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If you spend a lot of money on groceries, it makes sense to use a credit card that earns bonus rewards at the supermarket to make the most of this unavoidable expense.
Fortunately, there are lots of credit cards that offer bonus points, miles, or cash back at the grocery store — and some even don't charge an annual fee. One of the best picks if you like earning flexible points is the American Express® Gold Card, which earns 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 in spending per year (then 1x). That's my go-to card for grocery spending, but if the supermarket I'm shopping at doesn't accept Amex, I'll use my Citi Premier® Card to earn 3x points instead.
Read more: The best rewards credit cards of 2021
Depending on your overall spending habits, other cards might be an even better pick. One particular offer right now stands out for new cardholders: In the first six months of account opening, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 10x points at US supermarkets and US gas stations on up to $15,000 in combined spending (then 1x). There's no other card on the market that even approaches that rate, but bear in mind this promotion only applies to new applicants.
Here are our top credit card picks for earning the most rewards at grocery stores.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is an excellent pick if you're looking for a premium card that offers tons of travel and shopping benefits, and right now it's offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of card membership. But on top of that, it comes with an even sweeter deal if you spend a lot on groceries or gas.
New cardholders can earn 10x Amex Membership Rewards points on up to $15,000 in combined spending at US supermarkets and US gas stations (then 1x) in the first six months of account opening. That's an outstanding rate of return, considering Membership Rewards points are worth, on average, 1.8 cents apiece based on Insider's points and miles valuations.
Beyond the first six months of account opening (or if you're an existing cardholder), the Platinum Card only earns 1 point per dollar in these categories, so once the promotional period is over, you'll do better with other cards that offer bonus rewards at the supermarket. The Platinum Card charges a $550 annual fee (See Rates), but if you can take advantage of the card's many benefits it's worth the expense.
The American Express® Gold Card is an excellent all-around choice for foodies, offering 4x points on up to $25,000 in combined annual purchases (then 1x) at US supermarkets. It also earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide, 3x points on airfare booked with the airline or through Amex Travel, and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
In addition, cardholders receive up to $120 per year in dining credits** (up to $10 per month) with participating restaurants and food delivery services, and up to $120 per year (up to $10 per month) in Uber Cash credits**. The card charges a $250 annual fee (See Rates), but if you take advantage of these credits and other perks, you can more than offset the yearly cost.
The Citi Premier® Card might not be the first card that comes to mind for groceries, but if you're looking for an all-purpose card that earns bonus rewards in lots of categories — including the supermarket — it's an excellent choice.
Along with a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening, you'll earn 3x points at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and on airfare, and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Citi ThankYou points are often underrated, but they're incredibly versatile — you can transfer them to airline partners, use them to book travel through the Citi ThankYou portal, or redeem them for gift cards, cash back, merchandise, and more.
If you prefer earning cash back on your grocery spending, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can't be beat. It earns 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year (then 1%) — so by maximizing this category alone by spending, on average, $500 a month on groceries, you can earn $360 in cash back each year.
The card also offers 6% back on select US streaming services, 3% on transit, 3% at US gas stations, and 1% on all other purchases. There's an annual fee of $95 (waived the first year) (See rates), but if you spend a lot in the card's bonus categories, you can make up for the cost easily (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars).
If you like earning cash back without paying an annual fee, the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is an easy choice — especially since there are no caps or geographic restrictions on what you can earn. Cardholders earn an unlimited 3% cash back on groceries, dining, entertainment, and streaming services, and 1% back on everything else.
The card offers a decent welcome bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, and it doesn't add foreign transaction fees, so it's a good choice if you're traveling abroad.
Amazon Prime members can take the sting out of their Whole Foods grocery bill when they use the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card . With a Prime membership, cardholders earn 5% back on Whole Foods and Amazon purchases (including Amazon Fresh), 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.
Read more: The best credit cards for Amazon purchases
If you don't have a Prime Membership, the card earns 3% back instead of 5%. There's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, so this card is a good pick if you spend a lot at Whole Foods and Amazon. If you shop at other supermarkets, though, you'll likely do better with a card that earns a bonus at all grocery stores.
Of all the Amex cards in my wallet, I've had the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express the longest. Before I opened the Amex Gold Card, this was my primary card for grocery spending because it earns 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending per year (then 1x). It also earns 2x points at US gas stations, and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Read more: The best American Express cards in 2021
The card has a trick up its sleeve, too. If you make at least 30 purchases on the card in a billing cycle, you'll get a 50% bonus on all the points you've earned, effectively bumping the rate to 4.5x points at US supermarkets (up to spending limits). The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express also comes with a much more manageable annual fee of $95 (See Review) compared to the Amex Gold Card.
Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles. She has covered credit cards, points and miles, and loyalty programs for over seven years, and she's a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).