Best credit cards for groceries in Canada – by grocery store

Hyder Owainati
by Hyder Owainati November 30, 2018 / No Comments

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 food store located nearest 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


Best overall grocery credit card (5% back where AMEX is accepted)

American Express Cobalt Card

  • Annual fee: $120 (charged at $10 monthly)
  • Earn 5 points per dollar on grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and food delivery
  • Welcome Offer: 2,500 points every month you spend $500 in your 1st year (total value of $300)
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on gas, taxis, public transportation and travel (air, water, rail, or road transport, plus hotels)
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

The American Express Cobalt stacks up as the best credit card 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 an 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 ride-sharing 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).

The only caveats of the card are that it has a $10 monthly fee ($120 annually) and is not 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 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.
  • If you’re equally as interested in earning points on gas as you are on groceries, you may want to consider the Scotiabank Gold American Express as an alternative. The Scotiabank Gold American Express nets you 4 points per dollar on both food and gas, while the Cobalt offers 5 points on food but only 2 points on gas. Depending on the math and your spending habits, one of these two travel credit cards may offer you more value.


Best cards for cash back on groceries (4% back where Visa is accepted)

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

  • Annual fee: $99 (waived for first year)
  • Welcome Offer: Get 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $200)
  • Once offer ends, earn 4% cash back on gas and groceries, 2% cash back on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Receive VISA Infinite benefits

Canada’s two best cash back credit cards for groceries – the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite and the Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back – are almost identical. You’ll earn 4% cash back on groceries with either of these cards wherever Visa is accepted (which by default, also includes most of the grocery stores that accept American Express).

Both of these credit cards also offer 4% cash back on gas (ranking them among the best credit cards for gas as well as groceries), 2% on bills and pharmacies, and 1% on everything else. Moreover, these two cards waive their $100 annual fee for the first year for new cardholders.

Where the differences arise is around their welcome offers and side-perks. The Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite currently has one of the strongest welcome offers on the market, with 10% cash back on all purchases you make on the card in your first 3 months (up to $200). On the other hand, the Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back offers a $100 gift card (when you apply through Ratehub.ca) and a superior travel insurance package.

Here are some important things to know:

  • In the case of both cards, the 4% cash back rate applies exclusively to food purchases made at grocery stores and not restaurants, cafes or bars
  • These cards will give you 4% cash back on groceries on up to an annual spend of $25,000 (maximum annual cash back of $1,000), after which you will earn 1%
  • If you shop at Longos or Superstores (not Frescho) 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 is not recognized as a grocery by MasterCard, so you won’t earn any bonus points on your credit card for grocery purchases (i.e. if your card offers 2% back per dollar on groceries and 1% on all other purchases, you’ll earn only 1% at Costco).

With that being said, there are still some notable credit cards for groceries you can use to save on Costco’s already lower prices.

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 only caveats are that it has an income requirement that’s higher than the norm for a no fee card ($80,000 individual and $150,000 household) and doesn’t offer bonus rewards on gas or restaurants.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on gas, groceries and restaurants (on up to an annual spend of $5,000 per category) and 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Welcome offer: 5,000 points after your first purchase and e-statement enrolment (must be within 90 days)
  • Travel insurance benefits

With the no fee MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus, you’ll earn 1 point (equivalent to 1% return) 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, such as No Frills or Walmart Supercentres) up to an annual spend of $5,000 per category. You can also walk away with the equivalent of $50 in bonus points after you make your first purchase and enroll to receive e-statements within 90 days of receiving the card.

BMO World Elite MasterCard

  • $150 annual fee (waived for the first year)
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per dollar on travel, dining and entertainment purchases; 2 points per dollar on everything else
  • Earn 35,000 bonus points (value: $250) when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • VIP lounge access with the included Mastercard Airport Experiences membership, plus 4 complimentary passes per year

The only card 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 in the first year for new cardholders.


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 under MasterCard and is owned by Loblaws Companies Limited, which opens up more credit card options and opportunities to save.

PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

  • Earn 45 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent where President’s Choice products are sold
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent on all other purchases

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).

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases in up to three categories of your choice, and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • No limit on how much cash back you can earn

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 (that 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.

Triangle World Elite

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 as well as 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 participating stores, such as Canadian Tire and Sport 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 household).


Overview: Best credit cards for groceries in Canada

Credit Card Grocery Rewards Annual Fee
American Express (AMEX) Cobalt Card 5% back in points where AMEX is Accepted $120
Scotiabank Gold American Express 4% back in points $100
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite 4% cash back on groceries $100 (waived 1st year)
Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card 4% cash back on groceries $100 (waived 1st year)
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% back in points on groceries (1% at Costco) $0
Triangle World Elite MasterCard 3% back in Canadian Tire Money (except Costco and Walmart) $0
Rogers World Elite Mastercard 1.75% cash back on groceries (including Costco) $0
BMO World Elite Mastercard 2 BMO Rewards points $150 (waived 1st year)