Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express review

Published: December 10, 2019

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Published: December 10, 2019

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.1 rating
3.1 rating
3.1 / 5
Introductory Offer: 3.4
Net Value: 0.7
Features: 2.0
Customer Experience 4.5

In a Nutshell:

The 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.

Learn more about this card

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% for 12 months (See rates and fees)

Regular APR

14.49-25.49% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

Customer Experience

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

Cash Back Rating:
4.3 rating
4.3 rating
4.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.8
Rewards Flexibility: 3.4
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 4.5

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 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.

Learn more about this card

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

  • $250 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)
$406

APR
14.49-25.49% (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 at U.S. supermarkets limited to $6,000 in purchases per year (1% thereafter)
  • 3% and 6% rewards are only available in the U.S.

Customer Experience

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

Low Interest Rating:
3.2 rating
3.2 rating
3.2 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 2.9
Rewards: 4.2
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 4.5

In a Nutshell:

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

Learn more about this card

Regular APR
14.49-25.49% (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
  • 5% cash advance fee (or $10, whichever is greater)
  • (See rates and fees)

Penalties

  • Up to $39 late payment fee
  • 29.99% penalty APR
  • Up to $39 returned payment fee
  • (See rates and fees)

Customer Experience

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

All information about The Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. The Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through CreditCards.com.”

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review: More Details

The recently updated Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express boasts a revamped rewards rate, now offering one of the highest rates of cash back you can find on select U.S. streaming subscriptions – making your next binge night a great way to rack in rewards.

Most appealing of all, the Blue Cash Preferred card comes with an incredibly generous rate on U.S. supermarket purchases, making it a top choice for families who spend a significant amount on groceries each month. Even with a yearly spend cap on the category, the Blue Cash Preferred is an incredibly rewarding option for U.S. supermarket purchases.

Earning cash back

Earning cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred card is simple, with a generous rate on everyday purchases such as U.S. gas station and supermarket purchases. Cardholders earn a whopping 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 percent) and 3 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations.

Even with a $6,000 per year spend cap on the 6 percent rate on U.S. supermarket purchases, this is a very lucrative category. If you meet that cap every year – or spend about $500 on those purchases per month – you can bring in $360 per year in rewards on U.S. supermarket purchases alone.

See related: Best credit cards for grocery shopping

In addition to great rewards on U.S. supermarket and gas station purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers 6 percent cash back on select U.S. streaming services (including options like Hulu, Netflix, Apple Music and more), 3 percent on transit purchases and 1 percent on other purchases. This makes it a valuable choice for cardholders who take public transportation.

With so many great bonus categories to earn significant cash back, we estimate that the Blue Cash Preferred card is one of the most rewarding cash back cards on the market – despite its $95 annual fee. Here’s a quick look at the card’s estimated earning rate compared to other popular cash back cards. (Note: To calculate the estimated earning rate, we took information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate both category and overall spend.)

See relatedBest fixed bonus category cash back cards

Introductory bonus

The Blue Cash Preferred card recently upped its introductory bonus – now offering new cardholders $250 for spending $1,000 in the first three months. While this is not the highest cash bonus available among cards with an annual fee (the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one notable option that has it beat), it is still a generous offer. Plus, the spend limit to earn the bonus is pretty easy to reach, only requiring about $334 in spend per month.

Redeeming cash back

To redeem cash back earned with your Blue Cash Preferred card, you’ll need to reach a minimum of $25 in rewards. Once you reach that threshold, you can redeem your rewards for a statement credit, gift card or merchandise purchase.

Unfortunately, you can’t apply your cash back toward a travel booking with American Express Travel. However, you do have full access to the booking platform, so you can use your cash back toward a statement credit to offset the cost.

Balance transfer offer

In addition to a great rewards rate, the Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months of account opening (transfers must be requested in first 60 days, 14.49 to 25.49 percent variable APR thereafter). If you are looking to pay down some debt over time without racking up interest, this is a huge perk. It is not the longest 0 percent intro APR you’ll find, but it is a great deal for a card with such competitive rewards.

See related: How to transfer a balance to an American Express credit card

On the downside, you’ll be charged a $5 or 3 percent balance transfer fee, whichever is greater. This can add up to hundreds of dollars on larger balances.

Intro APR for new purchases

On top of an introductory rate for balance transfers, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers new cardholders a 0 percent intro APR on new purchases for the first 12 months (14.49 to 25.49 percent variable thereafter). This means cardholders can use the Blue Cash Preferred to finance a large purchase over the first year without worrying about incurring interest. Just be sure to make a plan to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends, as the ongoing APR can be high.

Other benefits

The Blue Cash Preferred card comes with several additional perks that add to its value – especially for frequent shoppers.

  • Pay It Plan It – With American Express Pay It Plan It, cardholders can pay larger purchases off over time for a fixed fee to save on interest.
  • Free ShopRunner membership – With the Blue Cash Preferred card, you’ll get a free ShopRunner membership, which gives you free, two-day shipping with dozens of online retailers.
  • Extended warranty – On eligible warranties of five years or less, you can add an additional two years to the original manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Purchase protection – For items purchased with your card, you can be covered for 120 days in the case of accidental damage or theft.
  • Return protection – If you try to return a purchase made with your card in the first 90 days and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express will refund the price up to $300 per item (max of $1,000 per year).
  • Car rental insurance – When you book and pay for your rental car with the Blue Cash Preferred, you can receive secondary coverage in the case of damage or theft.

To take advantage of all of these benefits, put all major purchases on your Blue Cash Preferred card.

American Express acceptance

Though it’s true that American Express cards are not accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard, American Express is accepted in more and more locations every year. If you primarily use your card in the U.S., you likely won’t have many problems with merchant acceptance. However, American Express is not accepted as widely abroad – a big deterrent for international travelers.

Approval odds

The Blue Cash Preferred card is designed for users with good to excellent credit (above 670), so you’ll want to ensure you meet those qualifications before you apply. Additionally, while American Express doesn’t impose a strict limit on how many cards you can have open with the issuer, we recommend you stay under five open cards at a time.

Customer service

Among major credit card issuers, American Express has an excellent customer service reputation. In J.D. Power’s 2019 customer satisfaction survey, American Express rated 838, ranking under only Discover in a list of 11 major issuers. In addition to 24/7 customer service – including an online chat feature – American Express offers a highly rated mobile app.

Pairing the Blue Cash Preferred with other rewards cards

Because the Blue Cash Preferred card comes with generous cash back rates in several popular bonus categories, it makes an excellent pair for other rewards cards. If you don’t mind juggling a few different credit cards to maximize your cash back, pairing the Blue Cash Preferred card with another card that offers a good flat rate of cash back can be a great way to boost yearly rewards.

See related: How to stack cards to get the most on your everyday spending

For example, imagine you have both the Blue Cash Preferred card and the Citi Double Cash Card – which offers 1 percent cash back on general purchases and an additional 1 percent cash back when you pay your bill on time (for up to 2 percent on every purchase). If you use the Blue Cash Preferred card for all its bonus category purchases and the Citi Double Cash Card for general purchases, you’ll earn the following rewards rate:

Potential rewards rate: Blue Cash Preferred card + Citi Double Cash Card

  • 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 services
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases
  • 2% cash back on general purchase (1% when you pay and an additional 1% for paying your bill on time)

We estimate this card pairing will bring in an average of 3.19 percent cash back – significantly more than the estimated 2.63 percent with the Blue Cash Preferred card alone.

Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday

If earning rewards on U.S. supermarket and gas station purchases fits in well with your spending patterns – but you are hesitant to pay an annual fee – American Express also offers a great no annual fee card. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1 percent), 2 percent back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent cash back on general purchases. While the Blue Cash Everyday card does not include the same great rates on streaming services and transit as the Blue Cash Preferred, it does not charge an annual fee.

See related: Blue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred

However, for cardholders who spend a significant amount on groceries, we estimate it is easy to offset the Blue Cash Preferred card’s higher annual fee and still earn more rewards. Since the rate on U.S. supermarket purchases is so much higher on the Blue Cash Preferred card, we estimate a Blue Cash Preferred cardholder would only need to spend $3,200 per year on groceries (or $267 per month) to beat the Blue Cash Everyday.

Annual cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases ($3,200 spend)

Blue Cash Preferred card Blue Cash Everyday card
$3,200 U.S. supermarket spend x 6% cash back – $95 annual fee = $97 $3,200 U.S. supermarket spend x 3% cash back = $96

Plus, the bonus categories on the Blue Cash Preferred card are much more extensive. If you spend even moderately on streaming services or transit purchases, you can use those categories to boost rewards.

How does the Blue Cash Preferred card compare to other cash back cards?

The Blue Cash Preferred card is an incredibly rewarding cash back card for users who spend a significant amount on U.S. supermarket purchases, but its $95 annual fee can be a big deterrent. Additionally, cardholders who spend more on other categories – such as dining out – might not get as much value out of the card. Here’s a quick look at a few popular alternatives:

Citi Double Cash Card
Citi® Double Cash Card
Capital One Savor card
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom®
Rewards rate

  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases
Rewards rate

  • 8% cash back on tickets through Vivid Seats (offer ends May 2020)
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories that you must activate each quarter (up to $1,500 per quarter)
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
Sign-up bonus

None

Sign-up bonus

$300 if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

$150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95 (waived first year)

Annual fee

$0

Other things to know

  • Lengthy intro APR on balance transfers
  • Rewards expire if card is not used over 12 months
Other things to know

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Redeem any amount of cash back at any time
Other things to know

  • Redeem points for cash, travel, merchandise or gift cards
  • Rewards don’t expire
  • Transfer points to other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to potentially increase their value

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and it comes with one of the best flat rates of cash back you can find on all purchases. Cardholders receive 1 percent cash back on everything they buy, plus an additional 1 percent cash back as they pay for those purchases – for up to 2 percent cash back. If you don’t spend heavily on any particular category, a card with a high flat rate of cash back can ensure you still earn great rewards.

Capital One Savor card

The Capital One Savor card is popular among foodies – thanks to its generous rate on dining purchases. For cardholders who prefer dining out to cooking at home, the Savor card is one of the most lucrative dining cards available. While it comes with a $95 annual fee (waived in the first year), it is packed with perks that help offset this cost – like a generous sign-up bonus.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom requires a bit more maintenance than other rewards cards, as you’ll have to enroll in rotating bonus categories each quarter to earn a good rate of cash back. However, it is a very lucrative option for cardholders looking to pair a card with generous bonus categories with a flat rate card. If you don’t mind keeping track of rotating categories, the cash back rate on the Chase Freedom card is top-notch – even with a quarterly spend cap. Additionally, rewards earned with the Chase Freedom are incredibly flexible and can be redeemed for travel purchases in addition to a statement credit or gift card.

Who should get the Blue Cash Preferred card?

  • Cardholders who spend a significant amount on U.S. supermarket, gas station, streaming or transit purchases
  • Cardholders looking for a large introductory bonus.
  • Users who will take advantage of shopping perks like free, two-day shipping with participating merchants through ShopRunner and extended warranty.
  • Cardholders looking for an intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers paired with a generous rewards rate.

How to use the Blue Cash Preferred card:

  • Use the card for all U.S. supermarket, gas station and transit purchases to take advantage of bonus cash back.
  • Transfer all streaming service subscriptions to the card to earn rewards on your membership fees.
  • Sign up for ShopRunner and look for the program logo when shopping online to save on shipping fees.
  • Keep an eye out for Amex Offers that align with your spending to earn bonus cash back.

Is the Blue Cash Preferred card worth it?

For cardholders who spend a significant amount on U.S. supermarket purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers some of the best rewards you can get while you buy groceries. Plus, it comes with several other lucrative bonus categories, including a great rate on select U.S. streaming services, U.S. gas station purchases and transit. For more moderate spenders, however, the $95 annual fee might be difficult to offset.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.

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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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