5% Cash Back at Supermarkets & Gas Stations

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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Rewards CardThis offer has expired.

Well well, it looks like we finally have the return of a long lost cash back favorite from a year or two ago… the coveted 5% cashback on supermarkets, drug stores and gas stations credit card in the form of the Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards card. (if that’s not your thing, here’s my list of the best cash back credit cards)

A few years ago, there were a dozen of these types of cards. In the last year, that number dropped to zero. Those that did exist only offered it on gasoline and imposed ridiculously low limits such as the Discover Open Road card (gives 5% on gasoline but only up to $5 a month!). Back in the heyday, each were vying for “share of wallet,” the industry term for how much of your spending gets put on their card. They often earn a couple percentage points per transaction so the hope is that you use the card for more than the 5% categories, which is a loss leader for them (this ignores the finance charges, fees, and other charges they impose for a variety of reasons).

Looks like they’re making a come back with the Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards card is leading the way.

Any catches? Yes, there are a few. Like all Citi cards, the cashback now comes in the form of ThankYou Network points rather than straight up cash. Those with student loans can convert the points into “cash,” making it a truly 5% cashback card. If you don’t have student loans, you’ll have to take it in the form of gift cards to get a full percentage value. You can always sell the gift cards and still get close to 5% cashback in the worst case.

Another catch is that the 5% promotion is for the first 12 months. I normally don’t like promotional offers (with the exception of when the Citi CashReturns had 5% cashback on everything) but right now this is the only card that offers 5% on the “everyday shopping” category (which includes supermarket, drug stores and gas stations). There are a couple alternatives if you’re looking for a gas cashback credit card, but none exist (to my knowledge) for supermarkets.

Finally, the only limit on cashback is an annual limit of 75,000 ThankYou points – it’s unlikely you will reach that limit ($15,000 in spending in the 5% categories!).

Some other features that may be of interest: 12 month 0% APY balance transfer, no annual fee, 1% cash back on everything else. The 12 month 0% APY balance transfer is nice but it has a balance transfer fee of 5%, I’d pass on that. The no annual fee is standard and the 1% cashback on everything else is also pretty standard.

Overall, I think this card is a good option if you’re looking for a way to shave 5% off your supermarket and gas bills.

Blue Cash from American Express. The Blue Cash from American Express offers 5% cashback at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations with no limit whatsoever. The card also offers a 0% balance transfer for 12 months with a 3% transfer fee capped at $99.

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “5% Cash Back at Supermarkets & Gas Stations”

  1. Cheapo says:

    I used to love Citi since they had a Dividends card that offered the same 5% cash back deal but did not expire after a year. Like you mentioned the good times came to an end and Citi made some changes to that card. I ended up going for the PenFed Visa Platinum Rewards card ( which offers 5% cash back at gas stations, 2% cash back at super markets, and 1.5% cash back for all other purchases. I think you need to be a PenFed member to apply for the card, but it is only a $5 donation to join. Those interested may want to recheck this since it has been a while since I applied for the PenFed card. People seem to also like the Chase Freedom card as well, which offers 3% cash back in 4 various categories. Like you said you can’t go wrong with the card you mentioned.

  2. Kevin says:

    I dumped my old Citi card that used to have 5% when they dropped to 2%. I even threatened to leave if they didn’t restore the rewards, but it didn’t work. I now use the Chase Freedom Signature card for everything. It has more categories and I get 3% plus a $50 bonus if I let the rewards accrue to $200.

  3. Dave says:

    I wanted to point out something that is buried in the Amex Blue Cash application. You only get 1% back on the first $6500 each year, and that is only for the specified categories (supermarkets, gas stations, and drugstores). For everything else you get 0.5% back until you reach that $6500 mark for the year. After you spend $6500 you start getting 5% back on purchases from supermarkets, gas stations, and drugstores (excluding superstores or warehouse clubs). Other purchases get 1.5% back.

    For high spenders this may not be a deal breaker, but it definitely reduces the value of the 5% significantly.

  4. Patrick says:

    I have the Chase Freedom, and it has been great since I got it. I love that you can get a $250 check as Kevin said. I was thinking about getting the Blue Cash card, but I don’t ever spend close to that amount for it to be worth it.

  5. Jon says:

    Dave – The 5% retros to your spending before you reach $6500.

  6. Jon says:

    Dave – My mistake, it doesn’t retro, but it’s still a good deal. 🙂

  7. Jackson says:

    I’ve been using the Chase Freedom card for awhile now. It does seem to be the best overall.

    And like others have mentioned, wait until you accumulate $200 and you get an extra $50!

  8. JB says:

    Don’t forget the Pentagon Federal Visa Rewards Card. It’s offered through the Pentagon Federal Credit Union (one of the largest in the US) and quite frankly it’s the best cash-back card out there:

    – 5% back on gasoline
    – 2% back on supermarkets
    – 1.25% back on everything else

    Best of all, there’s no limits, and it gets paid back to you monthly directly from your balance (none of that waiting til you hit $20 in rewards stuff).

    For anyone that happens to be a member of PenFed, there isn’t a better card out there.

  9. AB says:

    I second the Pentagon Federal Card and will add the Orchard Bank Premium Platinum that offers 2% cash back on all purchases.

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