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Updated June 16, 2016

Credit Cards for Groceries

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The right grocery credit card gives you a high percentage back for shopping at the supermarket as well as a good amount back on your other everyday purchases, like charges made at the gas pump.

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When you have a rewards card that focuses on charges you’d be making whether you had the card or not, you stand to make a good amount in cash back or points over time.

That’s money you can use to keep feeding your family — or to actually take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about.

So, which card makes sense for you? It depends on how you’ll use it and your spending habits. We can tell you it’s smart to compare what’s out there.

We’ll get you started:

Groceries and Gas

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Blue Cash Preferred
Apply for Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
If you want to get rewards for groceries and you shop a lot: The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser, is a must on your comparison list.

  • It offers 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, after which it’s 1%). That’s a huge percentage compared to what you’ll find with many other cards.

  • But there's a catch: it has a $95 annual fee.

  • On the plus side, you also earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations.

Do the math: Let’s say you spend $100 at U.S. supermarkets every week ($5,200 for the year). Those charges alone would give you $312 in cash back.

But if you’re not a big grocery shopper (either your mom still buys food for you or you always do your shopping at a store like a Target or Walmart, which Amex does not view as a “U.S. supermarket”), then you risk not making enough to cover the annual fee. Let’s say you spend only $1,000 at U.S. supermarkets in a year and you used the card for nothing else; you’d get just $60 in cash back over the 12-month period — not enough to make up for the annual fee.

Blue Cash Everyday
Apply for Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
If you do not want to pay an annual fee, no matter what: The Blue Cash Preferred’s sibling, the Blue Cash Everyday, does not have an annual fee, but it offers a much lower amount back for your groceries — 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 worth of purchases per year (then 1%). And although you earn slightly less for gas purchases, it is still a good amount (this card will earn you 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations).

For those who are unsure whether they will spend over $61/week (or $3,172/year) in groceries at U.S. supermarkets or who just find annual fees distasteful, this may be the better option.

Why $3,172? If you spend $3,172 a year at U.S. supermarkets, you would earn $190.32 cash back (6% tier) with the Blue Cash Preferred. Since the Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee, you'll have $95.32 left over in rewards, in addition to whatever else you earned on other purchases.

With the Blue Cash Everyday, you'll earn $95.16 cash back (3%) on that $3,172 a year at U.S. supermarket spending. That's the rough breakeven point between the two cards (technically $3,166.67/year). In other words, if you spend more than $3,172 a year at U.S. supermarkets, then go with the Blue Cash Preferred.

Do the math: The Blue Cash Everyday is still a great deal in our opinion, as it’s tough to find 3% or higher on a regular basis with no annual fee (cash back cards like Discover and Chase Freedom have historically offered up to 5% back on supermarket items, but they do it only for a limited, 3-month window with a spending cap). With no annual fee, you don’t have to stress about spending a certain amount to make up for it.

Keeping with the $100-a-week at the supermarket example, 3% will give you enough for a week’s worth of groceries — $156 for the year. If you have other cards in your wallet, be sure you always use this one for groceries because the more you use it, the more you stand to make.

Groceries and Restaurants

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Premier Rewards Gold Card
Apply for Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
If you want to get rewarded for groceries and dining out: Do you spend a lot of quality time over your kitchen stove one week and then become a huge takeout fan the next week?

Consider the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. It provides 2X on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants. This card does have a $195 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the 1st year), but comes with more perks than the cards we’ve mentioned above.

Bonus tip: Rewards for gas station purchases go beyond the pump, of course, and include those last minute pickup items like milk and bread (and even your slushie splurge), but don’t stock up at the gas station just to get your rewards. In general, food purchased at the supermarket is much cheaper than what you’d find at your gas station.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom and Discover it® Cashback Match™ have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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