American Express Blue Cash Preferred Review

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Good for Groceries and Gas

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site
Rewards rate:

6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $300
  • Annual fee: Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
  • Regular APR: 13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is one of the only cash back cards available that we think is worth its annual fee, especially for modern families. This card’s excellent rewards on everyday purchases can help you maximize all of your most frequent spending — from dining in to at-home entertainment to the expenses that come with your daily commute.

At a Glance

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases annually, then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit 
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 within the first six months of account opening (offer expires 12/10/20)
  • Limited Time Offer: $0 first-year intro annual fee, then $95 (offer expires 12/10/20)
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then 13.99 – 23.99% variable APR

Pros

  • Great rewards value for everyday spending categories

  • 0% introductory interest offer for new purchases

  • Competitive welcome bonus

Cons

  • $95 annual fee (though it’s waived the first year)

  • Redeem rewards only after $25 earned

  • U.S. supermarket rewards capped after $6,000 annual spend

Additional Card Details

The Blue Cash Preferred’s primary draw is its high-value cash back rewards, but being an American Express card adds a few more perks, including early ticket access and seating through American Express Experiences, return and purchase protection, and car rental loss and damage insurance. 

This card is also eligible for AmEx’s Pay It, Plan It feature. Pay It is a mobile app feature that lets you quickly pay off specific small, eligible purchases under $100 before your statement is due. While this feature can help simplify the process, you can always make payments (of any amount) toward your card balance throughout your billing cycle, lowering your credit utilization and potentially boosting your credit score. 

Plan It, on the other hand, allows you to opt into an installment plan for eligible purchases over $100. To enroll, you’ll choose among three plan options, each with varying durations, monthly payments, and fees. These monthly payments are added to your card’s payment due balance each month until the plan is paid in full. As long as you meet your monthly payments under the plan, you won’t accrue extra interest on the purchase, which can make Plan It a good option for any balance you can’t pay down immediately (once your 0% intro period ends).

Should You Get This Card?

Blue Cash Preferred excels when combined with typical family budgets largely dedicated to grocery bills and gas stations. It can be especially lucrative for families with several mouths to feed and activities to shuttle to and from. But anyone who has added to their streaming subscription lineup or leaned into a cooking hobby as a result of this year’s increased time at home will likely benefit. 

Before you apply, do the math to ensure the potential rewards on your spending outweigh the ongoing $95 annual fee. Additionally, if you spend well over the $6,000 cap at U.S. supermarkets each year, you may get better value from a card with a lower rewards rate but no spending maximum. Look over past statements and receipts to estimate your average spending in each category, so you can find your own rewards value. 

Also make sure the merchants you frequent in each bonus category are eligible for bonus rewards. AmEx specifies its U.S. supermarkets category does not include superstores, convenience stores, or warehouse clubs, for example, so if you buy the majority of your groceries at Costco or Target, this card may not be your best choice.

How to Use Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

There are things you can do to maximize the Blue Cash Preferred.

First, use this card for each purchase you make at eligible U.S. supermarkets until you reach the $6,000 cap each year. Set up the Blue Cash Preferred as your primary payment on any of your eligible U.S. streaming subscriptions, and keep on hand to use anytime you stop to refuel at the gas station.

You should also have a spending plan to ensure you qualify for the $300 welcome bonus. To meet the $3,000 spending threshold within the first six months of account opening, you’ll need to spend at least $500 monthly. Keep in mind, these should be purchases you already plan to make — a one-time welcome bonus is not worth taking on debt after overspending money you don’t have.

Blue Cash Preferred Rewards

Consider a family who spends an average $15,000 annually, or $1,250 each month, on a credit card. Their monthly spending breaks down to an average $500 at the supermarket, $50 on various streaming services, $400 at gas stations, and an additional $300 elsewhere. Over the course of a year, here’s what they could earn with the Blue Cash Preferred:

SpendingAnnual Rewards
U.S. Supermarkets (6%, up to $6,000 in spend)$6,000$360
Select U.S. Streaming Services (6%)$600$36
U.S. Gas Stations (3%)$4,800$144
Other Purchases (1%)$3,600$36
Total$15,000$576

After accounting for the ongoing $95 annual fee, this family would save $481 each year with the Blue Cash Preferred. Just the rewards on groceries or gas stations alone make the card more than worth its cost in this example.

Blue Cash Preferred Compared to Other Cards

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Intro bonus:
    $300
  • Annual fee:
    Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
  • Regular APR:
    13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site

All information about the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

Bottom Line

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers one of the highest rewards rates available today for grocery spending, along with great rewards on gas and streaming. We believe that makes a great choice for those seeking savings on everyday spending, especially in 2020. These rewards, along with a limited-time offer $300 welcome bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months (offer expires 12/10/20), and 0% interest intro offer on new purchases for the first 12 months (13.99 – 23.99% variable APR thereafter) all add up to a great cash back card option. Just be sure to evaluate your own regular spending habits before you apply to determine whether Blue Cash Preferred is the best choice for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll likely need a good-to-excellent credit score of at least 670 to qualify for this card.  Maintain great credit by practicing healthy credit habits and regularly monitor your score for any inaccuracies. Like any rewards credit card, you should eliminate your high-interest debt and ensure you can pay your balances down each month before applying for Blue Cash Preferred.

Supermarkets eligible for bonus rewards must be located in the U.S. and do not include superstores, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs, according to American Express. You can find a (non-exhaustive) list of eligible stores on the American Express website.

Blue Cash Preferred’s sister card, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, has no annual fee, but there are a few important differences to consider.

 

You’ll earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets with the Blue Cash Everyday, up to the same $6,000 annual spending cap (then 1%), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on everything else. 

 

Using consumer spending data for the average American, NextAdvisor estimates the Blue Cash Preferred’s ongoing annual rewards value at $302.96 (including annual fee), and the Blue Cash Everyday’s annual rewards value at $242.95.