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Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Card Review

Dayana Yochim

Written by Dayana Yochim
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Andrea Coombes

March 12, 2024

Why trust us? 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 unlimited 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 rate Amex and others typically offer on grocery store purchases and streaming costs. The card's tasty 6% cash back rate earned the Blue Cash Preferred Card the 2024 Award for Best Cashback Card for Home Chefs. (Amex's similar no-annual-fee option — the Blue Cash Everyday Card — pays 3% cash back on groceries, gas, and U.S. online retail purchases.)

If you typically feed an army or fill your shopping cart with fancy fare, take note: The 6% rewards gravy train slows to a trickle (1%) once you hit the bonus category's $6,000 annual spending ceiling. (FYI: Our cashback calculator factors in the cap and deducts the $95 annual fee from the earnings estimate.) At least the other bonus categories — 6% on streaming, 3% on gas/transit and 1% on everything else — have no spending caps.)

The basics: Earn 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets. Earn an unlimited 6% cash back on select streaming subscriptions, 3% on gas and transit (includes taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more) 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 $250 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

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dining Dining
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Best for Foodies

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Logo
Cashback Per Year
Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express pros and cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • Big-time rewards (6%!) on supermarket and streaming purchases
  • 3% unlimited back on gas and transit-related stuff
  • Welcome bonus and 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • $95 annual fee waived for the first year
  • Preapproval with no impact to your credit
  • Offers installment payment plans
  • Includes Amex network perks

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • 6% grocery cashback rate capped after $6K in annual spending
  • Superstore and warehouse clubs don’t count
  • Blah 1% cash back base/default rate on non-bonus category spending
  • 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 (aka 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)
Gas 3.00% - - -
Travel 1.00% - - -
Dining 1.00% - - -
Entertainment 1.00% - - -
Pharmacy 1.00% - - -
Groceries 1.00% 6.00% $6,000 12
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

Note: In addition to the rewards rates outlined above, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from Amex also pays an unlimited (no caps) 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.

New cardmember perks include a welcome bonus and 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers.

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.

Pre-approval to protect your credit score. Wondering if your credit is up to Amex's standards? The pre-approval process allows Amex to see whether you're a good candidate without having to formally pull your credit.

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. (Bank of America is a notable exception, FWIW.)

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. We suggest keeping a flat-rate 2% cash back card in your wallet to use for everything that doesn't qualify for the bonus rate.

Bundled streaming services or ones billed by a third party (like your internet provider) may not be eligible for 3% rewards.

Premium-level rewards rates come at a price. Specifically, $95 a year. Amex covers the annual fee for the first year. After that you'll have to decide if it's worth it to continue your relationship.

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 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 and the print-out-able version with supplemental info describing the rewards program.

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.

tips_and_updates Trivia time!

How common are annual fees? Roughly 17% of the consumer cash back cards we review charge an annual fee. They range from $39 to $99, with an average annual fee of $67.

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.

tips_and_updates Fun fact

More than half (55%) of the consumer cash back credit cards we track in the database offer a welcome bonus, ranging from $30 up to $300. The average sign-up bonus for new cardholders is $197, 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 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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The results of the 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.)

About the Editorial Team

Dayana Yochim
Dayana Yochim

Dayana Yochim has been writing (articles, books, podcasts, stirring speeches) about personal finance and investing for more than two decades, focusing on bringing clarity and the occasional comedic aside to what is often a murky, humorless topic. She’s written for NerdWallet, The Motley Fool,, Woman’s Day, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and been a guest expert on "Today," "Good Morning America," CNN, NPR and wherever they’ll hand her a mic.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is Managing Editor for Reink Media Group and the lead editor for content on Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Andrea Coombes
Andrea Coombes

Andrea Coombes has 20+ years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. Her personal finance articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MarketWatch, Forbes, and other publications, and she's shared her expertise on CBS, NPR, "Marketplace," and more. She's been a financial coach and certified consumer credit counselor, and is working on becoming a Certified Financial Planner. She knows that owning pets isn't necessarily the best financial decision; her dog and two cats would argue this point.