Is the Chase Instacart Mastercard worth it?
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With the recent changes in our economy, many credit card issuers are offering rewards focused on recession-prone categories like groceries, dining, fuel and travel. The latest newcomer to the scene is the Chase Instacart Mastercard.
This card offers a high rate of cash back on Instacart purchases, but is it really worth what it’s offering? We’ll examine some key features and benefits of the card to help you decide if it deserves a spot in your wallet.
Instacart Mastercard card highlights:
- Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back on Instacart.com and Instacart app purchases with partnered retail brands; 5 percent back on Chase Travel Center purchases; 2 percent back at gas stations, restaurants and on select streaming services; 1 percent back on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: Get a free year of Instacart+ and a $100 Instacart credit automatically upon approval; membership auto-renews (Terms apply)
- Annual fee: $0
- Regular APR: 19.74 percent to 28.49 percent
At 5 percent back, the Instacart Mastercard offers unusually high rewards for online delivery, which includes many partnered grocery, electronics, sporting goods, pharmacy and warehouse club retailers (plus more — the full list of Instacart retailers can be found here). However, the rewards don’t stop there.
You can also earn cash back on gas station spending, restaurants and on select streaming services, as noted above. You’ll also earn 5 percent back on purchases made when using your card in the Chase Travel Center. All purchases made outside of these bonus categories still earn 1 percent back.
Chase Instacart Mastercard’s notable perks and benefits
If you have time to check out our Instacart Mastercard benefits guide, you’ll find out everything this card has to offer. If you’re strapped for time, we’ll do a quick breakdown of the card’s benefits below.
Though there are other cash back cards that offer more enticing welcome bonuses of $200, $300 or more, we’ll give this one a pass because it’s a no-annual-fee card. Plus, the welcome bonus is valued at $199 with a $100 credit toward an Instacart order and a complimentary Instacart+ membership, normally $99 a year. After one year is up, your membership will automatically renew.
Most of the best credit cards for groceries focus on merchant codes specifically for grocery retailers. Though Instacart is mainly known for offering delivery for grocery items, the delivery service is constantly expanding its network of partner retailers.
This means you can get delivery on things like electronics, sports gear, home goods, pet care products, cosmetics and much more. Yes, the delivery options are nice, but even nicer is the 5 percent back you earn on these items. That means you can earn 5 percent back on things like computers and wearable technology from Best Buy or gardening supplies from Lowe’s.
Another advantage of this card is the flexible nature of its rewards. Your redemption options include:
- Gift cards
- Travel through the Chase Travel Center
- A direct deposit or statement credit
- A credit for all or part of your Instacart orders
There is no minimum rewards balance required for direct deposits, statement credits or Instacart orders.
This card carries no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, but there are other fees you should know about. Though you’ll get a discount on the service fee on all orders with your Instacart+ membership, there are other fees you may pay, including a:
- Heavy fee
- Long distance service fee
- Alcohol service fee
- Priority fee
- Pickup fee (from certain retailers)
Plus, you may notice that the price of some items can be higher than what you’d see if you were physically shopping in a store.
Other card benefits
With the Instacart Mastercard, you’ll get a free Instacart+ membership (which is typically $99 a year or $9.99 per month). An Instacart+ membership means you’ll have $0 delivery fees for orders of $35 or more, plus lower service fees.
Travel and shopping protections
You also get travel insurance and purchase protection benefits with your Instacart Mastercard, including travel accident insurance and emergency assistance services, baggage delay insurance, purchase protection, lost luggage reimbursement, roadside assistance and extended warranty protection.
World Elite Mastercard benefits
This card also carries World Elite Mastercard benefits, such as:
- Cellphone protection
- Zero liability protection (for fraudulent transactions)
- 24/7 concierge services
- Free ShopRunner membership
- Mastercard ID theft protection
- Discounts with brands like Lyft, Fandango and DoorDash
- Access to car, air, cruise and vacation packages, along with the Mastercard luxury hotel and resorts portfolio
Is the Instacart Mastercard worth it?
As always, analyzing whether or not this card is worth it comes down to how you will use it and your personal goals for saving time and money. Below, we’ll look at a spending example that breaks down how the rewards stack up against credit cards with a similar rewards schema in common spending categories:
- Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card: 3X points on restaurant, travel, gas station, transit, popular streaming service and phone plan purchases; 1X points on other purchases
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Lyft Rides (Lyft offer through March 31, 2025); 2X points on other travel; 1X points on all other purchases
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases in each category (then 1 percent); 1 percent back on other purchases
|Spending category||Annual spending||Instacart Mastercard Rewards||Wells Fargo Autograph Rewards||Chase Sapphire Preferred Rewards||Amex Blue Cash Everyday Rewards|
|* Assumes a 1.9 percent charge on $6,000 of online grocery orders from Instacart|
|Online Grocery/supermarket spending||$6,000||$300||$60||$180||$180|
|Travel/travel portal spending||$1,000||$50||$30||$50||$10|
|All other spending||$6,000||$60||$60||$60||$60|
|Welcome bonus||$100 ($100 Instacart credit earned automatically)||$200 (20,000 bonus points earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months)||$600 (60,000 bonus points earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||$250 (Up to $250 back — $100 when you spend $2,000 in your first six months, plus up to $150 back when you use the card to check out via PayPal with merchants in your first 6 months, as 20 percent back in statement credits)|
|Annual fee/additional fees||-$114*||$0||-$95||$0|
|First-year rewards value||$732||$834||$1,259||$764|
|Ongoing rewards value||$632||$534||$459||$514|
Although this is a simplified example, you can see how there’s not much difference in the value you’ll get from the Instacart Mastercard and membership versus other cards. When you add in the 1.9 percent service fee on your Instacart orders, it cuts into some of the rewards you’re earning with your Instacart card.
After the first year, you won’t get a welcome bonus or free Instacart+ membership, so the value you get out of the card drops even more. That being said, we believe that consumers who use Instacart do so for more reasons than saving money: saving time. Time savings is something we can’t easily quantify in our example, but that is something you may be able to attach a value to for yourself.
For the time savings alone, you might be an Instacart fan, despite the extra fees. If this is the case, then getting the Instacart Mastercard would offer a slight discount and cash back on a service you’d indulge in regardless — even without rewards.
Who should get the Instacart Mastercard?
Per the analysis above, this card may not be the life-changing cash back credit card you thought it would be, especially if you were looking to get massive amounts back on groceries and delivery services. We think the real benefit might be for people already using Instacart and who wouldn’t mind a few more nominal incentives to continue doing so. So if saving time and a bit of money is your thing, we think it can’t hurt to try this card since there’s no annual cost to carry it.
The bottom line
The debut of the Instacart Mastercard truly excited us. Though, after a little more analysis, we found that some of the value for this card is swept away in the potential fees you could pay from using the service regularly. If you want this card to jumpstart your Instacart use while realizing some savings in the process, the value proposition isn’t really there.
However, if you’re strapped for time more than you’re strapped for money and would use Instacart anyway, we think this card is more like “icing on the cake.” The Instacart Mastercard simply gives you the chance to earn rewards on a service that is valuable to you anyway.