4 unexpected ways to earn rewards from grocery shopping

Score bonus savings when getting gas, beer, gift cards and even home delivery

John Egan
Personal Finance Writer
Writes trendy stories about credit cards.

4 unexpected ways to earn rewards from grocery shopping

 

You might think that earning credit card rewards by shopping for groceries is merely about filling your cart with bananas, bread and butter.

If you stay in that aisle of thinking, though, you might be overlooking some other ways to stock up on grocery-related rewards.

1. Fuel up your car.
Many grocery stores and wholesale clubs also operate gas stations. So if you’re swinging by the store for groceries, you might also stop at the gas station to fill up your gas tank.

This approach can deliver a one-two punch for your credit card rewards.

For instance, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card* offers 2 percent cash back on purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3 percent cash back on gas purchases. The card’s quarterly cash back limit for spending at grocery stores, wholesale clubs and gas stations is $2,500.

Cash back cards with rotating categories of 5 percent bonus rewards are another option. The Discover it Cash Rewards and Chase Freedom cards included gas stations in the category for first quarter 2017. With the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card, purchases at gas stations earn 2 percent every quarter and cardholders can select two categories per quarter for 5 percent cash back. 

2. Buy booze.
Running low on your favorite chardonnay? Laws vary by state, but you might be able to purchase beer, wine and liquor at your neighborhood supermarket.

Buying booze at the grocery store can help you earn credit card rewards that can top the cash back or points you’d collect if you made that purchase at a convenience store or liquor store.

For example, the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express offers 6 percent cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 a year. If you’re a beer, wine or liquor aficionado as well as a cardholder, buying your adult beverage of choice at the grocery store could mean some serious green.

3. Purchase gift cards.
These days, pretty much every grocery store sells gift cards from other merchants, like restaurants, airlines and clothing stores. Rather than buying them at a drugstore or department store, purchasing gift cards from a supermarket can boost your credit card rewards.

For example, the Chase Freedom’s 5 percent cash back category for the second-quarter of 2017 included grocery stores, and the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa earns 2 percent cash back year-round at grocery stores. So plan ahead and buy gift cards for moms, dads, grads, birthdays while you’re filling your cart, and you’ll add to your grocery savings.

Of course, you could give those gift cards as gifts. But you might also consider buying gift cards for yourself when you’re at the grocery store. That way, you can pick up cash back rewards for your gift card purchase, use your gift cards to buy that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing and essentially save money on what you hope will be the envy of your neighborhood.

Keep in mind that in some cases, a prepaid card doesn’t qualify as an eligible purchase for earning credit card rewards. Also note that some grocery stores have put restrictions on or bar gift card purchases with credit cards to cut down on fraud.

4. Order from a grocery delivery service.
For some of us, trudging through the grocery store is a chore and a bore. Now, however, you might never have to step foot in a grocery store again.

Delivery services like AmazonFresh and Instacart have taken the hassle out of grocery shopping by bringing the goods to you. They’re also providing an opportunity to bank some cash back rewards.

If you’re a member of Amazon Prime and have an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, you can score 5 percent cash back on Amazon.com purchases, including AmazonFresh delivery. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership but do have an Amazon Rewards Visa card, you can reap 3 percent cash back by using AmazonFresh.

But if you don’t have an Amazon credit card, you still earn cash back rewards with grocery delivery.

For example, the Chase Freedom card rotates its 5 percent cash back reward categories every quarter. During the second quarter of 2017, the main category was grocery stores, and a grocery purchase through a service like AmazonFresh or Instacart would have qualified for 5 percent cash back.

Some people think of grocery stores as a place to fill your cart, but you can be filling your wallet with cash back and points, too. From the gift card rack to the liquor aisle to the grocery station’s fuel pumps, you can be earning rewards with every purchase. You don’t even have to go to the store. You can have the rewards – and your groceries – delivered to you.

*The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers.

See related: Get more out of grocery shopping, Which cards maximize rewards at grocery stores?Can I earn grocery rewards points at Wal-Mart?


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Updated: 11-24-2017