Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
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If you can get over the idea of paying the $95 annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is a must-have for any big grocery shopper. The 6% cash-back reward at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) is the most lucrative available in this category.
In late September 2017, American Express did a flip-flop with this card. It brought back an introductory offer, giving new cardholders 12 months interest free on purchases and balance transfers, before reverting to the standard variable rate of 13.99% to 24.99%. But it also stopped waiving the $95 annual fee for the first year of card ownership.
We think that even with that first-year annual fee, Blue Cash Preferred offers terrific value. Not only is the reward for grocery spending stellar, the card also pays 3% back at U.S. gas stations. That’s among the highest gas rewards available. Cardholders also will earn 3% cash back at select U.S. department stores.
We love that the cash-back benefits are both generous and easy to collect via a statement credit. If you have been considering a switch to a cash-back rewards card, this one is great for everyday household spending.
This probably shouldn’t be the only card you carry, however, as it offers low (1%) returns on restaurants, travel and all other spending categories. You’ll need at least one more card to fill in those gaps. We’re also disappointed in the issuer’s decision a few years back to place a cap on grocery rewards. You’ll receive 6% cash-back on the first $6,000 you spend annually, then 1%.
Who should get this card
Typical suburban families who spend heavily at supermarkets and the gas pump will likely benefit the most from this card’s rewards structure.
Fees and APR
- The annual fee is $95.
- Enjoy an introductory 12-month 0% offer on purchases and balance transfers, after which a variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR will apply based on your creditworthiness.
- The balance transfer fee is 3%.
- You’ll pay a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the U.S.
- See Rates & Fees.
Extras, perks and using rewards
Keep in mind that with this card the only thing you can use your accrued cash-back rewards for are statement credits, gift cards or to make purchases through the Reward Dollars catalog. There’s no transferring to travel partners or other types of credits, but you can register your card with Amazon.com to pay for your purchases with your accrued rewards money.
To redeem your rewards, you have to log into your account and then click on the “Use Reward Dollars” option. You can only redeem in increments of $25. There is no fee to redeem your rewards.
The card also includes American Express’ travel protections like roadside assistance, auto insurance and global emergency help.
How this card compares
Depending on your spending habits, the no-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express may ultimately be a better value than its Preferred cousin. The rewards are slightly lower, but if you’re a light spender, this card may be better fit.
If you’re up for the challenge of tracking bonus rewards categories, Chase Freedom can give you some real cash-back bang for your buck. For travel junkies and road warriors, this card is ideal when paired with an eligible Chase card to reap maximum travel rewards on your spending.
If you don’t want to do the work, get a card that offers a flat cash-back rate better than what you’ll find here.
Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.
There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash-back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.
Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.