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The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is a cash back credit card with a $95 annual fee and a generous and versatile – but sometimes confusing – points-based reward system that lets cardholders redeem for merchandise, transportation, travel, and cash equivalents. With accelerated point earnings at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, plus a frequent-spender bonus for people who make more than 30 purchases per month, this card is definitely more powerful than entry-level cash back cards such as Chase Freedom and Discover it – particularly for folks who spend heavily in those categories.
If this card appeals to you, keep in mind that this points-based rewards system isn’t necessarily intuitive, and that point values vary depending on how you redeem. It takes a little bit of effort to play the system to your advantage.
When you spend at least $1,000 within three months of opening your account, you earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points. That’s worth between $75 and $150 when redeemed through Amex’s Membership Rewards portal.
Earning Membership Rewards
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card earns 3 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarketS, up to an annual cap of $6,000 (excluding superstores such as Target and warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club). Above this limit, U.S. supermarket purchases earn an unlimited 1 point per $1. U.S. gas station purchases, except those made at supermarket gas stations, earn an unlimited 2 points per $1. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point per $1.
The Double Membership Rewards program doubles all the points you earn on prepaid travel purchases, excluding rental car purchases, made through American Express’s travel portal. Plus, when you make at least 30 purchases in a single billing period, you get a 50% bonus on all points earned during the period, retroactive to the first day and with no limit to how much you can earn.
Earned points can be redeemed at American Express’s Membership Rewards portal, provided you reach the 1,000-point minimum redemption threshold. Redemption options include general merchandise, gift cards, statement credits, and more. Point values range from $0.005 to $0.01 at redemption, depending on how you redeem. It’s typically a better deal to redeem for general merchandise and transportation, both of which command point values as high as $0.01 per point. Cash equivalents are worth less: usually $0.005 to $0.0075 per point.
Purchases and balance transfers come with a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months your account is open. To qualify, balance transfers must be made within 30 days of account opening. Following the introductory period’s end, the variable APR ranges between 14.49% and 25.49% APR, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.
Following the end of the introductory period, the regular purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 14.49% to 24.49%, depending on prevailing interest rates and your personal creditworthiness. The cash advance rate is 26.74% APR. The penalty rate is 29.99% APR.
There is a $95 annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 2.7% of the total transaction amount. Late and returned payments both cost up to $38. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%.
EveryDay Preferred has several shopping benefits for cardholders, including extended warranty coverage on items with original warranties set to last less than five years; reimbursement (up to $300 per item) for returns rejected by the merchant within 90 days of purchase; and purchase protection covering accidental damage and theft for 90 days from purchase.
Besides the Double Membership Rewards promotion for travel booked through American Express, Amex EveryDay Preferred has some useful travel benefits: 24/7 global assistance for cardholders at least 100 miles from home; 24/7 roadside assistance for all cardholders, regardless of location; and complimentary loss and damage insurance for car rentals charged to the card.
This card requires excellent credit. If you have any notable credit blemishes, you’re unlikely to be approved.
- Very Nice Intro APR Promotion. The EveryDay Preferred Card’s 12-month 0% balance transfer and purchase promotion is very nice for people who need to make large upfront purchases without worrying about interest accumulating from day one, and for people with existing high-interest card balances. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card‘s intro APR promotion only lasts for a limited time, while the Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®‘s (note: this offer is no longer available) intro promotion lasts 15 months from account opening.
- Generous Frequent Spender Bonus. If you use EveryDay Preferred as your primary credit card, it’s entirely possible to make more than 30 individual purchases per billing period. If you can manage that, even on the last day of the period, you’re handsomely rewarded with a 50% bonus on all points earned from day one. That works out to 4.5 points per $1 at U.S. grocery stores (up to $6,000 spent per year), an unlimited 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations, and an unlimited 1.5 points per $1 on everything else. Chase Freedom and Barclaycard CashForward don’t offer this sort of frequent spender benefit, which can be incredibly valuable if fully utilized.
- Potential for Rapid Point Accumulation on Standard Spending Categories. If you spend up to the $6,000 cap at the supermarket, and heavily enough at the gas station, you can accumulate points quickly with this card. That’s a definite advantage over flat-rate cash rewards credit cards such as Capital One Quicksilver (1.5% on all purchases) and the Citi Double Cash Card (1% on all purchases, plus another 1% when you pay your bill on time).
- Double Points for Travel Booked Through American Express. Although it’s not part of the EveryDay Preferred Card’s standard point-earning scheme, you can nevertheless look forward to earning double (2x) points on prepaid, non-car travel purchases made through American Express’s travel portal. This isn’t an option with many other popular cash back rewards cards, including Capital One Quicksilver and Discover it.
- Has an Annual Fee. The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card carries an annual fee of $95. Most other cash back credit cards don’t have an annual fee, and those that do tend to keep it below $95. For instance, Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, a fellow American Express card with an even more generous cash back rewards program, has a $75 annual fee.
- Somewhat Confusing Points System. EveryDay Preferred doesn’t have a typical cash back rewards program, and that is likely to take some getting used to for new cardholders who haven’t used Amex’s Membership Rewards platform before. The biggest pitfall is simply that point values vary by redemption method, which can complicate the process of planning and budgeting for redemptions. By contrast, Capital One Quicksilver and Discover it always deliver cash back at a $0.01 per point rate, regardless of redemption method. Chase Freedom mostly hews to the same rate, with the exception of travel ($0.0125).
- Points Can Have Low Value at Redemption. The confusing points system has another side effect: potentially low redemption values. If you want to redeem for a statement credit, you need to be okay with a $0.006-per-point redemption rate – substantially lower than the $0.01-per-point rate for Capital One Quicksilver, Discover it, Barclaycard CashForward (note: this offer is no longer available), and Chase Freedom.
- Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card comes with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, which is higher than some fellow cash back cards, including stablemate USAA Cash Rewards from American Express. The Discover it and Capital One Quicksilver cards don’t have any foreign transaction fees at all.
- Has a Penalty APR. This card’s high penalty APR is certainly not ideal for people who occasionally miss payments.
American Express’s Membership Rewards portal has a pretty impressive range of redemption options, including appealing merchandise and convenient transportation. However, since it doesn’t assign an across-the-board value to redeemed points, it’s not the most intuitive or easy-to-use rewards portal around. That’s fine if you’re willing to take the time to learn the ropes, and to adjust your redemption patterns to squeeze the most value out of your points. However, if you’re set on a simple cash back card with a fixed 1-point-per-$0.01 redemption rate, there are better options out there than The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express.