How to find the best credit card for groceries, gas, restaurants, and more

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One great way to increase credit card rewards is to maximize your use of category bonuses.  Many credit cards offer bonus points for shopping in certain locations or with certain types of vendors.  These bonuses are called category bonuses.

CategoryBonuses_WithX

A list of the best category bonuses has long been available on the Frequent Miler site.  Simply select “Best Category Bonuses” from the “Credit Cards” menu.  That said, the page was long and unwieldy, and it was missing a few key cards such as the new Diner’s Club card, the revamped Citi Prestige card, and more.

In the past week or so, I’ve completely overhauled the Best Category Bonuses page.  In addition to adding the missing cards, I added a navigation layer to make it easy to find the category you’re most interested in.  A table of contents at the top lets you jump instantly to the information you’re interested in.  And, you’ll find “jump to” sections after each table to help you jump from one category of interest to the next.

But wait, that’s not all!  I also added links to the Visa Supplier Locator web page along with example merchant codes within each category.  These can help you find stores in your area that may trigger the category bonuses you’re interested in (Note, however, that American Express often codes merchants differently than Visa).

For example, suppose you’re interested in finding out if your local Target store codes as a grocery store.  You’ll see under the Grocery Stores the following:

Example Visa merchant code: 5411 – GROCERY STORES/SUPERMARKETS

Click the link titled “Example Visa merchant code” and you’ll be taken to the Visa Supplier Locator web app.  Enter in your zip code and either select the merchant category of interest or enter in the name of the supplier (e.g. “Target”), then click Search.

VisaSupplierLocator_SearchGrocery

On the next page you’ll see a map of results.  I find it easier to look at a list, so I recommend clicking “Show Full List” at the bottom of the screen.  Then, sort by distance, and you’ll see something like this:

VisaSupplierLocator_ListResultsTarget

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a nearby Target that codes as a grocery, like the second one shown above.  Caution: some stores have multiple codes (sometimes depending upon which register you check out from).  Also, American Express often codes differently than Visa.  So, before assuming that results like these will lead to big category bonuses, I recommend testing with a small purchase or transaction at your local store to see what happens.

And, please checkout the latest version of the Best Category Bonuses page.

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[…] can use your Redbird outside of Target, which can be quite lucrative. If you’re loading Redbird with a credit card that codes Target as a grocery store, you can generate a substantial bonus on your everyday spending through […]

alex

Could you please do a post to show how to check individual transactions on different credit cards, and how many points each individual purchase accrued?
.
When I look on my amex or chase cc online or at my statement, it doesn’t show how many points any particular transaction earned..

Pam

Under the general category of Office Supplies, there are three sub-categories:
5111 – Stationery/Office Supplies
5943 – Stationery Store
5947 – Gift, Card, Novelty Stores

Do all three sub-categories code as the general office supplies with the Ink Bold? There are numerous Disney stores in the Orlando area that are code 5947.

[…] To earn miles through spend, you should start with a credit card that offers the best category bonuses in strategically useful locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations, and office supply stores.  For details about finding the best card, see: How to find the best credit card for groceries, gas, restaurants, and more”. […]

chimmy

Thank you. Subscribing.

JustSaying

Another great post on one of the key tenets of frequent flyer madness!

Christian

Any idea if there is a similar website for MC and Amex?

Aaron Hurd

I find it absolutely hilarious that the Target in Ypsi codes as a liquor store.

Grant

Are there any credit cards that have liquor stores as a bonus category? Bank of Blah Blah BevMo and More Credit Card?

Max

Has anyone tried the TD rewards visa card with Target
that codes as 5411 grocery store. Does it warn the 5x ?

jack

Mine hasn’t. Even though it shows that Target is listed as a grocery store, I didn’t receive the bonus. Have to go back to BB.

JR

My Target codes as 5411 grocery store and so loading it with the AMEX for Target Prepaid card earns 2006 FlexPerks points with only a $3 activation fee. Been using FlexPerks more and more as award availability decreases and points devalue.

Anne

FM mentions that AMEX often codes differently than Visa. My Target code shows as 5411, but on my AMEX statement, it’s coded as a wholesale store.