Is the cost of groceries killing your budget? We the jury find inflation guilty of money-murder in the first degree. Luckily, the right credit card for groceries can help restore justice at the checkout counter.
To save your bacon, we’ve put together a list of some of the best credit cards for groceries in Canada. It’s time to arm yourself with plastic.
The following credit cards may be subject to annual fees, minimum spend amounts, and other terms and restrictions. Always do your research to find the best card for your needs and goals.
- American Express Cobalt: Best Overall
- Transfer your points to Air Canada Aeroplan
- Scotiabank Gold American Express: Best for Movies & Travel
- BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard: Best for Walmart Shoppers
- Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite: Best Premium Cash Back Card
- Tangerine World Mastercard: Best No-Fee Cash Back Card
- PC World Elite Mastercard: Best for Loblaws & Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix
- Brim World Elite Mastercard: Best for Costco Shoppers
Cobalt: Best Overall
- Annual fee: $155.88
- Interest rate on purchase: 20.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 21.99%
- 🍴 5x points on eats & drinks
- 💻 3x points on streaming services
- ✈️ 2x points on travel & transit
- 💳 1x points on everything else
If you want a credit card for groceries that racks up those travel points, this is the card for you. The American Express Cobalt Card is probably one of the best cards offered by Amex, and also one of the best cards in Canada for travel points on grocery purchases.
That is, if you don’t mind paying an annual fee for a premium card. The American Express Cobalt Card gives you 5 points per $1 spent on groceries and qualified grocery delivery services, like Instacart, up to a total annual spend of $30,000. In fact, it made our list of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.
The American Express Cobalt Card will actually give you the best value per point when you redeem them for travel. New American Express Cobalt cardholders could earn 2,500 bonus points each month in their first year when they spend $500 per billing cycle on eligible purchases, that’s potentially 30,000 bonus points. You can use your points for travel purchases from any travel provider you want, and each point is worth $0.01. That’s a 5% return on your grocery expenses.
Transfer your points to Air Canada Aeroplan
But, you can extract even more value from those points if you transfer them to the Air Canada Aeroplan rewards program. There, your points are actually worth $0.02 each. So with 5 points per $1 spent at grocery stores, you’re actually getting a 10% return when you use them to get the heck out of town. When it comes to budgeting, it all comes out in the wash. The aggressive points you earn on those crazy food prices can slash your travel expenses or eliminate them completely. You can have your avocado toast and afford Mexico, too.
Card Hack: American Express is known for not being as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard. If your favourite grocery store doesn’t take Amex, order through Instacart. Instacart accepts Amex cards, and you’ll still get 5 points per dollar.
Check out our full review of the American Express Cobalt Card for a complete breakdown of features, benefits, and drawbacks to consider.
Scotiabank Gold American Express: Best for Movies & Travel
- Annual fee: $120
- Interest rate on purchase: 20.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 22.99%
- 6 Scene+ points per dollar at partipating grocery stores
- 5 Scene+ points per dollar on food and entertainment
- 3 Scene+ points per dollar on gas, transit and streaming services
The Scotiabank Gold American Express is another great credit card for groceries to earn travel rewards. And the Scene+ program offers more redemption flexibility if you’re a jet setter and a movie buff too.
It offers competitive rewards on grocery purchases, giving you 6 Scene+ Points per $1 spent at participating grocery stores like Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland, and more. Then you earn 5 points per $1 at other eligible grocery stores. Granted, I have a soft spot for Scotiabank because they own Tangerine, but they’re also killing it in the credit card rewards department.
Again, if you love to eat, travel and go to the movies, you can use one passion to feed the others, pun intended. Also, this card does something cool that the others don’t, so you can save even more cheddar when you buy the fancy cheese.
With the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, your Scene+ points are worth between $0.012 and $0.0.17 per point when you redeem them for Cineplex general admission and enhanced movie tickets. Redeeming your Scene+ points on Cineplex movie tickets will get you the best return on your grocery purchases. The second best redemption value is on travel expenses, like flights and hotels, booked through the Scene+ Travel portal.
Check out our full review of the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card for a complete breakdown of features, benefits, and drawbacks to consider.
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard: Best for Walmart Shoppers
Annual Fee: $120
Interest Rate: 20.99%
Rewards Rate: Up to 5%
Welcome Offer: Up to 10% cash back for the first 3 months. First-year fee waived.
Calling all Walmart Shoppers! Walmart is the #1 grocery store of choice among Canadians because of their consistently low prices. Unfortunately, it’s not considered a grocery store by some other major credit cards.
The BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard is an excellent credit card for groceries that gives you a whopping 5% cash back when you spend up to $500 per month at qualifying grocery stores, including Walmart Supercentres. That’s the highest grocery-specific cash back rate in Canada. This secret weapon will make you the Walker Texas Ranger of inflation; roundhouse-kicking crazy food prices right in the face!
Here’s the real kicker, though. Your cash back points are free money you can use to generate more free money! You can redeem your points as a cash deposit to your BMO bank account, a credit on your credit card account, or as a deposit into your BMO Investorline account! If you really want to show inflation who’s boss, nothing compares to investing all that free money and letting stock market returns work their magic on your net worth.
I love the choice that the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard gives you. You have the freedom to use your cash back balance on whatever you need when money is tight, or invest it to secure your future. BMO gets heart-eyes from me because of their focus on financial independence; my love language. There’s a reason this card made our list of best cash back credit cards in Canada.
Check out our full review of the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard for a complete breakdown of features, benefits, and drawbacks to consider.
Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite: Best Premium Cash Back Card
- Annual fee: $120
- Interest rate on purchases: 19.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 22.99%
Do you love Loblaws banner stores, like Superstore and No Frills, but don’t love the restrictive PC Optimum points program? Look no further than the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card, a credit card for groceries that gives you 4% cash back up to a total annual spend of $25,000 on grocery purchases and recurring payments. As much as I love PC Financial, their redemption options are limiting. The Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite consistently ranks as one of the best overall cash back cards on the market.
New Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card members will get 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months to a total qualifying spend of $2,000, and the annual fee is waived for the first year. That’s up to $200 of free cash back money you can use on your next trip to the money-pit, I mean grocery store. And that aggressive 4% cash back rate isn’t just for food, either.
The Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite also gives you 4% cash back on recurring automatic bill payments and monthly subscription services, like your favourite music and streaming apps. Basically, they’ll pay you to listen to your favourite personal finance podcast. Heads up though, money spent in these categories counts toward your total annual spend for the 4% cash back perk.
Check out our full review of the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card for a full breakdown of features, benefits, and drawbacks to consider.
Tangerine World Mastercard: Best No-Fee Cash Back Card
Annual Fee: $0.00
Interest rate: 19.95%
Cash Back Rate: Up to 2%
Welcome Offer: 10% cash back for the first 2 months
The Tangerine World Mastercard is free with no annual fee, gives you 2% cash back on 3 spending categories of your choice, and there is no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn. The Tangerine World Mastercard is a great credit card for groceries because on of the spending categories is, you guessed it, groceries! The cash back you earn is deposited into your Tangerine account every month, and because it’s cash you can spend it however you want, like on your next grocery haul. Now you can buy food without feeling like Sylvester Stalone at the end of Rocky, the first one.
If you’re thinking that 2% cash back rate doesn’t seem like a lot, there is no spending cap on that purchase category, which is a not-so-obvious perk. There are other no-fee cash back cards on the market that offer a higher cash back rate on groceries, but the catch is that once you hit the monthly or annual spend limit in that category, the cash back rate drops to 1% or less. If you spend a lot on groceries per month, you actually come out ahead with a card that offers a lower cash back rate, but with unlimited spending in that category and no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn.
Check out our full review of the Tangerine Cash Back World Mastercard for a complete breakdown of features, benefits, and drawbacks to consider.
PC World Elite Mastercard: Best for Loblaws & Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix
Annual Fee: $0.00
Interest Rate: 20.97%
Rewards Rate: Up to 45 points per $1
Welcome offer: None
The PC Financial World Elite Mastercard is famous for being “the” credit card for groceries. It might not yield the highest return on rewards in terms of cash value when you redeem, but the PC Optimum points program available through Loblaw’s banner stores, Shoppers Drug Mart, and select gas stations can help you save a ton of money on food. You’ll earn 30 points per dollar spent at any Loblaws banner store such as Loblaws, Zehrs, Superstore, and No Frills, to name a few. Plus, there are incredible ways to hack the PC Optimum program to stack your points.
A few times a year, Shoppers Drug Mart runs a “20x the points” promotion on in-store purchases, so you want to capitalize on those events. You’ll boost your points that you can turn around and use for grocery purchases. And make sure you take advantage of the personal offers in your email and on the PC Optimum mobile app, since you’ll get bonus-point offers for items based on your shopping habits.
The minimum redemption is 10,000 points which are worth $10. That makes the rate of return on your points 1%. Not super aggressive, but the bonus-point offers and events help you earn significantly more points without spending more of your own bacon.
Even though the redemption value is the same, you have ample opportunity to score tons of free bonus points without having to spend more money. Essentially, you do not have to buy more in order to earn more, effectively giving you more free stuff and bang for your buck.
You’ll also earn 45 points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharamprix, 30 points per dollar on gas purchases at Mobil or Esso stations.
And you’ll get 10 points per dollar on PC Travel bookings, and 10 points per dollar on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for groceries at those same Loblaws banner stores, for merchandise at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix, and trips booked through the PC Travel website. Yes, you read that right. You can now redeem your PC Optimum points for travel expenses!
Check out our full review of PC Financial to get the inside scoop on what they offer and how the PC Optimum Points program works.
Brim World Elite Mastercard: Best for Costco Shoppers
Annual Fee: $199
Interest Rate: 19.99%
Cash back Rate: Up to 2%
Welcome Offer: Up to $500 in bonuses. First-year fee waived.
Did you know that Costco isn’t considered a grocery store by most credit card issuers? Not only that, but the only credit card they accept is Mastercard.
That means your current credit card for groceries might not be earning any rewards on groceries because you didn’t read the fine print. Go Figure!
Also, Costco doesn’t accept Visa, which is bad news bears if you shop at Costco specifically to save money on food. Enter the Brim World Elite Mastercard. You’ll get 2 points per $1 spent on the card, up to an annual spend of $25,000 per year. After that, it drops down to 1% cash back on purchases.
Costco and Capital One Mastercard have gone their separate ways. But the Brim World Elite Mastercard is playing matchmaker between Costco and your budget.
Their current welcome bonus waives the annual fee for the first year. You could earn up to $500 worth of bonus points when you make first-time purchases with their partner retailers.
As a Brim World Elite Mastercard holder, you also get access to the Brim shopping portal where you’ll get access to bonus point offers from their retail partners. Points are worth $0.01 each and are redeemed as a credit on your credit card statement.
Fun fact, this card was named one of the best credit cards in Canada with no foreign currency conversion fees.
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About The Author: Heidi Unrau
Heidi Unrau is the senior Finance Journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she got her first bank job as an entry-level teller. She moved up the ranks to Credit Analyst, Loans Officer, and now a Personal Finance Writer. In her spare time, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to Freakonomics podcasts, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a pint of Häagen-Dazs. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, she's in the hot tub or arguing with her husband over which cash back card to use for date night. She’s addicted to coffee, crypto, and obsessively checking her credit score on Borrowell.
Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada, loves her free Tangerine bank account, and will never cut back on Starbucks. Like ever.
More posts by Heidi Unrau