Best credit cards for groceries and grocery delivery in 2021

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The USDA estimates that the average U.S. family of four on a moderate budget spends up to $1,128.20 per month on groceries. That works out to $13,538 in spending in this category alone each year, which is enough to literally “eat up” quite a bit of the average family’s budget.

The best credit cards for groceries, however, can help households get something in return—that is, if they manage to avoid paying credit card interest. At that rate, earning 2 percent back in rewards would net the average family a little more than $270 in cash back within a year.

Depending on your biggest everyday expenses, the best credit card for groceries might also help you rack even more cash back or miles in other parts of your budget, like gas or dining. If you’re looking for ways to maximize your rewards on everyday purchases, read on to learn how we rank the top cards for groceries and grocery delivery in 2021.

Best grocery credit cards

Best for cash back: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

With 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1 percent), the Blue Cash Preferred card offers the best cash back rate for groceries available on a cash back credit card.

It’s also one of the few cards to offer 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3 percent cash back on transit and U.S. gas station purchases, making it a front-runner for commuters and shoppers.

Even with a $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year), the Blue Cash Preferred is a leading choice at its price tag.

Best for grocery delivery: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

If you’re looking for a flexible rewards card that will help you maximize points earned on grocery delivery, look no further than the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

This card lets you rack up 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 3X points on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and 3X points on select streaming services, plus you’ll earn 5X points on travel booked through the Chase portal and on Lyft rides (through March 2022).

This card even gives you a 10 percent bonus on the points you earn within a year. According to Chase, this means $25,000 in spending will earn an additional 2,500 bonus points.

As a final incentive to sign up, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering one of the most generous sign-up bonuses of all rewards credit cards right now. For a limited time, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. A $95 annual fee applies.

Best for rotating categories: Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex edges out other rotating category cards like the Discover it Cash Back because of its extra ongoing reward categories.

You can earn an unlimited 5 percent back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022) and Chase Ultimate Rewards travel with another 3 percent on dining and drugstore purchases to boot. You can also earn $200 in bonus cash when you spend just $500 within three months of account opening.

Although the main drawback is that Chase Freedom Flex’s rotating categories are only announced one quarter in advance, pairing it with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®) could make it a valuable addition.

As a side note, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is also excellent for grocery rewards since the Pay Yourself Back feature allows you to cover grocery store purchases at a boosted 1.5-cent value per point redeemed (through Sept. 30, 2021). Plus, grocery store purchases will count toward the Reserve’s annual $300 travel credit through December 31, 2021.

Best for wholesale clubs: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card

If you value versatility but want a higher rewards rate than a flat-rate credit card, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card is your safest bet. It earns 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, which can increase to up to 2.75 percent if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member.

The card is also a great choice for those whose budgets are more flexible, as it comes with 3 percent back in one category of your choice (from six options) that you can change once per month.

That way, you can pair your grocery earnings with rewards on purchases such as travel, home improvement or dining based on what matches your spending.

Just keep in mind that your 2 percent and 3 percent rewards categories share a $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter spending limit (then 1 percent back).

Best for superstores: Discover it Cash Back

Besides the usual October to December Walmart.com, Target.com and Amazon.com rewards, Discover rotating categories consistently provide grocery and superstore coverage throughout the year.

The Discover it Cash Back card typically offers 5 percent cash back (activation required; good for up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1 percent) on PayPal purchases in the third quarter, which extends to online superstore and grocery orders.

It’s also common to receive the same high cash back rate on grocery and wholesale club purchases each calendar year. Discover will even double all the rewards you earn with this card after the first year, and there’s no annual fee, either.

Best for travel rewards: American Express Gold Card

Amex Membership Rewards are treasured as some of the most valuable credit card points on the market due to the many ways you can redeem them.

The American Express Gold Card’s 4X points on up to $25,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases per year (then 1 point) and monthly statement credits toward delivery services like Boxed could give you a massive head start toward your next getaway—if you can justify the $250 annual fee.

Fortunately, this card’s potential for up to $120 in Uber Cash per year ($10 monthly credits) and up to 12-month complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership (worth up to $119 annually, based on estimated $9.99 monthly price for 12 months; must enroll before December 31, 2021) nearly recoup the annual fee on their own.

These perks and 4X points on Uber Eats orders also make the Amex Gold a solid choice for your supermarket list since Uber Eats may also deliver groceries in your area. Note that the Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting 12 months from initial enrollment in this offer, at the then-current monthly rate. Terms apply.

Other great cards for grocery shopping

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card is a must-have for frequent Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh users. You’ll earn an unlimited 5 percent back on Amazon.com purchases—including grocery deliveries—and another up to 10 percent back on rotating Amazon categories and products.

If you prefer in-store pickup, you’ll also get 5 percent back at Whole Foods Market, along with 2 percent rewards on other essential categories: restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases.

The Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard could also be a useful addition to your wallet if you like to one-stop-shop or if Walmart is the main grocer in your area.

You can earn 2 percent cash back on in-store Walmart purchases (5 percent back on in-store purchases at Walmart using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months after approval), but the unlimited 5 percent cash back on Walmart.com purchases including pickup and delivery purchases is the main appeal.

Comparing the best grocery cards

Card name Best for… Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome offers
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Cash back
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 6% on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% on transit and U.S. gas station purchases
  • 1% on all other purchases
$95 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)
  • Earn 20 percent back on Amazon.com purchases on the card within the first 6 months of card membership, up to $200 back.
  • Plus, earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Grocery delivery
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 3X points on dining
  • 3X points on select streaming services
  • 5X points on travel booked through the Chase portal
  • 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 1X points on other purchases

 

$95 Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
Chase Freedom Flex Rotating categories
  • 5% cash back on activated bonus category purchases each quarter (up to $1,500, then 1%)
  • 5% on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1% back on all other purchases
$0
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within your first 3 months

 

 

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card Wholesale clubs
  • 3% cash back in one of 6 choice categories
  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs ($2,500 spending limit in combined quarterly purchases for 2 and 3% categories, then 1%)
  • 1% on all other purchases
$0 $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days

 

American Express Gold Card Travel rewards
  • 4X points on restaurant (including U.S. Uber Eats purchases) and U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1X point per dollar)
  • 3X points on flights through Amex or booked with airlines
  • 1X points on all other purchases
$250 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 6 months
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card Online grocery shopping
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
  • 1% on all other purchases
$0 (Amazon Prime subscription required) $100 Amazon gift card upon approval
Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard Walmart delivery and pickup
  • 5% cash back at Walmart.com
  • 2% back in Walmart stores, restaurants and travel
  • 1% back on all other purchases
$0 Earn 5% back on in-store purchases at Walmart using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months after approval
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card No annual fee
  • 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 8% cash back on Vivid Seats purchases through Jan. 2023
$0 $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within 3 months of account open
Discover it® Cash Back Superstores
  • 5% cash back after activation on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%),
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
$0 Automatic Cashback Match for the first year

How to maximize your cash back on groceries

If your goal is maximizing cash back on groceries, you should make sure to read your card terms carefully to understand which purchases are eligible for rewards. Once you know the ins and outs of your card and its features, here are a few starter tips for making the most of your grocery rewards card:

  • Consolidate your spending and shop outside the box. Take the time to learn your favorite retailers’ merchant category codes, and try to do as much of your shopping at these locations that fit inside your bonus categories. This step will help you find a few creative rewards opportunities.
  • Use grocery delivery services at stores that don’t earn rewards. Services like Instacart will sometimes count as grocery merchants on your card, so use them to buy from superstores and wholesale clubs that wouldn’t normally collect cash back. This trick offers another layer of savings since you don’t even need a wholesale club membership to get big-box discounts.
  • Keep an eye out for limited-time promotions. Some credit cards may cycle in special deals that can earn you more cash back. For instance, Chase Freedom Flex offers three months of DoorDash DashPass membership as a cardholder perk with a lower subscription fee period afterward.

How to pick the best credit card for groceries

Finding the best grocery credit card for you comes down to three key considerations:

  • Can you take advantage of the reward categories, redemption options and benefits?
  • Are you getting enough value to offset the rates and fees?
  • Which card complements your shopping habits the most?

Footing the bill for a premier card like the Amex Gold is pouring cash back down the drain if you can’t take full advantage of its features. Make sure to plug each card’s fees and potential reward earnings into your budget so you can compare the returns you’d get with every option you’re considering. Then, you can develop a game plan for how to maximize your rewards.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."
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