It’s Raining Points! Ranking Cards For Grocery Spend After Recent Promos

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Ranking Cards For Grocery Spend

Ranking Cards For Grocery Spend After Recent Promos

Wow, May 1st was absolute craziness in the miles and points world. I don’t know if all of the credit card lenders got together and decided that May 1 was the day to launch every single promo they could think of or what.  It is bizarre that they all did it at the same time but it was all great news for us. The largest area of interest was the bonus points promos for grocery spend.  We received a few questions in our Facebook group asking which card should I use for grocery purchases now? Because of that I figured ranking cards for grocery spend after the recent refreshes would be helpful.  I will do this based on projected returns on your spend.  Remember to plug in your own valuations for each point though as they may be different from mine.

Roundup Of All Of The News

I figured I would do a quick recap of everything that went down yesterday in case you missed it:

Ranking Cards For Grocery Spend

Ranking Cards For Grocery Spend

Hopefully now you are caught on all of the craziness of yesterday so let’s get into crunching the numbers.  So which card now reigns supreme for grocery spend, at least for the next few months? Most of us probably have multiple new options available which can be a little overwhelming.  Hopefully I can take some stress out of your decision with this handy dandy chart 😉😁.

CardEarning RatePoint ValueReturnTerms Of The Offer
Chase Sapphire Reserve50.0189%$1500 per month in May & June
United Club Card50.0136.5%$1500 per month in May & June
Hilton Surpass/Aspire 120.00455.4%Uncapped till 7/31/20
Chase Sapphire Preferred30.0185.4%$1500 per month in May & June
World of Hyatt30.0175.1%$1500 per month in May & June
Delta Personal Cards40.01255%Uncapped till 7/31/20
Avios Earning Cards30.0154.5%$1500 per month in May & June
Southwest Personal Cards30.0144.2%$1500 per month in May & June
Marriott Cards60.0074.2%$5000 until 7/31/20

Going Beyond The Numbers

We now have a chart breaking down all of the numbers, awesome.  Life is easy now, right?  Not so fast!  Things are never this easy in miles and points.  We still have to dive a little deeper into the numbers.

On the surface the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the clears winner.  A 9% return on $3,000 in grocery spend over the next 2 months is awesome!  It matches the current offer on the Chase Freedom card this quarter but you get double the cap.

What About Hilton Surpass Free Night Certificates?

If we strictly follow the chart we are not considering other opportunities. Always be stacking is a motto at Miles to Memories. Well not really, but it should be!  What about the Hilton Surpass card and World of Hyatt card‘s free free night that you can earn after spending $15,000 a year.  (It goes by cardmember year for World of Hyatt and calendar year for the Surpass card). Should those be included in the calculations?

If you are starting at $0 spent for the year on your Surpass card and use this promo to complete the entire $15,000 in spend you would have 180,000 points and a free night certificate. That free night cert is worth an additional 60,000-95,000 points to most people, especially with the recent changes to the certificates. The free night certificate adds another 4-6 points per dollar to the calculations which increases the rate of return to closer to 8%.

World of Hyatt Free Night Certificate

Since the bonus points are capped with the World of Hyatt card offer you would not be able to reach the free night certificate.  But if you intend on earning the certificate this year then I would add another point per dollar to the calculations since the free night certificate is worth 15,000 points.  When you spread that over $15,000 in spend that is like getting an extra point per dollar on that spend.  The extra point per dollar would put it ahead of the other Chase cards that are earning 3X per dollar, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

So How Do I Decide Which Card To Use?

So how do you decide which card to dust off with all of these calculations? That will depend heavily on your situation and how much grocery spend you can muster. If you have a large bandwidth of spend then you can cherry pick the cards you want to use and you can take advantage of multiple options.  Maybe you can knock off the full $15,000 in spend on the Surpass card and the $3,000 on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

But if you have a limited amount of spend I would focus on the cards with the largest return.  That would be the Chase Sapphire Reserve first, then the Chase Freedom for this quarter (if you haven’t completed it yet) and then start working on the Amex Surpass.

Ranking Cards For Grocery Spend

What About My Other Grocery Earning Cards?

Don’t forget about other cards you have in your wallet that have a great return on your grocery spend.  If you have an Amex Gold card earning 4X Membership Rewards points or a Blue Cash Preferred earning 6% back etc. those should be considered in your calculations.

Unless you are maxing those options out each year you shouldn’t switch to a card that offers a lower return.  Don’t get sucked into the marketing and lose value!

Let’s say you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred and think earning 3X Ultimate Rewards sounds great.  I mean earning bonus Ultimate Rewards points on groceries never happens, even if Mark says it should.  You may be thinking, I should shelf my Amex Gold until I max out the CSP $3,000 in spend since this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Not so fast! Unless you are maxing out your Amex Gold for $25,000 in spend at 4X earning on US supermarkets each year you shouldn’t change cards. Sticking with the Amex Gold will bring you a better return.  That is assuming your valuations are about the same as mine so be sure to crunch your own numbers.  But the point remains, don’t go after something because it is shiny and new, be sure to consider your tried and true options as well.

Final Thoughts

There was a lot of good news yesterday and it was probably overwhelming for some of us.  I know we, at Miles to Memories, struggled to keep up with writing about it.  I figured many people would wake up today with the felling of carpe diem and be super excited about getting some groceries.  And then they would start to wonder which card to use and get frustrated by all of the options they now have.  What a great problem to have, right?

Hopefully this article and chart helps you decide which card is the best option for you over the next few months.  Remember to consider options old and new and to consider extra perks like free night certificates as well.

What does your ranking of cards for grocery spend look like after yesterday’s news?  Which one are you putting at the top of your wallet and why?

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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16 COMMENTS

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I reinstated my Aspire card which I recently downgraded. I will use it for the first $300 Rest Spend and then $200 for seat selection fees on AS to PE seats. I will use the Surpass for grocery and restaurant spend after $300 is hit on Aspire. Will try to hit the 15k yearly spend on Surpass. AX Gold will take a back seat until Aug unless they come out with a new offer regarding spend categorizing.

  2. FYI. Citi has a current offer for some of its AAdvantage Platinum Select cardholder for 5x (or 10x?) AAdvantage miles up to 2,500 miles through July 31st for online purchases. Their examples include online grocery and drugstore orders, and “favorite retailer’s website”. But since the maximum eligible spend would only be $500 (or $250 with the 10x offer) it’s not worth much.

    • This was focusing on the new offers that were just launched but the Freedom is mentioned in the article when I discuss which card you should choose.

    • “But if you have a limited amount of spend I would focus on the cards with the largest return. That would be the Chase Sapphire Reserve first, then the Chase Freedom for this quarter (if you haven’t completed it yet) and then start working on the Amex Surpass.”

  3. Good article Mark, and I agree CJ, I likely will switch to the Surpass spend to MS and build up towards lifetime. But I also spend a fair amount in hotels and have had Diamond for a few years. Literally this change for rest of the year makes Lifetime Diamond more attainable for me in a few years. The CSR could be a great option, and I will use, but it’s frustrating that it’s only for a few months and capped at $1500 a month. Guess I can’t get upset or picky about being offered more points. Thanks for the detail in the article.

  4. @Mark Osterman I think there is either a mistake, or there are more offers. My 2 offers from Marriott (Biz and Peersonal) both simply say spend up to 5k points between May 1 and July 31, no mention of a $1500 a month limit.

  5. Great job pulling this together. It seemed like every other day this week a different card issuer was adding a grocery incentive. I will likely hit my Hilton cards hard, as the points count towards lifetime Diamond.

    • Glad you enjoyed it CJ. I have considered chasing Diamond but the 10 years requirement is holding me back some.

      • I have a different issue with Diamond lifetime status. When I got my last update a year ago (wish it was available online like Marriott) I had 20 years as Diamond so that box was checked but only 600 some nights and around 700K points. Getting to 1000 nights or 2 million points is my challenge. Now I have earned 300-400K in past year (never had Hilton card before then even though I stayed there all the time) so that has changed.

        I’m maxing the Surpass card since I’m going for $40K spend and Diamond status. Over 20K this year so shouldn’t be a problem

        • They are supposed to have tracking on lifetime status at some point this year. Long overdue for sure.

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