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Updated: Nov 1, 2022, 10:27am
Edited By
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If you live in Canada, it’s likely you’ve noticed your grocery bill is more expensive lately. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, the price of food continued its rapid increase, rising to 10.8% in August 2022—the fastest pace since 1981. (Food is now so expensive that Forbes Advisor even investigated what was cheaper: eating out or at a restaurant?)
And while there’s little you can do about the conditions affecting grocery prices, you can put a little of your hard-earned money back in your pocket by shopping strategically—and with the right credit card.
We’ve crunched the numbers and rounded up the credit cards that can give you hundreds of dollars worth of points or cold hard cash when you spend on groceries. Add to that, some cards come with no annual fee and offer valuable perks like travel insurance and (the much rarer) mobile device insurance.
Here are the cards that made the cut when it comes to saving the most money at the grocery store, so you can still have your favourite cereal or the fanciest cheese.
2,500 Membership Rewards

$155.88 ($12.99 per month)

20.99%

2,500 Membership Rewards

$155.88 ($12.99 per month)

20.99%

The American Express Cobalt ranks as the top grocery credit card in Canada in large part because of its impressive earnings. Canadians can earn 37,680 points on their annual grocery spending alone — an impressive $376.80 value. All in all, Canadians can earn a whopping $593.80 in net rewards yearly, and that’s factoring in the annual fee.
60,000 points

$120 (waived first year)

20.99%

60,000 points

$120 (waived first year)

20.99%

This card ranks as a close second to the Amex Cobalt because of its impressive earn rate of 5 points per dollar on groceries. This can become $252 worth of BMO points on groceries alone with average spending. What’s more, it offers the same rate on gas, dining and transit, which adds up to $432.99 worth of points total over the year.
$200 in cash back

$120

20.99%

$200 in cash back

$120

20.99%

We determined this is the best cash back card in Canada, so it’s no surprise it’s the top cash back card on this list, too. You’ll earn 4% back on your groceries, not to mention 4% back on your gas purchases, too. This means you could earn $301.44 on groceries each year.
40,000 Scene+ points (Offer ends Oct 31, 2022).

$120 (waived first year)

20.99%

40,000 Scene+ points (Offer ends Oct 31, 2022).

$120 (waived first year)

20.99%

While the BMO CashBack Mastercard offers the highest cash back at general grocery stores, the Scotia Gold Amex technically offers more cash back at an impressive 6 points per dollar—but only if you shop at Metro, Sobeys, Foodland, IGA or a handful of other stores. Beyond that, this card impresses in terms of earnings. Based on average annual spending and value of Scene+ points, we determined that you can earn $376.80 Scene+ points on groceries alone in a year and that’s minus the $120 annual fee.
Up to 10% cash back

$120

20.99%

Up to 10% cash back

$120

20.99%

You can earn 5% cash back on grocery purchases, up to $500 each month–the highest rate in Canada that’s not specific to certain stores. Overall, this card nets $315.36 in annual grocery spending, factoring in the $500 cap. But since it also earns a high rate in big spending categories, like transit and gas, this card can earn $490.07 overall, factoring in the annual fee, too.
Up to 20,000 Aeroplan points and a Buddy Pass to bring anyone along for a $0 base fare anywhere Air Canada flies in North America, including Hawaii and Mexico

$139

20.99%

Up to 20,000 Aeroplan points and a Buddy Pass to bring anyone along for a $0 base fare anywhere Air Canada flies in North America, including Hawaii and Mexico

$139

20.99%

This card lets you rack up Aeroplan points on your regular essential spending, including groceries, gas and travel. In fact, you can earn up to $226.08 worth of Aeroplan points in groceries in your first year and $527.32 overall, minus the annual fee. Plus, this card has an impressive welcome offer that’s worth up to $400 or more if you take advantage of the Buddy Pass.
35,000 Aventura Points

$139

20.99%

35,000 Aventura Points

$139

20.99%

This card lets you earn Aventura points on not just groceries, but gas, pharmacy and travel spending, too. The grocery earnings are impressive, and Forbes Advisor estimates you can earn $226.08 worth of Aventura points in your first year on groceries alone. What’s more, you can earn $527.32 worth of points in your first year—and that’s after accounting for the annual fee.
10% cash back in the first 3 months up to $2,000 in total purchases

$120 (waived first year)

20.99%

10% cash back in the first 3 months up to $2,000 in total purchases

$120 (waived first year)

20.99%

This card is the best cash back grocery card for travel insurance. Not only can you earn up to $301.44 in cash back on groceries alone in the first year, but we estimate you’ll earn $491.14 based on average spending, with the annual fee subtracted. Plus, if you book travel on this card, you’ll get extensive insurance coverage on everything from emergency medical to baggage and car rentals.
10% cash back

$99 (waived first year)

20.99%

10% cash back

$99 (waived first year)

20.99%

This is a solid card that allows you to earn $226.08 on groceries in your first year and $449.54 overall, with the $99 fee factored in. It includes a solid welcome bonus and a few valuable insurance coverages (but not as many as other cards on this list).
50,000 Membership Rewards

$120

19.99%

50,000 Membership Rewards

$120

19.99%

This card allows you to earn $150.72 worth of Amex Membership Rewards points on groceries alone in the first year. Plus, you’ll get points for all your essential spending, netting $438.83 per year in rewards, minus the annual fee. This card also comes with some valuable perks for travellers.

When determining a rating for individual credit cards, the Forbes Advisor Canada editorial team factors in an exhaustive list of data points. With grocery, the scoring model used takes into account factors such as, but not limited to, annual reward earnings, fees, welcome bonuses and other rewards and features. Keep in mind, what may be best for some people might not be right for you. Conduct informed research before deciding which cards will best help you achieve your financial goals.
Earn Amex’s Membership Rewards at an accelerated rate on your grocery spending with the American Express Cobalt.
Rewards: 5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on streaming services, 2 points per dollar on gas, travel and transit, including public transportation, 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Welcome Offer: Get 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each month in which you spend $500 on your card in the first year (a $300 value).
Annual Fee: $155.88 ($12.99 monthly)
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: This card offers a stellar earn rate on grocery spending and impressive benefits like thorough travel insurance coverage. That said, it does have a high annual fee. Amex is not accepted everywhere and Membership Rewards points aren’t as flexible as cash back.
Earn BMO points on your essential spending and a whopping 5 points per dollar on groceries.
Rewards: 5 points per dollar on groceries, gas, transportation and dining. 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Welcome Offer: Get up to 60,000 points (a $402 value) in your first year.
Annual Fee: $120
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: This card offers the potential to earn a ton of points on groceries and gas (with some travel insurance coverage) but points are not as flexible as cash back and though standard, the annual fee is still pretty steep.
The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite earns fuss-free cash back at an impressive rate on both groceries and gas spending.
Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on groceries and gas, 2% on dining, transportation and recurring bill payments, and 1% on everything else.
Welcome Offer: Earn 10% cash back when you spend $2,000 in the first four months (up to $200).
Annual Fee: $120
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: You’ll also save $0.10 per litre at select gas stations when you link your Journie Rewards. You’ll also get travel insurance coverage and mobile device insurance. However, this card has an annual fee, a fairly high income requirement and Visa still isn’t accepted at Costco or Loblaws stores.
Earn Scene+ points on all essential spending.
Rewards: 6 points per dollar on groceries at select grocery stores, 5 points per dollar at grocery stores, restaurants, bars and food delivery. Plus, 3 points per dollar on gas and transit, 3 points per dollar on streaming services and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
Welcome Offer: 40,000 Scene+ points in the first year ($400 value).
Annual Fee: $120
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: This card offers flexible cash back on all your essential spending. However, it falls short when it comes to the annual fee, spending caps and its less than stellar travel insurance.
The BMO CashBack World Elite earns flexible cash back on all your essential spending—and a very high rate on grocery spends.
Rewards: 5% back on groceries, 4% on transit, 3% on gas, 2% on recurring bills and 1% on all other purchases.
Welcome Offer: Up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months on $2,600 in purchases, a $260 value (before Dec 6, 2022).
Annual Fee: $120
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: While this card offers solid earnings, plus perks like purchase security, there’s a cap of $5,000 per year on the groceries and gas earn rate.
Earn Aeroplan points on your grocery spending.
Rewards: 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on groceries, gas, and Air Canada vacations. 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Welcome Offer: Get a total of up to 20,000 Aeroplan points (up to $400 in travel value) and an Air Canada Buddy Pass, entiling your travel companion to a $0 base fare on any flight.
Annual Fee: $139
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: While the Aeroplan points are earned at a good rate and this card comes with decent travel insurance, the points are not the most flexible. Plus, there’s a moderately high annual fee.
Earn Aventura points on groceries and other essentials.
Rewards: Earn 1.5 Aventura points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores. Earn 2 points per dollar on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre. Earn 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Welcome Offer: 35,000 Aventura Points ( up to $800 in travel) during your first year, when you make your first purchase (20,000 points) and when you spend $1,000 or more each monthly statement during the first year (15,000 points).
Annual Fee: $139
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: This card earns Aventura points, comes with decent travel insurance, a Nexus credit and lounge access. However, the points are not the most flexible and there’s a moderately high annual fee.
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite earns cash back while getting good travel insurance coverage.
Rewards: 4% cash back on groceries, recurring bills and subscriptions. You’ll also get 2% back on gas and transit and 1% back on everything else.
Welcome Offer: 0% cash back in the first 3 months on your first $2,000 in total purchases ($200 value).
Annual Fee: $120
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: This card offers a high earn rate, comprehensive travel insurance, mobile device insurance and discounts on rental cars. The annual fee, strict cash back redemption rules and moderate income requirement hold it back.
This card earns on groceries and offers a few extra perks.
Rewards: 3% cash back on groceries and gas, 2% on dining, transportation and recurring bills and1% on all other purchases.
Welcome Offer: 10% cash back if you make net purchases totaling $2,000 in the first four months.
Annual Fee: $99
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: While this card offers decent cash back, it is does not compare favorably as far as other perks go, with the exception of some travel insurance coverage. Plus, it still has an annual fee.
A card that earns on all spending and offers some travel perks.
Rewards: 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 on all spending and 5 points per dollar on spending at Marriott Bonvoy.
Welcome Offer: 50,000 Membership Rewards points ($500 value) after you spend $1,500 in your first three months.
Annual Fee: $120
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: This card comes in last because, while it offers good earnings and some travel perks like insurance, it’s only of really good use to people who stay at the Marriott hotel chain.
In Canada, Costco only accepts Mastercard. So, by default, you won’t earn grocery-specific points at Costco if you have a Visa or Amex, since they won’t be accepted there. However, most Mastercards don’t categorize Costco as grocery either. If you want to earn cash back at Costco, getting a Costco specific credit card, like the CIBC Costco Mastercard, could be your best bet. But be warned, that card only earns 1% at Costco in-store, which is the base rate for many other Mastercards anyway.
If you want to earn cash back or points on groceries at Walmart, Mastercard is likely your best bet since they have been known to categorize Walmart as grocery. However, always check with your credit card provider first to make sure you’re getting the most out of your spending.
While the chain used to only accept Mastercard, No Frills stores now accept both Mastercard and Visa. However, they still don’t take Amex.
Courtney Reilly-Larke is the deputy editor of Forbes Advisor Canada. Previously, she was the associate editor of personal finance at MoneySense. She was also managing editor of Best Health Magazine and has contributed to publications such as Cottage Life and Blog TO. She currently lives in Toronto.

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