Blue Cash Preferred Card Review

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The Blue Cash Preferred Card dominates the competition when it comes to earnings in popular categories like groceries 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 (%) 13.99% - 23.99% 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
3.0
for Fees
2.3
for Rewards
2.8
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

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

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Savvy Saver

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.

Pros
  • Outstanding rewards

  • Good bonus

Cons
  • Annual fee

  • Cap on grocery rewards

Pros Explained

  • 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. 

Cons Explained

  • 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.

Warning

Superstores and warehouse clubs that sell groceries and gas will not qualify for bonus rewards in the supermarket and gas station categories.

Redeeming Rewards

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.

Other Features

  • 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

Customer Experience

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.

Security Features

This card offers industry-standard security features, including customizable account alerts and fraud monitoring

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.

Next Steps
For Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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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 (%) 13.99% - 23.99% 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.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. American Express. "Travel-Related Categories." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  2. American Express. "Blue Cash Preferred Card." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  3. American Express. "Retail Categories." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  4. American Express. "Important Information Regarding Rates, Fees, and Other Cost Information." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Expenditures Midyear Update -- July 2018 Through June 2019 Average." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  6. J.D. Power. "Credit Card Rewards War Reaches Inflection Point as Competition Grows, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed May 8, 2020.