The Blue Cash Preferred Card is ideal for anyone who spends a lot of money at the grocery store each month, as well as those who spend at gas stations, on Uber or Lyft rides, parking and tolls, and streaming services. This card does have a $95 annual fee, but its exceptional earning categories more than make up for it. It's recommended you have a good credit history to increase your chances of qualifying for this card, so make sure to check your credit score before you apply.
Good cardholder perks
Cap on grocery spending
- Outstanding rewards: This card gives significant rewards in some of Americans’ largest spending categories: groceries and gas.
- Good cardholder perks: While the Blue Cash Preferred Card isn’t a travel credit card per se, you do get some powerful perks and consumer protections, including extended warranties, return protection, and more. We’ll go over these perks at length in a minute.
- Annual fee: The Blue Cash Preferred Card stands out from most other cash-back credit cards by charging a $95 annual fee that isn’t even waived the first year. Many consumers will find the rewards make the fee well worth it, while others prefer not to pay a fee at all.
- Cap on grocery rewards: The Blue Cash Preferred Card only offers 6% back on up to $6,000 in U.S. grocery spending each year. This particular benefit can only be used to earn $360 in cash back annually as a result—and only when you manage to max it out.
Blue Cash Preferred Card Welcome Offer
The Blue Cash Preferred Card offers a welcome offer of $250 after you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening. This offer will be applied as a statement credit to your account automatically, but keep in mind that it may not appear until 8-12 weeks after the spending threshold is met.
This $250 bonus is better than many cash-back credit cards in this space offer, and it’s also easy to earn because you need to spend only $334 per month for three months.
Earning Points & Rewards
This card’s main selling point is the 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in U.S. grocery store spending. You also earn 6% cash back on purchases made with select U.S. streaming services like Netflix and Pandora. The next tier of rewards is similarly impressive: You earn 3% back on U.S. gas station spending and transit, which includes parking, tolls, trains, and ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.
Together, these two bonus categories help consumers earn considerably more rewards in categories where many people spend a considerable amount of money each year. These categories are exceptional among cash-back credit cards, making the Blue Cash Preferred Card an enticing proposition.
Superstores and warehouse clubs that sell groceries and gas will not qualify for bonus rewards in the supermarket and gas station categories. If you do most of your grocery and gas spending with merchants like that, this isn’t the card for you.
Cash in your points for “rewards dollars” that can be redeemed for statement credits, starting at $25. Points are worth 1 cent each when used that way.
American Express may sometimes offer other ways to use points, such as buying gift cards or merchandise, but those are not standard redemption options with this card.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Make sure you’ll spend enough to make up for the annual fee. To recoup the cost of the fee, you’d need to spend at least $1,584 at U.S. supermarkets during the year. Given that the typical American household spent $4,464 on food at home in 2018, that’s not a bad break-even point.
Earning 6% and 3% in popular bonus categories may seem like a dream come true, but you’ll consistently get more bang for your buck if you redeem your points in for statement credits. Even if American Express has a limited-time redemption offer for gift cards or merchandise, the per-point value may vary. As a rule of thumb, you're maximizing your rewards value when they are worth at least 1 cent each when redeemed.
One downside of the Blue Cash Preferred Card is the fact you only get 1% back on regular purchases. For that reason, you may want to consider picking up another cash-back credit card that offers a higher rate of rewards on non-bonus spending.
Blue Cash Preferred Card’s Other Features
- Installment-payment finance programs (subject to a plan fee)
- Roadside assistance hotline
- Free shipping through ShopRunner membership
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales
J.D. Power gave American Express the second highest rankings in its 2019 customer service satisfaction survey, only behind Discover.
Helping American Express in the customer service arena is the fact that it offers 24/7 customer service, both over the phone and via online chat. Both avenues make it easy to get help when you need it, whether you prefer to talk in person or online.
American Express also offers the ability to manage your account through the mobile app, as well as free access to your credit score.
This card offers industry-standard security features, including customizable account alerts and fraud monitoring
Blue Cash Preferred Card’s Fees
One fee to note besides the annual fee is the 2.7% surcharge on transactions made outside the U.S. For that reason, this isn’t the card to take with you on trips abroad. Otherwise, the Blue Cash Preferred has fees similar to other cards.