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Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express review

Published: December 14, 2018

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Published: December 14, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
2.5 rating
2.5 rating
2.5 / 5
Introductory Offer: 2.9
Net Value: 0.7
Features: 2.0

In a Nutshell:

The 12-month introductory period for balance transfers on the Blue Cash Preferred card is relatively short and the card’s $95 annual fee is steep; however, it offers one of the most valuable rewards programs for everyday purchases.

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0% Introductory Period
12 months (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
14.99-25.99% (variable) (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 rating
4 rating
4 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.4
Rewards Flexibility: 3.4
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

Despite its high 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 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%)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply

Introductory Bonus

  • $200 after spending $1,000 in first 3 months
  • Terms apply

Annual Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$370

APR
14.99-25.99% (variable) (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 (1% thereafter)
  • 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

Low Interest Rating:
2.6 rating
2.6 rating
2.6 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 2.5
Rewards: 4.5
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

The Blue Cash Preferred card offers a fairly low interest rate and a 12-month 0-percent introductory period on balance transfers and new purchases, though cardholders may find the annual fee too pricey.

Learn more about this card

Regular APR
14.99-25.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 12 months (See rates and fees)

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 12 months (See rates and fees)

Fees

  • $95 annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever is greater)
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • 3% cash advance fee (or $5, whichever is greater)
  • (See rates and fees)

Penalties

  • Up to $38 late payment fee
  • 29.99% penalty APR
  • Up to $38 returned payment fee
  • (See rates and fees)

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 U.S. 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 U.S. gas stations and purchases at select U.S. department stores.  Unlike the supermarket category, this cash back is unlimited. In addition, you will get a $200 introductory bonus after spending $1,000 in three months. And even though American Express says its 3 percent bonus is available only at “select” U.S. 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 $200 introductory 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 introductory bonus

The Blue Cash Preferred card is currently offering a very generous introductory bonus of $200 for cardholders who spend at least $1,000 in the first three months of card ownership. This is one of the largest bonuses currently available for a cash back card, but unfortunately comes with a high annual fee. If you’re goal is simply to obtain a cash back card with a large introductory bonus, you can find a few no-annual-fee cards that offer a similar bonus.

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 that the card offers on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, even capped at $6,000 annually, is no small matter. $500 a month is right in line with the average American family’s grocery budget, according to a study highlighted on The Simple Dollar. 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. (Note: Superstores such as Target and Walmart are not included in the supermarket category.)

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 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.

Why get the Blue Cash Preferred card?

  • You’re looking for a cash back card with a high rate on bonus categories.
  • You want a card with a large introductory 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 the Blue Cash Preferred card:

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