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A couple of overtime stunners, a few questionable calls and a few hundred thousand apoplectic tweets later, the Los Angeles Rams (sound strange?) are set to face the New England Patriots (sound familiar?) this weekend in Super Bowl LIII.
A wild, unpredictable and record-setting 2018-19 season has plateaued with the perennial favorites vs. the new kid in town for the shiniest prize in American sports. And if you can’t get excited about Jared Goff’s first shot at a Lombardi trophy or Tom Brady’s ninth (!), then at least allow yourself the enjoyment of an unheralded consolation prize: credit card points.
The Super Bowl is one of the juiciest days on the calendar for racking up cash back, travel rewards and more. And it’s easy to see why: When else does America purchase vats of melted cheese, wholesale hors d’oeuvres and enough chicken wings to make a viable case for buying direct from the distributor?
So what’s the best credit card for groceries? The best way to party on a budget? We’ve got the credit card consumer’s Super Bowl scouting report right here. Spread the right credit cards over the right purchases, and regardless of the big game’s outcome, it’ll feel like a victory.
The best credit cards for groceries
Before you start writing your Super Bowl Party checklist, think about how you’re going to make it happen. In all likelihood, your MVP is the grocery store — the most obvious place to maximize your cash back. Provided you’re hosting or contributing to the potluck, plenty of credit cards can boost your returns and jump-start the party on a budget.
Among the ranks of best credit cards for groceries, The Blue Cash Preferred Card is the heavy favorite. Towering over the category with a 6% cash back reward at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 yearly, then 1% cash back after that), Blue Cash is practically like having another store card on top of your store card.
The Amex EveryDay Preferred card rewards its accountholders with 3x points at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year. Depending on your taste for the American Express Membership Rewards program, that could be huge. Membership Rewards supports several ways to redeem points, from discounted travel products to marked-down gift cards. Better yet? Membership Rewards customers can use their points directly to order from Grubhub and Seamless, so you can rest easy knowing there’s a backup plan if that chili dip comes out a little funky.
At first glance, Bank of America’s Cash Rewards card doesn’t look like a grocery shopper’s first-stringer. Earning 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale clubs, the rewards rate may not bowl you over. However, the card does offer an easily attainable welcome bonus of $200 in online cash rewards after you make $1,000 in purchases during the first 90 days of account opening. Dropping a hundred bucks or so on your Super Bowl party could put you in good field position to snag that bonus.
If you’re an active or retired civil servant, you could do much worse than PenFed’s Platinum Rewards. Every grocery store purchase earns you 3x the points, and every trip to the gas station earns you 5x the points. Plus, there’s no annual fee, so you can ease the burden every time you fill up heading home from the supermarket.
The best credits cards for travel
As of this writing, the average Super Bowl LIII ticket is selling for just a shade under $8,000, with the cheapest tickets bottoming out around $3,000. No small potatoes.
But if you’ve got an empty spot in your wallet and your fandom runs deep enough to make it worth the trip to Atlanta, there are a few credit cards you might want to consider to help defray the travel costs.
The Platinum Card is an industry darling, particularly for those with a wanderlust. Upon signup, you’ll receive a $200 Airline Fee Credit (good toward checking bags, in-flight Wi-Fi and other companion purchases), as well an Uber credit of up to $200. The $550 annual fee (Rates and Fees) could be reason to pause, but the statement credits of up to $100 at Saks Fifth Avenue (enrollment required), lounge access and TSA Pre-Check application fee waiver offers more than fair compensation. This one will be paying you out well into Super Bowls 54, 55 and beyond.
Think of the Discover it Miles like a rebate plan. In your first year of ownership, you’ll be rewarded with 1.5X Miles per dollar spent and Discover will match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of that first year. With no annual fees in sight, that leaves you free to rack up the purchases and pay for a future trip somewhere down the road. It may not help you save on Super Bowl LIII, but it might make you feel a little bit better about what you’ve already spent.
Like the Discover it Miles, the Venture Rewards card will help you save on bigger trips further down the road. Venture Rewards offers a 50,000-mile bonus after spending $3,000 within your first three months of ownership, putting a significant dent in any trip you’d like to take, worldwide.
Whatever you do, don’t call an audible
An extra credit card won’t transport you to the first row at the 50-yard line. It won’t save you thousands of dollars on your grocery bills, either. Think of these credit card recommendations as a nice-to-have, but not a necessity. If you’ve already got a financial gameplan for 2019, stick to it!
If it makes too much sense and you can still get that application in under the wire, then go ahead and apply. Barring that, sit back, relax, enjoy the game and give yourself a night off from calculating interest rates, cash back accrual and miles estimates. You deserve it.