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Best Credit Cards for Groceries and Takeout

Posted: June 06,2020
by Bryce Burchfield
Last updated: August 22,2020

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Using Credit Cards for Groceries and Takeout Can Help You Earn Miles & Points for Your Next Trip
The Right Credit Cards Can Earn Lots of Miles and Points on Groceries and Takeout

If you find yourself wanderlust while quarantined to your couch, there is some good news for you: Now is a great time to prepare for future travel. And one you can prepare is by leveraging the best credit cards to use on groceries and takeout.

Here are the credit cards which will reap the biggest rewards when you use them to pay at supermarkets and restaurants

1. American Express Hilton Honors Surpass
2. Chase Freedom
3. American Express Gold Card
4. Citi Premier

American Express Hilton Honors Surpass

Earning 6x points at US supermarkets with makes American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card one of the best credit cards for groceries and takeout.
American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card

The American Express Hilton Honors Surpass card has a welcome bonus of 140,000 Hilton Honors points and allows you to earn 6 points per dollar on groceries and takeout.

You can earn 140,000 Hilton points if you are approved for the card, and spend $2,000 on the card within the first three (3) months of card membership.

Rewards

Earning Rewards

The AMEX Hilton Surpass card earns at least 3 Hilton Honors bonus points for every dollar you spend:

  • 6 Hilton points per dollar spent at US supermarkets
  • 6 Hilton points per dollar spent at US restaurants
  • 6 Hilton points per dollar spent at US gas stations
  • 12 Hilton points per dollar spent at Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • 3 Hilton points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

Redeeming Rewards

Hilton Honors points can be redeemed for stays at Hilton Hotels including Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Embassy Suites, and Homewood Suites:

Hilton Honors Points Can Be Redeemed at Hilton Hotel Brands including Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Embassy Suites, and Homewood Suites
Hilton Honors Points Can Be Redeemed at These Hilton Hotel Brands

Hilton Benefits

Free Weekend Night Reward

Hilton rewards Honors Surpass card members who spend $15,000 in a year with a Free Weekend Night reward.

This reward can be redeemed for one weekend night standard accommodation at eligible Hilton properties. Keep in mind, there are some hotels excluded from the Free Weekend Reward night.

Hilton Honors Status

The Hilton Surpass Cardmembers can Benefit from Hilton Gold Status Perks like Free Breakfast

The American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card comes with complimentary Hilton Gold status. Hilton Gold status benefits includes free continental breakfast, free wifi and room upgrades (up to executive level rooms, pending availability).

Beyond Gold status, card members who spend $40,000 in eligible purchases on their American Express Hilton Honors Surpass card can even earn Hilton Diamond status. Benefits of Honors Diamond status, above and beyond the Hilton Honors Gold status benefits, include guaranteed executive lounge access (where available), premium wi-fi, and upgrades up to a one-bedroom suite (where available).

Additional Benefits

The Honors Surpass Card also comes with Priority Pass Select, providing access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world. Furthermore, there a number of airport restaurants where Priority Pass members can receive a credit toward their final bill.

This benefit allows up to 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge visits each year, once enrolled.

The card also comes with a 24/7 Global Assist Hotline to provide medical, legal, financial and other services. This hotline, available if you are traveling over 100 miles from home, can assist with medical emergencies, passport replacement, and missing luggage.

Fees

The American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card has no foreign transaction fee, but it does have an annual fee of $95.

Card Summary

The Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express is one of the best credit cards for earning points on both groceries and takeout.

In addition, the card comes with great travel benefits including Hilton status, Priority Pass Select membership, and a Global Assist hotline.

Chase Freedom

Revolving quarterly bonus categories help make the Chase Freedom Card one of the best credit cards for groceries and takeout
Chase Freedom Card

You can view the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer from cardratings via this link.

The Chase Freedom card earns 5% cash back on revolving bonus categories, and currently offers a welcome bonus of $200 cash back or 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

This welcome bonus can be earned after spending $500 in eligible purchases on the card within the first 3 (three) months from account opening.

You may be ineligible for this offer if you have received five (5) or more personal credit cards in the past 24 months. This general rule, known as the “Chase 5/24 Rule,” applies to credit cards issued by any bank which may appear on your credit report.

After satisfying the $500 spend requirement, the welcome bonus will be credited in the form of 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

Rewards

Earning Rewards

With the Chase Freedom card, you can earn up to 5% cash back on up $1,500 in quarterly revolving bonus categories.

The Chase Freedom Card Earns 5% Cash Back Each Quarter on Revolving  Bonus Categories
The Chase Freedom Card Earns 5% Cash Back Each Quarter on Revolving Bonus Categories

The bonus categories for the current quarter (April – June 2020) are grocery stores (excluding Target or Walmart purchases), fitness clubs, and gym memberships.

In addition, card members may earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March of 2022.

While the bonus categories for summer have not been announced yet, it is possible to speculate based on 2019 and 2018 quarterly categories. Potential bonus categories for the remainder of 2020 are gas stations (once again), department stores, payment services like PayPal and Apple Pay, drug stores, and wholesale clubs like Costco.

The Chase Freedom card earns 1% cash back on all purchases, other than Lyft rides and quarterly bonus categories.

Redeeming Rewards for Cash Back

The welcome bonus can be redeemed in the form of cash back via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal.

Cash back can be received as either a credit card statement credit or in the form of a deposit to your bank account.

Redeeming Rewards for Purchases

Chase Ultimate rewards points can used for purchases with Amazon, Apple, and gift cards.

Ultimate Rewards points used for Amazon purchases are redeemed at a rate of 0.8 cents each, while points used for Apple and gift card purchases are redeemed at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Redeeming Rewards for Travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

One of the better ways to use Ultimate Rewards points is to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal. Through this portal, You can book flights, hotels, vacation rentals, cars, cruises, and even experiences like tours and museums.

Travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal is redeemed at a rate of 1.25 cents of value per point.

Redeeming Rewards for Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

Often the best way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio.

Airline transfer partners including British Airways, United, Singapore, Southwest, and United:

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners like British Airways, United, Singapore, Southwest, and United
Ultimate Rewards Airlines Transfer Partners

And the Ultimate Rewards hotel transfer partners are IHG, Marriott, and Hyatt:

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotel stays with IHG, Marriott, and World of Hyatt
Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners

Additional Benefits

The Chase Freedom Card also comes with DoorDash benefits.

A complimentary 3-month subscription to DashPass is included. Dash Pass is DoorDash’s subscription service and provides an unlimited $0 delivery fee on DoorDash orders of $12 or more.

DashPass normally costs $9.99 per month. Once the 3-month subscription period ends, it will automatically be renewed at a 50% discount for the each month of the remaining year.

Fees

The Chase Freedom Card has no annual fee, and has an introductory APR of 0% for the first 15 months from account opening.

Card Summary

The current 5% cash back bonus at grocery stores, combined with DashPass benefits and the ability to earn and burn Chase Ultimate Rewards points make the Chase Freedom card a great one to use for both grocery and takeout purchases.

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card is one of the best credit cards for groceries and takeout, earning 4 points per on both categories
American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card allows you to earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points and up to 4 points per dollar on groceries and takeout.

You can 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three (3) months of opening the credit card account.

Rewards

Earning Rewards

The AMEX Gold Card earns up to four (4) Membership Rewards points per dollar:

  • 4x points at US grocery stores, on up to $25,000 in supermarket purchases each year
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide
  • 3x points on flights booked either with directly through airlines or at amextravel.com

Redeeming Rewards for Shopping

Membership Rewards points can also be used at checkout for purchases with select merchants and services including Amazon, AMEX Express Checkout, Best Buy GrubHub, Saks Fifth Avenue, PayPal, and Walmart.

A similar option for using Membership Rewards points for purchases is AMEX’s own ‘Go Shopping’ portal. This portal allows points to be used to make purchases from brands like Apple, Google, Oakley, Tumi and more.

The key distinction with these two options is while points can be redeemed through AMEX’s shopping partners at a rate of 0.7 cents each, the Go Shopping portal allows a maximum redemption of 0.5 cent per point.

Redeeming Rewards for Gift Cards

You can also redeem Membership Rewards points for gift cards with dozens of retailers like Bath & Body Works, Macy’s, Nike, and World Market as well as American Express gift cards.

The value you can receive for Membership Rewards points by redeeming for gift cards varies from retailer to retailer, but you can expect to receive 0.5 – 1 cents per point.

Redeeming Points for Upgrades

AMEX Travel allows Membership Rewards points to be redeemed directly for flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises.

One very intriguing way you can use American Express points for travel is to Upgrade Your Flight with Points:

American Express Upgrade with Points

American Express has partnered with over 20 different airlines to allow you to Upgrade Your Flight with Points on eligible itinerary. Your flight can be upgraded on eligible itineraries whether or not you booked through the respective airline(s) and regardless if you paid with your American Express card.

To redeem for travel and upgrades you do need at least 5,000 Membership Rewards points.

Points used for travel bookings through American Express travel are redeemed at a rate of 0.7 cents per point, while points used for flights and flight upgrades are redeemed at a rate of 1 cent each.

Redeeming Rewards by Transferring Points to Airline and Hotel Partners

Transferring points to airline and hotel transfer partners has the potential to be the best use of American Express Membership Rewards points. In most cases, points transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate.

American Express Membership Rewards airline transfer partners include Air Canada/Aeroplan, Delta, Hawaiian, and Singapore:

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to airlines like Air Canada/Aeroplan, Delta, Hawaiian, and Singapore.
American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners

American Express Membership Rewards hotel transfer partners are Choice Hotels, Hilton, and Marriott.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Choice Priveleges, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy
Membership Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners

Additional Benefits

Travel Benefits

The Gold Card comes with American Express’s own curated collection of luxury hotels, dubbed The Hotel Collection.

The Gold Card Provided Access to Luxury Hotel & Resort Stays, Like the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa in French Polynesia

Benefits of hotel stays booked through The Hotel Collection include an upgrade (if available); and a $100 hotel credit for dining, spa or resort activities.

In addition, the American Express Gold Card comes with a $100 Airline Fee Credit. When you select one qualifying airline, you can receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for eligible fees, like checked bags and in-flight refreshments.

The American Express Gold Card also comes with access to a 24/7 Global Assist Hotline.

Monthly Dining Credit

The American Express Gold Card also comes with a monthly dining credit – which could really come in handy for restaurant takeout!

The American Exrpess Gold Comes with a Monthly Dining Credit

Through this credit, card members can receive a $10 each month when you pay with your Gold card for purchases with Boxed, The Cheesecake Factory, Grubhub,, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. Bon Appetite!

Fees

While the American Express Gold Card does have a $250 annual fee, but it does have not have any foreign transaction fees.

Card Summary

Earning 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar for at supermarkets restaurants and including a monthly dining credit makes the American Express Gold Card one of the best credits for groceries and takeout.

Citi Premier Card

Earning 2 points per dollar at restaurants make the Citi Premier Card one of the best credit cards for groceries and takeout
Citi Premier Card

With the Citi Premier Card, you can earn 60,000 Citi Thank You points and 2 points per dollar for takeout purchases.

You can earn 60,000 Citi Premier points after you spend $4,000 in the first three (3) months of account opening.

Rewards

Earning Rewards

Now through August 22, 2020, the Citi Premier Card earns 3 (three) points per dollar:

  • 3 points per dollar on travel including gas stations, airfare, hotels, and car rentals
  • 2 points points per dollar spent at restaurants and on entertainment
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
The Citi Premier Card Will Earn 3 Points Per Dollar on Groceries and Takeout, Beginning August 23, 2020
The Citi Premier Card Will Earn 3 Points Per Dollar on Groceries and Takeout, Beginning August 23, 2020

However, the number of points per dollar card members can earn will improve August 23, 2020:

  • 3 points per dollar at restaurants
  • 3 points per dollar at supermarkets
  • 3 points per dollar for air travel and hotels
  • 3 points per dollar at gas stations
  • 1 point per dollar for all other purchases

Redeeming Rewards for Purchases

You can Shop with Citi Thank You PointsPoints in two different ways: Points can be used when you checkout, and used to pay for purchases with Amazon and PayPal.

Alternatively, you can use points for statement credits at 1-800-flowers.com and BestBuy. Your card will be charged for the full purchase amount, the selected amount of points will be deducted, then you will receive a statement credit in 2-3 days.

While the redemption rate to use Thank You points for purchases may vary, at most you can get 1 cent per point redeemed.

Redeeming Rewards for Gift Cards

Another way to redeem Thank You points with marginally more value is redeem for gift cards from dozens of restaurants and retailers. Points can redeemed for gift cards are redeemed at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Redeeming Rewards for Cash Back or Statement Credited

Citi Thank You Points can be redeemed as cash back or a statement credit.

Thank You points used for statement credits will post in one to two billing cycles.

If you choose to redeem your points for cash back, Citi will make a check payable to you in denominations of either $50 or $100. Checks will be sent via USPS First-Class Mail and arrive within one (1) to three (3) weeks of redemption.

Both statement credits and cash back are redeemed at a rate of 1 cent per point.

You can also use points to pay for all of or part of a bill through Online Bill Pay with Points, but you will only get 0.75 cents per point.

Redeeming Rewards for Travel through the Citi Thank You Travel Portal

A better way to redeem Citi Thank You points to book travel through the Citi Thank You Travel Portal.

Through this portal you can book flight, hotels, rental cars and cruises. Points redeemed through this portal are currently redeemed for 1.25 cents each now through April 10, 2021. After that, points redeemed through Thank You Travel portal will be worth 1 cent each.

Transferring Rewards to Arline and Hotel Transfer Partners

Citi Thank You Points can be Transferred to Airline Partners Like Emirates

Your best optoin for using Citi Thank You points is likley going to be to transfer them 1:1 to the following Citi Thank You’s airline transfer partners:

  • Aeromexico
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific/Cathay Dragon)
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Flying Blue (AirFrance/KLM)
  • JETBLUE TRUEBLUE
  • Jet Airways InterMiles (Formerly JetPrivilege)
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Additional Benefits

Annual Hotel Savings Opportunity

With the Citi Annual Hotel Saving Opportunity, you can enjoy $100 off of a single hotel stay of $500 or more. Just book through Citi Thank You Rewards Portal and pre-pay for your complete stay.

Fees

The card does have an annual fee of $95, but it has no foreign transaction fees.

Card Summary

The Citi Premier Card offers a lot of value, even beyond the 60,000 Citi Thank You point welcome bonus. While you can earn points per dollar on takeout currently,, beginning in August cared members can earn up to 3 miles per point on groceries and takeout. And the Premier Card allows the points earned to be redeemed on over a dozen airline transfer partners.

What Points Panda Recommends

While there are a lot of great credit cards for earning miles and points, we recommend what makes the best sense for you – both in terms of earning miles and points on groceries and takeout, and in redemption options that fit your future travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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