The Amex Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card – Full Review [2021]

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The Amex Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card – Full Review [2021]

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"A Stay-at-Home Lifestyler’s Dream"

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)

Kids dropped off at school? Check. Grocery shop for the family? Check. Filled the car up with gas so you can pick kids back up again, take them to their friends’ house this weekend, and repeat the routine? Double-check.

With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you can reward yourself for all the cooking and driving around you do every week, whether you’re a parent or just someone with a routine at-home lifestyle!

Pros

Cons

  • $95 annual fee (after the $0 introductory annual fee for the first year; see rates and fees)

Blue Cash Preferred Card - Card Snapshot

  • Welcome Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
    • Earn a $300 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 plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a plan fee up to 1.33% of each 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% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%
    • 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 and 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.
    • Terms Apply.
    • See Rates & Fees
  • Card Categories:
  • Rewards Center
    Redeem cash-back through your American Express account
  • Login Link
  • Related Articles

The Ideal Cardholder

Get Cash Back
The Blue Cash Preferred card is perfect for those who want to maximize their cash-back on each purchase. Image Credit: kenary820 via Shutterstock

Those best suited for the Blue Cash Preferred card are those who are looking for a strong cash-back card, don’t mind paying an annual fee, and have significant yearly spend in 1 or more of the cards bonus categories.

Cash-Back Opportunities

The primary benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred card is the numerous bonus categories it offers. Cardholders will earn between 3% to 6% back on their purchases that fall within the U.S. supermarket, U.S. gas station, select streaming subscriptions, and transit categories, plus the 1% back you’ll earn on all other purchases.

Return Protection

When you purchase a product with your Blue Cash Preferred card, return protection covers you if the seller won’t accept a return for the item, up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

Return protection covers you for up to $300 per item, and up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year.

Car Rental Coverage

When you pay for your rental car with your Blue Cash Preferred card, it comes with complimentary secondary car rental insurance. This insurance covers any damage or theft to the rental car. Keep in mind that this is secondary coverage, so you’ll need to file a claim with your primary insurance first.

Great Card If

  • You spend heavily at U.S. supermarkets and eat at home a lot
  • You commute often or go on a lot of road trips
  • You use a lot of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • You’re a routine-type person and will continually use the card (ensuring you reach the redemption minimums)

Don't Get If

  • You eat out more than you cook
  • You do all of your shopping at warehouse clubs or big-box stores like Target
  • You won’t use the card frequently enough to pay off the annual fee

Blue Cash Preferred - Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    2.7% of each transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars.
  • Interest Rates
    • 0% on purchases for 12 months, from the date of account opening
    • Ongoing APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable
  • Late fees
    • Up to $40
    • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 25.24% variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Additional Info

Best Way to Maximize Points

Family Grocery Shopping 1
Get a card that rewards you for the items that you spend the most on. Image Credit: Gustavo Fring via Pexels

U.S. Supermarket Purchases

With your Blue Cash Preferred card, you’re going to earn 6% cash-back on U.S. supermarket purchases on up to $6,000 in spending each year. This gives you the opportunity to earn $360 cash-back if you were to hit the $6,000 yearly cap — which is just $500 per month.

List of Supermarkets and Grocery Stores That Qualify for Cash-Back:

  • ALDI
  • FreshDirect
  • Gelson’s
  • Hy-Vee
  • Kings Food Markets
  • Meijer
  • ShopRite
  • Smart & Final
  • Stop & Shop
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Vons
  • Whole Foods
  • Winn-Dixie

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of eligible merchants. Merchants that do not qualify include specialty stores (wine shops, fish markets, etc.), superstores (Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.), and warehouse clubs (BJ’s Club, etc.). For more information, you can view the rewards info section of the American Express website.

Select Streaming Subscriptions

You’ll also earn 6% back on select monthly/yearly streaming subscriptions, with no caps on how much you can earn. So if you’re someone who has quite a few streaming subscriptions that you use, then the Blue Cash Preferred card might be a perfect option for you.

List of Streaming Companies That Qualify for Cash-back:

  • Amazon Music Unlimited
  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV+
  • AT&T TV Now
  • Audible
  • CBS All Access
  • Disney+
  • ESPN+
  • Fubo TV
  • HBO Max
  • HBO (standalone streaming subscription only, formerly known as HBONow)
  • Hulu
  • iHeartRadio
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Luminary
  • MLB.TV
  • NBA League Pass
  • Netflix
  • NHL.TV
  • Pandora
  • Peacock
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Sling TV
  • SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
  • Spotify
  • Stitcher
  • TIDAL Music
  • YouTube Music Premium
  • YouTube Premium
  • YouTube TV

As you can see, the list of covered platforms is quite extensive. Take, for example, a person who has monthly subscriptions to Netflix (standard $12.99), Hulu (no ads $11.99), Disney+ ($6.99), HBO Max ($14.99), and Spotify Premium ($9.99). With the annual total of these subscriptions amounting to $683.40, you’d receive $41 in cash-back.

Transit Purchases

Cardholders get 3% back on all purchases that fall within the transit category. So those that commute often or spend a lot on rideshare services can really benefit from this category.

List of Transit Purchases That Qualify for Cash-back:

  • Trains
  • Taxi cabs
  • Rideshare services
  • Ferries
  • Tolls
  • Parking
  • Buses
  • Subways

So regardless of whatever sort of transit commute you have, whether you take the subway or bus into work, pay to park in a parking garage each day, or take rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, you’ll find the Blue Cash Preferred card rewards you on all these purchases.

U.S. Gas Station Purchases

The final category, 3% back at U.S. gas stations, is perfect for anyone who commutes to work daily, or takes a lot of long road trips.

Examples of Gas Stations That Qualify for Cash-back:

  • Gulf
  • Murphy USA
  • Murphy Express
  • Exxon
  • Mobil
  • Hess
  • Shell

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list and that you will not earn any extra cash-back if the gas station is part of a supermarket or warehouse club. However, if the gas station is also a convenience store, you can earn 3% cash-back on items sold inside.

Everyday Spending

You’ll earn 1% cash-back on all purchases that fall outside of the four bonus categories. While this won’t be as lucrative as the 3% to 6% back you’ll earn elsewhere, it is still a great way to earn cash-back for purchases you’ll be making anyway.

Best Way to Redeem Points

Statement Credit

Those who value simplicity will enjoy that the Blue Cash Preferred offers only one redemption option — cash-back.

When you make purchases with your card, you’ll accrue your cash-back month to month that can be redeemed as a statement credit to offset purchases you’ve one your card when the bill comes due.

One caveat though, is that you must have accrued at least $25 in cash-back in order to redeem it. Meaning if your cash-back balance at the end of 1 month is $23.50, you’ll need to wait until you surpass $25 to redeem those funds.

Bottom Line: Redeeming rewards with the Blue Cash Preferred card is simple. You’ll earn 6 cents back per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets and select streaming subscriptions, 3 cents back per $1 on transit and U.S. gas stations, and 1 cent back elsewhere.  Then you can redeem those rewards as a statement credit once you’ve reached $25 in cash-back. 

Alternative Cards to The Blue Cash Preferred

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

If you want a card that is similar to the Blue Cash Preferred card in most ways but does not charge an annual fee, then the Blue Cash Everyday card is the perfect option. With the card you’ll earn 3% back at U.S. supermarkets, 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card

Credit CardBenefits & Info

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card


Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommendation (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0

If you like the idea of a no annual fee, cash-back card, but prefer different bonus categories, the Freedom Flex card is a great option to consider. You’ll earn 5% back on a quarterly rotation bonus category and travel purchases through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.


We’ve also compared the Blue Cash Preferred against other popular rewards cards.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

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


Frequently asked questions

Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card worth it?

The card is marketed to the non-traveler or family-type buyer. Those who frequent U.S. gas stations will benefit by earning 3% cash-back on purchases there and, when you shop at U.S. supermarkets, you can earn 6% cash-back on up to $6,000 in purchases, then 1%.

The card has a $95 annual fee; if you’re not spending enough to pay for that, then you should downgrade to the Blue Cash Everyday card.

However, there are some good benefits to this reward card. First, you can use the high-value cash-back to purchase gift cards to places where you wouldn’t earn many points otherwise.

There are also a variety of benefits and insurances that can help while you’re traveling if you find that valuable.

What is the Blue Cash Preferred card U.S. supermarkets list? Does it work at Costco, Sam's Club, etc.?

The card does not work at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s. But does include chains like Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Meijer, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, and more. For the full list, you can access the rewards information section of the American Express website.

What is the Blue Cash Preferred card login?

You can sign in to your card at the American Express login.

Can I earn points with the Blue Cash Preferred card? If so, do they expire?

No, unfortunately, the card only earns cash-back that can be added to your statement as credit or used as cash for Amex’s various shopping portal items.

The cash reward cannot be used directly for travel items at this time. Your cash-back will not expire as long as you keep your account open.

Is there an annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred card?

Yes. The annual fee is $95 per year after $0 introductory annual fee for one year.

What is the foreign transaction fee for the Blue Cash Preferred card?

The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%.

Which is better: the Blue Cash Everyday card vs. Blue Cash Preferred card?

The difference between these 2 is that the Blue Cash Preferred card gives larger rewards and carries an annual fee. If your spending is at a high enough level to make up for the annual fee, then you’ll want to go with this version.

Awards on the Blue Cash Everyday card are from 1% to 3% depending on category; the Blue Cash Preferred card rewards are from 1% to 6% depending on category.

If the cash-back you’d earn from the Blue Cash Preferred card would exceed the cost of the annual fee, then that is the card you should go for.

Can I convert or upgrade my Blue Cash Everyday card to the Blue Cash Preferred card? What about downgrade?

Yes. You can apply to upgrade your card at this link. You will simply pay the annual fee and your awards rate will increase from that point forward.

You will not receive any retroactive rewards, and your card number and information will not change; they will simply send you updated cards. You may have to pay the annual fee right away, but your awards rate will increase from that point forward.

Downgrading is possible; call your customer service number to inquire. If you’ve already paid your annual fee, ask if you can get it prorated back to you; they may be able to refund some of the cost.

Which is better: the Blue Cash Preferred card vs. the Discover it® Miles Card?

This depends on your goals. The American Express card is targeted toward the stay-at-home type who shops in supermarkets while using their car a lot.

The rewards you earn are simply applied as a statement credit or used in the shopping portal.

On the other hand, the Discover Miles card is marketed toward travelers. You earn the same amount of points anywhere you spend, and you can use those rewards to pay for travel rewards.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to earn more points on 1 or the other; you’ll have to check your own finances and spending patterns. If you aren’t a traveler, then you should go with the Blue Cash Preferred card.

How is the Blue Cash Preferred card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

Again, the main difference is that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is geared towards travel rewards.

The Blue Cash Preferred card does earn at a much higher rate (6%) versus the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (2%), but the points can be redeemed for a higher value with Chase if done correctly.

If you’re not a traveler and shop in U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations frequently, then the Blue Cash Preferred card likely the better card for you.

What is the Blue Cash Preferred credit limit?

The Blue Cash Preferred card has starting credit limits as low as $1,000, but can range up to $20,000 depending on qualifying factors.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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