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Amex Blue Cash Preferred card review: A big bonus and 6% cash back at supermarkets is hard to beat

 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressSummary List PlacementTable of Contents: Masthead Sticky Review: Is the Blue Cash Preferred the best card for you? If you spend a lot on groceries, streaming, or commuting, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the best cash-back credit cards for getting...

 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressSummary List PlacementTable of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Review: Is the Blue Cash Preferred the best card for you?

If you spend a lot on groceries, streaming, or commuting, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the best cash-back credit cards for getting the biggest return for your purchases.

Along with offering a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% back on your first $6,000 in U.S. supermarket spending each year (then 1% back), which is the best of any cash-back card on the market. You’ll also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back on U.S. gas stations and transit, and 1% back on all other eligible purchases.

 

The card does come with an annual fee of $95 (waived the first year if you apply by 12/10/2020) Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Rates & Fees, but it’s well worth it if your expenses match with the card’s bonus categories. If you max out the U.S. supermarkets 6% cash-back category by spending $6,000 per year (or $500 a month, on average), you’d earn $360 in cash back from those purchases alone.

Before you decide if the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is right for you, be sure to consider other cash-back cards with bonus categories that might also fit your spending habits. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers a bonus of Chase Freedom Unlimited® and has a Chase Freedom Unlimited® annual fee, and it earns 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% back on everything else with no spending caps.

Comparison: American Express Blue Cash Preferred vs other Amex cards

 

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee

$95 (waived the first year if you apply by 12/10/2020)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (See Rates) Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Rewards earning

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets*

6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions

3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit

1% back on all other purchases

3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets*

2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores

1% back on all other purchases

3x points at U.S. supermarkets*

2x points at U.S. gas stations

1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

$250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from account opening

$200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from account opening

15,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from account opening
Foreign transaction fee

Yes Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Rates & Fees

Yes (See Rates) Yes
Intro APR offer 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Rates & Fees 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months, then Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (See Rates) 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
  Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Learn more

*6%/3% cash back/3x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1% back/1 point per dollar

Comparison: American Express Blue Cash Preferred vs other cash-back cards

 

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Citi® Double Cash Card
Annual fee

$95 (waived the first year if you apply by 12/10/2020)

$0 $0
Rewards earning

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets*

6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions

3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit

1% back on all other purchases

5% cash back (5x points) on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% cash back (3x points) on dining and drugstore purchases

1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on everything else

1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% cash back when you pay your bill 

Welcome bonus

$250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from account opening

$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening 

 N/A
Foreign transaction fee

Yes Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Rates & Fees

 Yes Yes 
Intro APR offer 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months, then a 14.99%–23.74% variable APR  0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR 
  Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Chase Freedom Unlimited® Citi® Double Cash Card

*6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1% back

How to use rewards from the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a straightforward cash-back credit card that doesn’t offer a lot of options for redeeming your rewards.

 

The cash back you earn from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is issued in the form of reward dollars, which you can apply to your account as a statement credit once your balance is $25 or more. However, you can’t use your rewards toward the minimum payment due.

You can’t redeem your rewards directly for travel like you could if you had an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points, like the American Express® Gold Card, or transfer them to airline or hotel partners.

If you prefer to only earn cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a star. Not only do you earn 6% back on your first $6,000 spent in U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1%), but you also earn 6% back (with no caps) on streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify. You’ll also earn an unlimited 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, which includes everything from Lyft and Uber to train fares, tolls, and subways.

Suppose you are the average family who spends a lot more than $6,000 per year (or $500 per month) at the supermarket. In fact, you spend $10,000 per year at Kroger or Whole Foods. With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you would earn $360 in cash back on the first $6,000 you spent and another $40 back earning 1% beyond the $6,000 cap each year. That’s $400 already in the bank.

 

Now imagine you spend another $100 per month at U.S. gas stations — at 3% back, that’s another $36 per year. Put $30 per month ($360 per year) in streaming services on the card, and you’re approaching $500 per year — and that’s not counting any other regular spending on the card or the $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. This is why the annual fee is worth it — especially the first year.

If you maximize the 6% back at U.S. supermarkets, you’ll get $360 in rewards every year at a bare minimum. That’s more than enough to make up for the annual fee — and a lot more than you’d earn with a standard 1% cash-back credit card.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred card benefits and features

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express doesn’t offer a long list of features like The Platinum Card® from American Express and other premium cards, but it does offer a handful of helpful perks.

Intro APR offer

The card offers a 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months of account opening, followed by a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See Rates).

 

This is helpful if you have big purchases coming up you’d like to pay for over time without racking up big interest charges, but make sure you have the means and a plan to pay off the balance before the introductory period expires. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a lot of high-interest debt.

Travel coverage and assistance

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express isn’t the card to use if you want comprehensive travel coverage like trip delay protection, but it does feature the following benefits:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance – This is secondary coverage, not primary car rental insurance, so it kicks in after your own car insurance policy
  • Global Assist Hotline — You can contact this hotline for Amex cardholders for help coordinating assistance like medical referrals, translation services, and other urgent needs when you’re on the road, but you’re responsible for any third-party charges

Shopping benefits

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express features a handful of protections that can come in handy when you shop with the card:

  • Return protection — If you purchase an item with this card and the original seller won’t accept a return, this coverage can get you up to $300 per eligible item (with a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year) for up to 90 days from the purchase date
  • Purchase protectionIf an eligible item you purchased with this card is stolen or damaged, you can get reimbursed, up to $1,000 per purchase and up to 90 days from the purchase date (up to $50,000 per calendar year)
  • ShopRunner membership — You can get a free membership to ShopRunner, which gets you two-day shipping and returns with a wide variety of online retailers

Amex Offers

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers access to the Amex Offers program. Amex Offers can get you cash back or bonus points when you shop with specific retailers and travel brands. You can view all your available offers by logging into your card account and scrolling down. Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming

American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

American Express Blue Cash Preferred fees and costs

Aside from the annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a few other fees you’ll want to be aware of, though most of them are avoidable if you pay your balance off in full each month.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening, but after that you’ll pay a 12.99% to 23.99% variable APR.

As with most other cards, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges fees for late payments, returned payments, and cash advances (See Rates). It’s not a good choice for international purchases because it adds foreign transaction fees (See Rates).

Related Content Module: More Credit Card Coverage

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