If you’re looking for a way to earn a generous amount of cash back in a short period of time, the Blue Cash cards from American Express should be on your radar.
If you’ve been considering a Blue Cash card from American Express, you’ll be happy to learn that the cards just got even more appealing – thanks to their elevated welcome bonuses.
Now, new Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express members can earn $300 cash back when they spend $3,000 in the first six months of card membership. Although the card axed its previous perk for 20% back on Amazon purchases within the same period, for up to $200, the newer, increased and more flexible welcome bonus somewhat makes up for the expired benefit. With the Blue Cash Preferred card, cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
Meanwhile, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has also gotten rid of the same Amazon.com promotion and has now updated its welcome bonus to offer $200 cash back when you spend $2,000 in the first six months of opening your account. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
Here we take a look at these cards’ bonuses, rewards rates and annual fees to give you a sense of their value in the first year and beyond.
See related: Best credit cards for groceries
Amex Blue Cash card bonus value: At a glance
Along with its increased welcome bonus, the Blue Cash Preferred card now offers a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
This gives the card tremendous first-year value: When you factor in its increased welcome bonus and $0 intro annual fee in the first year (then $95), new Blue Cash Preferred card members can now enjoy more value with the flexible statement of $300 (as opposed to being restricted to the Amazon.com credit).
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
|Estimated value in the first year ($15,900 spend)||$461||$718|
Which card is better?
The Blue Cash Preferred card offers a higher rewards rate and welcome bonus than the Blue Cash Everyday card. These two points alone may make the Preferred card seem like the obvious choice.
But since the Preferred card includes a $95 annual fee after the first year, you may be wondering: Is the Preferred card really the best value long-term?
Thanks to its higher bonus cash back rate in practical categories like purchases at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations, the Blue Cash Preferred card carries a higher average rewards rate for most consumers than the Blue Cash Everyday. So much higher, in fact, that even if there wasn’t a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (then $95), the Blue Cash Preferred would still offer a better value over the no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday card.
Based on an average consumer’s spending on gas, groceries and department stores, we estimate that you can earn a total of $718 in cash back on $15,900 in spending with the Blue Cash Preferred card in the first year. This takes into account the $0 intro annual fee for the first year (then $95), $300 welcome bonus (after spending $3,000 in the first six months) and cash back earned in all spending categories.
With the Blue Cash Everyday card, you’ll earn half as much cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases, leaving the card’s average earnings at up to $461 in the first year ($261 plus the $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months). While this is impressive on its own, it’s $257 less than the Preferred card’s first-year earnings.
Second year and beyond
Once you’ve completed the first year of card membership, the difference in value between the two cards is closer but the Preferred card still wins. Even without the benefit of its welcome bonus and with the annual fee back in the mix, the Preferred card offers $323 annual in value on average, while the Everyday card offers only $261 – a difference of $62.
Check out our side-by-side comparison below to see for yourself how the cards stack up in year two and beyond, when no welcome bonus or introductory annual fees are in play.
Blue Cash cards: Second-year earnings (based on $15,900 spend)
|Blue Cash Everyday Card||Blue Cash Preferred Card|
|$15,900 x 1.64% average cash back rate = $261||$15,900 x 2.63% average cash back rate – $95 annual fee = $323|
For most cardholders committed to using the card, the ongoing $95 annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred card is worth it – both in the short and long terms.
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