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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Review

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

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on your card in the first 6 months of account opening, up to a maximum of $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • 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
  • Intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases, then variable regular APR applies (currently 13.99% to 23.99%)
  • Fees: 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Credit Needed: Excellent
  • Terms and conditions apply: see rates & fees

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. It shares many of the same features and benefits as its stablemate, the Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card.

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)
  • 1% cash back everywhere else, including supermarket purchases above the annual spending cap

Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

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 carry an annual fee.

Key Features

These are the most important features of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.

Welcome Offer

Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on your card in the first six months of account opening, up to a maximum of $200 back.

Plus, earn $150 back after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first six months. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

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 accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

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 for 12 months. Then, variable regular APR applies (currently 13.99% to 23.99%).

Important Fees

The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95 each year thereafter. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%.

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. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits. If you can tailor your spending accordingly, you’ll more than make up for the annual fee (after the first year) and leave other cards in the dust.
  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. The 12-month 0% APR promotion for purchases 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 carries annual fees.

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.
  2. Has an Annual Fee and Foreign Transaction Fee. Blue Cash Preferred’s 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. 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.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.

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 0% APR purchase promotion, it’s also great for cash back reward lovers planning major purchases.

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.

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.

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