Best Canadian credit cards to use for groceries (2020)

Photo by Artem Beliaikin

Buying groceries is a weekly occurrence for most people. So, consider benefiting from this regular occurring expense by paying with a credit card that earns rewards. Whether you want to earn cash back or loyalty points, this article will cover some of the best Canadian credit cards to use for grocery purchases.

Here are my top picks of credit cards to use for groceries in Canada. 

  1. Tangerine Money-Back credit card
  2. Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card
  3. American Express Cobalt card
  4. PC Financial World Elite MasterCard

Overview: best Canadian credit cards for groceries

Credit cardAnnual feeEarn rate on groceriesRewards for $1,000 /month on groceriesWelcome bonusIncome requirements
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card$02% cash back$20none$12,000
Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite$120 (first year free)4% cash back$40none$60,000 personal or $100,000 household
American Express Cobalt card$120 ($10 monthly)5 MRS points/$5,000 points (worth $50) or 6,000 Marriott Bonvoy points2,500 MRS points for each month you spend $500 on your card in the first year None indicated
PC Financial World Elite MasterCard $030 PC Optimum point/$ at Loblaws banner stores30,000 points (worth $30)100,000 points after your first purchase. Until August 30, 2020.$80,000 personal or $150,000 household

1. Tangerine Money-Back credit card

Tangerine’s Money-Back Credit Card is the best no annual fee cash back credit card in Canada. This card allows you to earn 2% cash back on 2 categories of your choice, including groceries! Plus, you can add a third 2% cash back category if you opt to have your cash back deposited into your savings account. Purchases in other categories will earn 0.5% cash back.

Also, a great benefit of the the Tangerine Money-back Credit Card is that it pays out every month (unlike other cash back credit cards which pay out only once a year)! Plus, your cash-back earnings are unlimited with no yearly cap on the amount you can earn!

So, if you spend $1,000 per month on groceries, this card would earn you $20 monthly or $240 yearly in cash back.

Learn more about the Tangerine Money-back credit card’s benefits and apply now.

Plus, check out my in depth review about Tangerine bank.

2. Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card

The Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card is one of the best Canadian cash back credit cards available. It allows you to earn an impressive 4% cash back on groceries and also recurring bill payments. In addition, you earn 2% cash back on gas station and public transit purchases and 1% on everything else. Plus, this card comes with comprehensive travel insurance and new mobile device insurance coverage.

Right now, there’s a special offer on this card until November 1st, 2020. New cardholders don’t have to pay the annual fee in the first-year which is an immediate savings of $120!

Therefore, if you spend $1,000 per month on groceries, this card would earn you $40 monthly or $480 yearly in cash back. Certainly, this is one of the most lucrative credit cards to earn cash back on your grocery purchases!

Learn more about the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card’s benefits and apply now.

3. American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt card lets you earn Membership Rewards Select (MRS) points instead of earning cash back on your purchases. This card is unique because it allows you to earn an incredible 5 MRS points per dollar spent on grocery and also restaurants, cafes and food delivery purchases!! In addition, you earn 2 MRS points on gas station, travel and public transportation (including taxis) purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Plus, Amex is offering new cardholders a welcome bonus in their first year. Each month you spend $500 on your card, you’ll receive 2,500 MRS points up to a maximum of 30,000 MRS points.

Options to redeem your MRS points

  1. Redeem for statement credits. You can use your points to pay for previous card purchases depending on the category. You can exchange a minimum of 1,000 MRS points for a $10 credit towards eligible travel purchases or for $7 towards any other purchase. **Until September 30, 2020 you can redeem 1,000 MRS points for a $10 credit for any purchase!
  2. Booking flights.  Use your MRS points to book flights with the American Express Fixed Points Travel Program.  Under this program, a fixed number of points covers the base ticket price of eligible flights up to the max base ticket price. For example, 20,000 points covers a short haul flight to an adjacent province/state up to a max price of $300.
  3. Transfer points to Marriott Bonvoy™ for hotel stays. It’s possible to transfer your MRS points directly to Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty program. The transfer rate is 5 MRS points = 6 Bonvoy points so 30,000 MRS points is equal to 36,000 Bonvoy points. This is the best option to redeem your points if you want FREE hotel stays! Read more about redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy points.

Therefore, if you spend $1,000 per month on groceries, this card would earn you 5,000 MRS points monthly or 60,000 MRS points yearly. Plus with the welcome bonus of 30,000 MRS points, you could earn up to 90,000 MRS points in your first year which is worth:

  • $630 against everyday purchases (1,000 points = $7)
  • $900 against travel purchases (1,000 points = $10)
  • 108,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (5:6 ratio). This is enough for 3 FREE hotel nights at a category 5 Marriott hotel (like my previous stay at the Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport hotel).

If you’re interested in the Amex Cobalt card, consider applying through Great Canadian Rebates as they are offering $50 cash back for successful applications.

4. PC Financial World Elite MasterCard

There are many Loblaws banner stores including No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Maxi and Fortino’s to name a few. For those who shop at these Loblaws stores and/or Shoppers Drug Mart, the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard is the best card for you.

This no annual fee card allows you to earn a generous 30 PC Optimum points per dollar spent (equivalent to 3%) at any Loblaws affiliated store. Also, you earn 45 points per dollar spent (equivalent to 4.5%) at Shoppers Drug Mart and 10 points per dollar on all other purchases.

You can redeem your points at some of the same stores you earn PC Optimum points like Loblaws, No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart and also Joe Fresh. Easily redeem 10,000 PC Optimum points for $10 off your purchase at any participating store. Keep in mind that PC Optimum points need to be redeemed in 10,000 point increments and cannot be redeemed for certain items like gift cards, tobacco and alcohol.

Plus, there’s a promotion on this card until  August 30th, 2020. New cardholders earn 100,000 PC Optimum points (worth $100) on their first purchase at participating stores where President’s Choice® products are sold. Purchase must be made within 6 months of approval with no minimum purchase required. 

Therefore, if you spend $1,000 per month on groceries at Loblaws stores, this card would earn you 30,000 points (worth $30) monthly or 360,000 points ($360) yearly. Overall, this is a great no annual fee card for those who shop regularly at Loblaws banner stores and/or Shoppers Drug Mart.

One downside of this card is that it requires a high annual income of $80,000 (or $150,000 for household). If you don’t qualify with these income requirements, you can also apply for the PC Financial Mastercard. It doesn’t have any income requirements but the earning rates are lower than the World Elite version.

Learn more about the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard’s benefits and apply now.

Summary

With so many choices of credit cards to use for grocery purchases, it’s important to select the one best suited to you based on its strengths and weaknesses.

Overall, the American Express Cobalt card is a clear winner with a rate of 5 MRS points/$ spent on groceries. Plus, Amex MRS points have flexible uses. They can be redeemed for a statement credit, used to book a flight or transferred to the Marriott Bonvoy hotel program. But, there’s a $10 monthly fee for the card and not every retail store accepts Amex.

The Tangerine Money-Back credit card is the best no fee credit card and lets you earn 2% cash back on your grocery purchases. Generally, it’s a simple card to use and you get paid cash back every month. 

Next, the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card has the highest cash back rate on grocery purchases at 4%. I would say this is the best non-Amex card currently with the annual fee of $120 being waived for the first year! Hurry as this promo ends on November 1, 2020!

Finally, the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard is good choice for those that shop regularly at Loblaws banner stores (30 PC Optimum points/$) and Shoppers Drug Mart (45 PC Optimum points/$). Remember that you can only redeem points in 10,000 point increments and to obtain this card, you need a personal income of $80,000 or higher.

Which credit card(s) do you use for grocery shopping? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

**Bonus card:  From May 15 to August 31, 2020 the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card allows cardholders to earn 5 points per dollar spent at grocery stores, food delivery and takeout. This rate is higher than the usual 2 points per dollar spent and so this promotion is ideal for those who wish to earn Marriott Bonvoy points!  

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