The Blue Cash Preferred Card is ideal if you have good credit and spend a lot on the basics: groceries, gas, commuting costs, and streaming services. The rewards are as impressively big as they are broad. You’ll earn a stellar 6% cash back at grocery stores (up to a limit) and on streaming services. Plus, you’ll get a very respectable 3% cash back at gas stations as well as on taxis, trains, Ubers, parking, tolls, and other transit costs. Yes, there’s a $95 annual fee, but these exceptional earning categories may more than make up for it.
Cap on grocery rewards
- Outstanding rewards: This card pays significant rewards rates on some of the largest spending categories: groceries and gas. Plus, the transit category is far-reaching, encompassing several types of commuting costs that can really add up.
- Good bonus: New cardholders can earn as much as $100 more than they might on another cash-back card, and without a crazy spending requirement either.
- Annual fee: It’s pretty unusual for a cash-back credit card to charge an annual fee, but this one does—$95. Many consumers will find that the rewards make the fee well worth it, but depending on the size of your budget, a card without one could make more sense for you.
- Cap on grocery rewards: The 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets only applies to your first $6,000 in spending each year. That means you’ll earn a maximum of $360 in cash back before the rate drops to the baseline of 1%. Fortunately, there are no limits on the other bonus categories.
Bonus for New Cardholders
The Blue Cash Preferred Card offers $250 if 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.
Considering many competitors offer $150 or $200, this is a nice bonus, and you only need to spend an average of $334 per month for three months.
To offer a bit of flexibility during the pandemic, you may have more time to earn your new cardholder bonus, if you haven’t already earned it. For more information, see “Credit Card Deals Help You Earn and Use Travel Benefits During COVID-19”.
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, a rare find. You also earn 6% cash back on purchases made with select U.S. streaming services like Netflix and Pandora, with no limit on how much you can earn. The next tier of rewards is also quite competitive: You’ll earn 3% back on U.S. gas station spending and on transit expenses including parking, tolls, trains, and rideshares such as Uber and Lyft. Everything else will earn 1% cash back.
Superstores and warehouse clubs that sell groceries and gas will not qualify for bonus rewards in the supermarket and gas station categories.
Redemptions are very straightforward. Cardholders earn their cash back as “reward dollars” that can be redeemed for statement credits whenever the accrued balance is at least $25.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Make sure you spend enough to make the annual fee worthwhile. To recoup the cost, you’d need to spend at least $1,584 at U.S. supermarkets annually. Given that the average U.S. household spends about $4,500 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s not a bad break-even point.
- Free shipping through ShopRunner membership
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales
J.D. Power gave American Express the second-highest ranking in its 2019 credit card satisfaction survey, behind only 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. 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
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.