My Favorite Credit Card for Gas and Grocery Purchases

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The most popular spending categories for the everyday family is typically gas and grocery purchases. Because of this, I am constantly asked “What is the best credit card to earn points/miles or even cash back on these hefty purchases?”

So here my favorite credit cards that will satisfy both of these two categories combined (gas and grocery purchases). Let’s assume the average family spends $150 at U.S. supermarkets a week ($7,800/year) and $50 at U.S. gas stations a week ($2,600/year). Of course, your situation might differ, so make sure to adjust my math below based on your families budget.

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: You’ll receive 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Keep in mind though the cash back at U.S. supermarkets is capped at $6,000 spend in a calendar year (then 1%), so you’ll only receive 6% cash back on the first $6,000 and the remaining $1,800 will receive 1% cash back. This means you’ll earn a maximum amount of $378 at U.S. supermarkets for the year. On the gas side, you’ll earn a maximum amount of $78 cash back at U.S. gas stations over the course of the year. For these two categories combined, you’ll get a fixed $456 back in cash, if you max out. This card does come with a $95 annual fee. Value = $361/year maximum
    • If you want to compare it to the no annual fee version of this card, you’ll see that paying the annual fee will actually net you more money over the course of the year, even when taking into consideration the $95 fee. With the no-annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, you’ll receive 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations (the 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets is up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). This means you’ll get a maximum of $198 back at U.S. supermarkets and $52 back for gas for a maximum total of $250. With the fee-based version of this card from above, you’ll get $206 more back, which more then makes up for the annual fee! Value = $205/year maximum
  • The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express You’ll earn 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,00 spend a year, then 1x) and 2x points at U.S. gas stations. But, if you make 30+ purchases in a billing cycle (on all purchases combined), you’ll get a 50% bonus on all points earned. Assuming, this can easily be done, that means you’ll earn 4.5x points at U.S. supermarkets and 3x points at U.S. gas stations. This will earn you Membership Reward points which I personally value at about 1.7 cents per point. With the average family spend, you’ll earn an estimated 29,700 points on grocery purchases and 7,800 points by filling up your gas tank, for a total of 37,500. From a dollar perspective, this can be valued at an estimated amount of $638 over the course of the year. Although, if you are really looking for just cash back and not utilizing the points earned for travel, you’ll earn 1% cash back, which equals $375. This card does come with a $95/year annual fee. Estimated value = $543/year (for earning Membership Reward points); OR $365/year (for earning cash back)
    • There is also a no-annual fee version of the card, but if you spend a decent amount on the card, you’ll see that spending the annual fee for the preferred version is well worth it. With the no annual fee The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, you’ll earn 2x points at U.S. supermarkets and 1x point at U.S. gas stations. And if you use your card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period (less returns and credits), you’ll get a 20% bonus on all points earned. This means you’ll earn 2.4x points at U.S. supermarkets and 1.2 points at U.S. gas stations. Based on the same numbers from above, this will earn you an estimated amount of 16,560 points at U.S. supermarkets and 3,120 at U.S. gas stations, for a total of 19,680 Membership Reward points. I personally value this at approximately $328 which is much less then the value earned from the annual fee version of the card! Estimated value = $335/year (for earning Membership Reward points); OR $197/year (for earning cash back)

Both are great options on maximizing your purchases at U.S gas stations and U.S supermarkets. Remember, the main differences between the Amex Blue Cash and Amex Everyday is that with the Amex Blue Cash you only have the option of cash back where the Amex Everyday gives you some more flexibility as you are earning Membership Reward points. Membership Reward points allow you to transfer your points to partner programs (where you can potentially get a higher value out of your points) or cash out your points for pure cash. Both are also capped at earning the bonus points on grocery purchases and both will allow you to take advantage of the awesome Amex Offers.

Of course, those that like to redeem their points on business or first might find better value with another card as they can redeem their points for flights that typically cost $5,000+. But for the everyday person, one of the cards above is probably your best bet.

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