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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express provides a high level of cash back rewards for certain spending categories, but its high annual fee means it may not be a good fit for everyone.
This review will cover some top benefits of this American Express card, as well as point out when you might be better served by a lower-cost cash back card.
- Spend at least $1,000 within three months of opening your account for a $200 statement credit
- 6% cash back for US supermarket purchases up to $6,000, after which these purchases qualify for 1% cash back
- 3% cash back for US gas station and select department store purchases in the US, with no cap; 1% cash back on all other goods and services (excluding prepaid cards and other cash equivalents)
At a glance
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) – that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
- Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99%.
- Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
- $95 annual fee.
- Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
- Terms Apply.
1% Cash Back
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express deep dive
If you’re looking for elevated grocery, gas, and department store rewards, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could be a winner—but it comes at a price. Read on for some pros and cons of this popular cash back card.
Get it: If you don’t mind paying an annual fee to unlock high cash back rates for qualified purchases
If you spend an average of at least $500 per month at US supermarkets (not including superstores or warehouse clubs), the Blue Cash Preferred® Card can earn you at least $360 per year in statement credits—and that’s not including cash back from any of the other purchases you’ll make on the card. Given the additional rewards for US gas and department store purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card best serves cardholders who purchase not only a significant amount of groceries, but also gas, and clothes or other items from department stores.
Some of the benefits of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card include:
- $200 welcome offer value: When you spend at least $1,000 within three months of opening your Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you’ll receive a $200 statement credit
- 6%, 3%, 1% cash back: Blue Cash Preferred® cardholders receive 6% cash back on their first $6,000 per year in US grocery store purchases, after which they receive 1% cash back. US gas station and select department store purchases in the US receive 3% cash back, and there is no limit to the amount of cash back that can be redeemed in this category. Other goods and services (excluding account fees, traveler’s checks, and other cash equivalents) receive 1% cash back. All qualifying purchases count toward Reward Dollars, which can be redeemed as statement credits, or occasionally for items such as gift cards or merchandise (at the discretion of American Express)
- Perks for travelers: While the Blue Cash Preferred® Card isn’t best used as a travel card, given that they do charge foreign transaction fees and do not offer cash back for travel-related purchases, cardholders do receive a number of ancillary benefits such as car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, and more
- Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99%
Note that these benefits come with additional Terms and Conditions, so please read them before making your decision.
Skip it: If paying an annual fee isn’t for you, you’re looking for a card to travel with, or merchants you transact frequently with don’t accept American Express
Unlike some cash back cards on the market, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card does come with an annual fee, meaning you’ll want to spend enough on it to redeem at least that much in cash back.
It’s important to recognize that, while nearly every purchase on this card counts for at least 1% cash back, its value is maximized for US supermarket, gas, and department store purchases. So if you spend more of your money on things like travel, a travel rewards card may get you a greater return for your annual fee.
Consider these drawbacks of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card:
- An annual fee no matter how you cut it: At $95 per year, you’ll want to do the math first to make sure you’ll at least break even with the cash back you can earn. If it’s close, but you like what you’ve read about this card, check out the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card, which is similar but doesn’t charge an annual fee
- A significant foreign transaction fee: Foreign transactions on the Blue Cash Preferred® card are charged a 2.7% fee after conversion to USD, which isn’t ideal if you plan to use your credit card abroad often
- A rewards cap for groceries: The Blue Cash Preferred® caps the amount of grocery spend that earns 3% cash back at $6,000. After you’ve spent $6,000 per year at supermarkets, subsequent purchases will earn 1% cash back
- Acceptance issues: Compared to Visa and Mastercard, American Express is generally accepted by fewer merchants, making it not ideal for one-card enthusiasts. If you’re hoping to put most of your purchases on this card, make sure your local supermarkets and gas stations accept American Express before you sign up
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a higher level of rewards than its little brother, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card, but its annual fee may scare away some potential applicants. If you’re not afraid to pay for elevated cash back rewards though, this could be the card for you. Regardless, it’s a good idea to look at some other options before making a final selection.