Personally, I love earning points for my credit card spending, though understandably a lot of people prefer to earn cash back. After all, you can spend cash back for anything you’d like, including travel. We’re especially seeing some people switch to cash back cards due to the pandemic, which is causing many to rethink their credit card strategy.
While American Express is known for its excellent points earning cards (especially those earning Membership Rewards points), the issuer also has several great cash back cards.
In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at one of those cards, which even has an increased bonus and waived annual fee at the moment. This card could seriously be worth picking up.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card Basics For September 2021
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a premium cash back credit card that has a great welcome bonus, offers up to 6% cash back, and gives you access to some other potentially useful perks.
However, this card isn’t for everyone, so let’s take a closer look at who should and shouldn’t consider the Blue Cash Preferred for their spending.
Up to $350 Statement Credit Welcome Bonus
The Blue Cash Preferred offers a two-part welcome bonus of up to $350 in statement credits. The bonus breakdown is:
- Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back.
- Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
$0 Introductory Annual Fee For One Year, Then $95
The Blue Cash Preferred has a $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 (Rates & Fees), putting it in line with many other mid-range credit cards, but it has the benefit of being able to try the card for a year before having to pay an annual fee.
Card Eligibility & Approval
The welcome bonus on the Blue Cash Preferred is only available to those who haven’t had the card before.
I find that Amex cards are fairly easy to be approved for, for those with excellent credit. Just make sure you know that:
- You can be approved for at most two Amex cards in a 90 day period
- You can have at most four American Express credit cards at any point (this doesn’t include hybrid cards); this limit used to be five cards, but for the time being seems to have been lowered to four
2.7% Foreign Transaction Fees
I wouldn’t recommend using the Blue Cash Preferred outside of the U.S. (or for purchases in foreign currencies), given that the card has foreign transaction fees of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars (Rates & Fees). There are lots of other great cards with no foreign transaction fees.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card Rewards
If you’re considering getting the Blue Cash Preferred Card, the reason to do it is because of the excellent cash back bonus categories that the card offers. With this card you can earn anywhere from 1% to 6% cash back, depending on the category that you’re spending money in.
Let’s take a closer look at how that works.
6% Cash Back At U.S. Supermarkets
The Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 of spending every calendar year. After that, you earn 1% cash back. As far as I’m concerned this is the single best cash back credit card for grocery store spending.
6% Cash Back On Streaming
The Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. For those wondering what U.S. streaming subscriptions are eligible for 6% (subject to change), here is the current list:
- Amazon Music Unlimited
- Apple Music
- Apple TV+
- AT&T TV Now
- CBS All Access
- Fubo TV
- HBO Max
- HBO Now
- Kindle Unlimited
- NBA League Pass
- Prime Video
- Sling TV
- SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
- TIDAL Music
- YouTube Music Premium
- YouTube Premium
- YouTube TV
3% Cash Back On Transit
The Blue Cash Preferred offers 3% cash back on transit, which includes taxis, ridesharing, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more.
3% Cash Back On Gas
The Blue Cash Preferred offers 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations with no caps. Note that this doesn’t include gas purchased from superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell fuel. That makes this one of the better cards for gas station purchases.
1% Cash Back On Other Purchases
For any purchases not in the above categories, the Blue Cash Preferred offers 1% cash back. While the bonus categories offer some great returns, the 1% cash back is disappointing. There are other cards that offer 2%+ cash back on all your spending.
Redeeming Blue Cash Preferred Rewards
With the Blue Cash Preferred you earn Blue Cash Rewards Dollars. You can redeem these Dollars for statement credits whenever your available balance is $25 or more.
You cannot use cash back to pay your minimum due.
Purchase and Warranty Protection
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card offers some potentially valuable purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. While you’ll want to check your cardmember agreement for all the details, you can potentially expect:
- Purchase protection, offering protection on eligible purchases that are accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost; valid for up to 90 days, and $1,000 per occurrence, and $50,000 per calendar year
- Extended warranty, where you can get up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty, for warranties of five years or less
The Blue Cash Preferred gets you access to the phenomenal Amex Offers program, which can save you money on purchases with a variety of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so that you can get these offers on multiple cards. Across cards, this benefit saves me hundreds of dollars per year.
Is The Amex Blue Cash Preferred Worth It?
If you’re someone who is looking to earn cash back and spends a lot at supermarkets, then the Blue Cash Preferred Card is an exceptional choice, in my opinion — 6% cash back will add up quickly. Add in the waived annual fee for the first year and excellent bonus, and picking up this card becomes even more compelling.
The 6% cash back on streaming, and 3% cash back on transit and gas stations, will add up quickly as well. However, this isn’t the card I would be using for your everyday spending, as you’d only earn 1% cash back in the categories that aren’t eligible for bonuses.
So, let’s take a look at what other cards you should potentially be considering.
Showdown: Blue Cash Everyday Vs. Blue Cash Preferred
- The Blue Cash Everyday has an ongoing $0 annual fee (Rates & Fees), compared to a $95 annual fee you’ll pay on the Blue Cash Preferred after the first year of card membership where it is $0
- The Blue Cash Everyday has a $250 welcome bonus, versus a $350 welcome bonus
- The Blue Cash Everyday offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per year, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases
In my opinion, the Blue Cash Preferred is well worth the ongoing annual fee, as the 3% bump in cash back at U.S. Supermarkets will add up quickly.
Furthermore, you could always apply for the Blue Cash Preferred, and if the card isn’t working for you after a year, you can downgrade it to the Blue Cash Everyday.
Simple No Annual Fee Cash Back Card
If you’re just looking for the simplest cash back credit card, it’s tough to go wrong with the Citi® Double Cash Card (review). The card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase. Best of all, you can even convert these rewards into ThankYou points at the rate of one cent per point.
Blue Cash Preferred Bottom Line
If you spend a lot on groceries and want to earn cash back, then the Blue Cash Preferred is for you. Personally, I don’t have this card because I value earning rewards towards travel, but for those who don’t want to get involved in the complexities of miles & points, this is an excellent card.
This is a particularly good time to pick up the card, given the improved welcome bonus and waived annual fee for the first year.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).