Okay, so I KNOW that Costco, Target and Walmart are considered "big box stores" and therefore, the 6% reward for grocery stores does not count on my American Express Blue Cash Preferred card. Does anyone know if "Smart & Final" is also considered a "big box store"? I tried calling the number on the back of my card and after burning up a lot of cell phone minutes I finally got a representative who answered my question with a surly "I don't know." Apparently, they have no list of grocery stores and/or there is no list to go by in order to know where one can shop for groceries and get the rewards. I understand that I will get the rewards when I shop at Safeway, Ralphs, Albertsons, even Trader Joes, etc., but -- I'm just wondering if Smart & Final is allowed? Anyone here know?
Either do a simple test on your BCP, or call that store manager and ask about which MCC are they using. To quality for grocery transaction, they must be using 5411 as MCC.
Just look it up in your online account management. Go to the Recent Transactions area and click on the [+] next to the transaction to view all the details and you will see the merchant category they are using for American Express. Sometimes this shows up on your monthly statement, too, but that seems to be pretty hit-or-miss. What you are looking for is the "Merchandise & Supplies - Grocery" category. Example.
AMEX doesn't care about the MCC. They have a list on their site of the MCC's, but they(and Discover) will make their own determination unlike most cards the use Visa and Mastercard networks. That's why Super Walmarts and Targets with dedicated grocery sections and the 5411 code will not count.
As long as the place you are shopping is primarily a grocer, you will likely be good to go with AMEX, but you might want to test all of your local favs just to be sure.
This method has always been accurate for me. I've gone as far as to export all of my transactions to a spreadsheet and do the calculations based on the reported category from the AMEX web site, and add it up. Backing out the delay in posting to the cash back balance, it's been accurate to within a dollar or so.
Thank you for ALL your responses!
My BCP account is new so I did not know what to look for or where. Thank you for giving me an example.
Smart & Final is sort of a speciality store here in California -- they have the LARGE PORTION sizes of groceries at great prices. For instance, if you buy a can of corn there, that one can will be huge and will feed like 20 people. They only carry "groceries" which made me think they "might" fall into the right category for the BCP rewards. I will just have to follow your suggestion and buy a few things there and see how it shakes out.