Edited by: Michael Y. Park
& Keri Stooksbury
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We’re a fan of everyday-spending cards. After all, what’s not to like about earning rewards on the purchases you make daily?
And, while earning rewards for purchases you’re already making may sound like a smart decision, selecting a card that earns the most rewards possible for your spending mix is even smarter.
This is one of the primary reasons we compare popular cards. This can help you learn how similar cards work and thus find the best card for your specific situation.
Today, we’ve selected 2 popular everyday purchasing cards: the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Citi Double Cash Card®. Each card has its strengths when it comes to earning cash-back, redeeming rewards, features, and benefits.
But first, let’s look at an overall comparison of our featured cards.
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
|Citi Double Cash® Card
|Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.
|Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 in the first 6 months.
|$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (rates & fees)
|2% unlimited cash-back (1% when the purchase is made, 1% when the balance is paid)
|Statement credits, gift cards, merchandise
|Transfer to select travel partners, redeem for travel, statement credits, check, bank transfer, gift cards, Amazon
|Statement Credits (enrollment required)
|Top Travel Protections and Benefits
|Top Shopping Protections and Benefits
No charge to add authorized users (rates & fees)
|No charge to add authorized users
Once you’re approved for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, you can qualify for the welcome offer after meeting minimum spending requirements within a specified period after card approval. The Citi Double Cash card does not currently have a welcome offer.
Because welcome offers can vary over time, we’ve included a card snapshot that includes the current welcome offer for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card and more information on each of our featured cards:
This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a stellar cash-back credit card for those looking to maximize every purchase they make.
With bonus categories like U.S. supermarkets, select streaming services, U.S. gas stations, and transit purchases, this card rewards you for the items you spend the most on in a big way! For those looking to earn up to 6% cash-back on their purchases, this could be the card for you!
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
The Citi Double Cash® Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!
This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.
Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.
Once you’ve been approved for your Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, you can earn additional cash-back by referring friends or family members. American Express is unique in that your referral can select any offered American Express card, and once they’re approved, you’ll receive a referral bonus.
The current referral bonus is $100 in cash-back for each approved referral, up to $550 per year.
Citi does not currently offer referral bonuses for U.S. credit cards.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card earns cash-back in the form of Reward Dollars, and the Citi Double Cash card earns cash-back in the form of ThankYou Points.
We’ll expand on redeeming the different rewards currencies next, but first, let’s look at how you earn rewards on each of our featured cards.
|Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card
|Citi Double Cash Card
6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then 1%
|2% cash-back (1% cash-back at the time of purchase and an additional 1% cash-back when the balance is paid)
|Select U.S. Streaming Services
|U.S. Gas Stations and Transit
|All Other Purchases
You’ll earn best on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card when you spend an average of $500 monthly at the grocery store and have high expenses for dining, streaming services, gas, and transit. The Citi Double Cash card earns just 2% cash-back (1% at time of purchase and 1% when you pay) in those bonus spending categories compared to as much as 6% on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card.
If you spend more in non-bonus categories (such as tuition, household repairs, medical/legal bills, or insurance, for example), earning a total of 2% cash-back (1% at time of purchase and 1% when you pay) with the Citi Double Cash card could be a sound decision. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card earns just 1% cash-back in these categories.
Although the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card and Citi Double Cash Card are both cash-back rewards earning cards, you’ll find differences in redemption options at redemption time.
Here’s how our featured cards compare when it’s time to redeem your rewards.
|Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card
|Citi Double Cash Card
|Redeem Reward Dollars as a statement credit for previous travel purchases
|Additional Redemption Options
|Statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, Amazon.com checkout
|Statement credits, bank transfers, a check, gift cards, Amazon
Cash-back earned on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is earned as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for a statement credit. The benefit of Reward Dollars is that you can save up and use your rewards for an emergency, a vacation, or as a statement credit to offset additional expenses — it’s your choice. You can also redeem Reward Dollars for gift cards or merchandise, but you may not receive good value.
The Citi Double Cash card earns cash-back as ThankYou Points. ThankYou Points are valuable flexible rewards that can be transferred to select airline and hotel partners to redeem for award flights and free hotel nights. Additionally, you can use your points to purchase travel via Citi Travel. You can also redeem your ThankYou Points for statement credits, direct deposit to your bank, a check, gift cards, or shopping at Amazon.com.
Though neither of our featured cards comes with a strong collection of travel protections or benefits, there are a few potentially useful ones.
Pay for your entire car rental with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, decline the rental agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive secondary coverage for damage and theft of the rental card. Secondary coverage requires first filing a claim with any other applicable insurance before card coverage applies.
As a cardholder, you’ll also have access to Amex Premium Protection, which provides primary car rental insurance for 1 low price ($12.25 to $24.95) that covers the entire rental period, up to 42 days. Primary protection does not require filing a claim before card coverage kicks in.
It’s comforting to know you’ll have 24/7 access to help when traveling. With 1 call to the Global Assist Hotline, you can receive assistance finding English-speaking medical/legal referrals, translation services, help to arrange emergency transportation, directions for finding lost luggage, replacing lost passports, and more.
Pay for 3 eligible Lyft rides with your Citi Double Cash card and receive $5 in Lyft credits.
Shopping protections that come with your card may provide coverage if something should go wrong with your eligible purchase. Shopping benefits offer an opportunity to earn additional cash-back rewards on select purchases.
Here are the shopping protections and benefits that come with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card and the Citi Double Cash card.
If you purchase an eligible item with your card, purchase protection will provide coverage for damage and theft for up to 90 days from the purchase date. Coverage limits are $10,000 per item and up to $50,000 per card account each calendar year.
For eligible items purchased with your card, the extended warranty protection will add 1 additional year to an item’s manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less.
With return protection, if an eligible item is not accepted for return by the merchant within 90 days of the purchase date, you could receive up to $300 per item, up to $1,000 per card account per calendar year.
Amex Offers can be money savers — you could earn hundreds of dollars each year in additional cash-back with offers from select retailers and service providers. Log in to your online card account, scroll down to the list of up to 100 Amex Offers, select those you like, and then make the required purchase. You’ll receive a statement credit for the amount of the offer.Hot Tip:
Both the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card and Citi Double Cash card come with complimentary ShopRunner membership. Enjoy free 2-day shipping, free returns, and special deals from dozens of merchants.
Cardholders receive 3 free months of DoorDash DashPass membership plus a $5 credit each month after activating the complimentary DashPass membership.
Log in to your online Citi card account, select the Citi Merchant Offers you like, add those offers to your card, and earn additional cash-back when making the associated purchase.
If you have large purchases to make and want to pay it back over time, you could save money with the 0% APR periods and $0 Plan It fees benefits that come with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card.
If you have credit cards with high-interest balances, the introductory 0% APR for balance transfers on the Citi Double Cash card could allow you to pay it back without interest charges.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (rates & fees). The Citi Double Cash card has a $0 annual fee.
There is no additional fee to add authorized users to either card.
You will need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card. A good to excellent score is generally considered 670 and above, although we recommend a score of 700 or greater to increase your chances of approval.
While the Citi Double Cash card may be easier to qualify for than the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card (fair to excellent credit score), a good to excellent score improves the likelihood of approval.
In addition to your credit score, your income and credit history will also be considered.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card and Citi Double Cash card are both fine choices for everyday spending cards.
If you’re interested in broader choices for travel redemptions and no foreign transaction fees, you may want to consider these 2 additional cards that earn on common everyday purchases.
Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!
With the Citi Premier card, you can earn 3x ThankYou Points for many daily purchases, including dining, gas stations, and supermarkets. Plus, travelers will enjoy the 3x earnings on air travel and hotel purchases.
At redemption time, the ThankYou Points you’ve earned on your card can be used to purchase travel via Citi Travel or transferred to airline or hotel partners for even greater potential value.
This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.
With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.
There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
The Amex Gold card is a smart choice for an everyday spending card. The card earns flexible Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners for excellent potential value.
With strong 4x earnings on restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 4x earnings at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter), and statement credits for select purchases, the card can make economic sense. Plus, you’ll earn bonus points on flight purchases via AmexTravel.com and directly from the airline.
It’s a smart choice to have an everyday spending card for purchases you’re making daily. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card could be a strong choice for you if your spending includes dining, streaming services, gas, and around $6,000 each year at the supermarket.
But if you don’t spend a lot in those bonus categories and you prefer a no-annual-fee card, the Citi Double Cash card could better reward a broader mix of spending. The Citi Double Cash card is also a good choice if you have high-interest credit card balances you would like to pay off over time by utilizing the introductory 0% APR for balance transfers.
If you travel frequently, you may want to consider having a travel rewards card in addition to an everyday spending card. Our recommendations can work for the avid traveler who values earning well on travel purchases, wants flexible travel redemption options, and can use the accompanying premier travel benefits.
For the return protection benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
For the purchase protection benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
For the global assist hotline benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Card members are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
For the extended warranty benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
For the car rental loss and damage insurance benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
The better card for you will depend on your spending mix, how you would like to redeem your rewards, and whether you are comfortable paying an annual fee. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card earns well on dining, select streaming services, grocery stores, transit, and air travel/hotels. If your household spending is more on non-bonus categories such as tuition, home repairs/remodeling, medical bills, and tax payments, for example, you may fare better with the Citi Double Cash card.
No, the Citi Double Cash card does not come with car rental insurance.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card earns Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise. The card does not earn Membership Rewards points.
No, the Citi Double Cash card does not come with purchase protection or extended warranty coverage.
The Citi Double Cash card is a Mastercard and is welcome anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.