Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Review 2018
Rewards6% at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 1% on other purchases.
Bonus Signup OfferApply by 1/11/2017- Earn 10% cash back on purchases at Amazon.com in the first 6 months, up to $200. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months.
- Apply by 1/11/2017- Earn 10% cash back on purchases at Amazon.com in the first 6 months, up to $200.
- Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months.
- You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
- Everyday Cash Back: 6% at U.S supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 3% at U.S gas stations; 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
- Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. You can only earn cash back on eligible purchases.
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.24% to 23.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is Amex’s premium cash back card. It offers significant cash back rewards and a variety of other benefits for modest $95 annual fee. Depending on how much you spend on the card, you can quickly earn enough to cover the fee, so the card can pay for itself.
This Amex Blue Cash Preferred® review will cover the different aspects of the card and help you decide whether it is the right cash back credit card for you.
What Types of Rewards Are Offered?
The Blue Cash Preferred card offers consumers cash back as a reward for using the card. A percentage of every purchase you make will be added to your cash back balance.
Though your rewards are called cash back and you can redeem your balance for cash, you’re not limited to redeeming your rewards balance as cash. American Express offers a large variety of rewards that you can get. You can get gift cards, subscription services, and all sorts of electronics or home goods with your rewards balance.
Cash back that you’ve earned is added to your balance at the end of each month. Every statement includes a section describing the amount you’ve earned and a breakdown of the rewards categories that your spending fell under, which makes it easy to track how much cash back you earn each month. Cash back is redeemable in $25 increments.
There are three rewards tiers for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card.
The base tier applies to every purchase you make with the card. You’ll earn 1% cash back no matter where you use the card, giving you $1 for every $100 that you spend, anywhere in the world.
If you use the card at a gas station or select department stores, including Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Kohls, you’ll earn a bonus 2% cash back, for a total of 3% cash back on each purchase.
Groceries are where the cash back rewards really ramp up. If you use the card at a grocery store you’ll earn a whopping 6% cash back on each purchase. You can earn the 6% cash back on up to $6,000 of grocery store spending per year. After that, you’ll earn the base rate of 1%.
If you do reach the grocery cash back limit, you’ll earn a total of $360 of cash back. With earning potential like that you can easily cover the annual fee.
Sign Up Bonus
American Express wants to entice customers to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred card so they often offer bonuses for signing up. These bonuses usually come in the form of “spend $x in the first three statements to get a $y statement credit.” For example, you might have to spend $1,000 in the first three statements to earn a $150 bonus.
Most of the time the bonus pays for the first year’s annual fee, letting you use the card for one year for free. You can always request the card be downgraded to the free version of the card after one year to avoid getting charged another annual fee.
If you already have the Blue Cash Everyday card, American Express will sometimes offer a bonus for upgrading the card, so be on the lookout for the chance to get some extra cash that way.
Is the Annual Fee Worth It?
Given that the Blue Cash Everyday card is identical to the Preferred card, with the exception of the cash back percentages and annual fee, you may be wondering if it’s worth paying the annual fee.
The fee is $95 per year, so you need to earn an additional $95 in cash back over what you would earn with the Blue Cash Everyday to justify applying for the premium version of the card.
If you plan to only use the card on groceries, you’ll need to spend at least $3,166.67 each year on groceries. You get an extra 3% back on grocery purchases over the Everyday card, and 3% of $3,166.67 is $95. Any spending over that amount will increase your earnings.
If you plan to only use the card for groceries and gas, you’ll need to spend $9,500 in those categories to pay for the annual fee.
More realistically, you’ll use the card for a mix of gas, department store, and grocery purchases. If you can estimate how much you’ll spend on each category, you can find how much more (or less) you’ll earn with the Blue Cash Preferred card by using this formula:
(((gas spending + department store spending) * .01) + (grocery spending * .03)) – 95 = earning difference between the Blue Cash Everyday and Blue Cash Preferred cards.
If the number is negative, stick with the Everyday card. If it’s positive, go with the Preferred card.
While the cash back you can earn on gas and groceries is nice, what truly makes this card Amex’s everyday card is the extra bonuses it offers.
American Express Offers
Your Blue Cash Preferred card gives you access to American Express Offers, a deal service run by American Express.
When you log into your online account you’ll see a list of all of the offers available. Offers come from companies big and small, including Amazon, Turbotax, MGM Resorts, and Oakley. If you think you can use the offer, you can click a button to add it to your card.
Some offers give you a percentage off your purchase. Others give you a flat amount back if you spend more than a certain amount. One example of such a deal is “get $50 back when you spend $250 at Airbnb.”
These offers automatically get applied to your statement so you don’t need to remember to redeem the rewards you earn from them. All you have to do is add them to your card before making a qualifying purchase.
Another benefit of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is free travel insurance.
When you use your card to book flights or rental cars you get free damage and theft coverage on rented vehicles. You also get free accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
You can also take advantage of a 24/7 global assistance hotline that offers medical, legal, and financial help whenever you’re more than 100 miles from home.
If you purchase an expensive electronic or appliance with your card you’ll automatically get an additional year added to the manufacturer’s warranty, so long as the warranty is for five years or less.
Once the specialist assigned to the purchase on your American Express blue cash preferred reviews your claim, you can be reimbursed for up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.
That means you’ll have the peace of mind to not worry that your new appliance will break right after the warranty ends.
Why Not Get the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express?
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday card offers all of the benefits of the Preferred card, with slightly less cash back earning potential and no annual fee. If you don’t think you’ll earn enough with the Preferred card to pay the annual fee, go for the Everyday card instead.
To learn more, check out our other American Express Blue Cash review to learn more about the Everyday version of this card and how to decide which version is right for you.