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Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred worth it?

Person paying with Blue Cash Preferred card
Courtesy of American Express
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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is frequently considered one of the best credit cards for groceries, and for good reason. This card gives you 6 percent cash back on up to $6,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets each year, as well as an unlimited 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services. Cardholders also receive 3 percent cash back on transit and U.S. gas station purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases. That’s on top of a generous welcome bonus where you can earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 within the first six months.

Most experts agree the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is worth owning due to the grocery-related category alone. You can max out this rewards category by spending $500 per month on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent). The exceptional earning rate of 6 percent would net you $360 in cash back rewards per year.

However, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred has plenty more benefits you should consider before you sign up. This guide will explain how this card works, who it’s best for and other cash back credit cards or general rewards credit cards you may want to consider.

Details of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee. From there, cardholders can earn:

  • 6 percent cash back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarket purchases each year (then 1 percent back)
  • 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3 percent back on U.S. gas station and transit purchases (including taxis or ride-shares, parking, tolls, public transit)
  • 1 percent back on everything else

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred also lets you enjoy an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.74 percent to 24.74 percent. This makes it an attractive option for cardholders who need to make a large purchase and pay it off slowly over time.

Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express worth it?

Only you can decide if the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is worth it or whether you should consider another rewards credit card altogether. However, there are quite a few details to take a look at before you decide, including the following:

Rewards potential

One of the biggest reasons to sign up for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is its lucrative rewards scheme, which lets you rack up 6 percent cash back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1 percent back), 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services, 3 percent back on U.S. gas station and transit purchases and 1 percent back on everything else. When you take the time to run the numbers, it’s easy to see where this card can be worth it, even after accounting for the $95 annual fee.

To get a better idea of your rewards potential with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, let’s say you use your card for $1,108 in U.S. supermarket spending each month ($13,296 per year), which is the average “moderate” amount of spending for a family composed of two parents and two children (with one child aged six and one aged nine). Meanwhile, let’s say you spend $1,568 per year on gas, which is the average household expenditure for 2020 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To round things out, you also spend another $1,000 on miscellaneous purchases on your card each month ($12,000 per year).

In that case, you would earn:

  • $360 in rewards on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year
  • $72.96 in rewards on U.S. supermarket purchases after the $6,000 limit is reached
  • $47.04 in rewards on U.S. gas station purchases
  • $120 in rewards on all other purchases

This amount equals $600 in rewards within a year, which is considerably more than the $95 annual fee you’ll pay. Also, this amount does not include the generous welcome bonus you can earn.

Redemption options

One major factor to consider with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is its very basic rewards program. This card offers regular cash back on eligible purchases in the form of “reward dollars,” which can be redeemed for statement credits whenever you have a rewards balance of $25 or more.

If you want a credit card with rewards you can redeem for gift cards, merchandise, travel or other flexible options, you may want to consider a different cash back card option or even a travel credit card.

Annual fee

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee. While the rewards potential can make this card worth the annual fee, keep in mind that there are other American Express credit cards with similar rewards and no annual fee.

For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express doesn’t charge an annual fee and you can earn 3 percent cash back on up to $6,000 spent per year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1 percent back), 2 percent back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent back on everything else. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits. The Amex Blue Cash Everyday also includes a welcome bonus in the form of a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Cardholder benefits

There are other cardholder perks you get when you sign up for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, including car rental loss and damage insurance, access to a Global Assist hotline, Amex purchase protection, return protection and the Amex Pay It Plan It feature. Make sure to consider the Amex Blue Cash Preferred benefits and whether you’ll use them before you commit.

Should I get the Amex Blue Cash Preferred?

While the Amex Blue Cash Preferred could work for almost anyone, some customers might love this card more than others. Here are some signs you should sign up for this card, as well as signs the Blue Cash Preferred may not be worth it:

Who should get the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

  • Anyone who spends at least $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets each year
  • Commuters who spend a lot of money on U.S. gas station or transit purchases
  • People who want a low introductory APR on purchases for the first year
  • Anyone who wants to redeem rewards for statement credits only
  • People who don’t mind paying an annual fee for a credit card after the first year
  • Consumers with good to excellent credit (a 670 to 850 FICO score or a 661 to 850 VantageScore)

Who should pass on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

  • People who rarely spend money on groceries or gas
  • People who are averse to paying credit card annual fees
  • Travel enthusiasts who prefer to earn rewards for travel-related purchases
  • Someone who wants a card with better benefits, such as annual travel credits, elite hotel status or airport lounge access

How to maximize your rewards with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

If you believe you’re the ideal customer for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, there are several ways you can maximize its benefits. Consider these tips to earn more rewards throughout the year.

Max out bonus categories

Using your card for all of your regular spending will help you to rack up more cash back throughout the year, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you focus on using this card in as many bonus categories as you can. Use it for all of your spending at U.S. supermarkets, and make sure to add this card as your preferred method of payment on all of your U.S. subscription service accounts. Also, be sure you use your card for ride-sharing and filling up your tank, as well as any other transit purchases you regularly make.

Pay attention to Amex Offers

Amex Offers is a free benefit that comes with your American Express credit card. This program includes limited-time deals that you can activate in your account in order to earn cash back or rewards points on purchases with select retailers and brands. And remember, the cash back you can earn with Amex Offers is separate from the rewards you earn with your credit card.

The bottom line

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred is one of the most popular cash back credit cards on the market today, and it’s worth considering if you spend a lot of money on groceries, gas or transportation.

Still, there are plenty of other rewards credit cards to consider, including American Express credit cards with different earning structures or rewards programs.

Even if this card appeals to you, you should see if you have the necessary credit score to qualify or prequalify for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card. It’s always best to shop around for a card that’s right for you and your financial needs. Make sure to compare several top credit cards from different issuers before you decide, and consider pairing a few cards that offer complementary benefits and perks.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
Edited by
Associate Editor