Unlike other rewards cards, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is specifically designed to reward you for ordinary, everyday purchases. Instead of requiring that you monitor rotating categories or make infrequent travel purchases to rack up points, it attempts to provide a simple framework to reward you for using the card – but does it deliver?
- Sign-up Bonus. As a new cardholder, you earn 50 reward dollars – which translates to a $50 statement credit – if you spend $1,000 within your first three months. You also get a free year of Amazon Prime if you meet the spending requirement in the same time period (for new Prime memberships only). If, however, you’ve had this card within the last 12 months, or any other Blue Cash card for consumers within the last 90 days, you are not eligible for this bonus.
- Fees. There is no annual membership fee for the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, but if you intend to use it abroad, there is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%. The balance transfer fee is $5 or 3% of the total transfer, whichever is greater.
- APR. The introductory APR is 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of the account. After the introductory period, the APR jumps to the 12.99% to 21.99% range – where you fall within that range is based on your credit worthiness and variations in the prime rate.
- Blue Cash Reward Dollars. You can earn 3% reward dollars on purchases in set categories, including your first $6,000 spent at supermarkets in the United States (excluding superstores and warehouse clubs) per year. You also earn 2% on gasoline purchases in the United States (again, superstores and warehouse clubs that sell gas don’t count), 2% on purchases at select department stores in the U.S., and 1% on all other purchases. Reward dollars may be redeemed for statement credit, merchandise, and gift cards when your balance is 25 reward dollars or more, which is equal to a $25 statement credit.
- No Rotating Categories. The American Express Blue Cash Everyday card provides rewards on everyday purchases with eligible merchants. You do not need to sign up for specific categories or plan your spending months in advance.
- No Spending Cap on Gasoline or Department Stores. The 3% awarded on grocery shopping purchases is capped at the first $6,000 spent in a given year, after which you earn 1% for your grocery store purchases. However, rewards earned on gasoline purchases and purchases at department stores are not capped. Other credit cards, such as the Chase Freedom card, for example, often include gas station and department store purchases but cap them quarterly at $1,500. The Blue Cash Everyday card, however, allows you to earn 2% in both of these categories the entire year, regardless of how much you spend.
- No Annual Fee. You don’t pay an annual fee for the Blue Cash Everyday card. This, combined with the introductory APR, lets you essentially try the card for free.
- Rewards for Everyday Purchases. Remember to use the card on grocery store, gas, and department store purchases to maximize your rewards. Competing “everyday” cards like Discover It and Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa, on the other hand, reward purchases made quarterly in rotating categories for which you have to sign up – and if you forget to sign up, you don’t get the extra rewards or cash back.
- Low Benefits Outside of the United States. Only purchases made at select stores within the United States can earn the maximum rewards. Purchases made outside the United States only earn 1% reward dollars, and come with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
- Foreign Transaction Fee. As mentioned, the foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. Generally, foreign transaction fees range from 1% to 3% for similar cards, which puts the Blue Cash Everyday card on the higher end of the spectrum. Some cards, such as the Discover It card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card do not charge a foreign transaction fee at all.
- Select Stores May Be Limited. Although there are many eligible supermarkets, gas stations, and department stores, you may find that the retailers you frequent most are ineligible for the full 3% rewards. Many cardholders are disappointed to find that Amazon, Walmart, and Target are considered “superstores” which do not qualify for extra points. Plus, if you rely on warehouse stores such as Costco or BJ’s Club, or specialty stores such as cheese shops or fish markets, these grocery purchases are not awarded 3% Blue Cash reward dollars, but instead only 1%.
- Cash Back for Statement Credit. Although you can redeem your reward dollars for a statement credit, you can’t redeem them for a cash or check payout. With the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Back card, however, you can request your cash back in the form of a check, and with Chase Freedom you have the option to redeem it for a check or direct deposit.
- Not Widely Accepted. Many merchants only accept Visa or MasterCard. Even if your favorite store is eligible for the extra points, it may not accept American Express.
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday credit card has an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and no annual fee, which, for all intents and purposes, allows you to try the card out for free. Additionally, if you plan on making a big purchase and you pay it off within 12 months, you can save significant money in interest. However, if you travel frequently outside of the United States, shop regularly at stores which don’t qualify for full rewards, or if you prefer to receive a check rather than a statement credit for your cash back, you may want to consider other cash back credit cards.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express provides cash back rewards without complicated formulas or inconvenient planning. However, the limits on eligible stores can make earning 2% and 3% cash back difficult for some users.
4.0 stars out of 5: It is a simple cash back credit card with no annual fee, which allows you to earn rewards on everyday purchases. However, given the limitations on eligible stores, along with American Express not being universally accepted, other cash back cards may be more attractive.
Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided or commissioned by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, or airline. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.