American Express Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday: Preferred Offers Better Value, Despite Annual Fee

A photo to accompany a story comparing the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card and the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card Getty Images

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American Express offers a wide range of rewards credit cards, from travel credit cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points to co-branded credit cards with airlines and hotels and cash back credit cards

They may not be as flashy as some of Amex’s more premium travel options, but two popular cash back credit cards from this issuer — the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card and the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card — offer cardholders great value. 

Both offer cash back rewards in everyday spending categories, but the Blue Cash Preferred offers a higher rate of rewards on spending and a higher welcome offer. In exchange, you’ll pay an ongoing annual fee and must meet a higher spending threshold — which can make it ideal for families who dedicate a large portion of their monthly budget to groceries, gas, and streaming services. 

The no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday, on the other hand, is the more affordable option, but you’ll forgo some rewards value. If you’re not sure you could reach the spending cap for the Preferred card to maximize rewards categories or score the bonus, this may be the better option.

Here’s how the Blue Cash Preferred Card and Blue Cash Everyday stack up in terms of overall rewards value and utility. 

Side-by-Side Comparison

Blue Cash Everyday CardBlue Cash Preferred Card
Annual Fee$0$0 for the first year, then $95
Welcome OfferEarn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of account opening

Also earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases for the first 6 months (up to $150 back)
Earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of account opening

Also earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases for the first 6 months (up to $200 back)
Cash Back Rewards• 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%) back

• 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores

• 1% back on other eligible purchases
• 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%) back

• 6% back on select U.S. streaming services

• 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit

• 1% back on other eligible purchases
Other Benefits• 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%

• Return protection

• Global Assist hotline

• Pay it Plan it

• Payment flexibility
• 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%

• Return protection

• Global Assist hotline

• Pay it Plan it

• Payment flexibility

Bonus Comparison

Between these two cards, the Blue Cash Preferred offers more first-year rewards potential, with a higher minimum spending requirement to get the introductory bonus. 

To get the $150 welcome bonus, you’ll need to spend $3,000 within the first six months, or about $500 per month. What’s more, maximizing the Amazon.com 20% cash back benefit (up to the $200 rewards cap) requires $1,000 in spending at Amazon.com within the first six months of account opening. That works out to around $167 in monthly spending with the online retailer, which may or not be feasible depending on your shopping habits. 

With the Blue Cash Everyday, you can get $100 back within the first six months if you spend at least $2,000, or about $333 per month. And for that card’s Amazon.com bonus, you’d need to spend $750 to reach the $150 rewards max within the first six months, or about $125 monthly.

Especially since its annual fee is waived first year, the Blue Cash Preferred is better in terms of its welcome offer. However, keep your budget in mind. The Blue Cash Preferred does require more upfront spending, so if your regular spending isn’t high enough to take full advantage of the welcome offer, you might get more value from the Blue Cash Everyday.

Rewards Comparison

Once again, the Blue Cash Preferred is superior in terms of the rewards you can earn, which are higher than the earning rates on the Blue Cash Everyday. 

When you sign up for the Blue Cash Preferred, you’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%) back, 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, 1% back on other eligible purchases. 

While the Blue Cash Preferred does charge a $95 annual fee after the first year, the higher earning rate at U.S. supermarkets can more than make up for it. You can max out the 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on the Blue Cash Preferred with $6,000 in spending per year, or $500 per month. At that rate, you would earn $360 in rewards in this category alone.

By contrast, the Blue Cash Everyday only offers 3% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets per year (then 1% back). If you spent $500 per month at U.S. supermarkets with this card, maxing out this bonus category would yield you just $180 in cash back per year.

In other words, even accounting for the Blue Cash Preferred’s $95 annual fee, you could net an additional $85 cash back just on U.S. supermarket spending every year you have the card.

Don’t forget about these cards’ other bonus categories, too. Both offer rewards on gas and transit, though the Blue Cash Preferred is again slightly higher (3% vs. 2% cash back with Blue Cash Everyday). The biggest difference is the Blue Cash Preferred’s 6% back on select U.S. streaming services. Instead of streaming, the Blue Cash Everyday offers 2% cash back at select department stores. These may not make enough difference to outweigh the 6% benefit at U.S. supermarkets, but may factor into your decision depending on your individual spending habits.

APRs

Both the Blue Cash Everyday Card and the Blue Cash Preferred Card come with the same variable APR and an introductory offer for purchases. The Blue Cash Everyday Card offers 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by the regular variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%. Meanwhile, the Blue Cash Preferred Card charges 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by the regular variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%.

Pro Tip

If you want to save money on interest for as long as possible, the Blue Cash Everyday Card is the best option here. This card gives you 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%

If you have a large upcoming purchase to make, the Blue Cash Everyday Card’s longer introductory period can give you a little more time to pay down your balance.

Fees

Unlike many other top cash back credit cards, the Blue Cash Preferred Card charges a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. The Blue Cash Everyday Card doesn’t charge an annual fee at all.

Other than that, fees on these cards are very similar. Both charge a 2.7% foreign transaction fee if you make purchases outside the United States, and both have a late fee and a returned payment fee up to $40. 

Neither card allows balance transfers right now, so if you’re looking to consolidate high-interest debt, explore the best balance transfer credit cards from other issuers on the market today.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    Up to $350
  • Annual fee:
    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • 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. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.1/5)
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • 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.

Deciding Between Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Amex Blue Cash Everyday

If you spend at least $500 per month at U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred Card will leave you ahead every year — even after the $95 annual fee kicks in. The exceptional rewards rate at U.S. supermarkets is more than enough to wipe out the annual fee on its own, yet you’ll still earn more rewards in other categories like U.S. streaming services and gas and transit. 

But if your spending isn’t quite enough to maximize that 6% rate, or you simply prefer a cash back card that never charges an annual fee, Blue Cash Everyday offers great value in everyday rewards categories as well. 

Before you decide, evaluate your budget, and take time to compare how each of these cards might fit into your spending plan.