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Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express review

Published: December 5, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Cash Back Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.8
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 purchases 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 department stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply

Sign-up Bonus

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

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

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

APR
13.99-24.99% (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
  • 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:
3 rating
3 rating
3 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 3.0
Rewards: 4.4
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.

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Regular APR
13.99-24.99% (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
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 3% cash advance fee
  • (See rates and fees)

Penalties

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: 3.4
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
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.

Learn more about this card

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 department stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply

Sign-up Bonus

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

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

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

APR
13.99-24.99% (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
  • 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 $200 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 $200 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 is currently offering a very generous sign-up 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 sign-up 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. 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 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 the Blue Cash Preferred card:

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

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