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Who should get the Blue Cash Preferred Card from Amex?

Here’s how to determine whether the popular Blue Cash Preferred is the right card for you


The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express may yield hundreds of dollars in annual rewards for the right type of spender.

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If the pandemic has taught us anything about rewards credit cards, it’s that groceries can be a very lucrative bonus category. As people switched from dining out to cooking at home, cash back from groceries began adding up quickly.

As far as the best credit cards for groceries go, few can compete with Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. The card offers an excellent 6% cash back rate at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in spend per calendar year, then 1%) on top of a few other attractive bonus categories.

Considering the Blue Cash Preferred? Let’s take a look at the types of cardholders this popular cash back card can be perfect for.

The Blue Cash Preferred: At a glance

The bonus categories on the Blue Cash Preferred offer cash back on some of the most common expenses, providing an opportunity to earn hundreds of dollars in rewards annually.

“Groceries make up the biggest part of my budget, and I leveraged the card’s 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases to score a whopping $500 back in 2020,” shares senior editor and Blue Cash Preferred cardholder Emily Sherman. “That’s a whole lot of money back in my wallet for food I would’ve cooked anyway.”

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 20% back on purchases in the first 6 months of card membership (up to $200 back)
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months

Annual fee

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

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

“While it may be a controversial statement in the travel credit card game, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is my favorite credit card,” Emily says. “It offers cash back, which comes with fewer opportunities to maximize rewards redemption for additional value. But, it offers a ton of cash back for the right spender.”

Are you the right spender for the Blue Cash Preferred? Here’s how you’ll know.

You spend at least $260 per month on groceries

The 6% cash back you can earn with the Blue Cash Preferred is capped at $6,000 in spend annually. That’s $500 in monthly spend to maximize your cash back earnings.

While this may be an easy target to hit for families, if you’re a single-person household, $500 might be too high for your monthly grocery budget. It doesn’t mean you can’t get plenty of value out of the card, but there’s also the ongoing annual fee to consider after the first year. You don’t want to simply break even – you want to earn enough cash back to make the card worthwhile.

If we only take the grocery spend into consideration, the break-even point for this card is $132 in monthly supermarket spend. But if you want to earn at least as much as you pay for the card, your monthly grocery spend should be over $262.

You spend regularly in other bonus categories

If you maximize the grocery category, you can get up to $360 in annual cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred. After the ongoing annual fee, that’s $265 in value you get from the card. But as you’ve seen in Emily’s example, there’s potential to earn much more.

The additional bonus categories can help you do just that. Say you spend around $200 per month on gas or transit – that’s $72 in annual cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred. Streaming services have also become a popular spending category in the pandemic, with the average monthly household spend of $47 in 2021. If your streaming spend is about the same, you can get around $34 in annual cash back. That’s $371 in annual rewards if you combine these two results with maximized grocery spending after the fee.

You prefer simple cash back cards

Earning rewards with the Blue Cash Preferred is easy, as the structure is straightforward, and you don’t have to worry about point valuations or rotating bonus categories.

On the other hand, if you’re focused on earning travel rewards and getting premium travel perks, the Blue Cash Preferred might not be the right choice. You may want to look into American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points instead.

For example, the American Express® Gold Card will also reward you beautifully for buying groceries with 4 points per dollar on U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x), and you’ll be able to redeem rewards for airfare at excellent rates.

Bottom line

When it comes to cash back, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred is one of the best credit cards on the market. It has a simple rewards structure and can be very lucrative for the right kind of cardholder.

If you’ve determined that the Blue Cash Preferred is the right option for you, now may be a good time to apply. The card currently comes with a welcome offer of 20% back on purchases within the first six months, up to $200 back. Plus, you can earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months.

Head over to CardMatch to see if you’re likely to be approved for this card – it’s free to check and doesn’t impact your credit score.

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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