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.
While Amex is known for their great points earning cards (especially those earning Membership Rewards points), they also have some great cards that earn cash back. In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at one of those cards, which was rebranded earlier this year.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card basics for January 2020
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a premium cash back credit card that offers up to 6% cash back, that has a good welcome bonus, and that gives you access to some other perks.
However, this card isn’t for everyone, so let’s take a closer look at who should and shouldn’t consider this card for their spending.
$250 Statement Credit Welcome Bonus
The Blue Cash Preferred offers a welcome bonus of a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months. That’s a reasonable spending requirement for earning the bonus.
$95 Annual Fee
The Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees) putting it in line with many other mid-range credit cards.
0% Intro APR
The card offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, so if you do take advantage of this, make sure you can pay back the full amount within that period (Rates & Fees).
Card Eligibility & Approval
The welcome bonus and 0% intro APR are 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 five American Express credit cards at any point (this doesn’t include charge cards)
See this post for all major credit card application restrictions to be aware of.
2.7% Foreign Transaction Fees
I wouldn’t recommend using this card outside of the US (or for purchases in foreign currencies), given that the card has foreign transaction 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 Supermarkets
The card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on the first $6,000 spent 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.
Earn 6% cash back on groceries (so you can cook from the United Polaris cookbook)
6% Cash Back On Streaming Subscriptions
The card offers 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. For those wondering what U.S. streaming subscriptions are eligible for 6%, below is the current list. You can find the updated list here, as it’s subject to change.
- Amazon Music
- Apple Music
- CBS All Access
- Direct TV Now
- Fubo TV
- HBO Now
- Kindle Unlimited
- NBA League Pass
- Prime Video Unlimited
- Sling TV
- SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
- YouTube Music Premium
- YouTube Premium
- YouTube TV
3% Cash Back On Transit
The card offers 3% cash back on transit, which includes taxis, ridesharing, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more.
Earn 3% cash back on ridesharing
3% Cash Back At Gas Stations
The card offers 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Note that this doesn’t include gas purchased from superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gas.
1% Cash Back On Other Purchases
For any purchases not in the above categories, the card offers 1% cash back. While the bonus categories offer some great returns, the 1% cash back isn’t so good. There are other cards that offer 2% cash back on all your spending.
Redeeming Blue Cash Preferred Rewards
With the card 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
One of my favorite features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which offers savings on purchases with all kinds 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.
Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can access these offers by logging into your account and scrolling down to the bottom of your account summary page.
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.
The 6% cash back on streaming subscriptions, 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
Amex has both the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Preferred. What are the differences, and would you be better off with the Blue Cash Everyday?
- The Blue Cash Everyday has a $0 annual fee (Rates & Fees), compared to a $95 annual fee
- The Blue Cash Everyday has a $150 welcome bonus, rather than a $250 welcome bonus
- The Blue Cash Everyday offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per year), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on other purchases
In my opinion, the Blue Cash Preferred is well worth the annual fee. You’ll get a bigger bonus right from the beginning, and the 3% difference in cash back on grocery store spending will add up quickly.
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, which offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase.
How Does The Savor Rewards Card Compare?
In my opinion, one competing credit card is the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers a welcome bonus of up to $300, and offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on everything else. The card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year.
So the Savor is generally better if you dine out a lot, while the Blue Cash Preferred is better if you buy a lot of groceries.
If you spend a lot on groceries and want to earn cash back, then the Blue Cash Preferred is for you. The card offers up to 6% cash back on that spending, and also offers bonuses on streaming services, transit, and gas stations.
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.
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).