Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Review: Score Up to 6% Back

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Our Bottom Line

The premium U.S. supermarkets and gas earnings rates are among the highest in the market, which makes the modest annual fee justifiable for cardholders spending in these categories.

What we Like:
  • $250 welcome bonus
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • Earn up to 6% cash back
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
1.5 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 1.5/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 15.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 12 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 12 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Highlights
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees

Check out enough cash-back cards and you’ll start to get used to the typical rewards rates. There are the cards that earn 1.5% back on everything, the cards that earn 2% or 3% back on select categories, and the cards with rotating 5%-back categories. And then the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes along and goes even higher.

So, the cash back on this American Express card is about as impressive as it gets, but what about the rest of the features? This review will tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

What I like about the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Up to 6% cash back -- This card has stellar cash-back rates, as you earn:

  • 6% back at U.S. supermarkets, capped at $6,000 per calendar year
  • 6% back on select streaming subscriptions
  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations
  • 3% cash back on transit including taxi/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more
  • 1% back on all other spending

A 6% cash-back rate is the highest I’ve seen, and what’s even better is that it’s for one of the bigger expense categories consumers have. Most cards with 5% cash back offer it for bonus categories that change every quarter, so there could be quarters where you can’t take full advantage.

You won’t run into that problem with the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express. If you spend $500 a month at U.S. supermarkets, you’ll max out that 6% back each year for $360 total cash back.

$250 welcome bonus -- The spending minimum for this bonus statement credit is $1,000 within the first three months. As far as cash-back cards are concerned, this is one of the biggest bonuses available.

0% intro APR -- You’ll have a 0% APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balances transfers. There are cards out there with longer intro periods if you’ll need more time to pay everything off, but the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express still does well here, given that cards with high cash-back rates and bonuses often don’t even have 0% intro APRs.

Travel and purchase protections -- American Express has put together a nice list of protections, including rental car insurance, roadside assistance, accidental damage and theft coverage, return protection, and extended warranty coverage.

Why you can trust me

Credit cards are a focus of both my career and my everyday life. Professionally, I write about personal finance topics and specialize in credit cards and credit scores, which means a lot of my time is spent on research. I have several credit cards that I’ve gotten for their benefits and bonuses, and I’m coming up on 500,000 points earned since I started with rewards cards two years ago.Here on The Ascent, I’ve contributed essential reviews and in-depth card comparisons, so I’m well versed in recommending all kinds of different cards.

What could be improved

$95 annual fee -- The Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express may have lots of benefits, but it’s also one of the few cash-back cards with an annual fee. Although I think it’s worth the money, you may prefer a no-annual-fee card.

2.7% foreign transaction fee -- It’s disappointing that this card charges a foreign transaction fee, especially since you need to pay an annual fee for it. Between the card’s foreign transaction fee and the fact that every one of its bonus categories are for U.S. businesses only, you wouldn’t want to use it for a travel card.

Limitations on 6% cash back -- If you hit the $6,000 spending cap on the 6% cash-back, you’ll only earn 1% back at supermarkets the rest of the year. That could be an issue if you spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets. The 6% rate also doesn’t apply to purchases you make at wholesale clubs or superstores.

What to look for in a cash-back card

The first details to look at with a cash-back card are the:

  • Cash-back rates
  • Annual fee
  • Welcome bonus

The cash-back rates are the most important because you want to find a card that earns good rates in your biggest spending categories. If a card has an annual fee, you’ll need to calculate if the cash-back rates are enough to make that fee worthwhile.

Bonuses are a nice extra and worth checking, but they only affect the value of the card in the beginning. Cash-back rates are more valuable since they affect the year-to-year value.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is very impressive when it comes to its cash-back rates and its welcome bonus. All it has holding it back is that $95 annual fee, but you could earn much more than that from the card’s benefits.

If 0%-APR financing or balance transfers are what you need, then you should check the card’s intro offers as well.

How much you can earn with this card

To demonstrate what you can earn every year using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, I’ve put together a sample spending scenario using a reasonable amount of $1,500 per month and $18,000 per year. This scenario assumes the card’s a good fit for your typical spending habits, meaning you spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets and get gas every month.

Category Cash-Back Rate Spending Annual Earnings
U.S. Supermarkets 6% up to $6,000 per year $500 per month, $6,000 per year $360
Select U.S. Streaming Subscriptions 6% $20 per month, $240 per year $14
U.S. Gas Stations 3% $200 per month, $2,400 per year $72
Transit 3% $100 per month, $1,200 per year $36
All Other Spending 1% $800 per month, $9,600 per year $96

Total Earnings (after subtracting $95 annual fee) -- $483

When the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express matches your spending, it can earn you quite a bit back. At $483 in cash back on $19,440 in spending, you’re effectively averaging 2.4% cash back.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card vs. Blue Cash Everyday® Card

If you’re interested in a no-annual-fee alternative to this card, there’s also the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. For that $95 in savings, you won’t have all the bells and whistles. Here are the main differences to note with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express:

  • 3% back for your first $6,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets
  • 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • $150 welcome bonus for spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

If you need a longer 0% intro APR card or you have no interest in paying an annual fee, then the Blue Cash Everyday® Card is the way to go.

Otherwise, it comes down to your spending. With that 3% difference in cash back, it will take $3,166.67 of annual U.S. supermarket spending to earn an extra $95 and wipe out the annual fee of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. That comes out to $263.89 per month.

As of Jul. 10, 2019
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
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Read Full Review Rates & Fees
Apply Now
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On American Express' Secure Website.

Read Full Review Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: $250 Statement Credit After Spending $1,000 Within Three Months Bonus: $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 within three months
Rewards Program: 6% Cash Back At U.S. Supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per year), 2% Cash Back At U.S. Gas Stations, 1% Back On All Else Rewards Program: 3% Cash Back At U.S. Supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per year), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on all else
Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 12 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 12 months Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 15 months
Regular APR: 15.24%-26.24% Variable Regular APR: 15.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee: $95 Annual Fee: $0
Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Highlights:

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Highlights:

  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

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Apply Now
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On American Express' Secure Website.

Show More Arrow graphic to expand and collapse content
Apply Now
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On American Express' Secure Website.

Suggested credit score

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a credit card for good credit, and it will significantly help your chances of approval if your credit score is 670 or higher. That’s not a requirement, though, as credit scores aren’t the only thing American Express uses in their decision, and applicants have reported approvals with scores in the low 600s.

This card is right for you if...

Even though the $95 annual fee may turn off some consumers right away, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could be a valuable addition to your wallet. Here are the most common situations where this card is worth a look:

  • You spend $275 to $500 per month at U.S. supermarkets.
  • You want a card that has big rewards and a solid 0% intro APR offer.