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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express are two of the most popular cash back cards around. Choosing which card is best for you depends on many factors. For example, one of these cards has an annual fee, whereas the other does not, yet you’ll get a higher rewards rate with one card over the other.
Which top American Express credit card should you sign up for? That really depends, but we hope this comprehensive guide can help you decide.
|Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express||Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express|
|Welcome bonus||$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months||Up to $250 back — $100 when you spend $2,000 in your first 6 months, plus up to $150 back when you use your card to check out via PayPal with merchants in your first six months (as 20% back in statement credits)|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 18.24% to 29.24%||0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 18.24% to 29.24%|
|Annual fee||$95 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)||$0|
Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday highlights
This comparison guide can help you determine which card stands out in the categories you care about most.
Welcome bonus winner: Blue Cash Preferred
The Blue Cash Preferred offers a welcome bonus of $250 when you spend $3,000 on your new card within the first six months of account opening. This spending requirement is very doable, so you’ll likely qualify for the bonus with no problem. The Blue Cash Everyday also offers a welcome bonus of up to $250, but it’s slightly more complicated to earn. You’ll receive $100 when you spend $2,000 in your first six months, plus up to $150 back when you use your card to check out via PayPal with merchants in your first six months (as 20 percent back in statement credits).
If you easily spend at least $500 a month with your normal spending habits, the Blue Cash Preferred offers a more simplistic way to earn its bonus. Of course, if you frequently use PayPal, you may find the Blue Cash Everyday more appealing.
Rewards rate winner: Blue Cash Preferred
You’ll have a hard time finding any card to rival the rewards rates of the Blue Cash Preferred, with its 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent) and on select U.S. streaming services. You’ll also earn 3 percent back on transit and at U.S. gas stations and 1 percent on all other purchases.
The Blue Cash Everyday card, on the other hand, offers just 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and on U.S. online retail purchases (on up to $6,000 per year in each category, then 1 percent back) and 1 percent on all other purchases.
Both are good options for an everyday spending card if you’re interested in long-term rewards, but the Blue Cash Preferred still has a slight edge with its higher rewards rates. Just remember, with both cards, instead of earning points in the American Express Membership Rewards program, you’ll earn cash back or rewards dollars. So, you won’t have as many options to earn or redeem rewards as you do with Amex travel credit cards.
Annual fee winner: Blue Cash Everyday
The Blue Cash Preferred charges a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year), whereas the Blue Cash Everyday comes with no annual fee. It’s easy to see how the Blue Cash Everyday wins in the long run since you won’t have to pay a yearly fee for card membership.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
The Blue Cash Preferred and the Blue Cash Everyday tie in this category since both charge a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee.
Which card earns the most?
Although it comes with a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year), the Blue Cash Preferred will help you to earn more cash back during the first year and over time than the Blue Cash Everyday. The Blue Cash Preferred offers higher rewards rates in popular categories like U.S. supermarkets and select U.S. streaming subscription services.
However, with the Blue Cash Everyday’s updates in July 2022, both cards now earn the same 3 percent cash back rate at U.S. gas stations. The Blue Cash Everyday also earns 3 percent back in a bonus category the Blue Cash Preferred doesn’t include — U.S. online retail purchases. (Previously, the Blue Cash Everyday earned 2 percent back at U.S. gas stations.) Still, the Blue Cash Preferred only caps spending at U.S. supermarkets to $6,000 per year, whereas all three 3 percent categories for the Blue Cash Everyday are capped at $6,000 each.
Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday spending example
To show what we mean, imagine for a moment you spend $1,200 per month on a credit card:
- Groceries: $500
- Gas stations: $100
- Streaming services: $50
- Online retail purchases: $250
- Miscellaneous expenses: $300
With the Blue Cash Preferred, you’ll earn $360 in rewards on grocery spending, $36 in rewards on gas, $36 in rewards for streaming services, $30 for online retail purchases and $36 in rewards on miscellaneous expenses each year, for a total of $498 in annual cash back. You’ll more than meet the spending threshold ($3,000 in purchases within the first six months) for the $250 welcome bonus. This will leave you with a total of $748 in rewards for the first year. Keep in mind the ongoing $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year).
With the Blue Cash Everyday, however, you’ll only earn $180 in rewards on grocery spending, $36 in rewards on gas, $6 in rewards for streaming services, $90 for online retail purchases and $36 in rewards on miscellaneous expenses each year, for a total of $348 in annual cash back. With this spending, you’ll also meet the welcome bonus requirements (should you make some purchases through PayPal) and get up to $598 in total rewards during the first year of card membership.
Why should you get the Blue Cash Preferred?
If you aren’t afraid of an annual fee and want to maximize rewards over the long haul, the Blue Cash Preferred is certainly worth it. It’s the perfect go-to credit card for earning massive rewards on some of your most common purchases, from groceries and gas to Uber rides.
Brady Porche, editorial director at Bankrate Credit Cards, explains why this card is a great option for covering family expenses: “My wife and I use the Blue Cash Preferred for our household grocery spending and many of our streaming services,” Porche says. “We long ago maxed out the 6 percent cash back bonus on U.S. supermarket purchases, but we’re still earning 6 percent on subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix, Spotify and Peacock. The combined savings far outweigh the $95 annual fee.” ($0 intro annual fee for the first year.)
On top of the rewards you’ll earn with your card, the Blue Cash Preferred also gives you card benefits like car rental loss and damage insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and access to the Amex Global Assist Hotline. Additionally, you can qualify for return protection, a benefit that guarantees American Express will accept the return of eligible items when the retailer won’t take them back.
You’ll also get access to Amex Pay It, Plan It, which gives you the option to pay off small purchases (under $100) throughout the month or split up purchases of $100 or more into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
Your rewards will come in the form of a statement credit on your account, meaning you can redeem your cash back to cover any purchases you make with your credit card.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need a good to excellent credit score (670 to 850) to qualify for the Blue Cash Preferred, which is standard among the best cash back credit cards.
Why should you get the Blue Cash Everyday?
The Blue Cash Everyday comes with no annual fee, making it an excellent choice if you don’t spend a lot each month or are simply averse to paying an annual fee for a credit card. You’ll earn fewer rewards overall, but you won’t have to pay a fee to carry this card and you’ll still earn a substantial amount of cash back on groceries and gas.
The Blue Cash Everyday offers a longer zero-interest offer on purchases than the Blue Cash Preferred, plus an intro offer on balance transfers. With a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 29.24 percent), you’ll have plenty of time to pay off any balances without being bogged down by interest payments.
You’ll receive cardholder benefits like access to a Global Assist hotline, Amex Pay It, Plan It, car rental loss and damage insurance and purchase protection against damage or theft. This card also comes with two shopping credits: You can receive $7 back each month after spending $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle and up to $15 per month in statement credits when you purchase Home Chef meal solutions online.
You can redeem your rewards for a statement credit to your account, which offers a lot more flexibility than one might think. This means you can use your rewards to cover anything you buy with your card or even bills you pay.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need a good to excellent credit score (670 to 850) to have the best odds of approval for the Blue Cash Everyday.
The bottom line
While the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is an excellent cash back credit card in its own right, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers more long-term value. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, the decision may come down to how much you spend on groceries — a substantial budget item for many families who use this card.
Ted Rossman, credit card senior industry analyst at Bankrate, tells us why he upgraded from the Blue Cash Everyday card to the Blue Cash Preferred. “The math made sense by then because we were easily maxing out the grocery spending limit,” says Rossman. “Even after subtracting the annual fee, we came out $85 ahead by earning 6 percent, rather than 3 percent, on $6,000 in grocery spending.” That said, the July 2022 upgrades to the Blue Cash Everyday has Rossman thinking of switching back.
Either way, both of these rewards credit cards have the potential to leave you better off in terms of the cash back you can earn, but you should take the time to compare them to other top cash back credit cards before you decide.