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AmEx adds two cash-back cards

By Marcie Geffner ·
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Posted: 11 am ET

American Express has opened up two new credit card programs designed to entice consumers who want to get cash-back rewards in exchange for their credit card use and loyalty.

The programs are called "Blue Cash Everyday" and "Blue Cash Preferred." The Everyday program offers 3 percent cash back on supermarket purchases, 2 percent on gas station and department store purchases, and 1 percent on all other purchases.

The Preferred program offers 6 percent cash back on supermarket purchases, 3 percent on gas station and department store purchases and, again, 1 percent on all other purchases. The richer rewards come with a hefty $75 annual fee.

American Express also offers an existing Blue Cash Card. Consumers who have that card can switch to the new Everyday Card at no charge or to the new Preferred Card by paying the $75 annual fee and making a call to customer service. Consumers who have another type of American Express card can also switch to the new cash-back cards, but should redeem their current rewards before doing so, since those rewards aren't transferrable to the new program.

A payback of 1 percent is the typical baseline for credit card cash-back offers, though a sizable number of programs offer a higher payout for certain categories of purchases or a tiered payout that rewards higher spending.

The Preferred and Everyday American Express programs have no caps on cash-back earnings, spending threshholds or rotating bonus categories.

An illustration provided by the company suggests the annual cash-back rewards might range from $47 for a consumer who charged $2,000 to $5,000 on the Everyday program to $451 for a consumer who charged $20,000 to $30,000 on the Preferred program.

Rewards are a big attraction for some consumers when they choose a credit card, though one recent survey found most weren't particularly happy with their rewards programs. Cash-back was a popular perk; however, only about half of the consumers surveyed said they'd redeemed a cash-back offer.

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