American Express has a great lineup of rewards credit cards for travel, business, rewards and cash back. Two popular cash back options, in particular, include the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
Both of these cash back credit cards have their own pros and cons, but is the no-annual-fee option—the Blue Cash Everyday—worth using when it has a higher-tier counterpart? Let’s take a look at the Amex Blue Cash Everyday’s rewards structure, fees, benefits and more to help determine how beneficial the card could be for you as a spender.
Details of the Amex Blue Cash Everyday
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card offers a solid roundup of benefits for cardholders. It’s ideal for spenders who frequent supermarkets, gas stations and department stores, in particular, and want to take advantage of those places as cash back categories. It has a decent welcome offer, no annual fee and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 15 months as well (13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR thereafter).
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday offers new cardholders $100 in cash back after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first six months as well as 20 percent back on Amazon.com purchases made with the card in the first six months (up to $150 back). Similar cash back cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, offer a greater bonus of $200 in cash back after spending only $500 within the first three months—but their rewards for everyday spending at grocery stores and gas stations are less robust.
With the Amex Blue Cash Everyday, you can earn 3 percent cash back on your first $6,000 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. supermarkets each year. After that, those purchases earn 1 percent cash back. Cardholders also earn 2 percent back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, while all other purchases earn 1 percent cash back. Cash back rewards are received as reward dollars that can be redeemed for statement credit or gift cards.
Rates and fees
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card has no annual fee, and cardmembers also receive an introductory 0 percent APR for 15 months on purchases (followed by a variable APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent). The APR for cash advances is 25.24 percent, and the cash advance fee is either $10 or 5 percent of the amount, whichever is greater.
If you travel abroad often, keep in mind this card charges a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside of the U.S.
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card offers Amex’s Pay It, Plan It program. The Pay It option means you can quickly make payments throughout the month toward purchases under $100, while the Plan It option allows card members to split certain purchases of $100 or more into fixed monthly payments with no interest. These purchases still earn regular rewards.
Cardholders also gain access to American Express Experiences. Members receive exclusive access to presale tickets for local events and access to cardmember-only events such as Broadway shows, concerts, sports and more.
With the Global Assist Hotline, travelers can receive help when it comes to lost passports, translation services, missing luggage and emergency legal and medical referrals. Other travel benefits include car rental loss and damage insurance.
Further, charges made with an American Express credit card are covered under American Express purchase protection. For 90 days from the purchase date, your membership protects all covered purchases from accidental damage or theft. Cardmembers also have access to American Express’s dispute resolution assistance. If there is a fraudulent or incorrect charge on your card, representatives will be there to help you resolve it.
Is the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express worth it?
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday can be the perfect card for the right type of spender—or, more specifically, those who frequently spend at U.S. supermarkets, gas stations and department stores. For the U.S. supermarket category, however, a spender who anticipates quickly reaching the $6,000-per-year threshold (or anticipates greatly exceeding that threshold) may do better with a different card option.
For example, the American Express® Gold Card earns 4X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1X points)—a much higher grocery spending threshold compared to the Blue Cash Everyday. This rewards card option also makes sense for spenders looking to redeem rewards toward travel, given the fact that you’d be earning Membership Rewards redeemable through AmexTravel.com.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred could also be worth considering. While the spending threshold is the same as the Blue Cash Everyday, you earn double the rewards on groceries: 6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent).
Some of the major benefits of the Amex Blue Cash Everyday are the bonus rewards at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations, lack of an annual fee, somewhat easily attainable welcome offer and low introductory APR on purchases.
But potential cardholders may be held back by how many merchants do not accept American Express around the world, the good-to-excellent credit requirement and the $25 minimum required to redeem any rewards. The card also doesn’t have direct access to the American Express Membership Rewards program—meaning it doesn’t earn Membership Rewards points.
These are all things to take into consideration when determining if the card would be worth it for you as a spender.
Should I get the Amex Blue Cash Everyday?
The ideal Amex Blue Cash Everyday cardholder is someone who will take full advantage of the benefits that it offers. This card offers more than just cash back—it also has some basic travel benefits, no annual fee, a low intro APR on purchases and offers Pay It, Plan It (not to mention the fraud protection and the unlimited additional cards for authorized users).
If groceries and gas are significant parts of your spending, you’re probably more likely to take full advantage of this card’s welcome offer and use the additional benefits as well.
If you’re more of a traveler, however, you might want a card with more travel-specific rewards and no foreign transaction fees. Those willing to pay an annual fee for higher cash back rates in similar categories may want to consider applying for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred instead.
How to maximize your rewards with the Amex Blue Cash Everyday
Planning out your spending is key to making the most out of the rewards offered by the Amex Blue Cash Everyday, as well as meeting the $2,000 spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus.
Your biggest focus should be meeting the $6,000 spending cap each year within the U.S. supermarkets category, which breaks down to $500 in U.S. supermarket spending each month. With this spending alone, you’re looking at $180 in cash back earned by the end of your first year, plus an additional $100 in cash back earned from meeting the card’s welcome bonus requirements.
Say you also spend $250 a month in combined U.S. gas station and select U.S. department store purchases, as well as $100 a month on miscellaneous spending. That’s an additional $72 in cash back for a total of $352 in cash back earnings after your first year of card ownership.
Keep in mind that, after meeting the $6,000 cap, you’ll earn 1 percent back on U.S. supermarket purchases, so if you have a flat-rate cash back card in your arsenal that earns 1.5 to 2 percent back on every purchase, be sure to use that afterward (as well as for any spending that would fall into the “miscellaneous” category).
If you ever have trouble meeting the $6,000-per-year spending cap (say you’re $100 to $200 short of meeting it at the end of a yearly card ownership cycle), consider purchasing a few gift cards from a U.S. supermarket. Doing so still counts toward U.S. supermarket spending, and you might even check a few birthday or Christmas gifts off your list.
The bottom line
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday is perfect for those looking to earn on specific spending—namely, purchases related to groceries, gas and department stores. This card isn’t travel or business-focused, for example, so if outside categories better suit your needs, then you should consider other options among Bankrate’s best travel cards and best business cards.
The lack of an annual fee, low intro APR on purchases and the benefits that come with being an American Express cardmember are all great aspects of this card as well.