Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express review: Solid grocery run rewards for no annual fee
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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Card Overview
As far as no-annual-fee cards go, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers strong, year-round cash back on crucial bonus categories like groceries and gas.
It’s not as flexible or competitive as its bigger sibling, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, but no annual fee means the cash back goes straight to you. This makes it one of the best cards for groceries if you’re the designated errand driver—or even if this simply isn’t your primary rewards card.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent); 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; 1 percent cash back on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 15 months (see rates and fees)
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A (see rates and fees)
- Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable
Current welcome offer
The Blue Cash Everyday card’s latest intro bonus offers a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases during your first six months.
A $200 value is par for the course, but considering how steep the spending requirement is, there are plenty of no-annual-fee cash back cards that regularly pay out similar welcome offers worth at least $200 for spending only $500 to $1,000 in half the time frame.
In fact, this offer is a bit demanding even compared to the card’s past intro offers. The previous welcome bonus provided up to a $250 value that could be obtained after spending a total of $2,000 within six months—$100 statement credit after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first six months, plus up to another $150 from 20 percent cash back on Amazon.com purchases during that time. Granted, it may have been more difficult for some cardholders to earn the maximum value from this offer, but the Blue Cash Everyday has also previously offered the same $200 statement credit as it does now for half the spending requirement: $1,000 on purchases during the first three months.
All things considered, the current welcome offer isn’t the best value on the market—or even in the Blue Cash Everyday card’s history—so it isn’t worth hinging your decision on.
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday earns cash back with a tiered category structure, meaning it earns rewards on several bonus categories at different rates.
Many issuers put spending caps on the highest-earning category, often around $1,500 per quarter before returning to 1 percent rewards. Instead, the Blue Cash Everyday card’s U.S. supermarket category has a yearly $6,000 spending limit before earning the lower 1 percent cash back rate.
How you earn
Although they’re marketed as cash back cards, the American Express Blue Cash cards earn “Blue Cash Reward Dollars,” which you can then redeem for equivalent cash back in the form of a statement credit.
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card earns 3 percent cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually, then 1 percent). You also earn unlimited 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores like Macy’s and J.C. Penney, along with 1 percent back on all other purchases.
Maximizing your rewards with this card can be tricky compared to more flexible cards, like flat-rate cash back programs. You need to understand your stores’ four-digit merchant category code and whether they’re counted by Amex as U.S. supermarkets. For instance, Kroger and Albertsons stores will earn 3 percent cash back, but Walmart won’t since it isn’t categorized as a supermarket.
How you redeem
The Blue Cash Reward Dollars you’ve earned can be redeemed for a statement credit or a gift card (must be valued at least at $25). Alternatively, you can shop for merchandise with your rewards, but cash back via statement credit is your most versatile option.
How much are the rewards worth?
The Reward Dollar system the Blue Cash Everyday card uses essentially works like direct cash back, but with an extra step to redeem. Similarly, each Blue Cash Reward Dollar is worth an equivalent $1.
Other cardholder perks
Unfortunately, the Blue Cash Everyday card’s benefits are pretty sparse outside the standard American Express features. On the bright side, they’re handy enough that you may get some mileage out of them.
Pay It Plan It
After American Express expanded Pay It Plan It to more cards, these alternative payment programs have become a staple for Amex cardholders. Rather than add new purchases directly to your balance and accumulate interest, Pay It allows you to immediately pay for small qualifying purchases below $100, and Plan It lets you put up to 10 purchases over $100 into extended payment plans for a fixed fee.
Of the two Pay It Plan It features, Plan It is a bit more useful if you’re in a pinch. Just make sure to calculate your Plan It fees ahead of time in case the initial cost of interest is the cheaper route. Fortunately, you can enjoy $0 intro plan fees on Plan It monthly installment plans for your first 15 months. After that, you’ll have the normal monthly plan fee of up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into the plan based on its plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
Complimentary ShopRunner membership
All U.S. consumer and small business American Express cards receive a complimentary ShopRunner membership (enrollment required) for as long as it’s active. By paying with your card, you receive free two-day shipping and free returns with participating retailers.
Your Blue Cash Everyday card’s 2 percent at select U.S. department stores bonus category makes this benefit an even sweeter deal. Retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus are among the list of select U.S. department stores that you can earn cash back on, so this benefit saves you a trip to the mall.
Purchase and car rental protections
Unless you have one of American Express’s co-branded cards, the only shopping and travel protections offered on Amex no-annual-fee cards are these basic perks:
- Purchase protection: If your purchase needs to be repaired or replaced, you will be reimbursed for up to $1,000 per eligible incident (up to $50,000 per card).
- Car rental loss and damage insurance: By paying with your card and declining the rental agency’s coverage, your eligible rental vehicle receives secondary insurance in the event of damage or theft.
Rates and fees
One of the Blue Cash Everyday card’s highlights is that it doesn’t charge an annual fee. You’ll also get a chance to keep interest at bay for 15 months with its introductory 0 percent interest period on purchases. The ongoing APR is 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable after the intro APR expires.
Before you apply, note that the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card doesn’t currently accept balance transfers. There is also a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee if you were planning to take this card abroad.
Bankrate staff experience
Bankrate editor Mariah Ackary has found that the Blue Cash Everyday card can be a rewarding option for household shopping—especially with multiple users on the account:
My boyfriend and I have been living together for a few years, so we have a lot of shared expenses. After a while, we got sick of constantly requesting each other on Venmo for things like groceries and restaurant bills. He applied for the Blue Cash Everyday and made me an authorized user. That is the card we use for all of those joint purchases, and we split the bill evenly each month. The rewards at U.S. supermarkets add up quickly when you’re shopping for two!
— Mariah Ackary, Editor at Bankrate
How the Amex Blue Cash Everyday compares to other cash back cards
Blue Cash Everyday Card vs. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
If you like the idea of earning American Express Membership Rewards points toward travel but can’t justify the annual fee of one of the issuer’s premium travel cards, The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express is a solid alternative for day-to-day spending.
Compared to the Blue Cash Everyday, the Amex EveryDay is a bit weak unless you plan to transfer your points to Amex travel partners. Amex’s rewards redemption calculator shows that points are usually worth up to just 0.7 cents unless you redeem for gift cards or travel through American Express for a 1:1 value. That means even with the Amex EveryDay card’s 20 percent extra points (which requires you to use your card 20 or more times on purchases during a billing period), you’re only getting up to 2.4 cents of reward value back per dollar with this card when redeeming through Amex.
Finding the right transfer partner can increase your Membership Rewards points’ value up to 2 cents apiece, according to The Points Guy. Unless you plan to funnel all your points into transfer partners for up to 4.8 cents value per dollar back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1X points) or American Express Travel portal bookings, the Blue Cash Everyday is likely a stronger rewards card.
Blue Cash Everyday Card vs. Blue Cash Preferred Card
The Blue Cash Everyday card alone provides solid, ongoing cash back in the grocery and gas bonus categories. But compared to the Blue Cash Preferred card, the Everyday card’s only redeeming factor is its 2 percent at select U.S. department stores bonus category. Even then, the Blue Cash Preferred card’s unlimited 6 percent streaming service and 3 percent transit bonus categories are likely to yield more cash back than the Blue Cash Everyday card’s 2 percent select U.S. department store category.
Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics and JD Power streaming service survey data, the Blue Cash Everyday would earn $36 per year from select U.S. department stores (from an estimated $1,800 spend) while the Blue Cash Preferred would earn a combined $57.84 per year from transit and select U.S. streaming services (on an estimated $800 transit and $564 streaming service spend).
If you decide the annual fee is worth it, the Preferred card is a much more rewarding opportunity. Across all categories, our average yearly rewards value model and an estimated $15,900 average yearly spend find that the Blue Cash Preferred may earn you $355 in cash back per year while the Everyday card would rake in much less on the same budget: $264.
Best cards to pair with the Amex Blue Cash Everyday
Shoppers interested in a premium American Express card will be able to make great use of the Everyday card’s 2 percent select U.S. department store cash back category with The Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll earn cash back on top of the Platinum Card’s annual Saks Fifth Avenue statement credits (up to $100, enrollment required), plus receive faster shipping from your ShopRunner membership (enrollment required). If you’re lucky, you could also reap bonus Saks Fifth Avenue rewards from an Amex Offer.
Naturally, pairing the Blue Cash Preferred card with the Blue Cash Everyday could make a great combination. This pair would boost your U.S. supermarket rewards category spending cap to $12,000 per year, plus add unlimited 6 percent U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3 percent transit bonus categories to your arsenal. Another card that increases your bonus category range would also be an excellent choice. One example is the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (which also earns 3 percent at grocery stories if you surpass your U.S. supermarket category limit on the Blue Cash Everyday card).
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Amex Blue Cash Everyday worth it?
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is an excellent starter card if you’re looking for cash back on common categories such as groceries or gas, or if you don’t find the annual fee worth it for the premium Blue Cash Preferred card.
However, the Everyday card isn’t particularly unique among other no-annual-fee rewards cards—except for its department store rewards.
Plus, the bonus category terms may restrict your shopping if the Amex Blue Cash Everyday is your only rewards card, though pairing it with other cards can fill in the gaps.
All information about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.
Learn more: Is the Amex Blue Cash Everyday worth it?