What does your grocery run look like? Do you hop into a car to hunt for bargains at discount grocers, opt for convenience by shopping from the store located closest to home, or actively seek out premium outlets for their better food selection and brighter-lit aisles?
Regardless of how (and where) you choose to restock your fridge, you can save a considerable chunk of change on your grocery bill by using a rewards credit card that offers points or cash back. Since not all credit cards are accepted at every grocery, we’ve broken down our list of the best credit cards in Canada for groceries by store – so you can maximize your savings without having to compromise on where you shop.
Best credit cards for groceries in Canada – by grocery store
- Foodbasics, Longo’s, Mcewan, Metro, Pusateri’s, Rabba, Safeway, Sobeys, Whole Foods: American Express Cobalt Card and Scotiabank Gold American Express – VIEW CARDS HERE
- Frescho, Loblaws, Superstore: Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite, Meridian Visa Infinite and TD Cash Back Visa Infinite – VIEW CARDS HERE
- Costco: MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard, Rogers World Elite Mastercard, BMO World Elite Mastercard and MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus – VIEW CARDS HERE
- No Frills: PC Financial World Elite Mastercard, Tangerine Money-Back Card, MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus and Triangle World Elite Mastercard – VIEW CARDS HERE
- Walmart Supercentres: Tangerine Money-Back Card, MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus, American Express Simply Cash Preferred – VIEW CARDS HERE
Best overall grocery credit card (5% back where AMEX is accepted)
The American Express Cobalt stacks up as one of the best credit cards in Canada for groceries for its strong points multiplier on food purchases. For every $1 you spend at the grocery store (as well as restaurants, bars and cafes), you’ll get 5 American Express Membership Points – which works out to a whopping 5% return on all your food bills. The points you earn on the American Express Cobalt are flexible and can be redeemed for travel on any airline with no date or seat restrictions.
The card also offers 2 points per dollar spent on travel, gas, taxis and rideshare services, and 1 point on all other purchases. Plus, as a new cardholder, you can receive $25 worth of bonus points every month in your first year that you charge at least $500 on the card (up to $300 value).
As of August 1st, the Scotiabank Gold American Express will undergo changes that’ll earn cardholders 5 Scotia Rewards points per dollar on groceries and restaurants (5% when redeemed for travel) – mirroring the return of the American Express Cobalt. Unlike the Cobalt, however, the Scotiabank Gold American Express will also soon give you 5 points per dollar on entertainment, and 3 points for gas, rideshares, and some streaming services. Not to mention, it’ll charge no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of Canada.
A caveat of both these abovementioned cards is that – as American Express Cards – they’re not as universally accepted at all grocery chains including most discount grocers and all Loblaw-owned stores. However, if you make your food runs at groceries where American Express is accepted, the Cobalt or Scotiabank Gold should be your top consideration.
Here are some important things to know:
- The major groceries in Canada that accept AMEX include: Federated Co-op, Foodbasics, Longo’s, Mcewan, Metro, Pusateri’s, Rabba, Safeway, Sobeys, and Whole Foods.
- We strove for accuracy when curating the above list, but in some cases (particularly when grocers are operated as part of a franchise) not every branch may accept American Express. The most effective way to work out if the food store near you accepts American Express and offers 5x the points on groceries is by contacting them directly and asking for their merchant code.
- While both American Express Cards are accepted at Walmart, you’ll get a standard 1 point per dollar when shopping at the department store as opposed to 5 points. That’s because Walmart isn’t categorized as a grocery or supermarket by American Express’ merchant code system and therefore won’t earn you bonus points.
Best cards for cash back on groceries (4% back where Visa is accepted)
Canada’s two best cash back credit cards for groceries – the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite and the Meridian Visa Infinite – offer identical rewards on grocery purchases. You’ll earn 4% cash back at almost all grocery chains with either of these cards where Visa is accepted (which, by default, includes most of the grocery stores that accept American Express).
That’s where much of the similarities end, however. For instance, while the Meridian Visa Infinite offers 4% on gas and 2% on recurring bills, the reverse will be true for the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite as of August 1st (read more on the card’s changes here).
While the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite will earn you 3% on groceries versus the 4% offered by the two aforementioned cards, it outperforms as far as sign-up bonuses go. Not only does it offer a first-year annual fee waiver but all new cardholders will also earn 10% cash back on every dollar spent for the first three months (up to $2,000 in purchases). Plus, it also comes with a free roadside assistance membership and travel medical coverage.
Here are some important things to know:
- In the case of all these cards, the bonus cash back rate applies exclusively to food purchases made at grocery stores and doesn’t encompass restaurants, cafes or bars.
- While all three Visa Cards are accepted at Walmart, you’ll get a standard 1% when shopping at the department store as opposed to 4% or 3%. That’s because Walmart isn’t categorized as a grocery or supermarket by Visa’s merchant code system and therefore won’t earn you bonus cash back.
- If you shop at Loblaws or Superstores and prefer to use a no annual fee credit card for groceries, then you may want to consider the PC Financial World Elite as an alternative. This card will earn you 30 PC Optimum points on grocery purchases where PC Optimum products are sold ($10 = 10,000 PC Optimum points).
Best credit cards for Costco
Costco exclusively accepts Mastercard credit cards, which dwindles down your choice of plastic. Furthermore, Costco isn’t recognized as a grocery store by Mastercard, so you won’t earn any bonus points on your credit card (for example, if your card offers 2% back per dollar on groceries and 1% for all other purchases, you’ll earn 1% at Costco).
That said, there are still some notable credit cards you can use to save on Costco’s already lower prices.
The MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard offers a flat 2 points per dollar (equal to 2% in travel rewards) on every purchase – including those made at Costco.
To top it off, the card currently has a 30,000 point welcome offer. You’ll pocket 10,000 bonus points just by enrolling for e-statements and the remaining 20,000 points after you make $2,000 in purchases on the card all within the first 90 days of opening your account. The card does have an annual fee of $120 and an income requirement of $80,000 (or $150,000 as a household), though you can add authorized users at no extra cost.
There’s one fact regarding the card’s points program that’s important to keep in mind. 2 MBNA points always equals to the equivalent of $0.02 (2%) when redeemed for travel rewards like flights. But MBNA points can also be redeemed for cash back at a lesser rate (2 MBNA points equals to 1% cash back). It’s for that reason we recommend using this card strictly as a travel point card and not for cash back.
The Rogers World Elite
The Rogers World Elite is a no-fee cash back credit card that offers a strong flat-rate of 1.75% on all your purchases, including those made at Costco. This card also offers 1.5% return on foreign transaction fees.
The card’s caveats? It has an income requirement that’s higher than the norm for a no fee card ($80,000 individual and $150,000 household) and it doesn’t offer bonus rewards on gas or restaurants.
With the no fee MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus, you’ll earn 1 point (equivalent to 1% return in travel rewards) on all your grocery purchases at Costco. Plus, you’ll get 2 points on gas, restaurants and groceries (in case you make food runs at a different grocery store, like No Frills or Walmart Supercentres) up to an annual spend of $5,000 per category. You can also walk away with the equivalent of $100 in bonus points after you make $500 in purchases and enrol to receive e-statements within 90 days of receiving the card.
One of the only cards on our list of the best travel credit cards in Canada that’s accepted at Costco, the BMO World Elite Mastercard will get you 2 BMO Rewards points per dollar on grocery purchases at Costco (estimated 1.4% return). This premium card also offers 3 points per dollar spent on travel, numerous premium travel and insurance perks (such as complimentary access to airport lounges) as well as a strong welcome offer of 35,000 points ($250 value) when you make $3,000 of purchases in your first 3 months. The card’s annual fee of $150 is also waived for the first year.
Best grocery cards for No Frills
Similar to Costco, No Frills only accepts Mastercard. Unlike Costco, however, No Frills is categorized as a grocery store by Mastercard and is owned by Loblaws Companies Limited, which opens up more credit card options and opportunities to save.
With the no annual fee PC Financial World Elite, you’ll get 30 PC Optimum points for every dollar you spend at eligible Loblaw-owned grocery stores, including No Frills. 10,000 PC Optimum points equates to $10, which means you’ll get one of the highest returns on groceries available for a no fee card. The points you earn on this card can be conveniently redeemed at the checkout at Loblaw-owned groceries.
You can also earn 30 PC Optimum points per dollar at over 2,500 eligible stores affiliated with the PC Optimum program and 45 points for every dollar you spend at Shoppers Drug Mart.
There are some downsides however: the card has a high-income requirement for a no fee card ($80,000 individual or $150,000 household) and you’ll only earn 10 points per dollar on other purchases (including groceries at stores not affiliated with the PC Optimum program).
One of the most flexible no fee cards on the market, the Tangerine Money-Back Card offers 2% cash back in up to three categories of your choice (options includes groceries, gas, restaurants and more). There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn (so you’ll get 2% back on groceries no matter how much you spend) and the card will provide you with your cash back savings monthly instead of annually. The card’s only drawbacks are that it offers 0.5% cash back for non-category purchases and has no real side-perks.
With Canadian Tire’s new premium no-fee credit card, the Triangle World Elite, you’ll earn 3% back in Canadian Tire money on grocery purchases (excluding those made at Costco and Walmart). This card also offers a number of side-perks, including free roadside assistance and the ability to earn rewards at the pump at participating Gas+, Essence+ and Husky gas stations.
The Canadian Tire Money you earn on this card can only be redeemed at a select number of partner stores including Canadian Tire and Sports Chek, which is great if you frequent those stores but can prove limiting if you don’t. The card has an individual income requirement of $80,000 (or $150,000 as a household).
Best grocery cards for Walmart Supercentres
Walmart accepts all cards, but in order for your purchases to go through as groceries (and in turn, earn you bonus points or cash back) you should:
- Use your card specifically at one of the retailer’s larger Walmart Supercentres.
- Use a Mastercard – it’s the only card company that categorizes Walmart Supercentres as a grocery. Visa and American Express view spending at Walmart as generic purchases (usually giving you a flat 1% return or less), even if you have groceries as a bonus category.
With those caveats in mind, we’ve listed out the best credit cards to use at Walmart below.
Overview: Best credit cards for groceries in Canada
|Credit Card||Grocery Rewards||Annual Fee|
|American Express (AMEX) Cobalt Card||5% in travel points where AMEX is Accepted||$120|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express||5% in travel points where AMEX is Accepted||$120|
|Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite||4% cash back on groceries||$120 (waived 1st year)|
|Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card||4% cash back on groceries||$99|
|TD Cash Back Visa Infinite||3% cash back on grocieres||$120|
|PC Financial World Elite Mastercard||30 PC points at Loblaws-owned groceries||$0|
|Tangerine Money-Back Card||2% cash back on groceries (0.5% at Costco)||$0|
|MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus||2% in travel points on groceries (1% at Costco)||$0|
|Triangle World Elite Mastercard||3% in Canadian Tire Money (except Costco and Walmart)||$0|
|MBNA Rewards World Elite||2% in travel points on groceries||$120|
|Rogers World Elite Mastercard||2% cash back (including Costco)||$0|
|BMO World Elite Mastercard||1.4% in travel points (including Costco)||$150 (waived 1st year)|
|SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express||2% cash back (except Costco, No Frills, and Loblaws)||$99|