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Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review

Earning Rewards

Approximate annual rewards value: $483

First-year rewards value: $733

These are the rewards you can earn with this card:

  • 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in yearly purchases at U.S. supermarkets, not including superstores or warehouse clubs.
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% cash back on transit, including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains and buses.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, not including gas stations at superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs.
  • 1% back on all other eligible purchases.

This rewards structure can be great if you spend a lot in the high-earning categories, but the rewards category restrictions can make it less appealing.

If you do the majority of your grocery shopping at superstores or warehouse clubs, you won’t benefit as much from the 6% cash back at grocery stores as these aren’t considered supermarkets. After you’ve reached the $6,000 limit per year on this reward category, it defaults to 1% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases.

Similarly, if your U.S. streaming service is bundled with another product or billed through a third party, it may not qualify for the 6% cash back reward, and airfare, car rentals and cruises are not eligible for the 3% transit reward.

It’s also worth noting that these rewards categories are only applicable to purchases within the U.S. Supermarkets, streaming services and gas stations outside of the U.S. do not qualify. In fact, they’re likely to incur the 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

Also, if you prefer to earn points for travel or shopping, rather than statement credits, you may not value the cash back rewards as much as a points card or cash back card that offers a cash redemption.

You can earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. That’s competitive for a cash back card, but keep in mind the annual fee will chip away at that value starting in the second year.

How much you can earn with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express will depend on how much you spend in the rewards categories. Based on average spending data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and analysis on streaming service and public transit expenditures, Blue Cash Preferred Card users can earn about $703 in their first year. In subsequent years, you can expect to earn closer to $400 in cash back after netting the annual fee.

Expenditure Annual cost Cash back earning rate Annual cash back earned
Groceries $4,600 6% per year $276
Dining $3,500 1% $35
Apparel and services $1,900 1% $35
Flights and hotels $1,100 1% $19
Gas $1,900 3% per year $57
Transit $523 3% per year $16
Entertainment $3,100 1% $31
Streaming services $170 6% per year $10
Personal care products and services $800 1% $8
All other expenditures $2,000 1% $20
Total annual cash back $483
Bonus cash back $300
Total first-year value $783

Values for each spending category are based on average data from the 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Each category is rounded to the nearest $100.

Redeeming Rewards

Cash back rewards on the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express are only redeemable as statement credits, although Amex may occasionally offer other redemption options, such as gift cards or merchandise, at their discretion. You can redeem rewards whenever your reward balance is $25 or more. Rewards cannot be used to pay your minimum balance due.

Benefits

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers several other benefits to cardholders, including:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: This covers your rental for damage or theft if you pay for the entire rental with your Blue Cash Preferred Card and decline the collision damage waiver.
  • Global assist hotline: Get access to 24/7 medical, legal, financial and other emergency assistance and coordination services when you travel more than 100 miles from home.
  • Return protection: American Express can refund up to $300 per item to a maximum of $1,000 per card member account per year on eligible domestic purchases made entirely with your Blue Cash Preferred Card within 90 days of purchase.
  • American Express experiences: Use this service for exclusive access to ticket presales in select cities.
  • Fraud protection: This service protects you against fraudulent charges, with no liability.

APR

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers a 0% introductory APR promotion. You’ll pay no interest on purchases for 12 months and then an APR of 13.99% – 23.99% Variable, depending on your creditworthiness.

The card’s Pay It Plan It feature can be helpful in paying down small balances but dangerous for larger purchases. With Pay It, you can quickly tap a purchase in the mobile app that is for less than $100 to make payments throughout the month. Plan It is the reverse of this: You can select purchases that are $100 or more and have them split up to make monthly payments for a fixed monthly fee instead of interest charges. This can be a good deal if the monthly fee is less than you would pay in interest. Of course, an even better strategy would be to pay off your balance in full every month so you never have to pay more than necessary for your purchases.

Card Fees

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee, which can erode the other card benefits. Depending on your spending habits, though, you could net enough cash back from the rewards categories to make up for the annual fee.

The card also charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Worth It

If your spending habits align with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you can most likely get a good value from this card. But do the math to make sure it’s still worth it to carry this card once the annual fee applies.

Should You Get the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

  • Spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets or on streaming services.
  • Need an introductory 0% APR promotion on purchases.
  • Like to use your rewards to pay off your credit card balance.
  • Think you can earn over $95 per year in the rewards categories to make up for the annual fee.

Other Cards to Review

Annual fee: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has a a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee. The Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee.

Rewards: With the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, cash back rewards are available at a rate of 6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis, ride-hailing services, parking and buses), and 1% on other purchases. The Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% cash back on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: New cardholders with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express can earn a $300 statement credit by spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can earn $200 in bonus cash back as long as they spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Benefits: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has benefits including car rental loss and damage insurance and return protection. The Chase Freedom Flex gives cardholders purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and zero liability coverage.

FAQs About the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Q: Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express worth it?

A: To make the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express worth the $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee, you’d need to earn more than that plus the value you can get from a credit card with no fee. The best way to decide if a credit card is worth it is to do the math based on your spending history. Calculate how much you expect to earn in cash back, subtracting the annual fee, then compare that to how much you’d earn on a comparable card with no annual fee.

Q: Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express a charge card?

A: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is not a charge card. Cardholders are not required to pay the full balance each billing payment, but if you don’t do so, you will be charged interest on your remaining balance at an APR of 13.99% – 23.99% Variable.

A: The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers lower rewards than the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, but compensates for this with no annual fee. With the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express you pay a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). You’ll get 6% back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. streaming services, 3% back on transit and at U.S. gas stations, and 1% back on all other purchases. The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express has no annual fee but only gives 3% back at U.S. supermarkets, 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. If you don’t spend enough in the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express rewards categories to earn at least $95 more in rewards than you would with the Everyday Card, the Everyday Card may be a better choice for you.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here

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