Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review

Updated: September 22, 2022

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Updated: September 22, 2022

Partner Offer: Terms Apply to the offers on this page

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Ratings Policy
Cash Back Rating:
4.6 rating
4.6 rating
4.6 / 5
Rewards Value:5.0
Annual Percentage Rate:1.0
Rewards Flexibility:2.2
Features:3.0
Issuer Customer Experience5.0

In a Nutshell:

Despite its annual fee, 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 rewards rate 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
Excellent

Introductory Bonus

  • $350 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months
  • Terms apply
Excellent

Annual Bonus
None

Poor

Annual Fee

Poor

APR
16.99%-27.99% Variable (See rates and fees)

Fair

American Express Customer Service Ratings

  • J.D. Power 2021 customer satisfaction rating: 838 (no issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.1/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.9/5
Excellent

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

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred boasts a great rewards rate, offering one of the highest rates of cash back you can find on U.S. supermarket purchases and select U.S. streaming subscriptions – making your next take out and binge night a great way to rack up rewards.

Pros

  • Households can earn high-rewards in multiple everyday categories like U.S. Supermarkets and U.S. gas stations
  • Cardmembers won’t have to deal with rotating categories or enrollment
  • There are numerous purchase and travel protections to cover you when shopping or renting a vehicle

Cons

  • You’ll need to take advantage of numerous benefits to justify the card’s $95 annual fee
  • The card loses value if you exceed the spending cap on the 6% bonus at U.S. supermarkets of $6,000 in purchases per year (then 1%)
  • U.S. supermarket category doesn’t include discount stores like Walmart or Target, which will disappoint budget shoppers

Why you might want the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

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.

High-earning cash back rewards

The Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a generous rate on everyday purchases. Cardholders earn a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%) and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations.

Even with a $6,000 per year spend cap on the 6% rate on U.S. supermarket purchases, this is a 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% cash back on select U.S. streaming services (including options like Hulu, Netflix, Apple Music and more), 3% on transit purchases and 1% 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.

See relatedBest fixed bonus category cash back cards

Impressive welcome bonus

The Blue Cash Preferred card currently earns new cardholders a $350 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months. That’s not only a $50 increase over the card’s previous offer of $300 after the same spend in the same timeframe, but also more than $100 higher than the welcome bonuses you’ll find on many cash competing back cards (though, to be fair, most of those cards charge no annual fee). The offer’s six-month timeframe for reaching the spending threshold is also a big plus – that’s double the amount of time you’d get with most rewards card bonus offers.

Multiple cash back redemption options

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.

0% intro APR for new purchases and balance transfers

The Blue Cash Preferred card also offers new cardholders a 0% intro APR on both new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months (16.99% to 27.99% variable thereafter). This means cardholders can use the Blue Cash Preferred to finance a large purchase or chip away at existing debt over the first year without worrying about interest charges. Just be sure to make a plan to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends, as the ongoing APR can be high.

Valuable secondary features

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

  • Up to $84 back on eligible streaming subscriptions – You can earn $7 back each month after using your card to spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (enrollment required). That’s a total of up to $84 you could save on streaming, nearly offsetting the full cost of the card.
  • 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 (enrollment required).
  • 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 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.
  • “Pay It Plan It®” – Pay off small purchase amounts (under $100) right away and split larger purchases (over $100) into monthly installments with $0 intro plan fees with this flexible payment option. As long as plans are created during the first 12 months from account opening, the $0 intro plan fee applies. After that, the plan will have a fixed monthly plan fee of up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan, based on plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase and other factors. Payment plans can last from three to 24 months and eligibility is based on your account and credit history.

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

See related: American Express card benefits

Exceptional customer service

Among major credit card issuers, American Express has an excellent customer service reputation. In J.D. Power’s 2021 customer satisfaction survey, American Express rated 838, beating out all 11 other major issuers. In addition to 24/7 customer service – including an online chat feature – American Express offers a highly rated mobile app.

Why you might want a different card

Big spenders may not like the spending limit at U.S. supermarkets. However, that’s hardly a reason to turn down a credit card with an industry-leading 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets (1% afterward). Instead, strategic spenders will have a backup rewards credit card handy to pick up the slack once they meet this limit.

For some, the biggest issue may just be the annual fee. If that’s the case, you may want a different card.

Has a $95 annual fee

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 – there are other cards that offer great rewards with no annual fee. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per year in purchases in each category, then 1%) and 1% 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 never charges an annual fee.

If you’re only setting the table for a few, the Blue Cash Everyday card may be a better fit. Though the rate is lower, you can earn a good amount of cash, especially if your monthly budget is under $300. However, the spending cap is up to $6,000 per year (then the rate goes to 1%) so you gain up to $180 in cash back per year if you max out the category.

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 (on a $3,200 spend)

Blue Cash Preferred cardBlue 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

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 SavorOne card
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Flex℠
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 January 2023)
  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 3% 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)
  • 5% cash back on Ultimate Rewards travel
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
Sign-up bonus

Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening for a limited time.

Sign-up bonus

$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

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

  • Receive extra discounts when cardholder shops through Capital One Shopping portal
  • Redeem rewards on PayPal and Amazon purchases
  • Redeem any amount of cash back at any time
Other things to know

  • Includes cell phone protection
  • 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

Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. 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% cash back on everything they buy, plus an additional 1% cash back as they pay for those purchases – for up to 2% 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.

However, if the cardholders spend a significant amount of their budget on U.S. supermarkets, gas stations, streaming or transit purchases, they’ll earn much less with the Citi Double Cash card. While the $95 annual fee can be steep, it will have a greater return for more specific spenders.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One SavorOne 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. It also has a generous sign-up bonus that is easily attainable. If you pay more than $264 per month on dining and entertainment, the card may be worth the switch.

However, it might not be as lucrative for larger households, as the Amex Blue Cash Preferred has similar rewards at double the rate. For those with a larger budget, the Blue Cash Preferred may be a better investment over time.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex 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 good 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 Freedom Flex is top-notch – even with a quarterly spend cap. The card also carries a solid rewards rate on Ultimate Rewards travel, dining and drugstore purchases, and rewards earned with the Freedom Flex are incredibly flexible and can be redeemed for travel purchases in addition to a statement credit or gift card.

With the Amex Preferred, there’s a lot more ease in use. Not only are the categories the same, but you also don’t have to reach the rewards maximum to reach the spending cap, which is higher than the Chase Freedom Flex. As with any card, it all comes down to how the card is used and how much effort you want to put into earning rewards.

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 right for you?

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. 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.

CreditCards.com industry analyst and cash back expert Ted Rossman tried out the math for himself. In his story on finding the best Amex cash back card, he compared the rewards he’d earn with the Blue Cash Preferred to those he’d get with the flat-rate, no-annual-fee American Express Cash Magnet® Card*.

In the end, Rossman was surprised to see that spending $30,000 annually would only earn him $450 in cash back with the Cash Magnet card. But the Blue Cash Preferred’s rewards categories could help him earn $620 in annual rewards.

So while moderate spenders may struggle to offset the annual fee, if you make the most of this card’s rewards, you should be able to easily cover it.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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

*All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

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.

Responses to comments in the discussion section below are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.

Partner Offer: Terms Apply to the offers on this page

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