Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Best for grocery cash back with no annual fee
- 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: $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 within the first three months
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 15 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable
As far as no annual fee credit 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.
Current welcome offer
You’ll be eligible for a $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 within your first three months.
New cardmembers that apply before Oct. 7, 2020, will also earn 20 percent cash back on their first $1,000 of eligible Amazon.com purchases within their first six months (up to $200 back). This could be a huge payday considering Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner.
Frequent supermarket shoppers will find the $200 statement credit (after spending $1,000 within three months) easy to earn, but it’s not the most competitive. Other no annual fee cash back cards also regularly offer intro bonuses worth $150 to $200 or more for spending $500 to $1,000 in the same time frame.
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 1 percent cash back.
Earning cash back
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-brand stores will earn 3 percent cash back, but Walmart won’t — since it isn’t categorized as a supermarket.
Redeeming cash back
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 points 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.
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.
Complimentary ShopRunner membership
All U.S. consumer and small business American Express cards receive a complimentary ShopRunner membership for as long as it’s active. By paying with your credit card, you receive free two-day shipping and free returns with participating retailers.
Your Blue Cash Everyday card’s 2 percent department store 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’ 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.
How the Amex Blue Cash Everyday compares to other cash back cards
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 it’s 2 percent department store bonus category. If you decide the annual fee is worth it, the Preferred card is a much more rewarding opportunity.
In the no annual fee realm, the Everyday card’s rewards rates are on par with other more flexible cards. For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card can provide up to 2 percent cash back on all purchases (1 percent at purchase, 1 percent at payment), which could potentially outclass the Everyday card’s grocery category.
Here are some alternatives to earn competitive cash back:
|Card||Rewards rate||Annual fee||Welcome bonus||Other details|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||
||Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020||Limited Time Offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020||Spending only $132 per month in the 6 percent U.S. supermarket category will earn enough cash back to cover the annual fee.|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||
||On top of introductory 5 percent grocery store cash back, Chase’s 2020 bonus categories earned 5 percent (up to $1,500 per quarter, then 1 percent) at gas stations (Jan. to Mar.), grocery stores (Apr. to Jun.), Whole Foods Market (Jul. to Sept.) and Walmart and PayPal (Oct. to Dec.).|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||
||$0||N/A||This card’s flat-rate cash back can earn rewards on groceries at stores outside the Blue Cash Everyday card’s U.S. supermarket category, including stores like Walmart and wholesale clubs.|
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), plus receive faster shipping from your ShopRunner membership. 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 service and 3 percent transit bonus categories to your arsenal.
A flat-rate cash back card like the Citi Double Cash Card would also come in handy for non-bonus purchases.
Bankrate’s Take—Is the Amex Blue Cash Everyday worth it?
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is an excellent starter credit 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.
- No annual fee
- Solid cash back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations
- The 2 percent select U.S. department store bonus category is a rare find
- No balance transfers currently available to new customers
- Limited rewards redemption options
- The $200 intro bonus isn’t very competitive (after spending $1,000 within the first three months)