For some credit card users, cash back is king, particularly when they have a family. And if that’s your situation, then the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is an ideal choice. The Blue Cash Preferred card offers generous everyday benefits on supermarket purchases, streaming subscriptions, and gas purchases. Plus, it offers a standard cashback benefit on everything else.
Like most Amex cards, this card comes with a $95 annual fee that kicks in the second year you own the card. However, because of the generous tiers for gas and grocery purchases, most cardmembers will be able to break even and start earning a profit very quickly with this card. If card members max out that benefit, it’s worth $360 in cash back which more than triples the annual fee.
How Do Users Earn Points?
A great benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
is the user’s ability to earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets. And this benefit applies for up to $6,000 a year in spending. For those of you doing the math at home, that calculates to $500 per month or just over $115 per week for 52 weeks. And after users hit that threshold, they continue to get 1% cash back on grocery purchases.
There is one caveat to this benefit. The reward is available only at U.S. supermarkets and American Express excludes some stores (notably Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target) from that list. So you’ll want to consider where you shop. However, changing where you shop may be a no brainer for that kind of a benefit.
Another point-earning benefit for cardholders is 6% on select U.S. streaming services including Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and Spotify. There’s no question that we are a nation of cord cutters. But we are also developing streaming fatigue. This is a powerful benefit that can help offset some of the bite that streaming services are taking out of your budget.
And, cardholders can get 3% of gas purchases. As with the supermarket benefit, American Express defines a qualifying gas purchase as one done from a stand-alone gas station. But what if you rely on public transportation? No problem. The Blue Cash Preferred card delivers the same 3% bonus for other methods of transit including ridesharing, tolls, taxis, buses, trains, and even parking.
What Other Member Benefits Are Included?
At this time and through December 10, 2020, new card members can earn a $300 statement credit after they spend $3,000 in purchases on their new card in the first six months. That would be more than enough to cover the annual fee.
Cardmembers who sign up for ShopRunner can receive free, two-day shipping from dozens of online retailers. Plus, they can use Amex Offers to find special deals that align with their regular spending to get even more cashback.
Users receive extended warranty protection on eligible warranties of five years or less. And they can add an additional two years to the original manufacturer’s warranty. Purchases are also covered for 120 days in the case of accidental damage or theft. And, cardholders can get return protection of up to $300 if they try to return a purchase within the first 90 days but the merchant won’t take it back (this benefit is capped at $1,000 per year). Plus, cardholders will get secondary insurance coverage on rental cars that are booked and paid for with the Blue Cash Preferred card.
What is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?
Unlike some cards in the Amex universe, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is a credit card, not a charge card. This means it does carry a variable APR. However, new cardholders can enjoy an introductory 0% APR on purchases. This is for the first 12 months of opening the account. After that the rate is a variable APR that is currently between 13.99%-23.99%.
Because it is a credit card, American Express offers a Pay It Plan It feature. If cardholders select this feature which charges a fixed fee, purchases over $100 can be split into a custom monthly payment plan from three to 24 months. Eligibility is based on your account and credit history.
Do You Qualify?
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is for individuals with good to excellent credit defined as having a credit score between 670 and 850. The ability for some applicants with a credit rating in the high end of the good category is an advantage that other premium cards usually do not offer.
Does the Card Have Limitations?
As a cashback card, the only limitation for some users may be that the card caps out the limit on supermarket purchases to $6,000 per year. However, committed, point-savvy cardholders could stack this card with other cards to continue to maximize their grocery purchases after they meet the $6,000 threshold.
The annual fee is another potential limitation. However, most cardholders that understand what the card is all about will easily make up the annual fee with their grocery and/or gas purchases.
What Cards Are Similar to The Blue Business Plus Cash Card?
For cash back cards with an annual fee and this level of rewards, you will be hard-pressed to find a fair comparison. However, if you’re absolutely against annual fees, there are two alternatives.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is the “mini” version of the preferred card. There is no annual fee, but the cashback is not as robust: 3% on groceries (up to $6,000), 2% at gas stations and select department stores, and 1% everywhere else.
Another potential option is the Citi Double Cash Card which offers a straight 2% cash back on all purchases. This could be a card that you use as part of a stacking strategy.
For many working families, travel rewards are nice, but cash is king. And that’s the audience that will get to make the best use of the Blue Cash Preferred Card. If you spend more than $61 a week on groceries, the card is almost a no-brainer. And when you consider the limited time offer of a $300 statement credit, there are many reasons to enjoy this card.