s $540 in flexible redemptions.

Happy shopping!

Topics: Credit Cards

5 Responses to “We All Buy Groceries — Here are the Cards That Will Earn You the Most Cash Back”

  1. I know that the Blue Cash Preferred might be the best option, but we stick with the Everyday. I know you get more cash back, but I just have a moral objection to pay for the privilege of using a credit card. Just something I can’t bring myself to do.

  2. The jig is up for Sallie Mae Mastercard holders. I got my notice in the mail yesterday that as of 3/2017 there will be no more 5% cashback for any category. It’s moving to 2% for groceries and utilities (?) and 1% for all other purchases.

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