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Card Comparisons

Bank of America Cash Rewards vs. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Summary

Deciding which gas rewards card is better for you depends on your needs and how you plan to use the card. Read on to see how these cards compare side by side.

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Whether you have a road trip in your future, commute a long distance to work each day or simply drive to run errands, a gas rewards card is a great way to earn cash back on a major everyday purchase. Two popular options are the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card and the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. With the Blue Cash Preferred, you can earn 3 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations. Alternatively, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers 3 percent cash back in a category of the cardholder’s choice, including gas (on up to $2,500 in combined choice category purchases each quarter). Both cards pay 1 percent cash back on general purchases.

In addition to the bonus rate on a category of your choice, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers a 2 percent bonus at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 in combined choice category, grocery and wholesale purchases each quarter) and a $200 sign-up bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first three months – all without charging an annual fee. The Blue Cash Preferred card, by contrast, offers a 6 percent bonus at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 percent) and a $250 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months, but also charges a $95 annual fee.

Which card is better?

While both cards have a similar introductory bonus and cash back rate on gas and general purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred card’s higher rewards rate at U.S. supermarkets may make it seem like the obvious choice. But keep in mind that the Preferred card also comes with a $95 price tag each year.

Before deciding which card is best for you, see how they compare side by side in the table below:

Bank of America Cash Rewards vs. AmEx Blue Cash Preferred

Bank of America® Cash Rewards
Bank of America® Cash Rewards
Blue Cash Preferred®
Blue Cash Preferred®
Rewards rate
  • 3% cash back on a category of choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvements and furnishings)
  • 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale club purchases
  • $2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets  (on up to $6,000 in purchases per 1 percent cash back per year, then 1%)
  • 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back on transit and at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply
Introductory bonus$200 online cash rewards when you spend $1,000 in first 90 days
  • $250 cash back when you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • Terms apply
Annual fee$0$95
Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900)$325$406
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Low spend requirement to receive sign-up bonus
  • No rotating categories
  • Flexible bonus category than can change with your spending
  • Very generous rewards on U.S. supermarket purchases
  • Large introductory bonus
Cons
  • Choice category, grocery and wholesale club bonus capped at $2,500 per quarter
  • Short introductory APR offer on balance transfers
  • 6% U.S. supermarket category capped at $6,000 in purchases per year
  • Annual fee
Who should get this card?
  • Cardholders who don’t want to charge a large sum
  • Cardholders who prefer to shop at wholesale clubs
  • Someone who plans to transfer a balance
  • Someone who spends at least $3,200 per year on groceries

As you can see, even with its annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers a higher value each year by our estimates. But overall, we think the best card for you depends on your needs and how you plan to use the card.

Best for someone who wants to earn the most cash back at supermarkets: Blue Cash Preferred card

In general, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers the best rewards value for the average cardholder, despite its $95 fee. In particular, it makes a great grocery card. No other card can match the Blue Cash Preferred card’s 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets, and it doesn’t take much grocery spending to offset the card’s annual fee (only $1,500 in supermarket purchases per year). You can earn $360 cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases each year if you spend just enough to reach the card’s $6,000 cap on its 6 percent cash back bonus (approximately $500 in U.S. supermarket purchases per month).

Best for someone who wants to spend a modest amount: Bank of America Cash Rewards card

Because the Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers rewards on everyday purchases, such as gas and groceries, cardholders don’t need to purchase large ticket items to earn a generous amount of cash back. For example, based on the average consumer who spends $15,900 on gas, groceries and general purchases each year, we estimate that you can earn $318 in cash back from the Cash Rewards card annually.

In addition, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card gives users the flexibility to choose their own 3 percent cash back bonus category once per calendar month. So, you can use it for gas rewards every month or switch to dining or online shopping as your spending shifts.

Along with not charging an annual fee, the spend threshold required to receive the sign-up bonus for the Cash Rewards card is also relatively low: Cardholders only have to charge $500 in the first 90 days – for an average of $167 per month.

Best for someone who wants a higher cap on groceries: Bank of America Cash Rewards card

While the Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers 3 percent back on choice category purchases and the Blue Cash Preferred card offers 3 percent back at U.S. gas stations, they also limit the amount of money you can earn the bonus on.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards card, for example, caps the bonus at $2,500 per quarter – meaning that cardholders can earn 3 percent back on their category of choice and 2 percent back on groceries and at wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in combined purchases every four months – an average of $625 per month. Once you reach the cap, you will earn 1 percent cash back on those purchases.

Best for someone who doesn’t want to pay an annual fee: Bank of America Cash Rewards card

If you are leery about paying a $95 annual fee, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card is a great alternative for earning a large amount of cash back on gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug store purchases, home improvement and furnishings and groceries.

Bottom line

For someone who spends a moderate amount on groceries and has the funds to pay a $95 annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred card is the better all-around card for gas and grocery purchases. However, if you’re looking to earn bonus cash back on unique bonus categories, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card’s customizable rewards could be a great option for you.

See relatedBlue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred: Which card is best for you?, Chase unveils its cash back category for Q3 2018

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: June 12th, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.54%
Cash Back
17.68%
Reward
17.57%
Student
17.79%

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