Generous bonus categories and a solid welcome offer: A review of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express overview
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a lucrative cash-back card for several spending categories. If cash back is more up your alley — and select U.S. streaming, U.S. supermarkets, transit and U.S. gas station categories align with your spending habits — then you can’t go wrong with the Blue Cash Preferred. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
In recent years, American Express has updated its best rewards credit cards to keep them relevant for modern consumers. The issuer also turned its attention to its cash-back card portfolio, with a makeover of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
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The Blue Cash Preferred has an enticing welcome bonus where cardholders earn $350 back (in the form of a statement credit) after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
The card's $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) can also be more than offset by its generous category bonuses, including an industry-leading 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $6,000 on U.S. supermarket purchases each calendar year; then 1%).
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of this card to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Who is this card for?
There are pros and cons to picking a cash-back card over a travel rewards card, but if you don’t travel frequently and want the flexibility to spend your rewards in other ways, the Blue Cash Preferred might be right for you.
The unique and high-value bonus categories set this card apart from a simpler option, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card. The Blue Cash Preferred is for discerning customers looking for a rewards credit card to maximize their returns in specific bonus categories.
Right now, cardholders earn $350 back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of card membership. If you can hit that spending requirement, it's well worth the effort.
The standout feature of the Blue Cash Preferred is its various cash-back bonus categories:
- 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per calendar year, then 1% thereafter).
- 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.
A 2019 refresh of this card saw the removal of a 2% bonus category at select U.S. department stores, but the replacement categories of streaming services and transit is likely be much more appealing to the average customer.
While the Blue Cash Preferred is not the first card to offer a bonus multiplier on the growing industry of streaming subscriptions, its rate of 6% cash back is by far the industry leader.
In addition to this change, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is a rewarding card at both the supermarket check-out and gas pump, earning 6% cash back and 3% cash back, respectively.
And with the exception of the 6% U.S. supermarkets bonus, none of the other categories have an annual cap on how much you can earn. Still, you’ll have to analyze your spending patterns to make sure you’ll earn enough cash back to offset the card’s $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).
While cash-back credit cards aren’t going to unlock the doors to $10,000 first-class airplane suites, there’s also no pressure to save up for a specific reward. With the Blue Cash Preferred, you can cash out your rewards any time your available balance is more than $25.
You have three redemption options:
- Receive a statement credit.
- Redeem for gift cards.
- Shop with your rewards.
No matter what you plan to use this extra money for, I suggest always redeeming for a statement credit. If you plan to purchase gift cards or go shopping you can simply put that purchase on your credit card, earn even more cash-back rewards, and then erase the purchase from your statement with your existing cash-back balance. Keep in mind that it cannot be used to pay your minimum payment.
- Disney Bundle credit: Receive $7 back each month (up to $84 back annually) after spending $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ using your card. Enrollment required.
- Equinox credit: Receive $10 in monthly statement credits (up to $120 each year) when you use your Blue Cash Preferred Card to pay for Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com.
- "Plan It" feature gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
- Secondary car rental insurance when you pay for the entire rental with your Blue Cash Preferred card.
- Up to two years of extended warranty.
- Return protection.
- Access to Amex Offers.
Which cards compete with the Blue Cash Preferred?
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
The Amex EveryDay Preferred card from American Express has a very similar structure to the Blue Cash Preferred card, but it replaces cash-back earnings with valuable transferable Amex Membership Rewards points.
You’ll earn 2 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations and 3 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar), as well as a 50% point bonus when you use your card to make 30 or more transactions in a single billing period. While it doesn’t offer as many unique bonus categories as the Blue Cash Preferred, based on TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, it’s a great choice for grocery and gas purchases.
The information for the Amex Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
With the enticing bonus categories and a solid welcome offer, many who prefer cash-back cards will have no problem justifying the annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred.
This card is best for those who spend on groceries and streaming services as well as transit and gas. Finally, Disney fans can get even more value out of this card with the credit for Disney bundle subscriptions.
Apply now: Earn $350 back (in the form of a statement credit) after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership with the Blue Cash Preferred.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Chris Dong.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, please click here.