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.
Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available.
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 (the limited time offer ends Dec. 10, 2020) – an increase of $50 over the previous offer.
Meanwhile, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has updated its welcome bonus and is now offering up to $300 cash back in the first six months: You can earn $100 cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first six months, plus 20% cash back on Amazon.com purchases in your first six months, up to a $200 cash back limit.
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 the increased welcome bonus now available on both cards, the Blue Cash Preferred card is carrying a limited-time offer of a $0 annual fee in your first year, then $95 (offer expires Dec. 10, 2020).
This gives the card tremendous first-year value: When you factor in its increased welcome bonus and $0 annual fee in the first year, new Blue Cash Preferred card members can now enjoy $145 more value than they would have gotten with the previous offer.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
|Estimated value in first year ($15,900 spend, maximized Amazon.com rewards)||$560||$718|
Which card is better?
The Blue Cash Preferred card offers a higher rewards rate than that of the Blue Cash Everyday card, as well as a more flexible welcome bonus that doesn’t require you to spend in any one category or with a specific retailer. 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 with the $95 annual fee subtracted from your cash back earnings, the Blue Cash Preferred offers 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 waived annual fee, the $300 welcome bonus and cash back earned in all spending categories.
If you make the most of the temporary bonus cash back rate on Amazon.com purchases with the Blue Cash Everyday, your welcome bonus will equal that of the Blue Cash Preferred ($100 after spending $1,000 in the first six months, plus a maximum of $200 back on Amazon.com spending in the first six months). However, you’ll earn half as much cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases, leaving the Blue Cash Everyday card’s average earnings at up to $560 in the first year. While this is impressive on its own, it’s $158 less than the Preferred card’s 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 only offers $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 waived 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 the majority of cardholders who are committed to using the card, the $95 annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred card is worth it – both in the short and long term.
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