Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express: Benefits And Basics
To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page.
The annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express;sets a high bar for its rewards. You can clear it fairly easily if you regularly spend a lot at the supermarket, the gas pump, or on commuting. And if you earn the card’s bonus offer for new cardholders, your first year-plus with the card will cost you nothing. Here are the card’s top features:
The industry-leading cash-back rate at supermarkets;is this card’s;primary allure. You get 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 a year in spending. After you hit the cap, supermarket spending;earns 1%. Terms apply.
The average U.S. household of four spends about $6,200 on food at home annually and hundreds more on housekeeping supplies and personal care products that are also common purchases in supermarkets, according to the most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So a family of four could easily max out their 6% rewards, which alone is worth $360 in cash back.
Big rewards on eligible Streaming services
The 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations is also among the;highest you can get anywhere and those rewards aren’t capped. That’s a boon for car;commuters;and owners of gas-guzzling vehicles. However, restrictions;apply here, too.
BONUS OFFER FOR NEW CARDHOLDERS
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase
Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
N/A for purchases and balance transfers
17.24% to 24.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers
Balance transfer fee
3% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR
Foreign transaction fee
If you are searching for luxury perks that match the luxurious feel of a sturdier and heavier metal card, this low-annual-fee travel card will get you there.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ranks as one of our top credit cards for travel and rewards. It has a reasonable $95 annual fee.
Frequent travelers can earn 5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and unlimited 2X miles on every dollar spent, as well as up to a $100 credit forGlobal Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years.
This metal credit card also offers a modest welcome bonus for new cardholders: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Compare American Express Blue Cash Cards: Annual Fee
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express doesnt charge an annual fee and still has rewards rates that are competitive with other cashback cards on the market. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. We would argue that even though you’ll eventually have to pay an annual fee, the amplified American Express Blue Cash rewards rates blow the competition out of the water and can result in the latter card being the more valuable option.
If youre wondering if the annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is worth it, think about how much you spend on groceries. If you spend at least $3,200 per year at U.S. supermarkets , you should choose the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
Heres the math to show you why:
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: $3,200 x $0.06 – $95 annual fee = $97 cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: $3,200 x $0.03 = $96 cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases
Moreover, if you spend enough at supermarkets to reach the $6,000 cap , the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the clear winner. Youll earn $360 back on U.S. supermarket purchases per year or $265 with the annual fee subtracted . Thats much better than the $180 per year that you would earn with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
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Do You Qualify For A Welcome Offer From American Express
If you’ve opened and closed a lot of credit cards in the past, you may be ineligible to receive the welcome offer on the American Express Cash Magnet® Card. The cards offer terms state that Amex may consider the number of cards you’ve opened or closed as well as other factors before making a decision on whether you’re eligible for the welcome bonus.
American Express has a strict once-in-a-lifetime-rule, which restricts cardholders from earning a welcome offer for a specific credit card more than one time. This prevents cardholders from canceling a card and reapplying just to earn the welcome bonus
Whats The Difference Between The Blue Cash Preferred And The Blue Cash Everyday
The main differences lie in their rewards and fees. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% at U.S. supermarkets compared to the Preferreds 6%, only earns 1% on streaming services, and earns 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores.
However, theres also no annual fee, compared to the Preferreds $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 fee.
It also lacks the return protection, extended warranty, and rental car insurance protections, but the other benefits are the same.
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Pairing The Blue Cash Preferred With Other Rewards Cards
Because the Blue Cash Preferred card comes with generous cash back rates in several popular bonus categories, it makes an excellent pair for other rewards cards. If you dont mind juggling a few different credit cards to maximize your cash back, pairing the Blue Cash Preferred card with another card that offers a good flat rate of cash back can be a great way to boost yearly rewards.
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For example, imagine you have both the Blue Cash Preferred card and the Citi® Double Cash Card which offers 1% cash back on general purchases and an additional 1% cash back when you pay your bill on time . If you use the Blue Cash Preferred card for all its bonus category purchases and the Citi Double Cash Card for general purchases, youll earn the following rewards rate:
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.
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You Want To Earn Cash Back
This is obviously the first thing you should consider deciding if the Blue Cash Preferred is right for you.;The age-old question, especially for many card beginners: is it better to earn points for your purchases or earn cash back?
If you want to travel and your top priority is getting the most value out of a credit card, you should get a points- or miles-earning card. You can get a far greater return out of a points rewards card from maximizing the perks and redemption options when compared to most cash-back cards.
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But not everyone has travel as a priority right now. Additionally, not everyone has the time or inclination to put much effort into tracking spending and redemption strategies, which is where cash-back cards like the Blue Cash Preferred come in. Theres the amazing simplicity of earning and redeeming a flat amount and you always know what to expect when redeeming.
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 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership, plus $150 back as a statement credit after you spend $3,000 on the Card within the first 6 months, the;Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% back on your first $6,000 in U.S. supermarket spending each year , 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 $0 intro for the first year, then $95 , 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 , you’d earn $360 in cash back from those purchases alone.
Bottom line: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an excellent cash-back card for consumers who spend a lot of money at U.S. supermarkets, use streaming services, or have lots of commuting and gas expenses. The annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95 is worth it if your typical spending lines up with the card’s bonus categories.
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When You Should Get The Blue Cash Preferred
For the vast majority of those looking for their next rewards credit card, the Blue Cash Preferred is the better choice.
For starters, youre getting a higher welcome offer worth up to $350, as youll also earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases for up to $200 cash back, and an additional $150 back after you spend $3,000 both within the first six months of card membership. But youre also getting a higher earning rate in several categories an extra 3% at U.S. supermarkets, an extra 1% at U.S. gas stations, and additional bonus categories in transit and streaming services.
Related: 3 reasons why the Amex Blue Cash Preferred comes out on top during the pandemic
Lets say you spend an average of $150 per month on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, $80 on select U.S. streaming services, $150 on gas in the U.S. and/or transit combined and $100 at select U.S. department stores which evens out to a modest $480 in card spending per month within the potential bonus categories. With the Blue Cash Preferred, that would mean earning $231.60 in rewards over the course of the year. The Blue Cash Everyday would earn $123.60. Many families spend much more than $150 per month on groceries, so adjust your numbers accordingly based on your own spending patterns.
Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express Drawbacks
- Rewards cap. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Expresss US supermarket earning rate is great until you spend $6,000 on groceries in a calendar year. After that, the rate falls to a paltry 1% cash back.
- Not widely accepted abroad. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an Amex card, which means it isnt as widely accepted overseas as a Mastercard or Visa. However, the earning categories on this card also work strictly within the United States. That means if you do happen to travel abroad and use this card, you wont necessarily earn cash back on your purchases if you dont find a merchant that accepts Amex.
- Gas and grocery store limitations. One of the most important things to look at before applying for this card is the list of eligible supermarkets and gas stations. Under the American Express retail category information page, Target and Wal-Mart are labeled as superstores and not supermarkets, for example. Other types of specialty stores such as wine and cheese shops, or warehouse clubs like BJs Club are also not included. These fussy details pertain to gas stations too only merchants that are in the primary business of selling gasoline to consumers are eligible for the increased earning rate. Mobil, Shell and Exxon are a few listed examples. This means if you wont earn the 3% cash back if get your gas at Costco or Target.
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Which Amex Blue Cash Card Is Right For You
When comparing the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, you’ll want to look at your own specific spending patterns.
If you’re already tracking your monthly spending, this will be as easy as reviewing your spreadsheet or tracking tool. If you don’t have exact numbers, make your best estimates for your monthly spending in grocery, gas, department stores, transit, and streaming services. Since the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a $95 annual fee, subtract that out and add the welcome bonus.
Read more: Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card review
If you spend at least $500 per month on groceries and plan to use one of these two cards for your U.S. supermarket spending, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the way to go. The extra cash back you’ll earn will more than make up for the annual fee, and the other bonus categories will provide even more cash back.
The;Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express could be a better option if you won’t spend the full $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets, or if you spend a lot at department stores. You’ll need to spend at least $3,167 at US supermarkets in order for the higher cash-back rate at U.S. supermarkets to offset the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express annual fee.
What Could Be Improved
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year. While the robust rewards program makes up some of the cost, it is a fee nonetheless. This means you’ll want to consider the cost of the card from the second year on. You should do your own math to make sure the rewards and benefits you earn with your card will make up for the annual fee in the long term.
Foreign transaction fee
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee. This fee is charged any time you make a purchase in a foreign currency — even if you don’t leave the U.S. . Between the card’s foreign transaction fee and the fact that its bonus categories are only valid with U.S.-based businesses, you may not want to use it for a travel card.
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Unique New Welcome Bonus
The Blue Cash Preferred card is currently offering new cardholders a $150 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months. On top of that, Amex is offering up to $200 back on Amazon.com purchases during your first six months as a cardholder: Youll earn 20% back on all Amazon.com purchases made during this period, up to the $200 cash back limit.
Taken together, these elements make for a welcome bonus worth up to $350 if maximized, beating the cards previous offer. That said, while earning cash back on Amazon purchases for your first six months is a nice perk, its a clear downgrade in terms of flexibility versus the cards last offer. On the other hand, youll have six months to reach the spending threshold double the timeframe youll find on most rewards cards.
Why Card Issuers Are Targeting Millennials Now
The pivot toward millennials reflects the reality that the generation is not composed of happy-go-lucky, beer-drinking, scooter-riding hipsters with no money. Rather, many are professionals with good careers and high incomes precisely the target that card companies would like to count on as customers.
Some of the cards aimed at the younger generation include:
- Uber Visa Card, which offers 4 points per dollar spent on dining, 3X on hotels, vacation rentals and airfare and 2X on online purchases.
- The Goldman Sachs Apple Card, announced in March, which will offer 3 percent back on Apple purchases and 2 percent on charges using Apple Pay. A recent survey found more than 20 percent of millennials intend to apply for the Apple card, even though a lot of analysts have found its perks lacking compared with other cards.
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Earning Points And Rewards
This cards main selling point is the 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in U.S. grocery store spending, a rare find. You also earn 6% cash back on purchases made with select U.S. streaming services like Netflix and Pandora, with no limit on how much you can earn. The next tier of rewards is also quite competitive: Youll earn 3% back on U.S. gas station spending and on transit expenses including parking, tolls, trains, and rideshares such as Uber and Lyft. Everything else will earn 1% cash back.
Max Out Bonus Categories
Using your card for all your regular spending will help you rack up more cash back throughout the year, but youll get the most bang for your buck if you focus on using this card in as many bonus categories as you can. Use it for all spending at U.S. supermarkets, and make sure to add this card as your preferred method of payment on all your U.S. subscription service accounts. Also, be sure you use your card for ride-sharing and filling up your tank, as well as any other transit purchases you regularly make.
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