Turn Grocery Purchases Into Your Next Vacation With These 8 Credit Cards

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You might not make many grocery purchases while you're traveling, but your day-to-day grocery spending at home can get you closer to your next vacation...if you use the right credit card.

All of the cards below reward you with bonus points, miles, or cash back at grocery stores and supermakets, and will turn your produce and deli counter purchases into free flights and hotel rooms faster than you might expect.

The Discoverer has partnered with The Points Guy affiliate network for our coverage of credit card products. The Discoverer and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers. The offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.


Limited Time: Chase Freedom Card

From April to June of 2020, the Chase Freedom card is offering 5% back on your first $1,500 in purchases from grocery stores and fitness clubs, up from the card's usual 1%. Better yet, if you have an Ultimate Rewards earning Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred, you can turn all of the cash back you earn into valuable Ultimate Rewards points to use on future travel.

Grocery Store Earning Rate: 5% back on your first $1,500 in purchases from grocery stores and fitness clubs from April to June.

Points Type: Cash back, but can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points with an Ultimate Rewards Chase card on the same account.

Annual Fee: None.

Welcome Offer: $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months.

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card | Photo: The Points Guy
American Express® Gold Card | Photo: The Points Guy

The American Express® Gold Card is our favorite credit card for food, whether you're buying it at a store or eating it at a restaurant. With the Gold Card, you'll earn 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases each year; then 1x). That's one of the best earning rates of any card, but it's especially notable when you consider that the points are also worth about $.02 each (according to The Points Guy), resulting in an approximate 8% return on eligible U.S. supermarket purchases.

Just note that "U.S. supermarkets," as defined by American Express, includes food-specific stores like Meijer, Whole Foods, and online supermarkets such as FreshDirect, but it doesn't include specialty merchants like butchers, big box stores like Target and Walmart, or membership clubs like Costco.

U.S. Supermarket Earning Rate: 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar (on the first $25,000 in purchases each year; then 1 point per dollar).

Points Type: Transferrable travel rewards.

Annual Fee: $250.

Welcome Offer: 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months.

[Read our full review]

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express | Photo: American Express

Updated in the middle of 2019, the Blue Cash Preferred Card is a premium cash back card that offers a whopping 6% back at U.S. supermarkets for your first $6,000 per year in eligible purchases (1% thereafter).

In addition, you'll also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions,
3% back at U.S. gas stations, 3% back on transit, including parking, tolls, trains and rideshares, and back on other purchases.

U.S. Supermarket Earning Rate: 6% back per dollar for the first $6,000 in eligible purchases per year (1% thereafter).

Points Type: Cash back.

Annual Fee: $95.

Welcome Offer: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express | Photo: American Express
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express | Photo: American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday card is a sister to the Blue Cash Preferred, and while it has lower bonus earnings at U.S. supermarkets (among other categories), it also doesn't carry an annual fee.

U.S. Supermarket Earning Rate: 3% back per dollar for the first $6,000 in eligible purchases per year (1% thereafter).

Points Type: Cash back.

Annual Fee: None.

Welcome Offer: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Citi Rewards+℠ Card | Photo: The Points Guy

A relative newcomer on the scene, the Citi Rewards+ Card has a unique gimmick that you won't find anywhere else: it automatically rounds all purchases up to the nearest 10 points. That won't matter so much on a $100 purchase, but if you bought something for $1, it would mean earning 10 points instead of earning just 1 point.

The card also offers 2x points for your first $6,000 in combined gas and supermarket purchases each year (then 1x), in addition to the round-up bonus.

Supermarket Earning Rate: 2 points per dollar for your first $6,000 in purchases at supermarkets and gas stations, and 1 point thereafter.

Points Type: ThankYou points can be turned into gift cards at a rate (usually) of $.01 per point, transfered to JetBlue at a 5:4 ratio (1,000 ThankYou points = 800 JetBlue points), or transfered to other travel partners if you have another Citi credit card with access to more transfer partners.

Annual Fee: None.

Welcome Offer: 15,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $1,000 in purchases within three months.

Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America's Cash Rewards Credit Card | Photo: The Points Guy

Bank of America's Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, plus 3% back on the bonus category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings), but the catch is that you'll only earn the bonuses on your first $2,500 in combined purchases on those categories each quarter (then 1%).

However, if you do a lot of your banking with Bank of America, you may be eligible for the bank's Preferred Rewards program, which can boost your cash back earnings by 25%-75%, depending on the assets you have in the bank.

Grocery Store/Wholesale Club Earning Rate: 2% back on the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter with your chosen 3% bonus category. 1% thereafter. Earnings can be boosted with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program, if you do your banking with Bank of America.

Points Type: Cash back

Annual Fee: None.

Welcome Offer: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa won't earn you bonus points at a wide variety of grocery stores, but it will earn an impressive 5 points per dollar at Amazon-owned Whole Foods, which is an impressive return for a card with no annual fee.

The catch is that you'll need to be a Prime member to get the card, which costs $119 per year, but non-Prime members can opt for the standard Amazon Rewards Visa, which will still earn 3 points per dollar at Whole Foods.

One nice bonus? Since all Whole Foods markets are equipped with mobile payment terminals, you won't have to actually keep this card in your wallet to use it.

Whole Foods Market Earning Rate: 5 points per dollar

Points Type: Points can be spent on Amazon.com purchases, or used for statement credits at a rate of $.01 each.

Annual Fee: None, but requires an Amazon Prime membership.

Welcome Offer: $100 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval.

Target REDCard

Target REDCard

If you do the majority of your grocery shopping (or really any amount of shopping at all) at Target, the REDCard is a great addition to your wallet. Available as both a credit card and a debit card that draws directly from your checking account, it'll get you an instant 5% discount on almost anything you buy at Target. Using it online at Target.com will also get you free shipping and an extended return window.

You can even add the card to your Target app and scan it at checkout, so you won't have to lose any precious wallet space.

Target Earning Rate: 5% discount on most products.

Points Type: Discount is taken at checkout, rather than accumulated in the form of points or cash back.

Annual Fee: None.

Welcome Offer: Varies, but usually some form of Target coupon.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited | Photo: The Points Guy

First, a caveat. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is not a great card to use for groceries on its own. However, if you use a Chase Sapphire Reserve or a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as your primary vehicle for travel rewards, then the Freedom Unlimited is probably the card you should use at the grocery store.

The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no restrictions. But if you have a Sapphire card (or Ink business card) in your Chase account, you'll be able to convert your Freedom Unlimited cash back into more valuable Ultimate Rewards points. Either of the Sapphire cards would only earn 1 point per dollar at grocery stores, so swapping in the Freedom Unlimited essentially gets you a 50% point bonus.

Earning Rate: 1.5% on all purchases

Points Type: Cash back, but can be converted to Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1 point = 1 cent ratio if you have an Ultimate Rewards point-earning card on your account.

Annual Fee: None.

Welcome Offer: $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

[Read our full review]


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Photo: BlueOrange Studio/ShutterStock

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All featured products and deals are selected independently and objectively by the author. The Discoverer may receive a share of sales via affiliate links in content.

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