Is the Chase Instacart Mastercard worth it?

With recent changes in our economy, many credit card issuers are offering rewards focused on recession-prone categories like groceries, dining, fuel, and travel. The latest newcomer to the scene is the Chase Instacart Mastercard®.

This card offers a high cash back rate on Instacart purchases, but is it really worth what it offers? We’ll look at some key card features and benefits to help you decide if it deserves a place in your wallet.

Chase Instacart Mastercard Highlights:

  • Reward rate: 5% cash back on purchases made on Instacart.com and the Instacart app with partner retail brands; 5% cash back on Chase Travel Center purchases; 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and on some streaming services; 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Get a free year of Instacart+ and $100 Instacart credit automatically upon approval; automatic membership renewal (conditions apply)
  • Annual subscription: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.49% to 25.24%

At 5% back, this card offers unusually high rewards for online delivery, which includes many partner grocery, electronics, sporting goods, pharmacy, and warehouse club retailers (and more again – the full list of Instacart retailers can be found here). However, the rewards don’t stop there.

You can also earn money on gas station expenses, restaurants, and some streaming services, as shown above. You’ll also earn 5% back on purchases made when using your card in the Chase Travel Center. All purchases made outside of these bonus categories always earn 1% back.

Pros and Notable Benefits of Chase Instacart Mastercard

If you have the time to check out our Instacart Mastercard benefits guide, you’ll find out everything this card has to offer. If you’re short on time, we’ll do a quick breakdown of the card’s benefits below.

welcome bonus

Although there are other cashback cards that offer more attractive welcome bonuses of $200, $300 or more, we’ll give this one a pass because it’s a card without annual fees. Also, the welcome bonus is worth $199 with $100 credit for Instacart order and free Instacart+ subscription, normally $99 per year. After one year, your membership will automatically renew.

Earn rewards

Most of the best credit cards for groceries focus on merchant codes specifically for grocery retailers. Although Instacart is primarily known for offering grocery delivery, the delivery service is constantly expanding its network of partner retailers.

This means you can get delivery of products such as electronics, sports equipment, household items, pet care products, cosmetics and much more. Yes, the delivery options are nice, but even nicer is the 5% back you earn on these items. That means you can earn 5% on things like computers and wearable tech from Best Buy or gardening supplies from Lowe’s.

Redeem rewards

Another benefit of this card is the flexible nature of its rewards. Your repayment options include:

  • Gift cards
  • Travel through the Chase Travel Center
  • Direct deposit or statement credit
  • A credit note for all or part of your Instacart orders

There is no minimum rewards balance required for direct deposits, statement credits, or Instacart orders.

Costs

This card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, but there are other fees you should be aware of. While you get a service fee discount on all orders with your Instacart+ subscription, you may pay other fees, including:

  • High fees
  • Long distance service charges
  • Alcohol service charge
  • Priority charge
  • Pickup Fee (at select retailers)

Additionally, you may notice that some items may be priced higher than what you would see if you were physically buying from a store.

Other card benefits

Instacart+ subscription

With the Instacart Mastercard, you will get a free Instacart+ subscription (which usually costs $99 per year or $9.99 per month). An Instacart+ subscription means you’ll have zero delivery charges for orders of $35 or more, plus reduced service fees.

Travel and purchase protections

You also get travel insurance and purchase protection benefits with your Instacart Mastercard, including travel accident insurance and emergency assistance services, baggage delay insurance, purchase protection, a reimbursement for lost luggage, roadside assistance and extended warranty protection.

Benefits of the World Elite Mastercard

This card also includes World Elite Mastercard benefits, such as:

  • Mobile phone protection
  • Zero liability protection (for fraudulent transactions)
  • 24/7 concierge service
  • Free ShopRunner Membership
  • Mastercard Identity Theft Protection
  • Discounts with brands like Lyft, Fandango and DoorDash
  • Access to car, air, cruise and vacation packages, as well as the Mastercard luxury hotel and resort portfolio

Is the Instacart Mastercard worth it?

As always, analyzing whether this card is worth it depends on how you will use it and your personal goals for saving time and money. Below, we’ll look at an example spend that breaks down how rewards compare to credit cards with a similar rewards pattern in common spend categories:

  • Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card: 3X points on purchases of restaurants, travel, gas stations, public transportation, popular streaming services, and phone plans; 1X points on other purchases
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 3X points on meals (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Lyft Rides (Lyft offer until March 31, 2025); 2X points on other trips; 1X points on all other purchases
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: 3% cash back at US supermarkets, US gas stations and US online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per calendar year of purchases in each category (then 1%); 1% discount on other purchases
Online Grocery/Supermarket Spending $6,000 $300 $60 $180 $180
To eat $4,800 $96 $144 $144 $48
Gas $3,600 $72 $108 $36 $108
Travel expenses/travel portal $1,000 $50 $30 $50 $10
Streaming Services $1,200 $24 $36 $36 $12
Online purchase/delivery $2,400 $120 $24 $24 $72
Mobile phone bill $2,400 $24 $72 $24 $24
All other expenses $6,000 $60 $60 $60 $60
welcome bonus $199 $300 $600 $200
Annual fee/additional costs -114$* $0 -95$ $0
Year One Reward Value $831 $834 $1,059 $714
Value of ongoing rewards $632 $534 $459 $514

Although this is a simplified example, you can see that there is not much difference in the value you will get from Instacart Mastercard and Membership compared to other cards. When you add the 1.9% service charge on your Instacart orders, it reduces some of the rewards you earn with your Instacart card.

After the first year, you won’t get a welcome bonus or free Instacart+ membership, so the value you get from the card decreases even more. That being said, we believe that consumers who use Instacart do so for more reasons than to save money: to save time. Time savings is something that we can’t easily quantify in our example, but it’s something that you can perhaps attach a value to yourself.

Just for the time saving, you might be a fan of Instacart, despite the extra fees. If so, getting the Instacart Mastercard would offer a slight discount and cash back on a service you would indulge in regardless, even without rewards.

Who should get the Instacart Mastercard?

Based on the analysis above, this card may not be the life-changing credit card you thought, especially if you were looking to claw back massive amounts on groceries and delivery services. We think the real benefit might be for people who already use Instacart and wouldn’t mind a few extra nominal incentives to keep doing so. So if you like to save time and a bit of money, we think it can’t hurt to try this card out as there’s no annual cost to carry it.

The bottom line

We were really excited about the debut of the Instacart Mastercard. However, after a bit more analysis, we found that some of the value of this card is wiped out by the potential fees you might incur for using the service regularly. If you want this card to jump-start your Instacart usage while saving money in the process, the value proposition isn’t really there.

However, if you’re short on time more than money and would use Instacart anyway, we think this card is more like “the icing on the cake.” The Instacart Mastercard simply gives you the opportunity to earn rewards on a service that is valuable to you anyway.