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How Rewarding Is Your Holiday Grocery List?

Dec. 7, 2021
7 mins
A mother and two small children wearing antlers make cookies

The December holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, creating memories over good food and drinks around the table. While it was not possible to gather in the traditional sense last year in Ontario, many families found creative ways to connect and spend quality time together.

Fortunately, you can make up for the lost time with your loved ones in person this holiday season by following public health guidelines in the province.

If you plan to create an elaborate meal for your festivities, it’s time to dust off your signature recipes and jot down your holiday grocery list. But before you head to the supermarket, you should consider your payment preference. You could earn cash back or rewards points for every dollar you spend on hors d’oeuvres, beverages, tasty treats, and everyday grocery items. Some cards, however, are more rewarding than others.

We pit Canada’s best grocery credit cards against popular lifestyle credit cards to see how they compare. Using the Essential Christmas Checklist from the Little Potato Company (and a few of our favourite treats), we’ve estimated the cost of a holiday meal, totalling $326.

Click on a credit card to see the holiday grocery value and perks it provides.

Our top picks

Credit card

Grocery reward rate

Holiday grocery list value*

1. American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

Earn five points for every $1 spent at standalone grocery stores and on grocery deliveries in Canada.

$28.53

2. BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*

Earn 5% cash back on your first $500 in monthly grocery purchases.

$16.30

3. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

Earn 4% cash back on grocery store purchases.

$13.04

4. PC® World Elite Mastercard®

Earn 30 points for every $1 spent at grocery stores where President's Choice products are sold.

$9.78

5. Tangerine World Mastercard®

Earn 2% cash back on groceries if you choose this Money-Back Category.

$6.52

6. SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

Earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases made on the card.

$4.07

*We’ve estimated the rewards earned from a $326 grocery purchase made on the card, excluding any welcome bonuses or additional offers. Some programs do not offer rewards for alcohol purchases; however, we’ve included it in the total for this example.

1. American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$362
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1361
American Express Cobalt® Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$362
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2024 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points and Best American Express Credit Card.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$362
Annual rewards
$1155
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$362
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1361
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99 on cash advances
2024 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points and Best American Express Credit Card.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details

The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card has the potential to earn the highest value for holiday grocery shopping. Earn five Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent at standalone grocery stores and on grocery deliveries in Canada. However, the payment network isn’t universally accepted.

Savvy shoppers have a solution: Instacart. The grocery delivery service allows you to pay using your AMEX card at major retailers such as Loblaws and Costco, which don’t accept the card type in their stores.

Holiday grocery list value: Cardholders can earn roughly $28.53 back in Membership Rewards points on a $326 holiday grocery list.

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2. BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Cash bonus
$50
+ Welcome bonus
$150
+ Annual rewards
$594
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$794
BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*

card image
Welcome bonus
$150
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$594
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 23.99% on cash advances
[[gift]]Get a $50 CashSurge from RATESDOTCA
Generous cash back rewards in a number of key categories
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$150
Annual rewards
$594
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Cash bonus
$50
+ Welcome bonus
$150
+ Annual rewards
$594
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$794
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
23.99 on cash advances
[[gift]]Get a $50 CashSurge from RATESDOTCA
Generous cash back rewards in a number of key categories
Details at a glance Collapse details

Earn 5% cash back on your first $500 in monthly grocery purchases with the BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*. Currently, this is one of the highest cash back rates available in this category in Canada. Get 1% back after you reach the $500 monthly spending limit in the grocery category.

Holiday grocery list value: Cardholders can earn just over $16 back on a $326 grocery purchase.

3. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$153
+ Annual rewards
$564
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$717
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$153
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$564
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
A top card that earns you generous cash back in a variety of key purchase categories
Includes a generous suite of complimentary travel insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$153
Annual rewards
$564
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$153
+ Annual rewards
$564
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$717
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
22.99 on cash advances
A top card that earns you generous cash back in a variety of key purchase categories
Includes a generous suite of complimentary travel insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card offers a straightforward cash back rate. Get 4% back for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases.

Holiday grocery list value: Cardholders can earn an estimated $13.04 cash back on a $326 holiday grocery list.

4. PC® World Elite Mastercard®

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$456
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$476
PC® World Elite Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$20
PC Optimum™ points
Annual rewards
$456
PC Optimum™ points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
21.99% on purchases • 22.97% on cash advances
2024 Winner – Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum™ rewards program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$20
Annual rewards
$456
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$456
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$476
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
21.99% on purchases
22.97 on cash advances
2024 Winner – Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum™ rewards program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details

The PC® World Elite Mastercard® sits in the middle of our list. Earn PC Optimum™ points everywhere you shop — all with no annual fee. Cardholders can earn 30 points for every $1 spent at grocery stores where President's Choice products are sold, including Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, and other household favourites. Cardholders can also shop for groceries online through PC Express™.

Plus, you can stack points when you use your PC® Mastercard® in combination with the PC Optimum™ loyalty program. Get even more points on your everyday purchases when you load your personalized offers on the PC Optimum™ app.

Redeem rewards with as little as 10,000 points, a $10 value.

Holiday grocery list value: Cardholders can earn $9.78 in points on a $326 purchase, in addition to any in-store offers from the PC Optimum™ program.

5. Tangerine World Mastercard®

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Tangerine World Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$100
Money-Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$309
Money-Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases • 19.95% on cash advances
2024 Winner – Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card
Flexible no-fee card with ability to choose what categories earns you the most cash back
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$100
Annual rewards
$309
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases
19.95 on cash advances
2024 Winner – Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card
Flexible no-fee card with ability to choose what categories earns you the most cash back
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Tangerine World Mastercard® and the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offer 2% cash back in up to three Money-Back Categories of your choice. Start with two categories and earn the third when depositing rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account. You can also switch your categories every 90 days (about three months).

Holiday grocery list value: Let’s say you choose groceries as your 2% Money-Back Category. In this case, you would earn $6.52 back on a $326 holiday grocery list.

6. SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$368
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$468
SimplyCash® Card from American Express

card image
Welcome bonus
$100
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual rewards
$368
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
No annual fee cash back card with no limits on how much you can earn
Includes insurance and access perks
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$100
Annual rewards
$368
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$368
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$468
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99 on cash advances
No annual fee cash back card with no limits on how much you can earn
Includes insurance and access perks
Details at a glance Collapse details

Cardholders of the SimplyCash™ Card from American Express earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases — the lowest holiday grocery value. However, this card has a lot to offer holiday shoppers.

Get 1.25% back on all purchases, no matter the spending category. This means you can earn a reasonable cash back rate on gifts, décor, and other miscellaneous items that fall outside standard reward categories such as gas and groceries. Even the best cards typically offer 1% back on these purchases.

Holiday grocery list value: With this card, shoppers can earn about $4.07 cash back on a $326 holiday grocery list.

More ways to save

Here are a few additional tips to earn more rewards around the holidays and save money:

  • Virtual coupons. A Chrome extension such as Honey can automatically help you find coupon codes as you pay for your online shopping cart. You can also add items to your Droplist to get notified of sales.
  • Join Aeroplan. Many rewards programs exclude alcohol purchases; however, Ontarians can now earn Aeroplan points on all purchases at the LCBO. Get one point for every $4 spent at LCBO retail stores. Aeroplan-affiliated credit cards can earn points twice.
  • Choose the right card. If you have more than one credit card, consider which one will provide the most rewards for each purchase you make. This process can help you maximize your rewards. For example, if one card offers more points for travel, choose it to pay for flights.
  • Shopping coverage. Many cards offer extended warranty coverage and purchase protection for lost, stolen, and damaged items. It pays off to understand any shopping coverage available through your credit card.

How we’ve estimated the cost of a holiday meal

Holiday grocery list

Item

Price

Hors d’oeuvres

$21

Turkey

$45

Maple-glazed ham

$14

Seasonings

$12

Cranberry sauce

$3

Dinner rolls

$6

Stuffing

$3

Butter

$5

Brussel sprouts

$6

Carrots

$5

Potatoes

$5

Peas

$4

Assorted cookies

$12

Pie

$9

Whipped cream

$4

Ice cream

$5

Coffee

$14

Cider

$7

Hot chocolate

$6

Marshmallows

$3

Eggnog

$6

Assorted alcoholic beverages

$80

Assorted soda

$12

Miscellaneous cooking essentials (parchment paper, aluminum foil, etc.)

$30

Holiday crackers

$10

Total

$326

Rates, product information and reward estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. RATESDOTCA may receive a referral fee from our partners or affiliate links featured on the site; however, our editorial choices are objective and free from bias. The opinions expressed in this article are purely those of RATESDOTCA; thus, the credit card issuers and partners are not responsible for any editorials or reviews that may appear. Please visit the associated brand’s website for complete and current terms and conditions on any product or service mentioned. The information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, December 7, 2021. Read our full disclaimer.

Hayley Osmond

Hayley Osmond is an editor and writer in the personal finance space, where she uses her eight years of media and marketing experience to bring content to life. She specializes in money products, including mortgages, home and auto insurance, and credit cards. Hayley holds a Broadcast Journalism diploma from Sheridan College and was awarded the Shaw Media Journalism and Media Award for graduating at the top of her class. Her work has appeared in Global News and diverse digital corporate training materials behind the scenes.

Hayley is passionate about making complex subjects, such as home buying and financial literacy, concise and intriguing. Her work has garnered media coverage from The Globe and Mail, blogTO, Yahoo! News, and CityNews 680 and has been syndicated across other publications.

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