Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review

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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a serious cash back credit card that rewards consumers up to 6.0% cash back on select purchases. This shiny card is designed for those looking to earn serious cash back rewards.
  • Annual Fee:
    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    0% on purchases for 12 months

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Need a new cash back rewards card, but tired of cards with overall low cash back rates? You can always go for a cash back rewards card that features higher cash back rates for rotating categories, but that takes a lot of time and attention.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers some of the benefits of both types of cash back cards.

It offers higher than average cash back rates for specific categories, but the categories never change so you always know how to maximize your reward rate. Let’s take a closer look at this rewards card in detail.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Top tier cash back rewards rates for grocery purchases, subscription services, and gas station purchases
  • Good introductory offer and initial APR
  • Annual fee can be paid off entirely with cash back credit

Cons:

  • American Express isn’t accepted as frequently at merchants compared to Visa or MasterCard
  • Annual fee can be high after the introductory offer

What Is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express?

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a versatile and valuable cash back card that’s particularly noteworthy for its high reward rates on grocery shopping, streaming subscriptions, and other focuses.

It features a solid introductory bonus and a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, although this bumps up to $95 for every year afterward.

Creditworthiness plays a big role in what APR you can expect, which can range from 13.99% to 23.99%.

How Does Cash Back Work on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express?

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an excellent option in part because of its cash back rewards system. It’s quite generous in a few major areas – for instance, the card offers 6% cash back on any US supermarket purchases, which is far higher than the rate you’d see with competing cards.

This lasts for up to $6000 in a year, then drops down to 1% for all purchases after until the next year.

The 6% rate continues for a variety of select US streaming services, making this one of the best cash back rewards cards for plenty of Americans (after all, who doesn’t visit a grocery store or use streaming services?).

The cash back rewards don’t end there. Qualify for this card and you’ll enjoy 3% cash back on transit purchases, 3% cash back on US gas station purchases, and 1% back for all other purchases.

No matter where or when you use this card, you’ll consistently earn cash back rewards to redeem later.

Speaking of redemption, the cash back you receive comes in the form of “reward dollars”. These can then be redeemed as statement credits.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Benefits & Features

Aside from the card’s utterly phenomenal cash back rewards rates, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express also comes with a host of benefits and features to sweeten the deal.

Lucrative Sign-Up Bonus (“Welcome Offer”)

The first of these is a lucrative and welcoming sign-up bonus. For starters, you’ll enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for one year, although this unfortunately bumps up to $95 after the first year. You’ll also get a 0% APR for the first 12 months.

More importantly, new cardholders will get $300 in statement credit after you spend $3000 in purchases within the first six months.

Since you can use this card for grocery purchases as you take advantage of the high 6% cash back rate, plus enjoy lower rates for everything else, it shouldn’t be too difficult to hit this target and benefit from the welcome offer.

Blue Cash Preferred® Cash Back Rewards

The Blue Cash reward dollars can be redeemed in three different ways: statement credits, gift cards valued at $25 minimum, or for merchandise purchases.

  • Supermarket: 6% cash back up to $6000 in a year, then 1% cash back for any other purchases after. The best way to use the rewards is for supermarket purchases, which allows you to save money in a roundabout way.
  • Streaming Services: 6% cash back on select streaming services. These include services like Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, and more. Note that your streaming subscription service is not eligible for cash back if it is bundled with another product or service or is billed by a third party.
  • Transit Rewards: 3% cash back for transit purchases, which include bus tickets, train tickets, rideshare services, parking fees, and more. This is a great way to save on minor but recurring travel expenses, particularly if you have to pay a lot of fees for international travel.
  • Gas: 3% cash back at all US gas stations. Rewards are not capped, so it’s a great rewards card if you have a gas-guzzling vehicle. However, any warehouse clubs or supermarkets that include gas stations don’t count. So you won’t be able to use this card at Costco’s gas station, for example.
  • All Other Purchases: 1% cash back for all other purchases. These rewards kick in wherever the card is accepted, though the low rate means you won’t get huge rewards all that often.

Earning Cash Back

Your cash back is earned as “Blue Cash reward dollars”. Those can then be redeemed for statement credit, gift cards, or as merchandise credit at participating retailers.

At its core, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express works best when you take advantage of the high reward rates for certain purchases, like grocery purchases or streaming service subscription fees.

Odds are you’ll easily reach up to $6000 per year for the 6% supermarket rate if you use the card regularly, although you’ll still earn rewards at a slower but still meaningful rate of 1% for the rest of the year after reaching the cap.

You’ll also benefit from the 3% rate for gas station in transit purchases. Just be sure to not visit gas stations associated with grocery store chains or warehouse clubs all that often to take full advantage of the 3% cash back rate.

It’d be a slightly better card overall if you could benefit from 3% cash back at grocery store gas stations.

Then you could use the card for your entire grocery store trip, both for the groceries you purchase and for the gas you pick up on the way home.

Redeeming Cash Back

As mentioned, you have three major ways to redeem your reward dollars from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

The statement credits are the best way to benefit from the cash back program, as you’ll be able to use them to save money on grocery purchases and other regular expenses.

In this way, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can work as a money-saving tool.

Alternatively, you can use the redeemed statement credit to cover gift cards and other purchases. The points are worth about one actual dollar to one reward dollar, so the exchange rate is generous and effective if you build up enough rewards over time.

Shopping Benefits

  • Return Protection: This benefit kicks in as long as you are under $1000 in returns for the year. With this protection, you can return any eligible purchases under $300, even if the merchant itself doesn’t offer returns as a policy.
  • Purchase Protection: The card also comes with purchase protection, which covers the cost of reimbursement, repair, or replacement for up to $1000 per eligible incident. This can go up to $50,000 per year total.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Card Fees

Good news – the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express starts off with 0% APR for the first 12 months.

This is pretty common for cash back rewards cards, but then you have to contend with a variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.

As with most other cash back rewards cards, the higher your credit, the more likely you are to get a low APR.

There aren’t any balance transfer fees as the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express doesn’t offer balance transfers whatsoever.

It does allow for foreign transactions, but it saddles you with an additional 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

You’ll also want to keep the $95 annual fee in mind, which kicks in after the first year. This is a bit high compared to the regular annual fees found with other cash back cards but remember that the high grocery cash back rate can easily offset this cost if you use the card for your regular grocery trips.

Who Should Get the Blue Cash Preferred Card?

Ultimately, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is perfect for folks who want a solid cash back rewards card that can provide them with a consistent and initially high rate of return for grocery and gas/transit costs.

It’s also a good card if you want to be able to use your rewards points in flexible ways, or to pay off the cost of groceries and similar purchases regularly.

However, it’s not the best for a flatly low APR, nor is it ideal for everyday purchases. You have to use this card consciously, regularly, and within its targeted markets to take full advantage of what it offers.

How Does the Blue Cash Card Compare to Other Cash Back Cards?

Not sure if the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is right for you? You might be interested in these other cash back rewards cards.

#1. Citi® Double Cash Card vs Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Citi® Double Cash Card comes with a generous 2% cash back on all purchases, so you don’t have to use the card for certain purchases like you do with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

You get 1% cash back when you make the purchase and 1% cash back when you pay off the card using the Double Cash Card’s system. It includes a $0 annual fee but no welcoming offer.

#2. Discover it® Cash Back Card

The Discover it® Cash Back Card also comes with a $0 annual fee, plus a slightly lower variable APR between 11.99% and 22.99%.

This card offers 5% cash back on rotating categories; the categories rotate each quarter include things like grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and even Amazon.com.

Each quarter features a maximum after activation, but you also benefit from 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

#3. Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers 5% cash back on eligible purchases within a variety of rotating categories, plus 5% cash back on any travel purchases through Chase.

An additional 3% cash back for dining and drugstore purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases makes this one of the most potentially valuable cash back rewards cards on the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Worth the Annual Fee?

Absolutely, provided you take advantage of the 6% cash back rate up to $6000 at grocery stores. Do this and you’ll be able to pay off the annual fee every year instead of coming out of your own pocket.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Get the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express?

You’ll need a decent credit score of 690 at minimum to get approved for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

What Are the Cash Back Categories for the Blue Cash Preferred?

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers cash back categories in grocery store purchases, gas station purchases, transit purchases, streaming service subscriptions, and all other purchases.

Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express a Charge Card?

No, it’s a regular credit card with a cash back rewards program.

What Is the Difference Between the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express?

The Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express offers a lower but more uniform cash back rate for all purchases rather than a higher rate for purchases at grocery stores and other categories.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is better if you spend more than $61 a week at the grocery store.

Bottom Line: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Review

All in all, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a solid cash back rewards card, particularly for family-focused applicants who spend a lot of time and money at the grocery store or at gas stations.

Take the time to use this card for what it’s designed for and you’ll benefit from maximum rewards rates and plenty of statement credit you can redeem as you please.

Drew Cheneler
Drew Cheneler
Drew is a recognized Credit, Small Business, and Personal Finance Expert. He has been quoted in CNBC, Fox Business News Section, The Huffington Post, Business.com, Moneyunder30, US Chamber of Commerce, and more. He is known for breaking down complex personal finance topics into action-oriented advice, so you can make the most of your hard-earned money.