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Amex EveryDay vs. Amex EveryDay Preferred: Which Should Be In Your Wallet?

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When it comes to everyday spending, not all cards are created equal. While some earn you multiple points per dollar for purchases in specific categories, others — like the Amex EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred — get you bonuses for hitting a certain transaction number per month. TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen takes a look at these two cards to help you decide which, if either, is a good fit for you.

Choosing the right credit card is one of the most important things you can do to make the most of your points and miles. Part of this involves taking advantage of sign-up bonuses on top travel rewards credit cards, but it’s also essential to consider your everyday spending. If you’re just getting started in the hobby and aren’t interested in opening and using multiple cards, it can be quite difficult to choose the best card to carry in your wallet, and today, I want to compare the relatively new EveryDay credit cards from American Express to identify when one would be better than the other.

The Amex EveryDay Preferred card comes with a host of benefits plus a larger initial sign-up bonus!
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card comes with a host of benefits plus a larger initial sign-up bonus!

These two cards started taking applications back in March 2014, and they remain some of the most cost-effective cards for earning very valuable Membership Rewards points. Each offers a sign-up bonus right off the bat:

They also carry some similar earning rates and benefits, so let’s do a quick side-by-side comparison of the two:

Benefit

Amex EveryDay

Amex EveryDay Preferred

Sign-Up Bonus

10,000 points

15,000 points

Bonus Earning

2x points at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year)

3x points at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year) and 2x points at US gas stations

Everyday Earning

1 point per dollar

1 point per dollar

Transaction Bonuses

20% more points for making 20 or more purchases in a billing period

50% more points for making 30 or more purchases in a billing period

Point Transfer

Yes

Yes

Pay with Points

Yes

Yes

Travel Accident Insurance

Yes

Yes

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance (Secondary)

Yes

Yes

Extended Warranty

Yes

Yes

Return Protection

Yes

Yes

Purchase Protection

Yes

Yes

Annual Fee

None

$95

As you can see, the cards do offer some similar benefits, with the biggest differences being the bonus earning potential. The big question then becomes this: When does it make sense for you to incur the annual fee on the EveryDay Preferred Card?

If you tend to make 20-25 purchases on a credit card each month, go with the EveryDay Card.

One of the great benefits on these cards is the threshold bonus for making a certain number of purchases in each billing period. However, you may not typically use your credit card that frequently. If you’d struggle to hit the 30 transaction mark, you would likely be much better off with the regular EveryDay Card. While the 20% bonus isn’t nearly as lucrative as the 50% bonus, it’s certainly a better earning rate than no bonus. When you add in the fact that the regular card doesn’t include an annual fee, this one is an easy decision.

If you regularly make at least 30 purchases with a credit card each month, the EveryDay Preferred card is likely the best option.
If you regularly make at least 30 purchases with a credit card each month, the EveryDay Preferred card is likely the best option. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you always make 30+ purchases on a credit card each month and spend at least $16,666.67 each year, go with the EveryDay Preferred Card.

The other side of the coin here is if you’d have no problem hitting the 30-transaction mark each month. If this is the case with your typical spending habits, you’re probably much better off with the EveryDay Preferred Card. However, this depends on how much you typically spend each year. Let’s take a look at the break-even point for these cards. In other words, at what point are the extra rewards you earn on the EveryDay Preferred Card equal to the $95 annual fee?

Answer: $16,666.67

Here are the calculations that led me to this number:

  • To cover the $95 annual fee, you’d need to earn an extra 5,000 Membership Rewards points (5,000 points x 1.9 cents/point = $95)
  • If you make 30 or more transactions each billing period, you’re earning 1.2 points per dollar on the EveryDay and 1.5 points per dollar on the EveryDay Preferred (or an additional 0.3 points per dollar on the Preferred)
  • Since you’re earning an additional 0.3 points per dollar spent (over the no-fee card), you need to spend $16,666.67 to earn the additional 5,000 points (5,000 points / 0.3 = $16,666.67)

Many of you will likely notice that these calculations assume that none of your purchases are made at supermarkets or gas stations. I realize that this is probably uncommon for the vast majority of readers, but in doing so, this actually provides the most conservative break-even point between the two cards. If you spend even a dollar at either of these merchants, the break-even point actually drops (since the EveryDay Preferred Card is more rewarding).

Even though gas prices are relatively low, make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck when you fill up the tank!
Make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck when you fill up the tank. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you spend at least $5,000 on groceries or at gas stations each year, go with the EveryDay Preferred.

Another way the EveryDay Preferred Card beats the regular EveryDay Card is when it comes to bonus earning on purchases at certain types of merchants. The Preferred Card allows you to earn 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US grocery stores (up to $6,000 per year) and 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US gas stations. On the other hand, the regular card only offers 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on supermarket purchases (also up to $6,000 per year), while gas stations don’t earn any bonus at all. However, it only makes sense to pay the $95 annual fee if the additional Membership Rewards points you earn will be worth more than that.

Like before, you’d need an additional 5,000 points for this to be true. If you don’t hit the 20 or 30 transaction threshold, this is very simple. Since you earn an additional point per dollar spent on the EveryDay Preferred Card for purchases at both supermarkets and gas stations, you simply need to spend $5,000 each year to earn an additional 5,000 Membership Rewards points.

This gets a bit trickier if you would typically hit one (or both) of the transaction thresholds.

20-29 purchases:

If you typically make at least 20 but fewer than 30 purchases each month, you’d earn an additional 20% bonus on the regular EveryDay Card, but no additional points on the EveryDay Preferred Card. Your earnings are thus:

  • EveryDay: 2.4 points per dollar at supermarkets and 1.2 points per dollar at gas stations
  • EveryDay Preferred: 3 points per dollar at supermarkets and 2 points per dollar at gas stations

In other words, the EveryDay Preferred gives you an additional 0.6 points per dollar spent on groceries and 0.8 points per dollar spent at gas stations.

Shopping at grocery stores can also be a rewarding proposition with either of these cards.
Shopping at grocery stores can also be a rewarding proposition with either of these cards. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

What’s interesting is that for purchases at supermarkets under this criteria, the EveryDay Preferred is never the better offer. Remember that these bonuses are capped at $6,000 in spending per year. After that, your grocery purchases on both cards drop back to 1 point per dollar spent. If you spend exactly $6,000, you would earn 14,400 points on the regular EveryDay Card and 18,000 on the EveryDay Preferred. This is a difference of 3,600 points, well short of the 5,000 additional points needed to make the $95 annual fee a worthwhile expense.

Gas stations are a bit simpler here. With a difference in earning rates of 0.8 points per dollar, you would need to spend at least $6,250 on these purchases to earn the additional 5,000 points on the EveryDay Preferred. Anything above that amount would more than cover the $95 annual fee.

30+ purchases:

If you do surpass the 30 purchase mark for each billing cycle, the calculation changes yet again:

  • EveryDay: 2.4 points per dollar at supermarkets and 1.2 points per dollar at gas stations
  • EveryDay Preferred: 4.5 points per dollar at supermarkets and 3 points per dollar at gas stations

In other words, the EveryDay Preferred gives you an additional 2.1 points per dollar spent for groceries and 1.8 points per dollar spent at gas stations.

Again, since the goal is to earn an additional 5,000 points on the EveryDay Preferred Card to cover the annual fee, here’s what you’d need to spend in a year if you typically make 30 or more transactions in a billing period:

  • Supermarkets: $2,380.95 (5,000 points / 2.1 cents per point)
  • Gas stations: $2,777.78 (5,000 points / 1.8 cents per point)

Any spending above these amounts make the EveryDay Preferred Card a better value, even with the $95 annual fee.

Lufthansa's new business class is one product that can be booked by transferring Membership Rewards points to airlines and then redeeming those miles accordingly.
Lufthansa’s new business class is one product that can be booked by transferring Membership Rewards points to airlines and then redeeming those miles accordingly.

Bottom Line

As you can see from these calculations, choosing the right credit card can be a complex endeavor, especially when two cards from the same issuer are so similar. Be sure that you’re crunching the numbers based on your own individual situation, and be sure to pay attention to other card options as well. While the two EveryDay cards from American Express can be a great way to earn valuable and flexible Membership Rewards points, there’s no reason why you can’t pair these with another TPG favorite (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card).

For more information, check out the following posts:

What are your experiences with the EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred credit cards?

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now
  • Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 2x points at US gas stations; 1x points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • You can use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points to pay for all or part of your flight, hotel booked and paid in advance, vacation or cruise booking through amextravel.com.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.24% to 23.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
0% for 12 months 13.24%-23.24% Variable $95 2.70% Excellent Credit