Americans spend a lot of money on groceries.
A family of four with two preteen kids will spend about $1,189.40 per month on food at home, according to recent estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s more than $14,000 spent on groceries for the family over the course of a year.
Because shopping for food can be one of the most expensive line items on your budget, it might be one of the first rewards categories you look for in a new credit card. And its also one of the most common — there are plenty of cash back, rewards, and even travel credit cards on the market today that can help you save on groceries.
But there’s one card that stands above other options right now when it comes to grocery and supermarket savings: the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It’s both our favorite card in this category and one of the only cash back credit cards we believe is worth its $95 annual fee, thanks to the outsize value you can get on everyday spending.
Here are all the ways to save with Blue Cash Preferred, and how you can maximize your supermarket spending.
Why the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is Good for Groceries
Based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we estimate the average first-year value of the Blue Cash Preferred is $547.96, followed by an annual value of $302.96 each year thereafter.
That’s even after accounting for the $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. You can maximize this card’s rewards for a full 12 months before you have to worry about paying a fee, but easily surpass the cost in rewards value even after the fee kicks in. Here are more details about the Blue Cash Preferred Card’s rewards:
6% Rewards at U.S. Supermarkets
The Blue Cash Preferred offers cardholders a whopping 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year, followed by 1% back. If you spend up to this max — about $500 at the supermarket per month — you’ll rack up $360 in cash back each year on food spending alone.
American Express lists supermarket chains such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Aldi, Meijer, Hy-Vee, and more among eligible stores in this category, though that’s not a comprehensive list. Ineligible stores include convenience stores, superstores like Walmart or Target, warehouse clubs like Costco, and meal kit delivery services. However, these restrictions are standard among most issuers, so if you do the majority of your food shopping at these types of stores, you may want to look for a co-branded retail card or other non-grocery card with applicable rewards.
Purchases at U.S. supermarkets aren’t the only way to earn great savings with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.
You’ll get the same great 6% back rate on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, which includes providers like Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, and Spotify. Plus, you can earn 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit. Transit is also broadly-defined by American Express, and includes taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, subways, and more. Everything else you buy will earn a flat 1% back.
The intro offer for the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express can boost your first-year rewards with the card’s welcome bonus.
The Blue Cash Preferred from Amex offers an introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, but you should make sure you pay off your balances before year one is up. Otherwise, you’ll pay down debt at this card’s variable APR, which is 13.99% to 23.99% based on your creditworthiness.
You can earn $300 in bonus cash after spending at least $3,000 on purchases within six months of account opening. That’s equal to about $500 or more per month for six months in a row to reach the threshold. Before you apply, double check to make sure this is within your regular budget. If you spend more than you can pay down just to score a welcome bonus, you’ll accrue high interest charges on any unpaid balances that can cost much more than any cash back earned.
In addition to cash back rewards, the Blue Cash Preferred offers a few more benefits to help maximize its value.
To start, you can enjoy 0% APR on new purchases for 12 months after account opening (13.99%-23.99% variable APR thereafter). This isn’t the longest intro period available, but can be useful if you have a large upcoming purchase or want some extra time to pay your balance down. Just make sure you have a plan to pay off the charges in full within this period, so it doesn’t turn into debt that accrues interest charges going forward.
You’ll get up to $120 in statement credits annually toward an Equinox+ membership as $10 monthly statement credits when you use your card to pay, as well as secondary car rental loss and damage insurance and return protection for purchases made with the card.
Other Cards to Consider for Groceries
The Blue Cash Preferred is our favorite card for grocery spending, but it’s not the only great option available. If you don’t want to worry about the $6,000 cap on grocery spending to earn the 6% rate, or you don’t want to pay an annual fee, here are some additional cards that are great for groceries and other everyday purchases:
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Preferred’s sister card, Blue Cash Everyday from American Express, also offers rewards on groceries but without an annual fee.
You’ll get 3% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S supermarkets each year (then 1% back), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and 1% back on all other purchases. Instead of streaming or transit rewards, this card offers another 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores. This includes chains like Belk, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Nordstrom, but you can find the complete list on Amex’s website.
This card also comes with an introductory 0% APR period for purchases, and you can earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 within the first six months of account opening.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of our favorite all-around cash back cards today. Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year), That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases. Plus earn 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2022). There’s no annual fee, and this card comes with an introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers.
American Express® Gold Card
If you’re a big spender at the supermarket and don’t mind paying a higher annual fee for increased rewards, the American Express Gold Card is another great option for food spending.
It comes with a $250 annual fee, but you’ll earn 4x Membership Rewards points on dining worldwide, 4x points on up to $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1x points), 3 points on airfare booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and 1x points on other purchases.
Plus, you can get up to $120 annual Uber Cash and up to $120 in dining credits each year. You’ll score 60,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $4,000 within six months of account opening, and there’s an introductory APR offer for purchases.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Intro bonus:Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
- Annual fee:$0
- Regular APR:14.99% – 23.74% Variable
- Recommended credit:670-850 (Good to Excellent)
- Apply Now At Chase’s secure site
Combine Amex Blue Cash Preferred with Other Cards
The Blue Cash Preferred is a great card option on its own, but the tiered bonus category rewards structure means it can also pair nicely with other rewards cards you might be considering or already have in your wallet.
One easy way to pair your Blue Cash Preferred is by looking for another card with flat rate rewards on every purchase. If you like American Express, one card to consider is the American Express Cash Magnet® Card*, which offers 1.5% back on all purchases with no annual fee. Other flat rewards cards we like are the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card , which offers 2% cash rewards on purchases with no annual fee, and Citi Double Cash Card*, which offers up to 2% cash back back on all purchases (1% when a purchase is made and another 1% when you pay it off) and a 0% introductory rate for balance transfers with no annual fee.
*All information about the American Express Cash Magnet Card and Citi Double Cash Card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.