People are constantly asking me what is the best credit card. And while in my opinion I think the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the best overall card for points and miles and the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard is the best for a fixed program, there are other cards I’d recommend for specific purchase categories.

So these are the cards I’d recommend using for these common purchases:

Supermarket/Grocery Store:

  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred: 6% cash back (up to $6,000 in spending per year). Keep in mind though that this card has a $75 annual fee, but there is a free version of the card – the American Express Blue Cash Everyday gives 3% cash back and is a better option if you are spending less then $2,500 a year at the supermarket.
  • Barclays Sallie Mae: 5% cash back (on the first $250 spent per month)
  • Target REDcard: For those that do their grocery shopping at Target, you’ll get 5% off.
  • American Express Everyday Preferred: 3x point, but if you are make 30+ purchases in the billing cycle you’ll get a 50% bonus, which means you can actually get 4.5x points.
  • The BankAmericard Privileges: 2% cash back, but if you redeem your points into a Bank of America checking or savings account you get a 50% bonus, thus getting 3% cash back (up to $1,500 spend per quarter in combined groceries and gas)

Gas:

Restaurants

Hotels

*keep in mind that using a hotel co-branded card at that specific hotel might be the best choice (Starwood – 2x points, Marriott – up to 5x points, Hilton – up to 12x points, Club Carlson – up to 10x points, Hyatt – 3x points, IHG – 5x points)

Airfare

Car Rental

**remember though, when renting a car, you might want to go with a card that provides the best rental insurance, i.e., Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card

Office Supply Stores

  • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points (up to a maximum $50,000 spend on business expenses per year)
  • Chase Ink Plus: 5x points (up to a maximum $50,000 spend on business expenses per year)
  • Chase Ink Cash: 5x points (up to a maximum $25,000 spend on business expenses per year)
  • Chase Ink Classic: 5x points (up to a maximum $25,000 spend on business expenses per year) – this card is no longer available to new applicants
  • American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card: 5% cash back (up to $25,000 spend per year)

Department Stores

Wireless (cell, internet, etc.)

  • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points (up to a maximum $50,000 spend on business expenses per year)
  • Chase Ink Plus: 5x points (up to a maximum $50,000 spend on business expenses per year)
  • Chase Ink Cash: 5x points (up to a maximum $25,000 spend on business expenses per year)
  • Chase Ink Classic: 5x points (up to a maximum $25,000 spend on business expenses per year) - this card is no longer available to new applicants
  • American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card: 5% cash back (up to $25,000 spend per year)

Shipping

Advertising

You can read more about the cards listed above and the current sign up bonuses here. Any other cards you can think of that you like for a particular spend category?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As always, thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • hdawg said,

    what is the best card for a car rental (in US)?

  • Danny said,

    What is the best card for advertising spend? for example Google Adwords and Bing Ads.

  • hdawg said,

    @Danny I think Amex BGR card is 2x for that

  • Renate said,

    Is the delta card targeting Seattle a good deal? Its 50,000 miles and $200 statement credit. They are competing with Alaska.

  • Raj said,

    Amex Everyday Preferred is missing from grocery cards even though it can potentially earn 4.5 MR per $

  • dealswelike said,

    @Raj – Good call. I included it in the list, thanks!

  • Tom J said,

    I see bloggers continue to advertise the Chase Ink Classic…. but it’s not offered anymore. The Chase website looks longer lists that card. I’m not sure when it was pulled, but I’m bummed because that’s the no fee one I wanted.

  • William Charles said,

    For the gas cards, you missed out on two that offer 5% cash back. Fort knox credit union and PenFed.

    Also the new amex EveryDay cards should probably figure into your gas and grocery categories somewhere.

  • dealswelike said,

    @William – The PenFed card was already listed, but I do not know anything about the Fort Knox credit union so thank you for sharing. I looked into it and have added it to the list. Thanks!

  • dealswelike said,

    @Raj – Thanks. I’ve added it to the list.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Renate – If you are looking for a Delta card it is a good offer.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Tom – The classic card is no longer being issued. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

  • dealswelike said,

    @Danny – I will update the post tomorrow to include advertising spend.

  • dealswelike said,

    @hdawg – I will update the post tomorrow to include rental car spend.

  • Alex said,

    Don’t forget about the Bank of America Platinum Privliges Cash Rewards – 3% Gas, 2% Groceries, 1% everywhere else +50% bonus (4.5% Gas, 3% Groceries, 1.5% everywhere else) if redeeming to BofA account. Worth consideration.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Alex – Thanks! Just updated the list with this card.

  • Frank said,

    @hdawg, I think the best is the Chase United Explorer card which offers PRIMARY car insurance in the US. Of course you also get 1 United mile per $ spent.

  • Karl M said,

    Amex Everyday Preferred should definitely be on the list for gas. That’s 2x MR (which I value at 1.6 c/pt), plus a 50% bonus if you make more than 30 purchases on the card per month, making it 3x MR.

  • Helen S said,

    The T&C for Barclay’s Sallie Mae sound like you get 5% on the first $250 spent on each gas and groceries per month. If so, then the Sallie Mae deserves to be listed among best cards for gas as well as groceries.

  • Mary said,

    What is the best credit card if you travel internationally—so there would not be no foreign transaction fees.

  • Matt said,

    Sallie Mae by Barclays also gives 5% back on up to $250 of gas each billing cycle – different from the 5% on up to $250 on groceries. I am surprised you included it in groceries but not gas. What gives?

  • Stan said,

    Not only is the Sally Mae card good for 5% cash back on groceries but it is also 5% cash back on gas up to $250 each month.

    What would you consider the best card for BJ’s, Walmart, and drugstores?

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