The top five credit cards for earning points at the supermarket

By Chris Chamberlin, November 28 2017

Did you know that you could be earning up to four frequent flyer points per dollar spent at the supermarket, just by paying for your groceries using the right credit card?

What's more, the points your credit card provides are served on top of those you'll earn directly through the supermarket's own loyalty program, so you can double-dip!

That means you can still earn Qantas Points at Woolworths via Woolworths Rewards or Virgin Australia Velocity points (or Etihad Guest miles) through Coles' Flybuys scheme, while picking up extra points through your credit card to make that next free flight or upgrade even closer.

As most major supermarkets accept credit cards without any surcharges – including American Express – here are the five highest-earning cards to use for your regular grocery shop.

1. American Express Platinum Edge credit card

Topping the ranks, the American Express Platinum Edge credit card and its solid earn rate of three frequent flyer points per dollar spent at major supermarkets, which you can ship across to a range of airline schemes including Virgin Australia Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and more.

That includes spend not just at Coles and Woolworths, but also Bi-Lo, Fishers, Food For Less, Fresh Provisions, Harris Farm Markets, IGA, Macro Wholefoods, Safeway, Supabarn and Thomas Dux, against a $195 annual fee that's more than offset through the inclusion of a yearly $200 Travel Credit.

Become the 'Local Champion' at your preferred supermarket and that can become an even-higher four frequent flyer points per dollar spent on your groceries: a hefty 600 points from a $150 shop, for example.

Read: How to earn bonus frequent flyer points with AMEX Local Champion

2. David Jones American Express Card

Next in line, the entry-level David Jones American Express Card, yours for just $99/year and with an earn rate of up to 2.25 frequent flyer points per dollar spent at the supermarket.

You'll earn the most points at the checkout by choosing Qantas Frequent Flyer as your card's rewards option (2.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent), or could earn up to 1.875 frequent flyer points with other airlines like Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines through the David Jones Membership Rewards scheme.

However, instead of converting your points straight from AMEX to your preferred airline – which only gives 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent on groceries – convert them to the Starwood Preferred Guest hotel loyalty scheme instead at the same rate.

From there, you can convert them onward to the airline frequent flyer program of your choice, and when you convert your points in chunks of 20,000, you'll also attract a 25% bonus: giving you 1.875 frequent flyer points per dollar spent at the end of the day, as opposed to 1.5 when converting to airlines direct from AMEX.

3. David Jones American Express Platinum Card

The David Jones American Express Platinum Card adopts the same earning rate at supermarkets as its non-Platinum cousin (up to 2.25 frequent flyer points per dollar spent), but with a higher annual fee of $295.

While the earn rate on supermarket spend is unchanged, that instead buys you extra points at David Jones – up to three frequent flyer points per dollar spent compared to a maximum of 1.5 frequent flyer points via the standard card – with extra benefits thrown in, tailored to travellers as well as shoppers.

Among them: two yearly visits to the AMEX Lounge at Sydney Airport, complimentary priority delivery on David Jones online shopping, complimentary alterations on most clothing purchased in-store at DJs and extended warranty cover on new appliance purchases, the combination of which could negate the 'cost' of the higher annual fee.

4. American Express Explorer credit card

The American Express Explorer credit card cracks our Top Five without even offering 'bonus points' at the supermarket, because its high everyday earning rate of 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent speaks for itself.

What's more, you can enjoy that earn rate in eight frequent flyer programs – including Velocity, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, Skywards, Etihad Guest and others – and if you transfer points to Velocity during one of the recurring 15% bonus promotions (such as on offer this month), you'll effectively get 1.725 Velocity points per dollar spent at the supermarket and on most other purchases, uncapped.

A $395 annual fee applies which is more than offset by a yearly $400 Travel Credit, and unlike the David Jones cards, AMEX Explorer is also eligible for Local Champion, potentially giving you 2.25 frequent flyer points per dollar spent where you shop the most, or about 2.59 Velocity points per dollar spent when transferring points during promotional periods.

5. Qantas American Express Ultimate Card, AMEX Velocity Platinum Card

Also with high everyday earning rates are the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card and the American Express Velocity Platinum Card, offering 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent in their respective frequent flyer program.

Because these cards are attached to one frequent flyer program only, you can't take advantage of transfer bonus offers (such as Velocity's 15% deal) – but these cards are useful when keeping all your frequent flyer points in the one basket, not to mention that your frequent flyer points automatically appear in your account every month.

There's a $450 annual fee to pay on the Qantas Ultimate Card – offset by a yearly $450 Qantas Travel Credit – and a $375/year fee on the Velocity Platinum Card, for which you'll get a return domestic flight each year, two yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, two visits to the AMEX Sydney Airport lounge annually, and more.

Both cards are eligible for AMEX Local Champion as well, which could have you earning an increased 2.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent at the supermarket you visit the most.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


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