The Best Credit Cards for Grocery and Gas
We’ve covered an array of excellent cards for shopping at grocery stores and others that are great for filling up at the pump. But is there the option to carry just one card that will fulfill both of these purposes?
This is often a consideration when you’re playing the award travel hobby in “2 player mode.” My wife and I both pick up credit cards every year, but while I carry roughly eight in my wallet at any given time, she normally has two, maybe three. Why? Simplicity. There’s no wondering which card offers which bonus categories and stressing out over whether she is using the correct one.
For a while I dispensed with giving her a card that fit particular bonus categories, sticking a Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited in her wallet and calling it good. But since a good portion of our purchases each month are on fuel and food, picking up one of the best credit cards for grocery and gas is more ideal. Here are our top five:
American Express Everyday Preferred
If you have a desire to earn valuable Membership Rewards points, consider picking up the American Express EveryDay Preferred card. It earns 3x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year. If you make 30 transactions in a month you get a 50% boost, earning you 4.5x on these purchases. I value Membership Rewards at a solid 2.0 cents each, so this is really a 9% return.
The card also earns 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations, which can be boosted to 3 points if you make 30 or more transactions per month. This is a great return for gas as well.
My one difficulty with this card, personally, is the fact that Costco, Costco Gas, and the other cheapest gas station in the area do not accept American Express. Otherwise, this would be our go-to card for grocery and gas.
Here is a rundown on the EveryDay Preferred and its benefits:
- Welcome offer of 20,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 in qualifying purchases on your card within the first 3 months (available via referral)
- 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year)
- 2x points at U.S. gas stations
- 50% extra points (on those earned that billing cycle) if you use your card on 30 or more purchases
- $95 annual fee
- Referral Link
If you’re more interested in an excellent card for grocery purchases without an annual fee, the American Express EveryDay card might be the one for you. It’s a weaker version of the EveryDay Preferred, but you can still earn up to 2.4x Membership Rewards per dollar spent at U.S. grocery stores when making 20 or more purchases.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
If earning cash rather than Membership Rewards points is what you’re after, American Express has you covered here as well. The Blue Cash Preferred earns a whopping 6% back on U.S. supermarket purchases, up to $6,000 in spend per year. If you max out the category, you’ll earn $360 in cash back!
The card also offers 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit. The 6% back on streaming services is nice, too, especially if you find yourself subscribed to both Netflix and Disney+. This card definitely covers a lot of bases.
The annual fee of $95 eats into the total earning a bit, which is the main drawback. But this will still leave you with $265 in your pocket every year without a lot of effort. Here are the full benefits of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express:
- Welcome offer of $250 after spending $1,000 in purchases on the card within the first 3 months of card membership.
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year)
- 6% cash back on select streaming services
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Annual fee of $95
- Learn More
Again, remember the once per lifetime welcome offer restriction on Amex cards!
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card
It’s hard to say no to 5x points on gas purchases all day, everyday. But that’s what the PenFed Rewards card offers, which is downright amazing. This card is issued by PenFed Credit Union, which focuses on serving military personnel and their families. However, you don’t need to be in the military or have a family member in the military. You do need to be a PenFed member to apply for their credit cards, but this isn’t that difficult of a hurdle.
Here are the benefits and current offer for the PenFed Rewards Visa Signature Card:
- $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
- 5x points at gas stations
- 3x points at grocery stores
- 1x points on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Direct link
PenFed Rewards points vary a bit in value, depending on how you redeem them. You can expect to get about 0.85 cents per point for airfare (making 5x points about 4.25% back), but often over 1.1 cents per point for hotels (5.5% back).
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Another great option for grocery and gas is the American Express Hilton Surpass. The Surpass card earns 6x Honors points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations.
If paying an annual fee isn’t in the cards for you, there is also a no-fee Hilton Honors American Express card that earns 5x in the same categories.
Here are the benefits and current offer for the Hilton Surpass Card:
- Welcome offer of 125,000 Honors points after spending $2,000 or more in the first 3 months of card membership
- 12x points at Hilton portfolio hotels
- 6x points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations
- 3x points everywhere else
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee
- Learn More
The Surpass is the better value proposition here, even with the annual fee, as you can earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 in purchases each year.
Warehouse/Superstore Specific Cards
If you tend to shop for groceries at the same warehouse club or superstore, then a credit card with your store of choice may actually be a decent choice for both groceries and gas. There are two in particular that cover these categories decently well: the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa and the Walmart Rewards card from Capital One®.
The Costco Anywhere Visa is an excellent choice for Costco, as you earn 2% back at the warehouse club and 4% back on gas (up to $7,000 per year). The rewards do accumulate all year and are delivered as a single certificate, so this is a bit of a bummer if you’re more interested in ongoing rewards. Still, 4% back on gas is excellent. Plus, Costco Gas (at least here) is an easy 20 cents cheaper than anyone else.
The Walmart Rewards Card is a bit of an oddball choice, but hear me out. The card introductory offer is 5% back in-store at Walmart with Walmart Pay, but the ongoing 5% back includes Walmart.com & Walmart app, and Grocery Pickup and Delivery. My understanding is that the pickup service is free, so this may be an easy way to do all your shopping online, drive to the store to pick it up, and then earn 5% the whole way.
Gas at Walmart and Murphy gas stations is another bonus category at 2%, which is reasonable, but not as stellar as some other options. But the card covers you if you shop a lot at Walmart.
Here are the cards that almost made the best credit cards for grocery and gas but came up just short:
5% Quarterly Cards
The quarterly rotating 5% cards are another reasonable choice, if you can remember to swap them in or out of your wallet each quarter. This is a little less simple than simply having a standard card, but the Chase Freedom and Discover It card both typically offer 5% back on grocery one quarter and 5% back on gas another. Sometimes the quarters overlap, sometimes they don’t.
Option For Big Bankers
The Bank of America Cash Rewards card is a decent choice, as you can pick gas as your 3% category and then receive 2% back at grocery stores and warehouse clubs as well. This might not sound appealing compared to other options here, but the real play is if you can become a preferred rewards member, which could boost the earning up to 5.25% at gas stations and 3.5% back at grocery stores.
These categories have a combined cap of $2,500 per quarter, but assuming a 60/40 split between gas and grocery, you’re looking at ~$113 back per quarter, an average of 4.5%. Not bad for a card with no fee.
Used To Be Great
The dis-honorable mention goes to the CNB Crystal Visa Infinte Card. Almost everything great about the card has been gutted. The card used to earn 3x points at both grocery and gas, but this is being removed. If I had the card, I’d be planning to dump it. Or light it on fire.
If you need a credit card that “kills two birds with one stone”, or need to keep things extra simple for either yourself or your spouse, picking up any of the best credit cards for grocery and gas is a great way to accomplish this.
Other posts in this series:
- 5 Best Cards for Grocery Shopping
- The 5 Best Cards for Gas Stations
- 5 Best Cards for Everyday Purchases
- The 5 Best Business Credit Cards
- 5 Top Travel Credit Cards
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