|Cash Back Rating:
|4.6 / 5
|Annual Percentage Rate:
|Issuer Customer Experience
In a Nutshell:
Despite its annual fee after the first year, the Blue Cash Preferred card is one of our favorite cards for families. It helps take the sting out of carpool lines and long commutes by offering a generous rewards rate on U.S. gas station spending and one of the highest cash back rates you can get at U.S. supermarkets.
American Express Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Cash back tracker, purchase protection, return protection, entertainment access, Global Assist Hotline
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred boasts a great rewards rate, offering one of the highest rates of cash back you can find on U.S. supermarket purchases and select U.S. streaming subscriptions – making your next take out and binge night a great way to rack up rewards.
- Cardholders can earn some of the best cash back rates available on an outstanding range of everyday categories
- Offers perhaps one of the best values on the market for streaming with its statement credits and unlimited 6 percent cash back on select U.S. streaming services
- It’s one of the few premium rewards cards to offer a solid 0% intro APR for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers (then a 19.24% to 29.99% variable APR)
- You’ll need to take advantage of numerous benefits or spend at least $132 each month at supermarkets to justify the card’s $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)
- The card loses value if you exceed the spending cap on the 6% bonus at U.S. supermarkets of $6,000 in purchases per year (then 1%)
- U.S. supermarket category doesn’t include Walmart, Target or wholesale clubs (like Costco), which can disappoint some shoppers
Why you might want the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Preferred card comes with an incredibly generous rate on U.S. supermarket, select U.S. streaming service, U.S. gas station and transit purchases, making it a top choice for families and commuters who spend a significant amount on groceries each month. Even with a yearly spend cap on the category, the Blue Cash Preferred is an incredibly rewarding option for U.S. supermarket purchases. Plus, the annual streaming service credits and exceptional rewards rate on select subscriptions make it one of the best streaming service cards on the market.
High-earning cash back rewards
The Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a generous rate on everyday purchases. Cardholders earn a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%) and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations.
Even with a $6,000 per year spend cap on the 6% rate on U.S. supermarket purchases, this is a lucrative category. If you meet that cap every year – or spend about $500 on those purchases per month – you can bring in $360 per year in rewards on U.S. supermarket purchases alone.
See related: Best credit cards for grocery shopping
In addition to great rewards on U.S. supermarket and gas station purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services (including options like Hulu, Netflix, Apple Music and more), 3% on transit purchases and 1% on other purchases. These categories make it a valuable choice for families, streaming service fans, home chefs and commuters – whether you frequently drive or use public transportation.
With so many great bonus categories to earn significant cash back, we estimate that the Blue Cash Preferred card is one of the most rewarding cash back cards on the market – despite its $95 annual fee after the first year.
See related: Best fixed bonus category cash back cards
Solid welcome bonus
The Blue Cash Preferred card currently earns new cardholders a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months.
While that’s a $100 drop from the card’s previous offer of $350 after the same spend in the same timeframe, it coincides with a change to the card’s annual fee structure: New cardholders can now enjoy a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, followed by the standard $95 annual fee after that.
This is a great perk as it gives you a chance to try out the card and see if it’s a good fit for your goals and spending habits. The new welcome offer’s six-month timeframe for reaching the spending threshold is also a big plus — that’s double the amount of time you’d get with most rewards card bonus offers.
Cash back redemption options
Cash back on your Blue Cash Preferred card is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
Unfortunately, you can’t apply your cash back toward automatic redemptions, direct deposits or travel bookings through American Express Travel. However, you do have full access to the booking portal if you’re interested in travel, so you can use your cash back toward a statement credit to offset the cost.
0% intro APR for new purchases and balance transfers
The Blue Cash Preferred card is one of the few premium rewards cards to offer new cardholders a 0% intro APR on both new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months (19.24% to 29.99% variable thereafter).
This means cardholders can use the Blue Cash Preferred to finance a large purchase or chip away at existing debt over the first year without worrying about interest charges. Just be sure to make a plan to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends, as the ongoing APR can be high.
Valuable secondary features
The Blue Cash Preferred card comes with several additional perks that add to its value – especially for frequent shoppers.
- Up to $84 back on eligible streaming subscriptions: You can earn $7 back each month after using your card to spend $12.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (enrollment required). That’s a total of up to $84 you could save on streaming, nearly offsetting the full cost of the card.
- Up to $120 in Equinox+ credits each year toward the platform’s premium at-home fitness services (as $10 monthly statement credits; enrollment required).
- Free ShopRunner membership: With the Blue Cash Preferred card, you’ll get a free ShopRunner membership, which gives you free, two-day shipping with dozens of online retailers (enrollment required).
- Extended warranty: On eligible warranties of five years or less, you can add an additional year to the original manufacturer’s warranty.
- Purchase protection: For items purchased with your card, you can be covered for 90 days in case of accidental damage or theft.
- Return protection: If you try to return a purchase made with your card in the first 90 days and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express will refund the price up to $300 per item (max of $1,000 per year). This perk is perhaps the card’s best purchase protection since few cards offer it, but it’s especially handy for purchases online or at finicky retailers without resorting to a chargeback.
- Car rental insurance: When you book and pay for your rental car with the Blue Cash Preferred and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver, you can receive secondary coverage in the case of damage or theft.
- “Pay It Plan It®”: Pay off small purchase amounts (under $100) right away and split larger purchases (over $100) into monthly installments with $0 intro plan fees with this flexible payment option. As long as plans are created during the first 12 months from account opening, the $0 intro plan fee applies. After that, the plan will have a fixed monthly plan fee of up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan, based on plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase and other factors. Payment plans can last from three to 24 months and eligibility is based on your account and credit history.
Tip: Be sure to check Amex’s Plan It Calculator to make sure your monthly plan fees won’t outweigh the potential interest you’d accrue from simply carrying a balance.
See related: American Express card benefits
Exceptional customer service
Among major credit card issuers, American Express has an excellent customer service reputation. In J.D. Power’s 2022 customer satisfaction survey, American Express earned an 848 rating for the top rank above 10 other major national credit card issuers. In addition to 24/7 customer service – including an online chat feature – American Express offers a highly-rated mobile app that allows you to manage your account and reach out for support at any time.
Why you might want a different card
Big spenders may not like the yearly rewards spending limit at U.S. supermarkets. However, that’s hardly a reason to turn down a credit card with an industry-leading 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets (1% afterward). Instead, strategic spenders will have a backup rewards credit card handy to pick up the slack once they meet this limit.
For some, the biggest issue may just be the card’s $95 annual fee, which applies after the first year ($0 intro annual fee for the first year). If that’s the case, you may want a different card.
Carries an ongoing annual fee
If earning rewards on U.S. supermarket and gas station purchases fits in well with your spending patterns – but you are hesitant to pay an annual fee – there are other cards that offer great rewards with no annual fee.
For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per year in purchases in each category, then 1%) and 1% cash back on general purchases.
If you’re not shopping for a big household, the Blue Cash Everyday card may be a better fit. Though the rewards rate is lower on supermarket purchases, you can rack up plenty of cash back from its online retail category without an annual fee eating into your rewards – especially if transit and streaming aren’t your major expenses. However, the 3% bonus categories share a $6,000 yearly spending cap in purchases (then the rate goes to 1%), so you could nab $180 in cash back per year if you max out the category.
If you cook at home often, the Blue Cash Everyday may also give you an edge with up to $180 in annual Home Chef meal solution service credits (up to $15 in monthly credits; enrollment required). This may be a better value for some cardholders than the Blue Cash Preferred card’s alternate perk: up to $120 in Equinox+ home fitness service annual credits (via $10 monthly credits; enrollment required).
See related: Blue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred
However, for cardholders who spend a significant amount on groceries, we estimate it is easy to offset the Blue Cash Preferred card’s higher annual fee and still earn more rewards. Since the rate on U.S. supermarket purchases is so much higher on the Blue Cash Preferred card, we estimate a Blue Cash Preferred cardholder would only need to spend $3,200 per year on groceries (or $267 per month) to beat the Blue Cash Everyday.
Annual cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (on a $3,200 spend)
|Blue Cash Preferred card
|Blue Cash Everyday card
|$3,200 U.S. supermarket spend x 6% cash back – $95 annual fee (after the first year) = $97
|$3,200 U.S. supermarket spend x 3% cash back = $96
How does the Blue Cash Preferred card compare to other cash back cards?
The Blue Cash Preferred card is an incredibly rewarding cash back card for users who spend a significant amount on U.S. supermarket purchases, but its $95 annual fee (after the first year) can be a big deterrent. Additionally, cardholders who spend more on other categories – such as dining out – might not get as much value out of the card. Here’s a quick look at a few popular alternatives:
Citi® Double Cash Card
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Chase Freedom Flex℠
$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
|Other things to know
|Other things to know
|Other things to know
Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. Capital One SavorOne
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is popular among foodies – thanks to its unlimited 3 percent cash back rate on dining purchases. For cardholders who prefer dining out to cooking at home, the SavorOne card is one of the most lucrative dining cards available. It carries an impressive variety of other everyday categories that many cardholders can rake in rewards with, including entertainment, select streaming services, and grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target). If you spend more on dining and entertainment than groceries, the SavorOne may be a better investment.
However, it might not be as lucrative for larger households, as the Amex Blue Cash Preferred earns double the rewards rate at supermarkets. For home chefs with a larger budget, the Blue Cash Preferred may be a better investment over time.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ requires a bit more maintenance than other rewards cards, as you’ll have to enroll in rotating bonus categories each quarter to earn a good rate of cash back. However, it is a good option for cardholders who want to a card with generous bonus categories with a flat-rate card.
If you don’t mind keeping track of Chase’s rotating categories, the cash back rate on the Freedom Flex is top-notch – even with a quarterly spend cap. The card also earns unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining and drugstore purchases year-round, which can be redeemed for travel purchases, a statement credit or gift card.
The Blue Cash Preferred is a bit easier to use if you don’t want to worry about juggling cycling categories, and it could be potentially more lucrative with its annual streaming service credits. However, the Freedom Flex may be the wiser choice if your spending aligns with popular seasonal expenses and you eat out more than at home.
How to use the Blue Cash Preferred card:
- Use the card for all U.S. supermarket, gas station and transit purchases to take advantage of bonus cash back.
- Transfer all streaming service subscriptions to the card to earn rewards on your membership fees – especially if you make eligible Disney Bundle payments for the monthly statement credits.
- Sign up for ShopRunner and look for the program logo when shopping online to save on shipping fees.
- Keep an eye out for Amex Offers that align with your spending to earn bonus cash back.
- If you subscribe to at-home fitness services like Equinox and SoulCycle, you can save a bit of money with the bonus statement credits if you use this card to pay for Equinox+.
Is the Blue Cash Preferred right for you?
For cardholders who spend a significant amount on U.S. supermarket purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers some of the best rewards you can get. Plus, it comes with several other lucrative bonus categories, including a great rate on select U.S. streaming services, U.S. gas station purchases and transit.
CreditCards.com industry analyst and cash back expert Ted Rossman tried out the math for himself. In his story on finding the best Amex cash back card, he compared the rewards he’d earn with the Blue Cash Preferred to those he’d get with the flat-rate, no-annual-fee American Express Cash Magnet® Card*.
In the end, Rossman was surprised to see that spending $30,000 annually would only earn him $450 in cash back with the Cash Magnet card. But the Blue Cash Preferred’s rewards categories could help him earn $620 in annual rewards.
If you make the most of this card’s rewards, you should be able to easily cover its ongoing annual fee.
Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.
*All information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
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