Reviews Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express review

Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express review

Published: March 22, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
2.8 rating
2.8 rating
2.8 / 5
Introductory Offer: 3.0
Net Value: 2.3
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express offers a modest 0 percent balance transfer promotion and some of the best rewards you can get on gas and grocery spending; however, its standard APR is too high for carrying a balance.

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0% Introductory Period
(See rates and fees)

Transfer Fee
$5 or 3% (whichever is higher) (See rates and fees)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% (See rates and fees)

Regular APR
13.74-23.74% (See rates and fees)

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

Other Notable Features: Cash back tracker, purchase protection, return protection, entertainment access, roadside assistance, Global Assist Hotline

Cash Back Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.4
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express is one of the most rewarding cash back cards for getting top cash back on gas and groceries.

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Rewards Rate

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply

Sign-up Bonus

  • $150 after spending $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 10% cash back on restaurant purchases in first 6 months, up to $200 cash back (offer ends 5/3/17)
  • Terms apply

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$391

APR
13.74-23.74% (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No rotating categories
  • No enrollment
  • Occasional option for gift cards or merchandise
  • Redeem for previous purchases

Cons

  • 6% bonus limited to $6,000 in purchases per year
  • 3% and 6% rewards are only available in the U.S

Other Notable Features: Cash back tracker, purchase protection, return protection, entertainment access, roadside assistance, Global Assist Hotline

Rewards Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Despite its $95 annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred card is one of our favorite cards for families: It helps take the sting out of car pool lines and long commutes by offering a generous point bonus on gas station spending and it offers one of the highest cash back bonuses you can get when you use your card to pay for groceries.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply

Sign-up Bonus

  • $150 after spending $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 10% cash back on restaurant purchases in first 6 months, up to $200 cash back (offer ends 5/3/17)
  • Terms apply

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$391

APR
13.74-23.74% (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No rotating categories
  • No enrollment
  • Occasional option for gift cards or merchandise
  • Redeem for previous purchases

Cons

  • 6% bonus limited to $6,000 in purchases per year
  • 3% and 6% rewards are only available in the U.S

Other Notable Features: Cash back tracker, purchase protection, return protection, entertainment access, roadside assistance, Global Assist Hotline

American Express trumpets Blue Cash Preferred as the “leading cash back rewards” credit card for groceries, and this is not an exaggeration. The payoff at the supermarkets is a whopping 6 percent — a territory where few credit cards have gone before. The 6 percent cash back rate is limited to the first $6,000 in purchases annually. After that, your rate drops to 1 percent for all purchases.

Blue Cash Preferred also offers 3 percent cash back on gas and purchases at select department stores.  Unlike the grocery category, this cash back is unlimited. In addition, you will get a $150 sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in three months. And even though American Express says its 3 percent bonus is available only at “select” department stores, the list of eligible department stores is quite extensive.

This is not a credit card for people who hate an annual fee, though. The yearly fee stands at $95. Still, one could argue that the $150 sign-up bonus alone takes care of the annual fee for the next two years.

No rotating categories

Unlike many credit cards with rotating categories, using the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express is remarkably easy. There is no registration, and you get cash back in the form of a statement credit. American Express also has a neat cash back tracker feature that allows you to set goals and see how close you’ve come to achieving them.

Excellent sign-up bonus

The Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a very generous sign-up bonus of $150 for cardholders who spend at least $1,000 in the first three months of card ownership. Also, for a limited time, new cardholders will earn 10 percent cash back on restaurant purchases — up to $200 cash back — for the first six months of card ownership. (The offer expires on May 3, 2017.) Cardholders who manage to reach the spending limit on restaurant purchases could earn up to $350 cash back. This amounts to one of the most lucrative sign-up offers among cash back cards.

Massive 6 percent bonus at U.S. supermarkets

For many families, groceries rank as the second-highest expense after rent or mortgage payments. So, the 6 percent cash back, even capped at $6,000 annually, is no small matter. If you are like many people, you won’t find it hard to earn $360 a year just for using the Blue Cash Preferred card to put food on the table.

Unlimited 3 percent bonus at gas stations 

Even with relatively low gas prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that an average U.S. household will have spent $1,916 by the end of 2015 for filling up. Your mileage may vary, but if you spend as much as an average consumer, you will get almost $60 for using Blue Cash Preferred at U.S. gas stations.

Best U.S. department stores are on the ‘select’ list 

American Express also offers unlimited 3 percent cash back at select U.S. department stores. There are actually 16 stores in this list, including Sears, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and more. The cash back you earn depends on how much you spend. 

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You’re looking for a cash back card with a high rate on bonus categories.
  • You want a card with a large sign-up bonus.
  • You spend a lot at gas stations and popular department stores.
  • You’re searching for a card with bonus categories that is relatively simple to use.

How to use it:

  • Just pay with your card at any U.S. supermarket or gas stations, as well as any department store on the American Express list.

All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information. 

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