How I use my Blue Cash Preferred Card from Amex

I earned $500 in cash back last year on groceries I would’ve bought anyway


With a wallet full of credit cards at my disposal, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is my favorite card for good reason: earning a ton of cash back for everyday purchases I’d be making anyway. Here’s how I use this card and why I love it so much.

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I’m a full credit card nerd and juggle at least five cards on a daily basis, optimized for earning categories, rewards currency and benefits. I’ve pulled my partner into my obsession, too, strategically pairing his card applications with mine so we have a balanced household.

I have cash back cards, flexible travel cards and cards for specific loyalty programs. I earn rewards in at least four different currencies. But with so many cards to my name, how do I choose a favorite?

Honestly, my go-to credit card changes with my priorities. At the moment, there’s no question that the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the winner.

They say nothing is guaranteed but death and taxes. But let’s be honest — groceries are a big part of almost all of our budgets. Even if you prefer to eat out, you can stock up on all kinds of household staples at grocery stores. Why not earn a little cash back at the same time?

With its standout rate on U.S. supermarket purchases, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is a slam dunk. I earned $500 in cash back last year alone on food I would have bought anyway.

Blue Cash Preferred Card: At a glance

The Blue Cash Preferred is best known for its generous earning rates on U.S. supermarket purchases, select U.S. streaming services and transit. Here’s what else it has to offer:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Why should you get this card?

Despite its high annual fee after the first year, the Blue Cash Preferred card is one of our favorite cards for families. It helps take the sting out of carpool lines and long commutes by offering a generous rewards rate on U.S. gas station spending, and it offers one of the highest cash back bonuses you can get when you use your card at U.S. supermarkets.

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Rewards rate

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply

Introductory bonus

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months

Annual fee

  • $95 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)

Other things to know

  • Free ShopRunner membership for expedited shipping (enrollment required)
  • Extended warranty, purchase and return protection on eligible purchases
  • Access to Pay it Plan it payment plans

How I use the Blue Cash Preferred

Most of my cash back on this card comes from grocery shopping, though I do have it set as my default on any streaming subscriptions that qualify. Since I live in just a two-person (and two-cat) household, spending above the U.S. supermarket purchase cap isn’t too much of a concern for me. If you break it down, you can spend $500 a month on groceries before hitting the cap — which I was able to hit almost exactly last year. (I resorted to buying gift cards once or twice, but generally, I didn’t need to alter my budget.)

With a fuel-efficient car, gas and transit are also not high-spending categories for me. That’s what makes my earnings with the Blue Cash Preferred so impressive — it’s really one category that’s doing the heavy lifting.

Groceries made up about half of the spending on my card last year, and the other half was spread between the additional earning categories and a few strategic large purchases to earn cash back from Amex Offers.

Plus, cash back is incredibly flexible and allows you to cover other purchases on your card with a statement credit. The Blue Cash Preferred doesn’t require any of the rewards program-savviness or deal-hunting that many points-based programs do.

Other reasons I love the Blue Cash Preferred

Considering the rewards rate, it’s easy to see why the Blue Cash Preferred can be a valuable card for grocery shopping, but that’s only one of the reasons why I love this card. Here are a few more:

It’s contactless

Like many other Americans, I’ve been embracing touch-and-go payments. Not only are contactless payments incredibly secure, but tapping to pay also saves me time (no need to swipe or dip) and means I’m touching fewer grimy surfaces.

It’s valuable beyond the first year

As you can see from my $500 earnings last year, I brought in plenty of cash back without having to rely on the initial welcome bonus I earned in the first year. Not many cash back cards boast such high returns. The Blue Cash Preferred does charge a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year), but I easily offset that with how much I earn.

Amex has great customer service

I have cards from Capital One, Chase and American Express, so I’m well-versed in navigating issuer apps and customer service lines to get questions answered. While I can’t speak for every cardholder, I can say that I’ve had by far the most seamless experiences when I’ve had to reach out to American Express.

Whether it was to increase my credit limit, inquire about eligibility for a new offer or fix a mistake with the address on my account, talking to American Express reps over the phone or online chat has always been quick and painless. This seems to be a common experience, too — American Express ranked at the top of the list for customer service among major card issuers in a 2021 J.D. Power survey (and not for the first time).

Additional benefits that help save money

American Express card benefits are known to be some of the most comprehensive, money-saving perks on the market. While my American Express® Gold Card is now my go-to for extra card perks, the lower-cost Blue Cash Preferred is not without its valuable benefits; I was able to save quite a bit with these before adding the Gold to my wallet. For instance, I’ve saved on shipping with a complimentary ShopRunner membership and tried out apps like Calm and obé for free for a limited time (some of these offers are no longer available).

It keeps me active with my passion

Cooking and baking are by far my favorite hobbies, and the Blue Cash Preferred rewards me for sticking to them. I earn way more on groceries than I do on dining out, and sometimes that’s the little kick of motivation I need to try something new for my foodstagram (instead of taking the easy way out and ordering takeout).

Bottom line

If you spend a lot on groceries, streaming and gas, you’re set up for a huge haul of cash back from the Amex Blue Cash Preferred. You can use that cash back for statement credits, charitable donations, gift cards or shopping online.

With my $500 in cash back last year, I was able to buy Christmas presents for my partner and still have money left over to get myself a little something special. It’s so nice to see these rewards accumulate and treat myself at the end of the year. And I didn’t even have to change my spending habits to do so!

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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