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Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard review

With the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard, regular customers of Kroger, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Baker’s, Smith’s, Fry’s and QFC can earn cash back on their purchases. The card has no annual fee and comes with some Mastercard protection.

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If you’re a frequent Kroger customer and considering signing up, read on to find out what the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard’s biggest benefits are and what alternatives you can use to earn more rewards over time.

Central thesis

Earn 5% cash back on mobile wallet purchases ($3,000 in spend, then 1%): Prefer to pay with your phone when you shop? Then you can claim the reward. Eligible wallets include Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Garmin Pay, and LG Pay.

Earn 2% Cash Back on Kroger Purchases: With Kroger’s wide range of brands, 2% is competitive with most flat-rate cash back cards. Using this card to pay for all your Kroger grocery bills would be a lucrative option.

No Annual Fee: Never pay an annual fee to get cash back on groceries and never wonder if you should cancel. With no annual fee, you can keep this card long-term.

Redeem store credit or gift cards: Cardholders can redeem rewards after earning $10 in cash back. Redeem your statement credit to reduce your statement balance or redeem a $25 Kroger gift card.

Be wary of high APRs: Avoid monthly balances to avoid interest charges. This is a good practice for any credit card you may have.
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Great rewards card for Kroger buyers

Before we get into the details, let’s start with the benefits of the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard. First, this card has one of the highest cashback rates for a no-annual-fee card, despite the low spending cap. Use your mobile wallet for all purchases up to $3,000 to earn a $150 bonus. This is basically free money in your pocket when you pay off your bill balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.

The 2% cash back rate is great and competitive with the best flat rate cards on the market. For those who only shop at Kroger stores, it can be a lucrative business.

The fact that this card has no annual fee is probably its biggest advantage as a rewards credit card. If you don’t earn cash back and don’t want a more traditional rewards credit card, the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard is an alternative to consider when visiting the Kroger family of businesses.

While the benefits aren’t great (not surprising for a co-branded card with no annual fee), it does offer some great protections. Fraudulent purchases and access to Mastercard’s Zero Liability Guarantee of Identity Theft Protection can help you if you’re a victim of identity theft. There’s also a Best Hotel Rate Guarantee — Mastercard will refund the difference, and if you book a hotel and find it’s listed elsewhere for cheaper — you won’t have to pay international transaction fees if you decide to use the card outside the US.

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Where does it fall

The biggest downside to the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard is the lower 5% spending cap in the cashback category, as most people can spend over $3,000 a year. Once you hit that cap, the reward drops to 1%, which means you’re better off switching to a flat-rate card or a non-co-branded rewards or ration card.

Another downside to the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard is that the 2% cash back bonus is limited to the Kroger brand. That’s great for consumers who only shop at Kroger, but it’s not realistic for most. Of course, you can use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted, but you’ll only get 1% cash back. If you choose a flat-rate card, you’ll get a higher premium rate with every purchase.

Who should get this card:

  • People who only shop at Kroger branded grocery stores
  • People who don’t want to pay annual fee
  • People who use mobile wallets for most of their transactions

Who must pass:

  • People willing to sign up for better cashback cards to earn more rewards
  • Anyone who wants additional options on how and where to redeem points
  • Those who want to earn a high premium in other businesses
  • People who spend more than $3,000 a year on shopping.

How does it compare to other grocery store credit cards?

If you’re looking for a free credit card that offers cash back exclusively at U.S. supermarkets, check out the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.

It earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (earned as statement credit; up to $6,000 per year on purchases, then 1%) and 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. It earns 1% elsewhere. This is a great value card with no annual fee.

However, if you want to take it to the next level, AmEx offers an upgraded card: the Blue Cash Preferred. It earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and select U.S. streaming services (up to $6,000 spent, then 1%), and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and in transit. It has an annual fee of $95 (waived for the first year), but can be covered for as little as $1,700 in groceries.

Consumers should also consider a flat-rate card like the Citi Double Cash Card. It earns 2% cash back no matter where you shop (1% on purchases, 1% on withdrawals) and has no annual fee. If you really want to maximize your rewards, you can combine Blue Cash Everyday or Blue Cash Preferred with Double Cash. Use one Blue Card for groceries and gas, and Double Cash for everything else.

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