Blue Cash Preferred Card Review

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The Blue Cash Preferred Card dominates its competition when it comes to earnings in popular categories like groceries, gas, and streaming services.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

overall rating
4.3
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 25.74% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6% back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% back on eligible transit and US gas stations, and 1% back on other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 2.7%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.6
for Fees
2.7
for Rewards
4.1
for Credit
4.0

Earn $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Top Rated For

  • Best Credit Cards for Groceries

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker

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.

Pros

  • Outstanding rewards

  • Good cardholder perks

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Cap on grocery spending

Pros Explained

  • 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 travel perks and consumer protections, including travel accident insurance, extended warranties, return protection, and more. We’ll go over these perks at length in a minute. 

Cons Explained

  • 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.

Warning

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. 

Redeeming Rewards

Cash in your points for “rewards dollars” that can be redeemed for statement credits, starting at $25. You can also redeem points for gift cards, although you may get less value in return. And when you redeem rewards for merchandise, your rewards are only worth 0.5 cents per point. 

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 get more bang for your buck if you redeem your points in a strategic way. Instead of cashing in rewards for gift cards or merchandise, choose statement credits instead. This will give you more value since rewards dollars are doled out as a percentage of your spending and thus give you 1 cent back for each dollar you spend. 

Tip

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 Excellent Perks

Some credit card benefits deliver exceptional value, and The Balance’s editors deem these “excellent perks.” This card has one of them.

  • Travel accident insurance: Receive up to $250,000 in travel accident insurance when you face loss of life or dismemberment during a trip paid for with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. 

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

Customer Experience

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.

Security Features

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.

For Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Compare This Card

See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
overall rating
4.3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 25.74% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6% back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% back on eligible transit and US gas stations, and 1% back on other purchases.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.