Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review
An everyday spending cashback card that’s great for families.
finder.com’s rating: 4.3 / 5
- Get this card if: You want one of the highest cash back rates on the market.
- Pick something else if: You want travel rewards or perks.
- Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Up to 6%
for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Intro purchase APR
for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
|Product Name||Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express|
|Card type||American Express|
|Annual fee||$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)|
|Purchase APR||0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)|
|Balance transfer APR||N/A|
|Cash advance rate||25.24% variable|
|Cash advance fee||$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater|
|Penalty APR||29.24% variable|
|Foreign transaction fee||2.7% of the transaction value|
|Interest free period||Up to 25 days|
|Late payment fee||Up to $40|
|Returned payment fee||Up to $40|
|Additional cardholder fee||$0|
|Rates & fees||rates & fees|
Kliment Dukovski is a credit cards writer. He's written over 600 articles to help readers find and compare the best credit cards. Kliment has also written on money transfers, home loans and more. Previously, he ghostwrote guides and articles on foreign exchange, stock market trading and cryptocurrencies.
You can also earn 6% back on select US streaming services, 3% cash back at US gas stations and transit purchases, and 1% on all other purchases. This card also comes with a $300 welcome offer until December 10, 2020, and intro purchase APR for the first 12 months.
As you might guess by the numbers alone, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the premier cash back cards on the market. No other card offers 6% cash back on a given category – and the fact that Amex attached this earning rate to a ubiquitous category like supermarket purchases is pretty unheard of.
The card has always been slim on benefits, however. It took an extra small hit to its perks after Amex’s benefit refresh in January 2020. Still that’s small potatoes compared to the value this card offers.
How to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
To apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you just need to do the following:
- Click Apply now.
- Fill out your personal information and click Submit.
- Cashback rewards. Get 6% back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, and 1% after that. Get 6% back on select streaming services. Get 3% back at gas stations and transit purchases, and 1% back on everything else.
- Welcome offer. Until December 10, 2020, earn $300 cash back when you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of account opening. This offer expires December 10, 2020.
- Intro APR. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with a 0% intro APR on purchases you make for the first 12 months. After, your APR reverts to 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership. Enjoy free two-day shipping and extended warranties on covered purchases through ShopRunner.
- Annual fee. You’ll pay $95 annually to use this card after the $0 intro annual fee for the first year. This card’s intro annual fee expires on December 10, 2020.
- Earning cap on supermarkets. You’ll only earn 6% back on supermarket purchases on up to $6,000 in purchases each calendar year. After that, you’ll earn 1% back.
- Not widely accepted abroad. Amex cards are not as widely accepted abroad as Mastercard or Visa cards.
- Fees. This card carries a 2.7% foreign transaction fee. Late payment fees can also cost you up to $40 each.
- No balance transfers. Amex completely removed the ability to perform balance transfers on this card.
- Rideshare services
- Amazon Music Unlimited
- Apple Music
- Apple TV+
- AT&T Now
- CBS All Access
- Fubo TV
- HBO Now
- Kindle Unlimited
- NBA League Pass
- Prime Video
- Sling TV
- SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
- YouTube Music Premium
- YouTube Premium
- YouTube TV
- Head to the Amex preapproval site.
- Fill in your information. This includes your address, the last four digits of your social security number and total annual income.
- Click View my card offers.
What credit score do I need?
To qualify for the Blue Cash Preferred, you’re going to want to apply with a good to an excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Pros and cons
Who is this card best for?
Almost anyone can take advantage of this card’s earning categories. However, the spending cap on supermarkets along with the inclusion of streaming, gas and transit for rewards means this card will best fit your average-sized family.
This card is also a great fit for solo or duo-city dwellers who can take advantage of both the supermarket earnings as well as the transit earnings.
If you’ve got an especially large family or find that you spend well beyond $6,000 in a given year, you might consider a rewards card without a spending cap.
Card benefits — a deeper dive
The Blue Cash Preferred has a lot to love. Let’s take a closer look at this card’s perks.
Big cash back
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can net value on groceries like few others. To maximize this value though, you’re going to want to shoot for the earning cap on groceries each year. This usually isn’t a big problem — spending even $150 a month on groceries can get you there with a few months to spare.
What’s a bit trickier is squeezing value out of the card’s other categories. Transit and streaming services are a little open-ended, so it helps to get an idea of what is included in both categories.
Under transit, you’ll get rewards for:
Current supported streaming services include:
Deeper dive: How much can you make?
If you’re looking for a better idea of how much you can expect to make back with this card, have a peek at our cash back calculator. Simply slide the bars on each category to see what you can make back.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with a intro APR on purchases. It used to offer the same intro APR on balance transfers, though Amex recently removed this feature. It’s just as well, as using this card for a balance transfer isn’t the greatest use of it — you won’t be earning cash back on money spent paying off your old debt and you shouldn’t be making new purchases on a card holding your transferred balance.
The purchase intro APR on the other hand can prove quite useful for some cardholders. The earning categories on this card in combination with the intro APR make this card a great thing to have on hand during a move to a new home. Put your “settling in” costs on the card while you make your new home and you’ll have a little extra breathing room to get situated in your new surroundings.
Deeper dive: What to watch out for
Before you drop everything and apply for this card, there are a few quirks to consider:
Do you spend more than $6,000 on groceries?
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express’s 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.
Best used in the US
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an Amex card, which means it isn’t 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 won’t necessarily earn cash back on your purchases if you don’t find a merchant that accepts Amex.
Reeled in benefits
Prior to January 2020, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offered extended warranty and purchase protection for two years and 120 days, respectively. With the Amex refresh, you’ll now only enjoy a one-year extended warranty on purchases and 90 days of purchase protection. On the bright side, the card did gain return protection! What’s more, Amex also recently removed the balance transfer capabilities on this card.
If you’re looking for more exhaustive perks on a rewards card, you might want to check some of Amex’s other options. The bulk of this card’s value is in the earning rates.
What is a supermarket anyway?
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 BJ’s 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 won’t earn the 3% cash back if get your gas at Costco or Target.
Is the annual fee worth it?
Absolutely. At only $95 once the intro annual fee expires, you should have no problem gaining enough cash back value to cover this card’s cost and more.
What are my preapproval odds?
As allowed by other Amex cards, you can check whether you prequalify for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express at the Amex prequalification site. To check whether you’re preapproved:
Amex’s preapproval site doesn’t let you target a specific card to check for eligibility. Instead, you’ll be presented with a list of cards you prequalify for and can choose from there.
Adding authorized users to the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a pretty simple procedure that you can perform on your Amex online account. Since the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is pretty light on the extra perks, your main benefit for adding a user will come from making it easier to earn rewards to your account.
How does the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express compare to other similar cards?
Few cards match the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. The cards that come closest are those like the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card or the Chase Freedom Flex℠, category cards that also feature spending caps. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.
Cashback earned on $500 in groceries from U.S. supermarkets each month
|Cashback rate||Cashback earned||Spending cap on earning rate||Number of months you’ll earn this cashback||Total cashback earned before 1% revert|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||6%||$30||$6,000 annually||12 months||$360|
|Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card||2%||$10||$2,500 each quarter||Variable||$50 (each quarter)|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||5%||$25||$12,000, and cashback rate only available in the first year||12 months||$600|
As you can see, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is subject to quarterly time constraints. What’s more, the spending constraints on this card is also in combined purchases with other categories.
On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ only offers an elevated rate on groceries in the first year you have the card.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express allows you to earn rewards on groceries each month of every year, which makes it a much comfier grocery store card than the others. Plus, that 6% back is dedicated entirely to US supermarket purchases. And for good measure, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express still offers great earning on other categories with no cap, including fuel and transit. Of course, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express requires an annual fee, whereas the other two cards don’t.
Card reward categories and annual fees
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||$0 intro annual fee ($95 starting the second year) until December 10, 2020||6% on grocery stores purchases up to $6,000 annually, 6% on select streaming services, 3% on gas and transit, 1% on everything else|
|Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card||$0||3% on category of your choice and 2% on groceries and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 each quarter, 1% back on everything else|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||$0||5% back on rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500, 1% back on everything else, 5% on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% on Lyft through March 2022, 3% at restaurants, and 3% at drugstores|
Like we said, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is difficult to compare!
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express reviews and complaints
Users on social media, such as Reddit, tend to praise this card for the large earning rate and solid customer service American Express offers.
Those less satisfied with the card point to grocery store and gas station restrictions as a big point to watch out for — especially if you often shop at stores like Target and Walmart.
How to make the most out of your Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Amex makes it easy to make the most out of your Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express so long as you spend it on the right categories. Here are a few quick tips for maximizing rewards using the card:
- Spend up to the cap. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express’s big claim to fame is the 6% back on groceries, so take it for all its worth. Spending at least up to the annual cap helps ensure you make the most of what the card offers and will more than make up for the annual fee.
- Don’t forget about streaming. This card also earns 6% back on select streaming services. You probably spend considerably less on Netflix and Hulu than you do on groceries, but this value can still add up.
- Review eligible merchants. To earn the cashback rate listed on the card, you’ll need to make purchases at eligible merchants, grocery stores and gas stations. Review the card’s terms and conditions to make sure you’re not missing out.
Compare similar cashback credit cards
Compare Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express with other cards
If you’re looking for a superb cashback card, look no further than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. While there are other grocery and gas cashback cards out there, none offer a 6% rate like Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. The raw earning power of this card across a variety of categories make it a great choice for families who want a rewards card.
If you’re looking for more than just cash back on your rewards card, however, there are plenty of rewards card options available that offer great value.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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