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What is (or not) included in the U.S. Supermarket category?

Old Nov 8, 18, 12:31 pm
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Last edit by: rasheed
Unfortunately, AmEx's listed merchant categories on the posted transactions do not properly distinguish US Supermarkets from smaller grocery stores (which do not qualify for bonus rewards). Small stores that do not qualify will be listed the same, but will accrue the lower base rewards rate.

List of multi-location chains in the US that appear to qualify for bonus rewards (see at bottom for AmEx's rules on this subject):

Albertsons/Safeway family chains
Instacart
Kroger family chains (NOT Fred Meyer though - you need to purchase Kroger gift cards from another member supermarket in that case)
Meijer
Sprouts
Trader Joe's
Walmart - Neighborhood version
Whole Foods

Sometimes individual locations may not work.

At: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/c...fo/retail.html, AmEx says as follows:
U.S. Supermarkets

To earn additional rewards on supermarket purchases, the supermarket must be located in the U.S.

A supermarket offers a wide variety of food and household products such as meat, fresh produce, dairy, canned and packaged goods, household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies.

(Superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs are NOT considered supermarkets.)

Examples of merchants* that accept the Card and where you can earn additional rewards include:
Gristedes
Foodtown
Meijer
Shoprite
Stop and Shop
Vons
Whole Foods
Winn-Dixie
Online supermarkets such as FreshDirect

*This is not a complete list.

Examples of merchants where you will NOT earn additional rewards include:
Specialty stores (e.g., fish markets, cheese shops, wine shops, and other specialty food stores )
Superstores (e.g. Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart)
Warehouse clubs (e.g. BJ's Club)

Supermarket FAQs


What isnt included in the U.S. Supermarket category?

Specialty food stores, small corner grocery stores, gourmet shops, natural food stores and large superstores including online superstores (e.g. Amazon), warehouses clubs (e.g. BJ's Club) and big box stores (e.g. Wal-Mart) are examples of merchants that are NOT eligible for additional rewards.

I think I should have earned additional rewards on a purchase, what should I do?

If you have questions about whether you should have received additional rewards, please call the number on the back of your Card.

How do you define a Supermarket where I earn additional rewards?

A supermarket offers a wide variety of food and household products such as meat, fresh produce, dairy, canned and packaged goods, household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies.
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What is (or not) included in the U.S. Supermarket category?

Old Jan 10, 19, 10:32 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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So I have 125k of student loans to pay - there is a website called Gift of College that allows you to pay student loans with credit cards. You can purchase these at HEB grocery stores. The Ascend card doest 6x points at grocery stores. If I buy the gift card at HEB will this code as a grocery purchase?
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Old Jan 10, 19, 3:51 pm
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by geoff325
So I have 125k of student loans to pay - there is a website called Gift of College that allows you to pay student loans with credit cards. You can purchase these at HEB grocery stores. The Ascend card doest 6x points at grocery stores. If I buy the gift card at HEB will this code as a grocery purchase?
May do a small purchase (gum, bread, milk...) and see what HEB codes?
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Old Jan 10, 19, 5:37 pm
  #78  
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Originally Posted by geoff325
So I have 125k of student loans to pay - there is a website called Gift of College that allows you to pay student loans with credit cards. You can purchase these at HEB grocery stores. The Ascend card doest 6x points at grocery stores. If I buy the gift card at HEB will this code as a grocery purchase?
If other things at this HEB grocery count as grocery purchase, then buy something else small (that's really grocery-ish) along with each gift card on the same purchase, and that should not only post as a grocery stores, but also not "smell" like a gift card since adding another small item will make it be a slightly different purchase amount each time.

Still, if you try to buy $125k (or even a small fraction of that) in gift cards at grocery stores, and are not doing much other shopping at HEB grocery stores, you risk Amex smelling that something's up and requesting details on one or more of you purchases, and then possibly shutting you down. Ie, techniques that work for a small number of gift cards occasionally may not work for large number of gift cards. And Amex is worse than banks about caring whether you buy gift cars or not (Chase, Citi, etc, they don't much care, but at Amex it's officially against the rules in many cases).
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Old Jan 11, 19, 8:00 am
  #79  
 
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger
In the other hand, I believe Target codes as a supermarket.

​​​​
Target did not code as groceries for 4x points on amex gold, sadly.
Instacart coded perfectly.
My local liquor store was coded as "merchandise: grocery stores" (or something like that), but I didn't get 4x on it. Initiated a ticket about this one, given that on my statement it says "grocery stores".
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Old Jan 11, 19, 3:08 pm
  #80  
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Originally Posted by geoff325
The Ascend card doest 6x points at grocery stores. If I buy the gift card at HEB will this code as a grocery purchase?
It will. HEB codes as 4x on the Gold card, and I presume all the other Amex cards with a grocery bonus.
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Old Jan 11, 19, 5:01 pm
  #81  
mia
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Originally Posted by geoff325
.... Ascend card doest 6x points at grocery stores. If I buy the gift card at HEB will this code as a grocery purchase?
Originally Posted by krazykanuck
It will. HEB codes as 4x on the Gold card, and I presume all the other Amex cards with a grocery bonus.
It might be better to put this spend on American Express Gold because 4 Membership Rewards points converts to 8 Honors points, with the flexibility to transfer to many other programs.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 6:26 pm
  #82  
 
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Originally Posted by mia
It might be better to put this spend on American Express Gold because 4 Membership Rewards points converts to 8 Honors points, with the flexibility to transfer to many other programs.
Thats a great idea, I hadn't really thought about that. I was going to do in chunks. 1k a month for monthly student payment amount, then my employer gives me 20k once a year (15k after tax) that I was going to put towards loans. Maybe I will break that up into smaller purchases. I hadn't really thought about getting flagged by AMEX. Maybe i can spread it across multiple cards, get one in my wifes name as well as mine. What do you think is reasonable spend at a grocery store? 3k?
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Old Jan 12, 19, 6:27 pm
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by geoff325
Thats a great idea, I hadn't really thought about that. I was going to do in chunks. 1k a month for monthly student payment amount, then my employer gives me 20k once a year (15k after tax) that I was going to put towards loans. Maybe I will break that up into smaller purchases. I hadn't really thought about getting flagged by AMEX. Maybe i can spread it across multiple cards, get one in my wifes name as well as mine. What do you think is reasonable spend at a grocery store? 3k?
The challenge is that I am not making the purchase as I don't live near an HEB. I was going to have a friend do it for me and don't want to inconvenience him too much. Would you think multiple 1k purchases over a few weeks would raise less flags?
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Old Jan 12, 19, 6:36 pm
  #84  
mia
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Bear in mind that the Gold card supermarket category is capped at $25,000 per year. That won't quite support $12,000 + $15,000.

How are you planning to have your friend make purchases of this size with your card?
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Old May 4, 19, 5:37 am
  #85  
 
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Does Amazon Fresh code as groceries for 4x on Amex Gold?
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Old May 9, 19, 4:22 pm
  #86  
 
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Curious to know if there's any update on this?
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Old May 9, 19, 9:54 pm
  #87  
 
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Yes, it coded as 4X on my Gold.
rjruiz and robchow like this.
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Old Nov 27, 19, 12:41 pm
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Possible to have Amex fix their categorization?

I noticed for the first time that Fred Meyer (PNW Kroger brand + home goods, like a Superwalmart) is not earning 2x even though I'm exclusively purchasing groceries there. I'm wondering the thoughts of the forum on trying to get these fixed, it's only to the tune of $100-$200/mo but that would mean since April ~1400 points (everyday 2x on groceries). But also is there any chance Amex would consider re-categorizing this store? If not I will try to get a Kroger gift card from another local chain QFC and use it at Fred Meyer.
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Old Nov 27, 19, 12:56 pm
  #89  
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i was on the phone with amex customer service for an unrelated issue and i took the opportunity to ask why BC Ferries is not categorized under transportation and thus earning 2 pts per dollar (cobalt card.)
I was told that it's how BC Ferries categorized their business, not amex.
one would think that something as obvious as that was self-evident but apparently not.
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Old Nov 27, 19, 2:19 pm
  #90  
 
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Fred Meyer has decided to not categorize as groceries. You would need to buy a Kroger gift card from one of the other chains like QFC where they categorize as groceries. I am sure that is what others do. I think issue applies for V/MC usage as well.

It is correct that the merchant does most of the categorization assignments. Except for super large merchants (over $1 million in AmEx charges), most merchants use acquirers who handle the merchant mapping assignment via OptBlue.
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