Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Best for cash back on groceries
- Rewards rate: 6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent); 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services; 3 percent cash back on transit; 3 percent back on U.S. gas station purchases; 1 percent back on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 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
- Annual fee: Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 12 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable
With one of the highest reward rates for U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express remains one of the best cards for groceries.
The $95 annual fee might make you hesitate, but unlimited cash back on essential categories like U.S. gas station purchases, transit and select U.S. streaming services makes this a top-shelf cash back card for commuters and family shoppers.
Current welcome bonus
New Blue Cash Preferred cardholders can earn a 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
This welcome offer is a better value than a few other cards’ intro bonuses we’ve seen for the same $1,000 spending requirement. Plus, you probably won’t have to go out of your way to qualify because of how prevalent the reward opportunities are.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred offers tiered cash back, which means you’ll earn different reward rates across multiple categories.
Some tiered rewards cards impose spending caps on your high-earning bonus categories — reverting your rewards rate to 1 percent after spending a certain amount. The typical cap is $1,500 per quarter, but the Blue Cash Preferred card’s 6 percent U.S. supermarket category’s limit is $6,000 per year in purchases.
Earning cash back
Like other cash back cards from American Express, you earn cash back initially as “Blue Cash Reward Dollars” that can then be redeemed for a statement credit.
You’ll earn cash back on category purchases at the following rates:
- 6 percent: U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent) and select U.S. streaming services (such as Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Spotify, etc.)
- 3 percent: U.S. gas stations and transit (including taxis or ride-shares, parking, tolls, public transit, etc.)
- 1 percent: All other purchases
These high-earning categories have the potential to reap significant rewards, since they’re diverse enough to cover a sizable portion of your day-to-day expenses. In fact, just spending at least $132 each month on groceries will reimburse your annual fee.
You can then take advantage of your categories’ flexibility and create more reward opportunities to maximize your cash back. Groceries and gas are two categories that most cardholders spend heavily in, so the Blue Cash Preferred card may help you earn bonus rewards on top of your current categories with the Amex Offers program. Amex Offers are limited-time deals you can activate in your account to earn extra cash back or Membership Rewards points on purchases from participating retailers, such as Hulu or Uber.
Redeeming cash back
Unfortunately, the Blue Cash Reward Dollars you earn don’t provide many redemption options. You can redeem rewards for a statement credit, gift cards ($25 minimum) or merchandise.
Although your cash back can’t be a direct deposit or a check, earning statement credits with your Amex Blue Cash Preferred is a great way to save money on groceries. Redeeming for a statement credit is the most versatile rewards option since it can cover anything a gift card can and beyond, so make sure you get identical buying power if you sink the same rewards value into a gift card or merchandise purchase.
How much are points worth?
Since the Blue Cash Preferred is a cash back card, the “Blue Cash Reward Dollars” you earn are equivalent to actual dollars. Your rewards are still worth $1 per Reward Dollar whether you redeem for a statement credit, gift card or other merchandise.
The Blue Cash Preferred doesn’t carry nearly as many benefits as other American Express rewards cards. However, standard Amex perks like shopping and travel protections, Pay It Plan It® and the complimentary ShopRunner membership are still plenty useful.
Shopping and travel protections
Your Blue Cash Preferred card comes with several protections that nearly all American Express cards provide, except you also receive return protection. Although it’s a temperamental feature (and less helpful for grocery shopping), return protection may at least give you another layer of comfort while you shop.
- Return protection: As long as you’re under the $1,000 in returns per year limit, eligible purchases under $300 may be returned — even when the merchant doesn’t offer returns.
- Purchase protection: Covers the cost up to $1,000 per eligible incident (up to $50,000 per year total) if you need to be reimbursed for your purchased item or it needs to be repaired or replaced.
- Extended warranty: You get an extra year of coverage (up to $10,000 per eligible item, $50,000 per card) on items with an existing warranty of up to five years.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance: In case your rental vehicle is damaged or stolen in an eligible country, you get secondary insurance coverage by paying with your card.
Complimentary ShopRunner membership
Since the Blue Cash Preferred is a personal U.S. Amex credit card, you’ll have a complimentary ShopRunner membership while your card is active. ShopRunner gives you free two-day shipping at checkout when you shop with over 100 online merchants.
Pay It Plan It®
If you’re trying to whittle down your balance, the Amex Pay It Plan It® feature provides alternative payment strategies. You can use Pay It to immediately take care of purchases under $100. Meanwhile, Plan It allows you to slowly pay off larger qualifying purchases over $100 and pay them over a set period on up to 10 different payment plans.
Plan It can be useful for earning cash back on small purchases because using your credit card essentially becomes as easy as using a debit card. However, your mileage might vary with Plan It. In lieu of interest payments, you’ll still owe a fixed monthly plan fee, which could be more expensive in some cases.
Rates and fees
On the chance that you’re not sure whether the Blue Cash Preferred card fits your spending habits, the 12-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases will buy you some time to decide. After that, the ongoing APR is 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable.
If you’re looking to transfer your balance to the Blue Cash Preferred card, we’re sorry to say that Amex currently isn’t accepting balance transfers to this card.
There is also a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee if you’re traveling outside the U.S.
The $95 annual fee (Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020) might be something some cardholders would avoid, but as mentioned earlier in the review, it takes only modest grocery spending to offset that cost. Nevertheless, fee-averse cardholders can opt for the Blue Cash Preferred’s sister card — the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
How the Amex Blue Cash Preferred compares to other cash back cards
The Blue Cash Preferred is hard to beat in the cash back world when it comes to consistent, high-earning grocery and gas rewards. Unless you feel earning 5 percent cash back on other types of purchases with a rotating category card is a better match, alternative rewards card choices come down to the rewards structure and categories that better fit where you shop.
|Card||Rewards rate||Annual fee||Welcome bonus|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||
||$0||$100 statement credit after spending $1,000 within first six months|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||
|Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card||
||$0||$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 within 90 days|
Best cards to pair Amex Blue Cash Preferred with
In case you surpass $6,000 each year in groceries, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is an excellent backup card for another 3 percent U.S. supermarket cash back category (also capped at $6,000 annually, then 1 percent). On top of no annual fee, you’ll also get another bonus category: 2 percent cash back at select U.S. department stores.
The Citi® Double Cash Card could be an excellent partner card if you also do a lot of shopping at superstores like Walmart or Target that aren’t covered by the Blue Cash Preferred card’s U.S. supermarket category. The Double Cash earns up to a 2 percent flat-rate cash back on any purchase – 1 percent upon purchase, then 1 percent upon payment.
While the Blue Cash Preferred covers quite a few bonus categories, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card can cover a lot of extra ground as well. Its 3 percent cash back category can be switched monthly for upcoming expenses like online shopping, travel and even home improvement. Plus, its 2 percent grocery store category also works at wholesale clubs if you’re a bulk buyer. Just keep in mind that this card’s 3 percent and 2 percent cash back categories share a $2,500 quarterly cap, then 1 percent back.
Bankrate’s Take – Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred worth it?
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers consistently high-earning cash back rates on everyday essentials like groceries, gas, transit and streaming services, which are a step above many other cash back cards’ reward offerings. Family shoppers, home cooks, heavy commuters and busy professionals will have a tough time finding one rewards credit card that delivers similar opportunities for rewards.
- Outstanding tiered cash back on groceries, gas, transit and streaming services
- Purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty benefits
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership
- Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
- Not currently offering balance transfers to new customers
- Limited rewards redemption options
All information about the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.