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Who should (and who shouldn't) get the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card?

Feb. 25, 2021
7 min read
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Editor's Note

This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. 

Over the past year, the pandemic has drastically shifted how people use their credit cards. Spending on certain travel-related expenses (like airfare) has declined while increased spending on streaming and grocery spending has become almost essential parts of most of our routines.

That means it's a good time not only time to reevaluate how you use your current cards, but also to look at what cards to add to your wallet for the future. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one such card to consider. And now, the card has a newly increased welcome offer.

The Blue Cash Preferred is currently offering a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits. Plus, it comes with a $0 intro annual fee for first year, then $95 (see rates & fees).

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Let’s dive into whether the Blue Cash Preferred is the right card to add to your wallet -- and who should and who shouldn’t get one.

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Key benefits

The most notable perk of the Blue Cash Preferred is its generous bonuses for certain spending categories. While some cards may earn a cash back (or points) bonus on only one or two categories, the Blue Cash Preferred actually offers a bonus on four areas of spending.

Those spending bonuses are as follows:

  • 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per calendar year, then 1%)
  • 3% back on transit (parking, tolls, ride-sharing, subway, etc.)
  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% everywhere else
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Earning 6% cash back (and even 3% cash back) is nothing to sneeze at. And if you take a closer look, these are all categories that benefit everyday spending the most. From groceries to streaming, these are generally the areas we're spending more in now than before, whether you're traveling or not.

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Related: Review of the Blue Cash Preferred

Who should get the Blue Cash Preferred card?

You want to earn cash back

This is obviously the first thing you should consider deciding if the Blue Cash Preferred is right for you. The age-old question, especially for many card beginners: is it better to earn points for your purchases or earn cash back?

If you want to travel (at least one day) and your top priority is getting the most value out of a credit card, you should get a points- or miles-earning card. You can get a far greater return out of a points rewards card from maximizing the perks and redemption options when compared to most cash-back cards.

Related: My mom got her first rewards card after using cash for 50 years

But not everyone has travel as a priority right now. Additionally, not everyone has the time -- or inclination -- to put much effort into tracking spending and redemption strategies, which is where cash-back cards like the Blue Cash Preferred come in. There's the amazing simplicity of earning and redeeming a flat amount -- and you always know what to expect when redeeming.

(Photo by Paolo De Gasperis/Shutterstock)
(Photo by Paolo De Gasperis/Shutterstock)

You spend a significant amount in the bonus categories

If you don't have a lot of spending on at least one or two of the bonus categories (U.S. streaming subscriptions, U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per calendar year, transit and gas stations), then it likely doesn't make sense to get this card.

For instance, you'd earn $360 if you max out the cash back benefit on U.S. supermarkets per year, making the intro annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95 (see rates and fees) more than worth it. That breaks down to spending $500 on groceries per month.

In addition, the average U.S. consumer subscribes to 12 media and entertainment services, so the 6% cash back on the card should come in handy. However, streaming as a category likely wouldn't earn you a significant haul of cash back since services usually are no more than $20 each per month.

Still, when you combine two 6% categories and two 3% categories, you'll be able to earn a meaningful amount of cash back on a per-year basis.

Related: Your credit card now has you covered if you forget to cancel a subscription service

(Photo by Yagi Studio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yagi Studio/Getty Images)

You don't want to remember temporary categories

Over the last year during the pandemic, there is a new card update or bonus category change announced almost monthly. Thankfully, we have a guide to card benefit changes that breaks it all down. However, you might prefer something simple (instead of keeping track of limited-time perks and when they kick in or expire).

The Blue Cash Preferred is ideal for that. It has bonus categories that are relevant to our current environment and has the ease of cash-back earning. To redeem, you can receive a simple statement credit, get gift cards or shop directly with your rewards.

Related: Monthly card benefit updates you should know about

Bottom line

Amex's Blue Cash Preferred is one of the best rewards credit cards -- and for good reason. On paper, it's one of the best cash-back cards and is now even more rewarding during the pandemic when consumer spending patterns have shifted.

If you can maximize the bonus categories and want to earn cash back (instead of points), this is a lucrative card to have. You can currently take advantage of the current offer of a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Even if you decide against applying for the Blue Cash Preferred, make sure to check out TPG’s list of the best credit cards to find the right card to meet your earning goals. Alternatively, here is a list of other credit cards with increased welcome bonuses.

Related: Chase thought I stole my own identity — so I got my first credit card with Amex instead

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, please click here.

Featured image by THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best for U.S. streaming rewards
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 6% cash-back
6%6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
6%6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
3%3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
3%3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%1% Cash Back on other purchases

Intro offer

$250
Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you like cash back and spend a lot on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, you can’t get much better than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Check out our latest guides, news, and reviews for this card below.

Pros

  • This card has one of the best earning structures out there for cash-back credit cards.
  • The card does come with access to Amex Offers (enrollment required), which can save you even more money on specific purchases.

Cons

  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarket bonus category, which may not work for those with large grocery budgets.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, so it’s not a great choice when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 17.74% to 28.74%
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Thinking about getting The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. Enrollment required.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6%6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
6%6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
3%3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
3%3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%1% Cash Back on other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

    $250
  • Annual Fee

    $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

If you like cash back and spend a lot on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, you can’t get much better than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Check out our latest guides, news, and reviews for this card below.

Pros

  • This card has one of the best earning structures out there for cash-back credit cards.
  • The card does come with access to Amex Offers (enrollment required), which can save you even more money on specific purchases.

Cons

  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarket bonus category, which may not work for those with large grocery budgets.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, so it’s not a great choice when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 17.74% to 28.74%
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Thinking about getting The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. Enrollment required.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees