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Many of us only think about how we can earn bonus points from our travel and dining spending. But using credit cards for grocery purchases helps pad your balance too. Depending on the credit card, you can get up to 6% cash back or travel rewards for your grocery purchases.
Cash Rewards: Blue Cash Preferred
If you want cash rewards, go with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. On your first $6,000 in annual US grocery purchases, you get 6% back which equals $360 bonus cash. After that, your remaining grocery purchases earn 1% back.
You also earn unlimited 3% cash back at US gas stations and select US department stores. For all other purchase categories, you earn unlimited 1% back.
New cardholders can also earn $200 bonus cash after spending $1,000 during the first three months. The Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee.
You may also consider the no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. While it only earns 3% back on the first $6,000 in grocery purchases (then 1%), it doesn’t have an annual fee. You also earn 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores.
This can be a better option if you don’t want to pay an annual fee, but still want to get bonus points on grocery purchases. Because of the 6% boost, you might earn more with the Preferred than you think.
Although the Blue Cash Preferred is a cash rewards credit card, you can also enjoy these Amex benefits:
- Redeem reward for cash statement credit, gift cards, or shopping credit
- Secondary rental car collision and theft coverage
- Purchase Protection
- 2-day ShopRunner Shipping
- Amex Entertainment Access for ticket presales and member-only events
There is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee with the Blue Cash Preferred. If you are planning a trip abroad, you will want to use a travel rewards card instead. Either of these credit cards for grocery purchases will help you earn cash back.
Travel Rewards: American Express Gold
This card comes with the ability to earn 4x Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent at US restaurants and US supermarkets, up to $25,000. After hitting the $25,000 limit, you will only earn 1x on remaining purchases. The American Express® Gold Card is a good option if you prefer travel rewards but you want to earn bonus points from your everyday spending.
Besides the 4x grocery and dining bonus, you also get 3x membership rewards points on flights booked directly with the airline or on AmexTravel.com. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1.
Airline and Dining Credits
The American Express Gold also offers two annual purchase credits.
You can get up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
Monthly, you get a $10 dining statement credit when you order from one of these dining partners and pay with the Gold card (enrollment required):
- Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Shake Shack
Redeeming Your Rewards Points
This card is better when you prefer travel rewards to cash rewards. Although you can redeem your points for cash statement credits and gift cards, you’re better off with one of these two redemption options:
- 1:1 airline partner transfer partners
- Booking award flights on AmexTravel.com
These two redemption options value your points for at least 1 cent each. This is especially true with 1:1 point transfers. Some of the point transfer partners include Delta, JetBlue, Emirates, Etihad, and British Airways Avios.
Free Hotel Nights: Hilton Honors Ascend Card
Not only do you earn 6x bonus points for grocery purchases with the Hilton Honors Ascend Card, but you can also get a free weekend night. This credit card offers a double reward for your grocery purchases.
When you spend $15,000 in total card purchases each year, you get a free weekend night certificate. Since most households spend between $400 and $1,000 on groceries every month, your grocery purchases are almost enough to qualify for the free hotel night.
To help you reach your spending milestone, you also earn bonus points on these categories:
- 12x points on Hilton purchases
- 6x points at US supermarkets, gas stations, and restaurants
- 3x points on all remaining purchases
You also get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. With Hilton Honors gold status, you can get the 5th night free when you pay for your first four nights with points. Plus, you can enjoy space-available room upgrades.
While the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is primarily a hotel rewards card, you also get 10 free Priority Pass Select airport lounge passes each year too. You won’t pay a foreign transaction fee either. The free nights potential is why this is one of the more advantageous credit cards for grocery purchases.
Rotating Cash Rewards: Chase Freedom
Although the Chase Freedom doesn’t offer 5% cash back on groceries all the time, you can enjoy it at least three months each year. While the other card recommendations offer fixed rate grocery purchase rewards, the Chase Freedom has rotating 5% cash rewards categories. Each quarter, you get 5% back on a different set of purchase categories. Your other purchases earn 1% back.
If your grocery store accepts digital wallet payments, you could also get 5% back in the first quarter too. Each quarter, the 5% back you earn is only on the first $1,500 spent on the bonus categories. After you reach the $1,500 spending limit, all remaining purchases earn 1% for the rest of the quarter.
If you crave flexibility, the Chase Freedom is the card for you. You can redeem your point for cash, gift cards, or award travel. But if you own another Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you can either get a travel redemption bonus or transfer your points on a 1:1 basis.
You won’t pay an annual fee with the Chase Freedom. Even if it’s your “daily driver”, it’s a free way to earn points on grocery purchases. Plus, you can build your credit score at the same time!
Even if you own one of the other cards on this list, you may use the Chase Freedom during the bonus months to earn more!
Summary of Credit Cards For Grocery Purchases
Groceries are one of the largest monthly expenses for most households. However, with one of the above, you have an easy way to earn bonus points on this necessary expense. If you’re not already using one of the credit cards for grocery purchases, it’s time to start!
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