My New Favorite Credit Card for the Supermarket or Gas Station

Credit card math, at least for the banks, is simple. They make a small percentage of the transaction every time you use the card, so they’ll do what they can to keep their cards at the top of your wallet. In many case, they’ll give the best bonuses on “everyday spend,” such as gas, supermarkets or other purchases that you make frequently, simply so that you get accustomed to reaching for their particular card.

A Super Supermarket Bonus (and a Decent Gas Bonus)

If you just want an easy-to-earn 2% on every transaction, the simple solution is the Citi Double Cash card. There are no special categories, no days of the week bonuses, just straight cash on every purchase. But if you are willing to play around a bit, there’s the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card.

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 9.27.49 PMThis card offers the best bonuses that I’ve seen in a number of categories, including supermarkets, gas stations and department stores (The list of eligible stores can be found here.). You’ll max out with $360 in cash back at supermarkets but still have a great bonus on gas and department stores, as 3% is high for those two categories. The card does have a $75 annual fee, but the cash back bonus offsets that fee for two years. And even if you “net out” the annual fee against that $360 from supermarkets, you’re still getting back almost 5%.

Bottom line: If you’re willing to play a little credit card musical chairs, the Blue Cash Preferred Card, found through the “cash back” banner toward the bottom of this page, is about as good as they come for everyday spending.

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2 comments

    • Mike on October 27, 2015 at 8:21 am
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    It completely depends on your preferences. I chose to write about cash, mainly because it’s fungible, but if you value Hilton points, the Amex Hilton is clearly the better choice (and better than the comparable Citibank Hilton cards). I value Hilton points at 0.6-0.7c per point, so I prefer the cash. There aren’t a lot of Cat 1 hotels (51), so those are tough, but there are 140 Cat 2 hotels, which is still a good deal at 10,000 points, or $2,000 in spend. BTW, I also believe that the 5X is on restaurants, gas and groceries.

    Where it gets interesting is with the Hilton Surpass card. $75 annual fee (vs no fee with the standard Amex) and a higher minimum to hit the bonus, but that sign-up bonus is 60K points versus 40K, and it’s 6 points per dollar, as opposed to 5. Hilton properties pay 12 points per dollar, versus 7 with the standard card.

    • JBlue on October 26, 2015 at 4:22 pm
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    How come not AMEX HHonors? It nets me 5x Hilton points for travel, gas and groceries.
    Sure, Hilton points are worth less, but $1000 spend is 5000 points, which is enough for their cheapest hotels.

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