A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

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gas_balloon
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A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by gas_balloon »

I used the Sallie-mae Mastercard for Groceries that fetched me 5% rewards. Unfortunately, Barclays converted it to the "Commence" card earlier this year, earning a paltry 1% on all purchases now (2% on utility and groceries).

I am now looking for a VISA card that can fetch me a good cashback on Groceries and Gas. I mostly fill gas at Costco, hence the requirement for Visa car. However, other brand cards that can help with Groceries will still work for me. The Costco/Citi Visa card is not a good fit for me for various reasons.

I already get 2% cashback on all purchases through the Fidelity Visa and Citi DoubleCash cards - so I am looking for something that will get me >2% rewards on Groceries. We buy a lot of Groceries each month, so trying to optimize for it first over gas.

Other cards I currently have:
- Fidelity Visa (2% cashback on everything)
- Citi DoubleCash (1% cashback + 1% cashback on payment = effective 2% cashback)
- Chase Freedom Visa (5% Rotating Categories)
- Discover-it (5% Rotating Categories)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (3% Travel & Restaurants - will likely not renew after the first year renewal comes up in October. Downgrade to a free category card)
- BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa (3% Wholesale clubs incl. Costco gas)

Any suggestions from forum members?
Last edited by gas_balloon on Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OnceARunner
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by OnceARunner »

The BoA card that you already have gets you 3% on gas for the first $2,500 spent per quarter on gas/groceries. Though it only gets 2% on wholesale purchases, not the 3% that you mention, unless you have a different card I've never seen. The only other one I know of that offers more is the Sam's Club MasterCard (but not a visa), which gets 5% at all gas stations besides Costco and other wholesalers (but since you don't like the Costco card, I doubt you would like the Sam's Club card.
Last edited by OnceARunner on Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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gas_balloon
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by gas_balloon »

OnceARunner wrote:The BoA card that you already have gets you 3% on gas for the first $2,500 spent per quarter on gas/groceries. Though it only gets 2% on wholesale purchases, not the 3% that you mention, unless you have a different card I've never seen. The only other one I know of that offers more is the Sam's Club MasterCard, which gets 5% at all gas stations besides Costco and other wholesalers (but since you don't like the Costco card, I doubt you would like the Sam's Club card.
I stand corrected. I never knew the card earns 3% on gas already! I was somehow under the impression that it earned 3% at wholesale club, but that is incorrect. Thanks - I will be using this for gas for sure!

I still need a good card suggestion for Groceries (earning >2%) though :-)
OnceARunner
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by OnceARunner »

walletless wrote:
OnceARunner wrote:The BoA card that you already have gets you 3% on gas for the first $2,500 spent per quarter on gas/groceries. Though it only gets 2% on wholesale purchases, not the 3% that you mention, unless you have a different card I've never seen. The only other one I know of that offers more is the Sam's Club MasterCard, which gets 5% at all gas stations besides Costco and other wholesalers (but since you don't like the Costco card, I doubt you would like the Sam's Club card.
I stand corrected. I never knew the card earns 3% on gas already! I was somehow under the impression that it earned 3% at wholesale club, but that is incorrect. Thanks - I will be using this for gas for sure!

I still need a good card suggestion for Groceries though :-)
Since you aren't tied to VISA for groceries, you could look into American Express. They have the Blue Cash rewards cards. The free version gets 3% at grocery stores and the $95 annual fee version (preferred) gets 6% on the first $6,000 spent on groceries per year.
Last edited by OnceARunner on Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rocket354
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by rocket354 »

American Express Blue Cash Everyday or Preferred cards. Everyday is 3% groceries, 2% gas. Preferred is 6% groceries, 3% gas, but with a $95 annual fee. As long as you spend $3167 or more on groceries in a year, then the Preferred is, well, preferred.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Did you google this?

I just did: http://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/earnin ... y-shopping

The Consumers Credit Union visa gets you 3% on groceries and $100 bonus for $1k in spending in the first month.
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mudfud
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by mudfud »

Costco Visa does give you 4% on all gas purchases, not just at Costco, so something to consider.
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gas_balloon
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by gas_balloon »

Jack FFR1846 wrote:Did you google this?

I just did: http://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/earnin ... y-shopping

The Consumers Credit Union visa gets you 3% on groceries and $100 bonus for $1k in spending in the first month.
Thanks! I did lookup nerdwallet but could not find it useful. The link you gave is great though. Golden1 CU card earning 3% on gas, groceries and restaurants look excellent and perfect for my needs!
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flamesabers
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by flamesabers »

If you qualify, I would recommend getting the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card for gas purchases. You'll get 5% cashback on the first $3k you spend on gas for each year.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by ETadvisor »

OnceARunner wrote:
walletless wrote:
OnceARunner wrote:The BoA card that you already have gets you 3% on gas for the first $2,500 spent per quarter on gas/groceries. Though it only gets 2% on wholesale purchases, not the 3% that you mention, unless you have a different card I've never seen. The only other one I know of that offers more is the Sam's Club MasterCard, which gets 5% at all gas stations besides Costco and other wholesalers (but since you don't like the Costco card, I doubt you would like the Sam's Club card.
I stand corrected. I never knew the card earns 3% on gas already! I was somehow under the impression that it earned 3% at wholesale club, but that is incorrect. Thanks - I will be using this for gas for sure!

I still need a good card suggestion for Groceries though :-)
Since you aren't tied to VISA for groceries, you could look into American Express. They have the Blue Cash rewards cards. The free version gets 3% at grocery stores and the $95 annual fee version (preferred) gets 6% on the first $6,000 spent on groceries per year.
+1 The Amex is in my wallet. The one without the fee. I also have Costco visa.
H-Town
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by H-Town »

walletless wrote:I used the Sallie-mae Mastercard for Groceries that fetched me 5% rewards. Unfortunately, Barclays converted it to the "Commence" card earlier this year, earning a paltry 1% on all purchases now (2% on utility and groceries).

I am now looking for a VISA card that can fetch me a good cashback on Groceries and Gas. I mostly fill gas at Costco, hence the requirement for Visa car. However, other brand cards that can help with Groceries will still work for me. The Costco/Citi Visa card is not a good fit for me for various reasons.

I already get 2% cashback on all purchases through the Fidelity Visa and Citi DoubleCash cards - so I am looking for something that will get me >2% rewards on Groceries. We buy a lot of Groceries each month, so trying to optimize for it first over gas.

Other cards I currently have:
- Fidelity Visa (2% cashback on everything)
- Citi DoubleCash (1% cashback + 1% cashback on payment = effective 2% cashback)
- Chase Freedom Visa (5% Rotating Categories)
- Discover-it (5% Rotating Categories)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (3% Travel & Restaurants - will likely not renew after the first year renewal comes up in October. Downgrade to a free category card)
- BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa (3% Wholesale clubs incl. Costco gas)

Any suggestions from forum members?
Is there any reason why you don't want AMEX Blue Cash Preferred? You can use other Visa card when you visit Costco.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by seed4great »

Jack FFR1846 wrote:Did you google this?
I just did: http://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/earnin ... y-shopping
The Consumers Credit Union visa gets you 3% on groceries and $100 bonus for $1k in spending in the first month.
+1
I'm using this Visa card from CC with 2% cash back on gas and 3% on groceries, combined with their rewards checking account:
https://www.myconsumers.org/credit-card ... ebate-card
I do have some analysis on this combination of checking account and credit card here:
http://seed4great.com/index.php/2017/02 ... il-or-not/
The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
Jags4186
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Jags4186 »

And another great tidbit about the CCU credit card is that it allows you to pay your credit with a debit card for a low fee of $3.95. Why is that good?

Well if you have the PayPal Business Debit Card and say your monthly CCU Visa balance is $2000, you can pay load your PayPal account with $2003.95, pay $2000 + the $3.95 fee, and get an additional $20.04 in cash back from the PayPal card since it offers 1% cash back. So in this scenario it increases all of your rewards by .8%. So more or less depending on what your typical monthly balance is.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by denovo »

mudfud wrote:Costco Visa does give you 4% on all gas purchases, not just at Costco, so something to consider.
It requires a Costco membership though, obviously. And you can only spend the reward at Costco.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by bayview »

rocket354 wrote:American Express Blue Cash Everyday or Preferred cards. Everyday is 3% groceries, 2% gas. Preferred is 6% groceries, 3% gas, but with a $95 annual fee. As long as you spend $3167 or more on groceries in a year, then the Preferred is, well, preferred.
This is especially a good value if you live in a state where grocery stores sell fun things like adult beverages. When we were in California, we got the full 6% cash back credit on liquor (more than wine and beer) bought at a grocery store.

Even now in state-controlled ABC land, when we run the numbers every year, it's worth the annual fee, and we are very allergic to paying annual fees.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Jags4186 »

denovo wrote:
mudfud wrote:Costco Visa does give you 4% on all gas purchases, not just at Costco, so something to consider.
It requires a Costco membership though, obviously. And you can only spend the reward at Costco.
You get a cash certificate which you can get cash for. Admittedly a PIA to go to customer service to cash out vs just clicking "statement credit".
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Jags4186 »

bayview wrote:
rocket354 wrote:American Express Blue Cash Everyday or Preferred cards. Everyday is 3% groceries, 2% gas. Preferred is 6% groceries, 3% gas, but with a $95 annual fee. As long as you spend $3167 or more on groceries in a year, then the Preferred is, well, preferred.
This is especially a good value if you live in a state where grocery stores sell fun things like adult beverages. When we were in California, we got the full 6% cash back credit on liquor (more than wine and beer) bought at a grocery store.

Even now in state-controlled ABC land, when we run the numbers every year, it's worth the annual fee, and we are very allergic to paying annual fees.
In NJ every liquor store I've been to codes as grocery so we get 6%. However, I am likely going to downgrade the card when the AF comes due. The *max* cash back it pays out on groceries is really 4.42% and thats only if you spend exactly $6000 ($6000 * 6% = $360. $360-$95 = $265. $265/$6000 = 4.42%). If you spend less or more than $6000 the percent is lower. For example, if you spend $10,000 on groceries the BCP only nets 3% cash back after the annual fee. If you spend $4000 on groceries it only pays 3.62%. A lot to keep track of IMO.

I feel like I can do better with a combination of Chase Freedom 5% rotating, Discover It 5% rotating, and 3% from the CCU Visa (or AMEX Blue Cash Everyday, but the $25 increment thing really sucks when the only reason to use the card is for groceries). Now many of you may say that's a lot of work, but remembering exactly when to stop using the Blue Cash preferred is a lot of work too, if you ask me.
flossmoor
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by flossmoor »

Another thing to watch are fuel rewards from places like Speedway and Kroger.

If you play them right, extremely lucrative. Check your local offerings.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by jharkin »

OnceARunner wrote:
walletless wrote:
OnceARunner wrote:The BoA card that you already have gets you 3% on gas for the first $2,500 spent per quarter on gas/groceries. Though it only gets 2% on wholesale purchases, not the 3% that you mention, unless you have a different card I've never seen. The only other one I know of that offers more is the Sam's Club MasterCard, which gets 5% at all gas stations besides Costco and other wholesalers (but since you don't like the Costco card, I doubt you would like the Sam's Club card.
I stand corrected. I never knew the card earns 3% on gas already! I was somehow under the impression that it earned 3% at wholesale club, but that is incorrect. Thanks - I will be using this for gas for sure!

I still need a good card suggestion for Groceries though :-)
Since you aren't tied to VISA for groceries, you could look into American Express. They have the Blue Cash rewards cards. The free version gets 3% at grocery stores and the $95 annual fee version (preferred) gets 6% on the first $6,000 spent on groceries per year.
+1. If you can consider non-VISA options the blue cash is the hands down winner in these categories. We spend enough annual to make the fee of the preferred version worthwhile to get the 6%. I have not yet run into a gas or grocer that won't accept Amex...
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by jharkin »

Jags4186 wrote:
bayview wrote:
rocket354 wrote:American Express Blue Cash Everyday or Preferred cards. Everyday is 3% groceries, 2% gas. Preferred is 6% groceries, 3% gas, but with a $95 annual fee. As long as you spend $3167 or more on groceries in a year, then the Preferred is, well, preferred.
This is especially a good value if you live in a state where grocery stores sell fun things like adult beverages. When we were in California, we got the full 6% cash back credit on liquor (more than wine and beer) bought at a grocery store.

Even now in state-controlled ABC land, when we run the numbers every year, it's worth the annual fee, and we are very allergic to paying annual fees.
In NJ every liquor store I've been to codes as grocery so we get 6%. However, I am likely going to downgrade the card when the AF comes due. The *max* cash back it pays out on groceries is really 4.42% and thats only if you spend exactly $6000 ($6000 * 6% = $360. $360-$95 = $265. $265/$6000 = 4.42%). If you spend less or more than $6000 the percent is lower. For example, if you spend $10,000 on groceries the BCP only nets 3% cash back after the annual fee. If you spend $4000 on groceries it only pays 3.62%. A lot to keep track of IMO.

I feel like I can do better with a combination of Chase Freedom 5% rotating, Discover It 5% rotating, and 3% from the CCU Visa (or AMEX Blue Cash Everyday, but the $25 increment thing really sucks when the only reason to use the card is for groceries). Now many of you may say that's a lot of work, but remembering exactly when to stop using the Blue Cash preferred is a lot of work too, if you ask me.
Why stop spending on the preferred? Maybe the % goes down, but as long as you are over the breakeven, the absolute DOllars saved will never be less than the free version...
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by lakpr »

Penfed Platinum rewards Visa card offers 5% on gas, 3% on groceries and 1% on everything else.

These are offered as points, not straight up cash back. The points are worth .85 cents each. So this card turns out to be 4.2% cash back on gas, 2.4% on groceries and .85% on everything else.

You can redeem 5880 points for a $50 Visa gift card.

So, if you are willing to receive the "cash back" in the form of Visa gift cards, and willing to redeem only in multiples of 5880 points (no fractional redemptions!) then this card will make an excellent Gas and Groceries card comparable to any other g+g card out there, with no annual fee.

And yes, Costco gas also qualifies for the 5% points category. Doesn't matter that it is a warehouse club.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Magruder »

With the Amex Blue Cash card, don't forget one can buy $500 Visa gift cards at a grocery store to push annual grocery purchases to the $6000 limit for the maximum 6% cash back. Taking into consideration the $5.95 Visa fee on these gift cards, you will still net a 4.8% discount with the gift cards!
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Jags4186 »

jharkin wrote:Why stop spending on the preferred? Maybe the % goes down, but as long as you are over the breakeven, the absolute DOllars saved will never be less than the free version...
Why spend at 1% when I can get 2%, 3%, or 5%?
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wander
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by wander »

I have an old Penfed visa that rebates 5% on every dollar spent on gas. Another one is Priceline visa with 2% rebate on all purchases.
Eric76
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Eric76 »

With B of A preferred platinum honors rewards visa you get 5.25% cash back on gas, 3.5% on groceries, 1.75% on other.
rgs92
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by rgs92 »

Suntrust Mastercard gives you 5% off gas and groceries for a year.
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by greybus »

Eric76 wrote:With B of A preferred platinum honors rewards visa you get 5.25% cash back on gas, 3.5% on groceries, 1.75% on other.
This. If you have > $100k in transferable securities/assets (stocks, ETFs) that you transfer to Merrill Edge, you will qualify for BoA Preferred Rewards program. Having > 100k in assets puts you at Platinum Honors category, which gets you a 75% bonus over your current BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa that you already have (so you get 3 x 1.75% = 5.25% for gas (inc Costco gas), 2 x 1.75=3.5% on groceries/wholesale clubs, and 1.75% on everything else. You are limited to $2500 spend per quarter. You also get 100 free ETF trades per month and some other small benefits.

https://info.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/

You didn't ask about this but if you wanted a general purpose spend card without worrying about categories, get the B of A BankAmericard Travel Rewards, it earns 1.5% cashback (on all purchases, no limit) but can only be redeemed for greatest value on Travel purchases. However, if you are Platinum Honors, that becomes 2.625% cashback on all purchases with no limit (provided you are redeeming off travel purchases). There are many threads out there detailing this strategy.

If you don't want to deal with the redemption into travel purchases, then the USAA 2.5% cashback (if you qualify) and Alliant's 2.5% cashback (has an annual fee of $59) are better than the straight 2% cards you have. If you are really adventurous, and spend a lot, look to see if you qualify for the JCB Mitsuwa or Premium Marukai card. It's only available in certain states, and is a JCB (Japanese) issued card that runs on the Discover network, but acceptance is still a little unreliable at all places. Plus, it's got a very low credit limit and they are not the best in terms of web design, etc. The cashback starts at 1% but ramps up to 3% unlimited, so if you charge enough, you can make it worthwhile. It has a few quirks (cashback is counted in $100 spend increments, which do not rollover month to month, and has $15 annual fee).
spammagnet
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by spammagnet »

Jags4186 wrote:In NJ every liquor store I've been to codes as grocery so we get 6%. However, I am likely going to downgrade the card when the AF comes due. The *max* cash back it pays out on groceries is really 4.42% and thats only if you spend exactly $6000 ($6000 * 6% = $360. $360-$95 = $265. $265/$6000 = 4.42%). If you spend less or more than $6000 the percent is lower. For example, if you spend $10,000 on groceries the BCP only nets 3% cash back after the annual fee. If you spend $4000 on groceries it only pays 3.62%. A lot to keep track of IMO.

I feel like I can do better with a combination of Chase Freedom 5% rotating, Discover It 5% rotating, and 3% from the CCU Visa (or AMEX Blue Cash Everyday, but the $25 increment thing really sucks when the only reason to use the card is for groceries). Now many of you may say that's a lot of work, but remembering exactly when to stop using the Blue Cash preferred is a lot of work too, if you ask me.
Your analysis is accurate, I'm sure, but I'm happy with my returns on the AmEx Blue + AF and not having to juggle cards. We use it solely for groceries and spend just under $6K. At the end of this year I'll consider whether we should buy some gift cards to top off the account but we'll probably exceed the $6K anyway, paying for occasional small incidentals. (Yes, we get only 1% on those, but it's small and not worth thinking about.)

We use Fidelity Visa 2% for everything else because it's easy and unlimited. That includes gas, but we rarely use credit cards for that, anyway. Our consumption is low enough and our grocery bills high enough that we can cover gas purchases with $10 off gas card promotions from Publix.

I may start churning cards to get new account bonuses but that's a different topic.
Last edited by spammagnet on Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
rj49
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by rj49 »

I hate bothering with points, redemption levels, and rotating categories (that always encourage me to overspend in those categories, wiping out any bonus). I go for the USAA 2.5% cashback visa, which you can redeem for any amount at any time, and doesn't have foreign transaction fees (unlike Citi) and doesn't send annoying cash advance checks (like Citi). I also get significant savings by combining USAA home and auto insurance, so I've given up jumping through credit card hoops for an extra few dollars, and knowing myself well enough to realize that loyalty cards (Target/Amazon/Alaskaair/Discover categories) encourage more targeted spending that outweighs the minimal rewards (just as Costco savings are wiped out by membership fees, hot dog/ice cream purchases, rotting food, storage issues, and splurging on a shiny new TV or espresso machine).
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by jharkin »

Jags4186 wrote:
jharkin wrote:Why stop spending on the preferred? Maybe the % goes down, but as long as you are over the breakeven, the absolute DOllars saved will never be less than the free version...
Why spend at 1% when I can get 2%, 3%, or 5%?
But the grocery spend on the preferred never goes below 3% no matter how much you spend, so as long as you are not timing a switchover to another card offering over 3 there is no benefit.

In my case I use the preferred for gas and grocery ONLY, use the citi double for all misc spending, and take out the DiscoverIT occasionally if the category bonus is more. Plus a few store cards that give us 5% ... Amazon, Target, Lowes, etc. This is enough complexity for me,....
sfchris
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by sfchris »

Alliant has a 3% cashback VISA. I use it for everything.
Jags4186
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Jags4186 »

jharkin wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:
jharkin wrote:Why stop spending on the preferred? Maybe the % goes down, but as long as you are over the breakeven, the absolute DOllars saved will never be less than the free version...
Why spend at 1% when I can get 2%, 3%, or 5%?
But the grocery spend on the preferred never goes below 3% no matter how much you spend, so as long as you are not timing a switchover to another card offering over 3 there is no benefit.

In my case I use the preferred for gas and grocery ONLY, use the citi double for all misc spending, and take out the DiscoverIT occasionally if the category bonus is more. Plus a few store cards that give us 5% ... Amazon, Target, Lowes, etc. This is enough complexity for me,....
There is a very specific band where the BCP is best.

$300/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $121 cash back
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $144

$400/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $193
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $192

$500/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $265
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $240

$600/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $275
6 months 5% (up to $3k) + 6 months 3% (remainder) earns you $276

The gap continues to widen after here

So if you spend between $400 and $600 a month at grocery stores you will win out with BCP, if like me you're willing to switch around you can do a little better. We spend sort of borderline between $4000-$4500 a year at the grocery store so it's just not worth it IMO. I don't want to spend $95 for the optimized chance of making an extra $120.

A final thought for all of this. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (we do) it has a net $150 annual fee after is $300 credit. If you have 4 Chase Freedom cards (we do) you could theoretically stock up on $6000 in grocery store gift cards when its grocery quarter. Since with the Sapphire Reserve you get $0.015 value per point, you are actually earning 7.5% cash back so $6000 * 7.5% is $450 cash back, minus out the annual fee you get $300. $300 is 5% of $6000 in spend and you have also done better than the BCP since it only earns 4.42% on $6000 in grocery store spend.

I haven't done that because I wouldn't want to have $6000 in Shop Rite gift cards, but it could be done (yes you could do visa gift cards but that takes over 1% away for fees).
spammagnet
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by spammagnet »

Jags4186 wrote:... So if you spend between $400 and $600 a month at grocery stores you will win out with BCP, if like me you're willing to switch around you can do a little better. We spend sort of borderline between $4000-$4500 a year at the grocery store so it's just not worth it IMO. I don't want to spend $95 for the optimized chance of making an extra $120.

A final thought for all of this. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (we do) it has a net $150 annual fee after is $300 credit. If you have 4 Chase Freedom cards (we do) you could theoretically stock up on $6000 in grocery store gift cards when its grocery quarter. Since with the Sapphire Reserve you get $0.015 value per point, you are actually earning 7.5% cash back so $6000 * 7.5% is $450 cash back, minus out the annual fee you get $300. $300 is 5% of $6000 in spend and you have also done better than the BCP since it only earns 4.42% on $6000 in grocery store spend.

I haven't done that because I wouldn't want to have $6000 in Shop Rite gift cards, but it could be done (yes you could do visa gift cards but that takes over 1% away for fees).
We're lazy and spend about $500/mo on groceries as our normal budget. It looks like we're about as optimized as we can be without effort. Even if it's approximately break-even compared to a card with rotating categories, we don't have to think about it much.

Your strategy for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is interesting. We wouldn't mind buying Publix gift cards in advance. In addition to using them ourselves, our local food banks appreciate them as charitable gifts, as well. We don't travel much to take advantage of the other benefits but that might change.
spammagnet
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by spammagnet »

sfchris wrote:Alliant has a 3% cashback VISA. I use it for everything.
That sounded interesting but upon looking it up I found the 3% is only for the first year, after which it's 2.5% (still not bad). But it also has a $59 annual fee, waived in the first year.
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gas_balloon
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by gas_balloon »

I want to clarify: the amex cards have 3% & 6% cash back at supermarkets, not grocery stores. I shop grocery at stores like Sprouts, Safeway & local grocery stores. I almost never do grocery shopping at supermarkets... So that card so not work for me, correct?
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rocket354
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by rocket354 »

Jags4186 wrote:
jharkin wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:
jharkin wrote:Why stop spending on the preferred? Maybe the % goes down, but as long as you are over the breakeven, the absolute DOllars saved will never be less than the free version...
Why spend at 1% when I can get 2%, 3%, or 5%?
But the grocery spend on the preferred never goes below 3% no matter how much you spend, so as long as you are not timing a switchover to another card offering over 3 there is no benefit.

In my case I use the preferred for gas and grocery ONLY, use the citi double for all misc spending, and take out the DiscoverIT occasionally if the category bonus is more. Plus a few store cards that give us 5% ... Amazon, Target, Lowes, etc. This is enough complexity for me,....
There is a very specific band where the BCP is best.

$300/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $121 cash back
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $144

$400/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $193
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $192

$500/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $265
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $240

$600/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $275
6 months 5% (up to $3k) + 6 months 3% (remainder) earns you $276

The gap continues to widen after here

So if you spend between $400 and $600 a month at grocery stores you will win out with BCP, if like me you're willing to switch around you can do a little better. We spend sort of borderline between $4000-$4500 a year at the grocery store so it's just not worth it IMO. I don't want to spend $95 for the optimized chance of making an extra $120.

A final thought for all of this. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (we do) it has a net $150 annual fee after is $300 credit. If you have 4 Chase Freedom cards (we do) you could theoretically stock up on $6000 in grocery store gift cards when its grocery quarter. Since with the Sapphire Reserve you get $0.015 value per point, you are actually earning 7.5% cash back so $6000 * 7.5% is $450 cash back, minus out the annual fee you get $300. $300 is 5% of $6000 in spend and you have also done better than the BCP since it only earns 4.42% on $6000 in grocery store spend.

I haven't done that because I wouldn't want to have $6000 in Shop Rite gift cards, but it could be done (yes you could do visa gift cards but that takes over 1% away for fees).
If you spend more than $3167/yr on groceries (which I imagine most people do), Preferred is better. Once you hit a $6000 grocery spend (an easy thing to view with a click or two on Amex's website) you can switch to another card (like the everyday card). It's not as complicated as some make it seem.

However, the maximum annual benefit of using the preferred over the everyday for the first $6000 is $85, and in many cases is less than that. As an example, I, being single, might spend $4000/year in grocery stores, for a net benefit of $25 over the everyday card. If you can get a signup bonus for the preferred then definitely go for it, but otherwise I can see why many people might not jump at the opportunity to save $25/year that might just get wiped out by another annual fee increase, or some other change in terms, and for which the benefit does take some time to calculate and the application takes time to submit and using the card does take some amount of mental real estate to keep track of it all.
pshonore
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by pshonore »

walletless wrote:I want to clarify: the amex cards have 3% & 6% cash back at supermarkets, not grocery stores. I shop grocery at stores like Sprouts, Safeway & local grocery stores. I almost never do grocery shopping at supermarkets... So that card so not work for me, correct?
I get 6% on groceries just about everywhere - Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, Price Rite, local small grocery, Aldi's, etc. But certainly not at Walmart, BJs, Costco, etc. What's your definition of supermarket?
Carl53
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Carl53 »

rocket354 wrote: If you spend more than $3167/yr on groceries (which I imagine most people do), Preferred is better. Once you hit a $6000 grocery spend (an easy thing to view with a click or two on Amex's website) you can switch to another card (like the everyday card). It's not as complicated as some make it seem.
The annual period for the grocery bonus purchases is now calendar year while your statement may end at a date other than the end of the month. I just moved over to the BC everyday card as this was the first year that my renewal fee went to $95. Kept my points. Another major factor was the change in terms and conditions that states that gift card purchases will no longer earn rewards. Probably half of my purchases with the BCP were gift cards that were purchased in conjunction with a grocer's fuel rewards program.
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gas_balloon
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by gas_balloon »

pshonore wrote:
walletless wrote:I want to clarify: the amex cards have 3% & 6% cash back at supermarkets, not grocery stores. I shop grocery at stores like Sprouts, Safeway & local grocery stores. I almost never do grocery shopping at supermarkets... So that card so not work for me, correct?
I get 6% on groceries just about everywhere - Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, Price Rite, local small grocery, Aldi's, etc. But certainly not at Walmart, BJs, Costco, etc. What's your definition of supermarket?
I'd have thought supermarket is Target, Walmart, etc. I'm surprised that Stop&Shop qualifies for 3% back in their definition of supermarkets.
spammagnet
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by spammagnet »

Carl53 wrote:... Another major factor was the change in terms and conditions that states that gift card purchases will no longer earn rewards. Probably half of my purchases with the BCP were gift cards that were purchased in conjunction with a grocer's fuel rewards program.
That would be significant for us. Do the stores distinguish what is being purchased? Our gas card purchases are on the same receipt as the groceries.
walletless wrote:I'd have thought supermarket is Target, Walmart, etc. I'm surprised that Stop&Shop qualifies for 3% back in their definition of supermarkets.
That is the class of store they specifically exclude. I would interpret eligible stores as being those whose primary business is groceries.
Carl53
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Carl53 »

spammagnet wrote:
Carl53 wrote:... Another major factor was the change in terms and conditions that states that gift card purchases will no longer earn rewards. Probably half of my purchases with the BCP were gift cards that were purchased in conjunction with a grocer's fuel rewards program.
That would be significant for us. Do the stores distinguish what is being purchased? Our gas card purchases are on the same receipt as the groceries.
walletless wrote:I'd have thought supermarket is Target, Walmart, etc. I'm surprised that Stop&Shop qualifies for 3% back in their definition of supermarkets.
That is the class of store they specifically exclude. I would interpret eligible stores as being those whose primary business is groceries.
There is some code for the particular establishment that goes in with the information. Groceries typically will have one code, stores like walmart another. I found it interesting that one of my local garden centers came up as grocery, with AMEX, as did GFS but not Aldi.

I suppose that they will start reviewing the purchase receipts item by item or some such means to determine if you purchased gift cards. Not willing to be a guinea pig to call their bluff. Just dump the card for a max of $85 extra as someone stated.
danaht
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by danaht »

There is no better card than the Bank of America Cash back card that you currently have for gas and groceries. You just need to make sure you are participating in the platinum level of the B of A Preferred Rewards program so you can get the additional 75% credit card rewards bonus. To get to that platinum level - you just need a three month average of $100,000+ in assets in B of A and a B of A checking account. The easiest way to do that is to rollover your 401k, or transfer an IRA to Merrill Edge. Once transferred - the total value of the stocks and ETFs in your Merrill Edge portfolio qualify as assets in the Preferred Rewards program.

with Platinum level rewards 75% bonus:
gas = 3% * 75% Platinum bonus = 5.25% cash back rate
groceries = 2% * 75% Platinum bonus = 3.5% cash back rate

Where else are you going to find a no annual fee card with a 5.25% gas, and 3.5% grocery (and wholesale club) cash back rate?
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gas_balloon
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by gas_balloon »

spammagnet wrote:
walletless wrote:I'd have thought supermarket is Target, Walmart, etc. I'm surprised that Stop&Shop qualifies for 3% back in their definition of supermarkets.
That is the class of store they specifically exclude. I would interpret eligible stores as being those whose primary business is groceries.
I am admittedly very confused. On Amex website, they specifically say that the 6% cashback is towards supermarkets. Link:
https://www.americanexpress.com/us/cred ... ottom-Pos2
EARN 6% CASH BACK
at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.‡
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wander
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by wander »

walletless wrote: I'd have thought supermarket is Target, Walmart, etc. I'm surprised that Stop&Shop qualifies for 3% back in their definition of supermarkets.
Below is definition of supermarket I got from dictionary.com for you:
a large retail market that sells food and other household goods and that is usually operated on a self-service basis.
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gas_balloon
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by gas_balloon »

wander wrote:
walletless wrote: I'd have thought supermarket is Target, Walmart, etc. I'm surprised that Stop&Shop qualifies for 3% back in their definition of supermarkets.
Below is definition of supermarket I got from dictionary.com for you:
a large retail market that sells food and other household goods and that is usually operated on a self-service basis.
Ah, thanks! I also found this hidden in their website which actually more clearly defines supermarkets as more of grocery stores: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/cont ... etail.html
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peterinjapan
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by peterinjapan »

I love the Amazon Visa by Chase. 2-3% off cast (if I recall) but 5% off Amazon purchases. Including my S3 server fees, which is significant...
brajalle
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by brajalle »

It's worth noting that many cards specifically exclude warehouse clubs (and their gas stations) from reward categories. Do your research carefully if you're looking to get rewards at BJ's, Costco, Sam's Club - or even Wal-Mart & Target in some cases in gas & grocery categories. Gas exclusions can be similar (ie warehouse clubs & Wal-Mart/Target), but some wording is looking to exclude paying inside, 7-11's, and even places like Kroger gas stations.

I'll also mention, for gas, the Ft. Knox FCU visa. It's 5% gas.

If you're looking for non-visa, and your spending is fairly high at actual gas stations & grocery stores, the old Amex Blue Cash can pay off. It's never quite 5% in total, but if you'll blow through an Amex Preferred or whatever's $6k limit, consider this.

Other options -
3% everywhere JCB Marukai (usually processes as Discover card - have to be in certain states, ie mainly west coast+hawaii) + conservative bank on issuing & credit limits
4.5% in travel $ - US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa - $400AF, maybe can get enough benefit to offset this with some planning, really should probably look to shop at places that take Apple Pay/Google Pay/Samsung Pay and have a newer Galaxy phone/watch to get this. WIth the Samsung combo, it's pretty much 4.5% at every B&M store from what I hear (where you can buy gift cards for other places!).
*3!4!/5!
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by *3!4!/5! »

The card I use for groceries beats BCP by about 2.49%, and has no annual fee.
Carl53
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by Carl53 »

*3!4!/5! wrote:The card I use for groceries beats BCP by about 2.49%, and has no annual fee.
Thanks for the teaser.
jharkin
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Re: A good VISA card for Gas & Groceries?

Post by jharkin »

Jags4186 wrote:
jharkin wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:
jharkin wrote:Why stop spending on the preferred? Maybe the % goes down, but as long as you are over the breakeven, the absolute DOllars saved will never be less than the free version...
Why spend at 1% when I can get 2%, 3%, or 5%?
But the grocery spend on the preferred never goes below 3% no matter how much you spend, so as long as you are not timing a switchover to another card offering over 3 there is no benefit.

In my case I use the preferred for gas and grocery ONLY, use the citi double for all misc spending, and take out the DiscoverIT occasionally if the category bonus is more. Plus a few store cards that give us 5% ... Amazon, Target, Lowes, etc. This is enough complexity for me,....
There is a very specific band where the BCP is best.

$300/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $121 cash back
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $144

$400/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $193
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $192

$500/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $265
6 months 5% + 6 months 3% earns you $240

$600/mo grocery spend
12 months BCP earns you $275
6 months 5% (up to $3k) + 6 months 3% (remainder) earns you $276

The gap continues to widen after here

So if you spend between $400 and $600 a month at grocery stores you will win out with BCP, if like me you're willing to switch around you can do a little better. We spend sort of borderline between $4000-$4500 a year at the grocery store so it's just not worth it IMO. I don't want to spend $95 for the optimized chance of making an extra $120.

A final thought for all of this. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (we do) it has a net $150 annual fee after is $300 credit. If you have 4 Chase Freedom cards (we do) you could theoretically stock up on $6000 in grocery store gift cards when its grocery quarter. Since with the Sapphire Reserve you get $0.015 value per point, you are actually earning 7.5% cash back so $6000 * 7.5% is $450 cash back, minus out the annual fee you get $300. $300 is 5% of $6000 in spend and you have also done better than the BCP since it only earns 4.42% on $6000 in grocery store spend.

I haven't done that because I wouldn't want to have $6000 in Shop Rite gift cards, but it could be done (yes you could do visa gift cards but that takes over 1% away for fees).

Oh, you know what... I see what happened. I *DID* make a goof in the math. I thought I remembered the BCP being 3% after the 6k cap, but i looked again its 1%. Still works out for me because we always spend well beyond the cap and spend enough on gas with it to make the fee worthwhile. But now I see why you are looking at other options.
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