Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Card Review
Why trust us? Investor.com has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.
Survivalist essentials: Groceries, streaming services and a credit card that pays you 6% in cash back on both. ✅, ✅ and ✅. The all-star cashback rates — and 3% rewards on gas and transit — are free for the first year. After that, you're on the hook for the $95 annual fee.
The “Preferred” in this card’s name means double the cashback bonus (6%) Amex and others typically offer for bonus categories — a boon if your main sources of sustenance come from supermarkets and streaming services. These premium-level rewards rates will, however, cost you a $95 annual fee starting in Year Two. And the 6% cashback rate on groceries dials back to 1% after you hit the $6,000 annual spending ceiling. At least the other cashback categories (3% on gas/transit and 1% on everything else) have no spending caps.
The basics: Earn 6% cash back on up to $6,000 of grocery store purchases, 6% on select streaming subscriptions, 3% on transit and gas station spending and 1% on everything else. $95 annual card membership fee waived for the first 12 months. 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from date of account opening. Earn $300 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express pros and cons
- Big-time rewards (6%!) on supermarket and streaming purchases
- 3% back on gas and transit-related stuff
- $300 signup bonus
- $95 annual fee waived for the first year
- 12 month 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers
- $6K annual cap on reward-eligible grocery store purchases
- Superstore and warehouse clubs don’t count
- Blah 1% cash back base/default rate on all other purchases
- The 2.7% foreign transaction fee is whatever the French word is for "yuck"
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express cashback rewards spending categories
The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.
Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (a.k.a. the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g. $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”
|Category||Default Rate||Bonus Rate||Bonus Spend Cap||Bonus Spend Period (Months)|
Note: In addition to the rewards rates outlined above, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from Amex also pays an unlimited 6% cashback rate on qualifying streaming services and 3% unlimited on transit (e.g., taxis, rideshares, train and bus tickets, etc.). Once you hit the $6,000 annual spending cap on groceries, the 6% rewards rate reverts to the 1% base cashback rate.
What we like
The 6% cash back (up to $360 a year) on supermarket purchases far outshines Amex’s typical 3% rate.
The other 6% cash back category (this one has no cap!) is streaming services, including almost anything that’s stream-able, from Apple TV+ to YouTube Premium.
Commuters of all types are rewarded with a 3% cashback rate on gas and transit, including taxis, rideshare services, parking, tolls, trains, ferries, buses and subways.
There’s a $300 statement credit sign-up bonus if you’re prepared to spend $3,000 on the card within the first six months.
At 12 months, the 0% introductory APR period is shorter than some of Amex’s other offers, but still provides a good balance payoff buffer.
Comes with Pay It and Plan It features (through the Amex app) that lets you quickly pay off small purchases (less than $100) and/or create an installment payment plan on qualifying purchases of $100 or more for a monthly fee that’s less than your APR. (See Amex’s FAQ for more details.)
Includes Global Assist Hotline access in case you need a lawyer, help with lost luggage or a translator to interpret why bus drivers in foreign lands keep yelling at you.
Also includes other American Express card network perks, like car rental loss/damage insurance and purchase protection.
What we don't like
The 6% supermarket spending rewards reverts to 1% after you’ve spent $6K in a year.
Groceries purchased at superstores and warehouse clubs don’t qualify for supermarket rewards, because lame. Most rewards cards have a similar thing against these discount stores.
Spending on airfare, car rentals and cruises is not eligible for the 3% transit cash back category.
Jetsetters, dab your solid gold tears: Jet fuel ineligible for 3% cash back on gas.
The underwhelming 1% default cashback rate on the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card applies to everything (including jet fuel) that doesn’t qualify for higher rewards rates.
Bundled streaming services or ones billed by a third party (like your internet provider) may not be eligible for 3% rewards.
If you take advantage of the 0% APR on balance transfers, make sure to complete all transfers within 60 days of opening the account, and mind the 3% balance transfer fee.
The 2.7% foreign transaction fee seems counter to all the good international travel perks that come with the card. 🤷♀️
The bottom line
Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the investor.com Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express fine print
Behold the American Express Blue Cash Preferred terms and conditions.
Does the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express charge an annual fee?
Yes, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express charges an annual fee of $95.
Roughly 14% of the consumer cashback cards we track in our database charge an annual fee. The average annual fee is $72.60, while the median is $95.
American Express waives the $95 annual fee for the first year.
Does the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offer a welcome bonus?
Yes, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has a welcome bonus of $300.
Of the more than 60 cashback credit cards in our database, 66% offer a welcome bonus. Currently, the average sign-up bonus on a new cashback card is $210.71, with the median being $200.
How much cashback can I earn with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express?
The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $178.00 in cash back per year using the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.
These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express depends entirely on your unique spending habits.
Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.
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Compare Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.
To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:
- Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
- Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
- Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
- Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
- Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.
What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)