The big question for anyone considering the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the value of the cash back rewards. The value will of course depend on how much you charge to the card and in what categories. To evaluate and compare the card, we constructed hypothetical budgets for singles, couples and families of four based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and J.D. Power (for U.S. streaming average spending).
Based on this data, which we modified to conform with credit card spending categories, here’s the potential annual cash back rewards (excluding any welcome bonus or annual fee).
|U.S. Streaming Services||$34||$34||$34|
|U.S. Gas Stations||$33||$63||$91|
|Total Annual Cash Back||$379||$674||$851|
Next we factored in the annual fee and welcome bonus, and compared the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to the best 1.5% cash back cards and the best 2% cash back cards. For the 1.5% cards, we assumed no annual fee and a $200 signup bonus (the best in that category). For the 2% cards, we assumed no annual fee and no signup bonus, which is typical for cards in this category.
|Card||1st Year||2nd Year||3rd Year (Cumulative)|
|Blue Cash Preferred||$679||$284||$1,247|
|1.5% Cash Back Card||$497||$297||$1,091|
|2% Cash Back Card||$396||$396||$1,188|
|Blue Cash Preferred||$974||$579||$2,132|
|1.5% Cash Back Card||$741||$541||$1,823|
|2% Cash Back Card||$721||$721||$2,163|
|Blue Cash Preferred||$1,151||$756||$2,663|
|1.5% Cash Back Card||$878||$678||$2,234|
|2% Cash Back Card||$904||$904||$2,712|
The results show that the Blue Cash Preferred competes well, although 2% cash back cards outperform on most scenarios. Beyond three years, the 2% cards will pull further ahead.
With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, the cash back is paid in what Amex calls “reward Dollars.” Whenever I see rewards paid in anything but cold, hard cash, I start asking questions. Here, it turns out that the reward Dollars can be used as statement credits. You can’t get a check sent to you or a direct deposit into your checking account.
Generally, I don’t think that limitation matters much. Money is fungible, after all. But there are at least two potential limitations.
First, you may take advantage of the 0% offer on purchases (see below). If you do, you probably want to make the minimum payment until the 0% offer is about to expire. If you make a large purchase, you may want to receive your rewards in cash while making that minimum payment. You can’t do that with this card.
Second, you can’t use reward Dollars to satisfy your minimum payment. They get applied as a statement credit, but you must still make the minimum payment from your own funds. For many this may not be a problem. But for some it may cause you to look at other credit card offers.
Pros & Cons
- Up to 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
- Up to 6% cash back on U.S. streaming services
- Up to 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit
- Excellent welcome bonus
- Amex customer services
- Annual fee
- Spending cap on 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
Features & Benefits
|Security||EMV Chip Enabled, Fraud Monitoring, Zero Liability, Alerts, Card Lock|
|Contactless Payments||Tap to Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay|
|Benefits||Return Guarantees, 24/7 customer service|
|Travel Perks||Access to Special Events and Concerts, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver|
Interest Rates & Fees
|Annual Fee||$0 intro fee 1st year, then $95|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||2.7|
|Regular APR||14.74% - 24.74% (V) APR|
0% Intro APR
|Balance Transfers||0% Intro APR for months on balance transfers, then 14.74% - 24.74%(V) APR after that.|
|Purchases||0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases, then 14.74% - 24.74% (V) APR after that.|
What Credit Score is Required to Get the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Based on data we’ve collected from public forums, a credit score of about 670 or higher is ideal. We have seen an approval with a score as low as 672, but keep in mind that credit card issuers consider more than just your credit score when evaluating a credit card application.
|App Status||Date||Credit Score||Bureau||Credit Limit|
Other Card Benefits
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: When you use the card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline collision damage waiver, you can be covered if the car is damaged or stolen. As always, be sure to read the fine print on this coverage.
Global Assist Hotline: You get 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial and other emergency assistance when you travel more than 100 miles from home.
Return Protection: If a seller won’t accept a return, you can return eligible purchases to American Express up to 90 days from the date of purchase. Coverage is up to $300 per item, $1,000 per calendar year per card account. Only purchases made in the U.S. or its territories are covered.
Entertainment Access: Get exclusive access to ticket presales and card member-only events.
Fraud Protection: You won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges on the card.
Blue Cash Preferred Rewards Calculator
Blue Cash Preferred Alternatives
There are several good alternatives to the Blue Cash Preferred Card. As much as we like this card, here several others to consider:
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Citi Double Cash Credit Card
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
1% - 5%
Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred worth it?
With a $95 annual fee, the answer depends on how much you use the card. If you max out the 6% cash back on groceries each year, the card more than pays for itself. Six percent back on $6,000 in groceries will earn you $360. Add to that any additional cash back, and the card is easily worth the annual fee.
Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred a charge card?
No. Blue cash preferred is a credit card. You can pay it off in full each month, which is always the best approach. But if you need to pay it off over time, you can.
How does it compare to the Blue Cash Everyday card?
The Blue Cash Everyday card by American Express is a no annual fee version of the Blue Cash Preferred card. In exchange for no annual fee, your rewards rates are lower. For example, rather than 6%, you’ll earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in groceries each year with the Blue Cash Everyday card.
Does the Blue Cash Preferred charge a foreign transaction fee?
Yes–2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Does the card earn Amex Membership Rewards?
No. Amex Blue Cash Preferred earns Reward Dollars that can be used for statement credit, merchandise, or gift cards. For those who want to earn Membership Rewards, consider the Everyday and Everyday Preferred cards.