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Amex Gold Card vs. Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card [Detailed Comparison]

Christine Krzyszton's image
Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

311 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 98U.S. States Visited: 45

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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American Express is a powerhouse when it comes to issuing credit and charge cards. There’s an option for every business operation, large or small, and personal cards that match any spending profile.

The 2 American Express cards we’ll compare today are cards you might use daily to purchase gas, buy groceries, or to pay for a restaurant meal. Earning rewards on purchases you’re already making is an easy way to accumulate extra value, whether it’s points, miles, or even cash-back.

And while both the American Express® Gold Card and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express function well as cards that earn rewards for everyday purchases, each card differs in how it delivers those rewards.

Additionally, you’ll find differences in how rewards can be redeemed and the collection of benefits that come with each card.

Let’s dive in and see how these cards compare and contrast!

Amex Gold Card vs. Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card — Overview

Before we dive into all the key details of the Amex Gold card and the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, let’s look at a high-level overview comparing our featured cards side-by-side.

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BenefitAmex Gold CardAmex Blue Cash Preferred Card
Welcome Bonus
  • Earn 60,000 points when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.
Earnings
  • 4x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (limit of $25,000 per calendar year) and restaurants
  • 3x points on airfare booked directly or via AmexTravel.com
  • 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year; select U.S. streaming subscriptions; transit; and U.S. gas purchases
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
Redemption Options
  • Transfer to airline/hotel partners
  • Redeem for 1 cent per point for flights on AmexTravel.com
  • Qualifying travel via AmexTravel.com, gift cards, statement credits, retail shopping, event tickets, and more
  • Cash-back in the form of a statement credit
  • Merchandise, gift cards
Top Travel Benefits and Protections
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance (secondary insurance); baggage insurance plan, Global Assist Hotline
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary insurance); Global Assist Hotline
Statement Credits
  • Up to $10 in Uber Cash each month for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year
  • Up to $10 in statement credits monthly at select dining partners, up to $120 per year (enrollment required)
  • N/A
Shopping Benefits and Protections
  • Amex Offers (enrollment required)
  • Extended warranty, purchase protection
  • Amex Offers (enrollment required)
  • Return protection
Annual Fees and Authorized Users
  • $250 annual fee
  • No authorized user fee for up to 5 authorized users, then $35 annually per additional card (rates & fees)
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • No authorized user fee for adding additional cards (rates & fees)

Welcome Bonuses

Credit card issuers frequently offer incentives, in the form of a welcome bonus, to apply for a specific card. These welcome bonuses are typically earned by meeting minimum spending requirements within the first few months after you’re approved for the card.

Here’s how we’d estimate the value of current welcome bonuses on the Amex Gold card and the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card:

Amex Gold Card

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

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!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

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!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

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.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Membership Rewards points received as a welcome bonus can be redeemed for eligible travel with AmexTravel.com for 1 cent per point.

You can also use the Amex transfer partners and potentially receive more value.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card

HIGHEST CASH BACK
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

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.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

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.
Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
$250
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

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!

Pros
  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year) and on select streaming services
  • 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash-back on U.S. gas stations and transit (including rideshares, parking, etc.)
Cons
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%. Variable APRs will not exceed 29.99%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3% Cash Back on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get up to $120 in statement credits annually when you pay for an auto-renewing subscription to Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. That’s $10 in statement credits each month. Enrollment required.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Rewards Center

Redeem cash-back through your American Express account

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card offers a cash-back welcome bonus in the form of a statement credit after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval.

Bottom Line: While welcome bonuses on the 2 cards can be similar in value, Membership Rewards points have the potential to be worth more because they can be transferred to airline and hotel loyalty programs to be redeemed for flights and/or hotel rooms. 

Comparing Earning Power

Both of our featured cards earn rewards on every purchase and bonus rewards on specific everyday purchase categories including U.S. supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations.

The Amex Gold card earns Membership Rewards points while the Blue Cash Preferred card earns cash-back. Let’s look at how each card earns rewards.

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CardEarnings
Amex Gold Card
  • 4x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (limit of $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x) and restaurants
  • 3x points per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly from the airline or at AmexTravel.com
  • 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card
  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year
  • 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash-back on transit, and U.S. gas purchases
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

The Amex Gold card has the potential to earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points (worth at least $1,000 towards eligible travel) if you maximize the 4x earning categories. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card could earn just a maximum of $360 for $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases, but also rewards select U.S. streaming subscription purchases with 6% cash-back.

If you also spend a lot on travel, the Amex Gold card is a better choice with 3x earnings versus the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card at 1% cash-back on travel purchases. If you’re spending a lot on transportation, streaming services, and gas, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card may be a better choice.

Bottom Line: The card that will deliver the best earnings for you will depend on your mix of spending. If you’re spending more than $500 per month at U.S. supermarkets and spend a lot on travel, the Amex Gold card delivers better value. If you subscribe to select streaming services and spend a lot on transit or gas, consider the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card. Another consideration will be whether you prefer to earn cash-back or Membership Rewards points.

Beach
Do you prefer earning cash-back or rewards you can redeem for travel? Image Credit: Khachik Simonian via Unsplash

Comparing Redemption Options

While cash-back earned on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is certainly the most liquid form of rewards you can earn, Membership Rewards points earned on the Amex Gold card have the potential to be redeemed for greater value when transferred to travel partners.

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CardBest Redemption OptionsAdditional Redemption Options
Amex Gold Card
  • Transfer to airline/hotel partners
  • Redeem for 1 cent per point for flights on AmexTravel.com
  • Qualifying travel via AmexTravel.com, gift cards, statement credits, retail shopping, event tickets, NYC taxi fares, and more
Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card
  • Cash-back in the form of a statement credit
  • Merchandise, gift cards

If you’re looking for simplicity, it doesn’t get easier than redeeming cash-back in the form of a statement credit. However, the advantages of earning Membership Rewards points include the option to receive higher value by transferring points to travel partners.

When Membership Rewards points are transferred to airline frequent flyer programs, for example, they are exchanged for miles that can then be redeemed for award flights. It’s possible to receive a much higher value for your points when doing so.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a good cash-back card option, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card will serve that purpose effectively. However, if you’re interested in redeeming rewards for travel, the Amex Gold card provides additional redemption options that may deliver greater potential value. 

Hotel Program Benefits

Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest bedroom
Receive an upgraded room and other hotel benefits with the Amex Gold card. Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest. Image Credit: The Hotel Collection

Both the Amex Gold card and the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card offer cardholders the Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee when booking on AmexTravel.com. If you book a prepaid hotel via AmexTravel.com and find the identical room at a lower price online, you’ll be refunded the difference. Terms and conditions do apply.

One caution is that when you book your hotel through AmexTravel.com, you will not receive any hotel loyalty program benefits that might otherwise apply.

While the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card does not offer any specific additional hotel program benefits, the Amex Gold card comes with these additional benefits:

The Hotel Collection

Book a 2 night or longer stay with your Amex Gold card via AmexTravel.com and receive several benefits through The Hotel Collection:

  • A $100 on-site credit per stay towards the purchase of on-site activities, spa services, dining, and more
  • An upgraded room, based on availability
  • Earn 2x points per dollar spent when paying with your card for prepaid stays via AmexTravel.com
  • Select to pay for your stay upfront using your Membership Rewards points

Bottom Line: While the hotel program benefits that come with the Amex Gold card are better than the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, these benefits can only provide additional value if you can take advantage of them. 

Annual Fees and Adding Additional Users

Annual Fees

The lower annual fee on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card makes it simple to offset with earnings alone. Although the Amex Gold card charges a much higher annual fee, the higher limit on 4x earnings can result in much greater earnings.

Annual fees can change. To view current pricing, including annual fees, check out the tables at the top of this article.

Adding Additional Users

The Amex Gold card does not charge a fee for adding up to 5 additional authorized users. The annual fee for the sixth card and beyond is $35 for each additional card.

There is no charge for adding authorized users to the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card.

Statement Credits

Statement credits can provide direct economic value.

Amex Gold card

Amex Blue Cash Preferred card

  • Equinox Credit — Use your card to earn $10 in statement credits each month on membership fees for a stand-alone monthly membership to the Equinox+ app, up to $120 annually.

Travel Protection and Insurance

While neither of these cards comes with a lot of travel protection coverage, there are a few benefits that can save you money or assist you during your travels.

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BenefitAmex Gold CardAmex Blue Cash Preferred Card
Car Rental Loss and Damage InsuranceSecondary car rental insurance
Baggage Insurance PlanReceive up to $1,250 for lost, damaged, or stolen carry-on and $500 for checked luggage when traveling on a common carrierNone
Concierge and Travel AssistanceIncluded
Global Assist Hotline24/7 service

Both cards provide complimentary secondary car rental insurance, but for a low fee that ranges from $12.25 to $24.95, you can cover your entire rental period with Premium Car Rental Protection which provides primary car rental insurance coverage.

Bottom Line: If you’ll be using your card for worldwide travel, the Amex Gold card is the better choice as it does not charge foreign transaction fees. It also earns 4x points on restaurant purchases worldwide and offers baggage insurance. 

Shopping Benefits Provided With Both Cards

  • Amex Offers — Receive special cash-back or bonus Membership Rewards points when specific purchases are made with your eligible card. You can save hundreds of dollars per year with Amex Offers. Offers are posted to your online card account periodically.
  • American Express Auto Purchasing Program — Administered by TRUEcar, the auto purchasing program can save members thousands of dollars on new car purchases, plus allow you to charge at least $2,000 of the purchase price to your eligible card.
  • Return Protection — Eligible purchases charged entirely on your card that are not accepted for return by the selling merchant may receive up to $300 per item, up to $1,000 per account per calendar year. Coverage is provided for 90 days from purchase.
  • Entertainment Access — Gain priority access to special events such as sporting events, concerts, and food/wine events.

Additional Shopping Benefits Provided on the Amex Gold Card

  • Extended Warranty — For U.S. manufacturers’ warranties of 5 years or less, an extension of 1 year will be added for eligible items. If the manufacturer’s warranty is less than 1 year in length, it will be matched.
  • Purchase Protection — Coverage is provided for eligible items up to 90 days from the purchase date for damage, theft, or loss. Coverage limits are $10,000 per item, up to $50,000 maximum per account per calendar year.

Final Thoughts

The earning power for everyday purchases with the Amex Gold card is strong. The card also offers a broad selection of redemption options, statement credits, and a few extra shopping protections.

Although the annual fee on the Amex Gold card is much higher than the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, the potential for increased earnings in 4x categories and 3x earnings on travel offsets that fee rather quickly.

If you prefer cash-back earnings, a lower annual fee, and you do not spend on travel or care about travel redemptions, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card may work well for you.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Amex Gold card worth it?

Yes. The Amex Gold card can be worth it if you spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets, restaurants, and on airfare. It takes just $6,250 in purchases of 4x bonus earning categories to offset the annual fee.

Add in the ability to redeem Membership Rewards points earned on the card by transferring them to travel partners and you’ll find the card offers significant value.

Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card worth it?

Yes. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card has a low annual fee yet offers a solid $360 in cash-back earnings when spending just $6,000 a year at U.S. supermarkets.

You’ll also earn big on streaming services, transit, and on gas.

The card doesn’t come with a lot of benefits but it offers a simple earning structure that makes it easy to earn plenty of cash-back.

Which is the best card for grocery purchases?

The Amex Gold card offers 4x earnings on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year for total earnings of 100,000 Membership Rewards points.

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash-back on up to $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases per year for a total of $360.

The annual fee on the Amex Gold card, however, is much higher.

The best card for grocery purchases will depend on your tolerance for paying an annual fee and how much you spend on groceries.

Looking at all the benefits of each card, including how your spending matches up with the other bonus earning categories, whether you value travel redemptions, or if you will use any additional benefits that come with the card, should also be considered.

Which is better, cash-back or Membership Rewards points?

Both types of rewards have their advantages. A cash-back reward dollar earned can be easily redeemed for a dollar as a statement credit against a purchase made on your card. Cash-back redemptions can be subject to minimum redemption requirements such as $25 or more as is required for redemption on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card.

Membership Rewards points, however, have the potential to be redeemed for much more value. The best value can be realized when points are transferred to travel partners. For example, points can be transferred to airline frequent flyer accounts where they can subsequently be redeemed for valuable premium award flights.

The better rewards currency will depend on your preference for the liquid simplicity of cash-back or the opportunity to receive potentially more value redeeming Membership Rewards points with travel partners.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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