Amex Blue Cash Preferred card review: Generous bonus categories and a solid welcome offer
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 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.
There are pros and cons to picking a cash-back card over a travel rewards card. However, the Blue Cash Preferred could be great for infrequent travelers and those looking to spend their rewards in other ways.
The unique and high-value bonus categories set this card apart from a simpler option, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card (see rates and fees), though it's worth noting that reward redemption options are fewer with the Blue Cash Preferred. The Blue Cash Preferred is for discerning customers looking for a rewards credit card to maximize their returns in specific bonus categories on a card with a $0 introductory annual fee (then $95; see rates and fees).
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of this card to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred welcome bonus
Cash-back credit cards rarely offer solid bonuses like travel rewards cards do, but the Blue Cash Preferred has a quality welcome offer right now: $250 cash back (as a statement credit) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. That's an 8.33% return on spending.
Additionally, new applicants can take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months of card membership. After that, a variable APR of 18.99%-29.99% will apply.
Earning cash back on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred
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-hailing apps, subway, etc.).
- 3% back at U.S. gas stations.
- 1% back everywhere else.
Cash back is received as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
While the Blue Cash Preferred is not the first card to offer bonus earnings on streaming subscriptions, its rate of 6% cash back is by far the industry leader. The Blue Cash Preferred also is a rewarding card at both the supermarket and gas pump, earning 6% cash back and 3% cash back, respectively.
Aside from the U.S. supermarkets category, the other earning categories don't have annual caps on how much you can earn. These are strong earning rates for anyone with regular spending in these categories.
Redeeming rewards on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred
While cash-back cards won't unlock the doors to $10,000 first-class airplane suites, there’s also no pressure to save up for a specific reward. Plus, the Blue Cash Preferred has no minimum redemption amount.
You have three redemption options:
- Receive a statement credit.
- Redeem for gift cards.
- Shop with your rewards.
While multiple options exist, receiving a statement credit is likely your best option. That's because you can buy gift cards at most supermarkets. Rather than using your points for these purchases, you could pay for them with your Blue Cash Preferred and earn even more cash back.
Related: What credit cards should you use to purchase gift cards?
Amex Blue Cash Preferred benefits
As a low-annual-fee card, you won't find luxury perks on the Blue Cash Preferred; however, it does have quality features that are worth mentioning.
You can receive $7 back each month (up to $84 back annually) after spending $12.99 or more on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle — which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ — using your card. Another monthly credit provides up to $10 (for up to $120 annually) back when you use your Blue Cash Preferred Card to pay for Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com. Note that enrollment is required in advance for some benefits.
You'll also enjoy several travel and shopping protections with the Blue Cash Preferred. You can enjoy secondary rental car insurance when paying for the rental with your card — up to $50,000 of protection against theft or damage.*
The Global Assist Hotline provides medical, legal, financial and other emergency services coordination 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when you're traveling more than 100 miles from home. This service provides coordination only, however; you'll be responsible for the costs of any third-party services you use.**
For purchases made with your card, you can enjoy an extra year on top of manufacturers' warranties of five years or less, thanks to extended warranty protection. This coverage is limited to the amount paid for with your card — up to $10,000 and an annual limit of $50,000.^
You also can enjoy return protection, which covers items purchased in the last 90 days for which the merchant won't accept a return. You can be refunded for the full purchase price (excluding shipping and handling costs) — up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per year. This applies only to purchases in the U.S. or U.S. territories, however.
Purchase protection is another card benefit, which covers items purchased with your card in the last 90 days but that are damaged, stolen or lost. You can be covered for up to $1,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per year.^
*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
**Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Cardmembers are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
#Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details.
^Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
Other cardmember benefits include “Plan It," which allows you to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee, and access to valuable Amex Offers.
Related: Your complete guide to shopping protections on American Express cards
Which cards compete with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred?
The main alternatives to this card are other cash back cards that earn bonus points on groceries and gas, with no or a low annual fee.
- If you want similar benefits with no annual fee: The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has no annual fee (see rates and fees) and earns 3% back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. online retail purchases and U.S. gas stations — though there's a limit of $6,000 in purchases per category. After that, you'll earn 1% back. The card also provides the same Disney Bundle benefit as the Blue Cash Preferred card.
- If you want Amex points instead of cash back: The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has an annual fee of $95 (see rates and fees) and earns Membership Rewards points instead of cash back. TPG values these points at 2 cents each, and you'll earn 3 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 of purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar), 2 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. However, if you make 30 or more transactions in a billing cycle, you'll get a 50% boost on your earnings.
- If you want rewards with more uses: The Citi® Double Cash Card earns 2 Citi ThankYou points per dollar — 1 point when you buy and another 1 point when you pay your bill — on all purchases. In addition to redeeming your earnings for cash back (at a value of 1 cent per point), you also can transfer your points to several travel programs to unlock higher-value redemptions.
- If you want higher earning rates on gas: If you're looking for cash back, low fees and a higher earning rate at the pump, consider the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (see rates and fees). You'll earn 4% back on gas — anywhere, not just Costco gas stations — on your first $7,000 in fuel purchases per year, then 1% thereafter. There's no annual fee on this card, but you do need a paid Costco membership (which starts at $60 per year).
For additional options, please check out our full list of cards that earn bonus points at supermarkets and gas stations.
Read more: Complete guide to credit card annual fees
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred worth it?
If you aren't a frequent traveler and want flexibility in how to spend your rewards, the Blue Cash Preferred might be a good fit for you. This is especially true if you want to earn cash back on groceries, streaming services, transit and gas purchases. An extra sweetener is the Disney statement credits.
Related: Why the Amex Blue Cash Preferred might be the best cash-back card right now
With the enticing bonus categories and a solid welcome offer, many who prefer cash-back cards will have no problem justifying the annual fee after the first year on the Blue Cash Preferred.
This card is best for those who spend on groceries and streaming services as well as transit and gas. Disney fans also can find value in this card, due to monthly credits for Disney bundle subscriptions.
Apply now: Earn $250 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, Chris Dong and Ryan Smith.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday card, click here.
For rates and fees of the EveryDay Preferred card, click here.