In our Blue Cash Preferred review, we see whether you can really earn up to 6% cash back. We also look at the $200 cash bonus for new card members.
Having written about credit cards for a long time, it’s become easy to recognize the good cards from the bad. A good credit card will deliver in a variety of ways. Big perks, big bonuses, good rewards program etc. A bad credit card wows you with one single feature, then takes advantage of you in every other way.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a credit card I knew I always wanted. When it was first released many years ago, my credit score was in the tank (high 400’s) so I had no reason to apply. After a few years of saving and working hard to restore my credit, I finally had the opportunity to own this cash back credit card. Now I use this card for every single grocery store purchase; and easily save hundreds of dollars a year.
$200 Bonus + Cash Back Rewards Program
For a limited time American Express is offering a $200 cash bonus. To qualify you must spend $1,000 in purchases on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express within the first three months.
If you’re worried about being able to spend that amount of money, don’t be. My cable bill + grocery bill each month is well over $700. After just two months, I would have no trouble reaching the $1,000 hurdle. Toss in gas, department stores, restaurants and other utility bills like your phone and oil bills and getting there should be even easier. Last but not least, don’t forget you can pay things like health insurance, life insurance and auto insurance with a credit card.
Cash Back Reward Tiers
Beyond the $200 bonus, this credit card excels in one other major area, and that’s cash back. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers an amazing set of tier levels to earn cash back on everyday spending.
- 6% cash back at grocery stores (up to $6,000 spent annually)
- 3% cash back on gasoline
- 3% cash back at select department stores
- 1% cash back on everything else
If the 6% cash back category stands out, it’s because this is the only credit card that offers better than 5% on anything. And to have it on such a widely used category makes this card so very valuable to people that spend a lot of money on groceries. The other cash back amounts are also nice … I know when I don’t have a 5% gas cash back quarter available, this is the card I use at the pump.
Cash back from American Express comes in the form of Membership rewards dollars and they never expire so long as your account is in good standing. Rewards dollars can be redeemed for a statement credit, check or things like gift cards through the American Express portal. There is never any limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
Blue Cash Pricing Details
New cardholders will receive a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. After the intro rate expires, the ongoing APR becomes 14.24% – 25.24% variable based on your credit history. Other interest rates and fees on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express are as follows:
- APR for cash advances – 26.49%
- Penalty APR when it applies – 29.99%
- Balance transfer fee – $5 or 3% of the transfer (whichever is higher)
- Cash advance fee – $5 or 3% of the transfer (whichever is higher)
- Foreign transaction fee – 2.7%
- Late payment and returned payment fee – Up to $38
- Annual fee – $95
Paying an annual fee on a cash back credit card is generally a bad idea. In fact, of the other cash back credit cards available in the marketplace, the only one that charges an annual fee happens to be the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. If your plan is to use your credit card sparingly, look elsewhere. If you plan to use this card for most of your shopping and grocery purchases, the cash back earned is well worth the price of an annual fee.
Blue Cash Preferred Card and Everyday Card Comparison
There is also another version of this card—the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. The rewards program is a little bit smaller but the big selling point is that the card carries no annual fee. Assuming the same spending patterns for a family, what kind of annual cash back savings can you expect from each card?
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express|
|Category||Monthly Spending||Annual Cash Back||Category||Monthly Spending||Annual Cash Back|
|Groceries (3%)||$500||$180||Groceries (6%)||$500||$360|
|Gas (2%)||$400||$96||Gas (3%)||$400||$144|
|Dining Out (1%)||$250||$30||Dinning Out (1%)||$250||$30|
|Other (1%)||$1,000||$120||Other (1%)||$1,000||$120|
|ANNUAL CASH BACK
(No Annual Fee)
|$450||ANNUAL CASH BACK
(-$95 Annual Fee)
*Other: $1000 (this might include big box stores, pharmacy, cell phone, cable, car repair, travel, and every other monthly expense that can be charged)
If you use the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express often, it’s a better option than it’s no fee counterpart. The savings at the grocery store is simply too great a feature for people who shop there regularly.
I currently own 12 credit cards. When I browse through my wallet right now, I see that only two of them have an annual fee. One is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which I have yet to pay the annual fee on. The other is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. I despise annual fees but when you have a credit card offering a 6% cash back category year round, you take advantage. With a family of four who spends 6-7 days and nights every week making food from home, the savings is tremendous.
Include a $200 limited time cash back offer, 0% interest rate for 15 months and high cash back percentages on things like gas and at department stores and there’s little reason not to own the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
- You can get more details here