Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

By

Views

2.0K

Dig Deeper

Become a Money Crasher!
Join our community.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Review

Views

2.0K
At a Glance
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
4.3 / 5
Rating

Learn More

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Welcome Offer: $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Rewards: 6% cash back on select streaming and digital media purchases; 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per calendar year; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select transit providers (including rideshare); 1% cash back on everything else, including supermarket purchases above the $6,000 cap
  • Benefits: Return protection, purchase protection, complimentary loss and damage coverage for rental cars paid in full with the card
  • Intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 14.49% to 25.49% variable, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates
  • Fees: 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Credit Needed: Excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a popular cash back rewards credit card with a relatively high annual fee ($95). It shares many of the same features and benefits as its stablemate, Blue Cash Everyday from American Express.

However, its cash back rewards program is significantly more generous: 6% cash back on purchases made with select streaming and digital media services, such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO, and Audible; 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 spent per year; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and certain transit operators (including rideshare providers such as Lyft and Uber); and 1% cash back everywhere else, including supermarket purchases above the annual spending cap. It also has a solid welcome offer and introductory purchase and balance transfer APR offers.

Although its rewards are on the generous side, Blue Cash Preferred is comparable to many other mainstream cash back rewards cards. Popular alternatives include Chase Freedom and the Capital One Quicksilver Credit Card. Keep in mind that Blue Cash Preferred is one of the only cash back cards that carries an annual fee.

Key Features

Welcome Offer

When you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of signing up, you get a $250 statement credit.

Cash Back Rewards & Redemption

Purchases made with digital media and streaming services, including (but not limited to) Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO, Apple Music, and Audible, earn 6% cash back.

U.S. supermarket purchases earn 6% cash back, up to a $6,000 annual spending limit ($360 total cash back per year). After the $6,000 cap, supermarket purchases earn 1% cash back.

U.S. gas station and transit (including rideshare) purchases earn 3% cash back.

All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

Cash back can be redeemed for a statement credit once you clear the $25 redemption minimum, plus gift cards and general merchandise.

Note that American Express doesn’t include superstores such as Walmart and Target, nor warehouse club stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club, as “grocery stores” for the purposes of this card.

Introductory APR

Blue Cash Preferred comes with a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. Qualifying transfers must be made within 30 days of opening your account. Following the introductory period’s end, the variable APR ranges between 14.49% to 25.49% APR, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.

Important Fees

There’s a $95 annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%.

Travel Benefits

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred has several travel perks:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance hotline for all travelers
  • Rental car loss and damage insurance coverage for cardholders who charge the full amount of their rentals to the card
  • 24/7 global concierge service for all cardholders traveling more than 100 miles from home
  • Accidental death insurance for traveling cardholders.

Shopping Benefits

Blue Cash Preferred also has some nice shopping benefits. These include:

  • Extended warranties on items with original warranties of five years or less
  • Up to $300 in per-item coverage ($1,000 total per calendar year) for returns rejected within 90 days of original purchase
  • Up to $1,000 in per-item coverage ($50,000 total per calendar year) for items lost or damaged within 90 days of purchase.

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit. If you have any noteworthy credit blemishes, you’re unlikely to be approved.

Advantages

  1. Very Generous Cash Back Rewards. Blue Cash Preferred has one of the most generous cash back rewards programs around: 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year), 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back everywhere else. If you can max out the grocery store benefit and spend heavily at gas stations, you’ll more than make up for the annual fee and leave other cards in the dust. By comparison, the Amex EveryDay Preferred – still generous by overall cash back standards, though it carries a $95 annual fee – offers 3x points (worth up to $0.01 apiece) at grocery stores (up to $6,000), 2x points at gas stations, and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card ($39 annual fee) earns a flat 1.5% on all purchases.
  2. Solid Welcome Offer. Blue Cash Preferred has an above-average welcome offer that’s not matched by most other cash back credit cards. If you’re looking to juice your cash back earnings right out of the gate, Blue Cash Preferred is a great choice.
  3. Nice Intro APR Promotion for Purchases and Balance Transfers. The 12-month 0% APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers matches offers from popular competitors, including Capital One.
  4. Spending Categories Don’t Change. Blue Cash Preferred’s spending categories never change – you can always expect the same cash back earnings at U.S. supermarkets, gas stations, and everywhere else year-round. That’s a welcome change from cards with rotating categories, including Chase Freedom. Both of those cards change their 5% cash back categories each quarter, and you need to manually activate them to receive the benefit. However, keep in mind that neither carry annual fees.
  5. Gift Card Purchases Can Boost Your Cash Back’s Value. Did you know that American Express will give you cash back on gift card purchases? So if you don’t expect to spend $6,000 per year on groceries, you can still maximize the value of the 6% grocery store cash back offer by purchasing third-party gift cards at the register (which usually don’t come with any added fees). The majority of grocery chains sell a slew of major merchants’ gift cards, including Starbucks, Gap, Home Depot, Shell, Southwest Airlines, and more. Using this method, you can more easily maximize the potential of the card and earn 6% cash back on a variety of different categories. This is a nice advantage over cash back cards that don’t treat grocery store purchases preferentially.

Disadvantages

  1. Statement Credit Is the Only Cash Back Redemption Option. You can only redeem your accumulated cash back rewards for statement credits, not bank account deposits or paper checks. That’s much more restrictive than Chase Freedom, which lets you redeem cash back for pretty much anything, and Citi Double Cash Card, which offers bank account deposits and paper checks in addition to statement credits. Keep in mind that you can redeem your accumulated cash back points for non-cash items gift cards and general merchandise here.
  2. Annual Fee & Foreign Transaction Fee. Blue Cash Preferred’s $95 annual fee is somewhat unusual in the cash back card world. It’s a significant drawback for cardholders who don’t spend enough to justify the outlay – for example, you would need to spend $1,250 extra per year in the 6% cash back category to offset this fee. Meanwhile, the foreign transaction fee is a bummer for frequent international travelers. Bank Americard Cash Rewards, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Citi Double Cash all lack annual fees.
  3. Charges Penalty Interest. Blue Cash Preferred’s high penalty APR stands in unfavorable contrast to the nonexistent penalty APR of Chase Freedom.
  4. Requires Excellent Credit. American Express doesn’t go into great detail about Blue Cash Preferred’s approval process, and doesn’t specify the minimum credit score that applicants need to attain to be considered for card membership. However, the company makes no secret of the fact that Blue Cash Preferred requires excellent credit. If you have a few blemishes on your credit report, opt for a less generous card with looser underwriting standards, such as Chase Freedom, and work on building your credit history.

Final Word

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has one of the most generous rewards programs of any cash back credit card, but there’s a catch: the $95 annual fee. If you don’t spend enough at the supermarket to approach or exceed the $6,000 annual spending limit, or don’t shop frequently at U.S. gas stations, consider a no-annual-fee cash back credit card with similar, less generous benefits, such as Blue Cash Everyday.

Alternatively, opt for a category-based rewards card, such as Chase Freedom, which makes up for less generous overall cash back benefits with rotating 5% cash back categories and less exacting credit score requirements.

Verdict
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
4.3 / 5
Rating

Learn More

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is great for heavy spenders who can focus their financial firepower at the grocery store and gas station, and earn rewards quickly enough to neutralize the $95 annual fee. Thanks to a great balance transfer promotion, it’s also great for cash back reward lovers who wish to transfer high-interest balances from other credit cards.

Blue Cash Preferred isn’t ideal for people with less than excellent credit, light to moderate spenders who can’t rack up rewards quickly enough to justify the annual fee, and people who travel abroad frequently.

Super-generous cash back rewards, solid welcome offer, great intro APR promotion, and static spending categories are big pluses. The annual fee, penalty APR, foreign transaction fee, and inflexible redemption hurt.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Next Up on
    Money Crashers

    Woman Holiday Stress Christmas Tree Upset

    6 Tips for Managing & Dealing With Holiday Stress

    If the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, why do you feel so stressed out? The combination of managing family expectations,...
    Bank Account Promotions

    39 Best New Bank Account Promotions & Offers – December 2019

    It's possible to make $100s just by opening up a bank account. But sorting through the best offers can be tricky. At Money Crashers, we...

    Popular on
    Money Crashers

    Sign Up For Our Newsletter

    See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

    What Do You Want To Do
    With Your Money?

    Make
    Money

    Explore

    Protect
    Money

    Explore

    Save
    Money

    Explore

    Borrow
    Money

    Explore

    Manage
    Money

    Explore

    Invest
    Money

    Explore