Study: Best Grocery Credit Cards
Read more about Grocery Rewards
If you live in a typical American household, your grocery bill adds up to a sizeable chunk of your budget. The average family in 2012 spent about $6,600 on food, or about 13% of overall household spending, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some credit cards, to attract new customers, offer rewards and cash back on groceries. Food is a necessity that you have to buy anyway, so why not take advantage of some extra cash back when you purchase it? Even at a cash-back rate of just 2%, the $6,600 that the average American family spends on food each year could put an extra $132 back into your pocket.
We ranked the top offers and highlighted those that will give you the best value. Keep in mind that this assumes you’ll pay off your balance when it comes due so you avoid interest charges and late fees; otherwise your rewards will be negated.
To even the playing field, CreditDonkey.com scored the credit cards on the same basic premise: an American consumer (for the purpose of this article, we'll call her Jane) spends $550 a month at the supermarket, or $6,600 annually.
Credit Cards for Grocery Shopping
#1: Blue Cash Preferred from American Express won first place in our study with Jane pocketing $391 after her first year of spending. Assuming Jane was new to using the Blue Cash Preferred and she exclusively used the card for all her grocery shopping ($6,600 annually), she would earn:
#2: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express won second place in our study with Jane pocketing $236 in the first year. Assuming Jane was new to using the Blue Cash Everyday and she exclusively used the card for all her grocery shopping ($6,600 annually), she would earn:
#3: Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard (Excellent Credit) won third place in our study with Jane pocketing $132 in her first year. Assuming Jane was new to using the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard and she exclusively used the card for all her grocery shopping ($6,600 annually), she would earn:
A cash-back card for consumers with an average credit score: Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard (Average Credit).
The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard is a good option for people with average credit who may not get approval for the more elusive Blue Cash card. You’ll earn two points on every dollar spent on groceries, gas and utility purchases, plus one point per dollar spent on everything else. That equates to 2% and 1% cash back, respectively. Put into dollar terms, $500 in monthly grocery spending will put $10 back into your pocket. There’s no limit to the points you can earn and no redemption fees to worry about.
Also worth noting is that, because this is a MasterCard, it’s likely to be accepted in more places than Blue Cash, which is associated with American Express’ more limited network of merchants.
For frequent fliers: AeroMexico Visa Signature Card.
You’ll earn double points on groceries, gas and AeroMexico ticket purchases with this card. And, as a new cardholder, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus miles the first time you use it - enough for a roundtrip ticket. There is an $80 annual fee that kicks in after the first year, but between the rewards points you’ll rack up on groceries, card-renewal bonus miles and a complimentary companion certificate every year you renew your card, that annual fee should more than pay for itself.
Not an AeroMexico customer? You still might be able to trade grocery rewards for airfare: earned miles can be redeemed on other SkyTeam airlines like AirFrance, Delta, and Korean Air.
For road warriors: Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card.
Gas, grocery and drugstore purchases earn three points per dollar, hotel spending within the Hilton portfolio of properties earns six points, and everything else earns two points. There’s no annual fee, which is unusual for a credit card offering travel rewards, and you have the opportunity to earn 40,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on the card within the first four months of opening the account.
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