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Amex Blue Cash Preferred’s relaunch will be a hit

With extra cash back on streaming and transit spending, the revamped card is a winner – especially for older millennials

Summary

Amex will soon relaunch the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. In addition to extra cash back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, it will offer big savings when you spend on U.S. streaming services and transit. Its target market is wide, but older millennials may be the best fit.

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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express will be relaunched on May 9.

The revamped Blue Cash Preferred is a very attractive card. It was already my favorite for grocery spending (6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 in annual purchases, then it’s 1 percent), and these new developments add significant value.

The new additions to the Blue Cash Preferred Card are:

  • $250 welcome bonus (up from $200) after spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • 6 percent cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (up from 1 percent)
  • 3 percent cash back on transit (up from 1 percent)

That’s in addition, of course, to the longstanding 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually, then 1%) and 3 percent at U.S. gas stations (plus 1 percent on everything else). The card will no longer offer 3 percent back at select U.S. department stores.

How much cash back can you earn with the new Blue Cash Preferred?

The welcome bonus is a nice, quick pop, but what will really set this card apart is its ongoing value. There’s an everyday benefit to 6 percent cash back on groceries ($360 per year if you max out the $6,000 limit), you’d get another $72 annually if you spend $100 a month on select U.S. streaming services and 3 percent cash back on transit could really add up. I love how broadly Amex defines that category (parking, tolls, trains and rideshares).

My monthly train commute is $322, for example, which would result in $116 cash back on an annual basis. Then there’s 3 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average vehicle requires about $2,000 a year in gas, so that would be another $60 cash back. Those calculations add up to more than $600 in cash back over the course of a year, all for money you would have spent anyway.

The spending threshold to get the bonus is remarkably low. I often see $3,000 in the first three months. Receiving $250 in exchange for spending just $1,000 represents a lot of bang for your buck. It’s not the biggest welcome bonus that’s out there, but it’s a solid return for a relatively low amount of spending.

The card will still have a $95 annual fee, which might scare some potential applicants, so I think Amex was smart to set the spending bar relatively low.

See related:  The Amex Green Card is 61: Is a refresh coming? And would it be worth it?

The target audience

Because this card focuses on everyday spending like groceries, transit, gas and streaming services, its target market is very wide. If I had to pick one age group, I’d argue the best potential fit is for older millennials. In our surveys, we typically define that age range as 30 to 38.

I land right in the middle of that group, so I can speak from personal experience. My wife and I have a four-year-old daughter, and we have no problem hitting $6,000 in annual U.S. supermarket spending. I already mentioned my hefty train ticket. We spend less than most households on gas because we only have one car and I walk to the train. Still, we spend close to $100 on gas in a typical month. We don’t have any streaming subscriptions; we still opt for traditional cable TV.

Everyone’s spending habits are a bit different, yet I think the Blue Cash Preferred has something for all.

I already have the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, the no-annual-fee sibling to the Blue Cash Preferred. The Blue Cash Everyday is not changing. It gives 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then it’s 1 percent) and 2 percent at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and new cardholders get a $150 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months. I get 3 percent cash back on gas and transit with my Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card.

Since I don’t subscribe to any streaming services and I’ve never had an annual fee card, I think I’m going to stand pat for now, but there’s a lot to like about the new Blue Cash Preferred if you want to maximize your grocery, transit, gas and streaming spending.

What’s up next?

In Wealth and Wants

How to switch from a cash back card to a travel rewards card

Cash back credit cards offer one of the most flexible forms of rewards. But if you want to squeeze more value of your rewards, you may want to consider a travel credit card instead. Here’s how to make the switch.

Published: May 2, 2019

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