Amex Credit card showdown: Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday

May 6, 2021

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American Express is known for offering some of the best travel credit cards on the market, but the issuer also has quite a few solid cash-back card options to choose from as well. These days, the ability to redeem cash back to help you save money on whatever you need, might be higher on the priority list than stocking up points for a future vacation.

Two of the more notable cash-back cards in the Amex line-up are the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Both offer bonus cash back rewards at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets. Still, there are also divergent bonus categories to consider between the two cards — along with different earning rates and annual fees.

Currently, both cards are offering new welcome offers to earn cash back on Amazon purchases within the first six months of card membership — in addition to a traditional cash-back bonus. Today, we’re walking through the benefits offered by both and when it makes sense to choose one over the other.

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In This Post

Comparison overview

Card

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Amex Blue Cash Everyday

Annual fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95  (see rates and fees) $0 (see rates and fees)
Welcome offer Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card within the first six months of card membership, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first 6 months of card membership. Cash back received in the form of statement credits. Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card in the first six months, up to $150 back. Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months. Cash back received in the form of statement credits.
Earning rates 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases; then 1%)

6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services

3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas stations

1% cash back on everything else

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

Terms apply

3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases; then 1%)

2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores

1% cash back on everything else

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

Terms apply

Intro APR 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months (see rates and fees), then a variable APR, 13.99% to 23.99% (see rates and fees) 0% APR on new purchases for the first 15 months (13.99% – 23.99% variable APR (see rates and fees) after intro period ends) (see rates and fees)
Other benefits
  • Secondary car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Global Assist Hotline
  • Return Protection
  • ShopRunner 2-day shipping. Enrollment required.
  • Entertainment access
    • Enrollment required for select benefits.
  • Secondary car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Global Assist Hotline
  • ShopRunner 2-day shipping. Enrollment required.
  • Entertainment access
    • Enrollment required for select benefits.
Foreign transaction fees 2.7% (see rates and fees) 2.7% (see rates and fees)

 

As you can see, there is quite a bit of similarity between the two cards. But which card should you get based on your spending habits? Let’s dig a little deeper into who might be better suited for each card.

When you should get the Blue Cash Everyday

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Objectively, the Blue Cash Preferred is definitely the superior card of the two. But the Blue Cash Everyday does have three benefits the Blue Cash Preferred does not: 2% back at select U.S. department stores, an introductory APR offer for the first 15 months, and no annual fee (see rates and fees).

Department stores are a bonus category you don’t often find anymore. If you’re looking for a card that specifically earns bonus rewards at select U.S. department stores (such as Bloomingdale’s, JCP, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Saks and Neiman Marcus), this card will be more helpful than the Blue Cash Preferred. However, keep in mind that you can earn 2% cash back with the no-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card across all purchases (2% cash back; 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill). This has the potential to be more lucrative if you’re considering applying for the Blue Cash Everyday based mostly on that relatively rare department store bonus category.

Related: Best no-annual-fee credit cards

Something else you really should consider is your monthly budget. Both cards earn bonus rewards at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations, though at differing rates. You’ll need to earn enough rewards with the Blue Cash Preferred to offset the cost of the $95 annual fee. If you are a beginner with rewards cards who is likely only going to spend $100-$200 per month total on your card, the no-fee Everyday might be the better choice.

Last but not least, the Everyday does offer a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months (13.99% – 23.99% variable APR after intro period ends) (see rates and fees), which can help you finance an upcoming large purchase without you having to pay interest. If you’re looking for a card that offers an intro APR for 15 months rather than 12, the Blue Cash Everyday will be the better choice of these two.

If you’re able to meet the spending requirements on the Blue Cash Everyday’s welcome bonus, this offer is worth up to $250. You’ll earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases for up to $150 cash back and an additional $100 back after you spend $2,000 — both within the first six months of card membership.

Related: Blue Cash Everyday Card review: Tough sell in a competitive cash-back landscape

When you should get the Blue Cash Preferred

(Photo by The Points Guy)

For the vast majority of those looking for their next rewards credit card, the Blue Cash Preferred is the better choice.

For starters, you’re getting a higher welcome offer (though you do have to spend more with the Preferred to earn the bonus) worth up to $350, as you’ll also earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases for up to $200 cash back, and an additional $150 back after you spend $3,000 — both within the first six months of card membership. But you’re also getting a higher earning rate in several categories — an extra 3% at U.S. supermarkets, an extra 1% at U.S. gas stations, and additional bonus categories in transit and streaming services.

Related: 3 reasons why the Amex Blue Cash Preferred comes out on top during the pandemic

Let’s say you spend an average of $150 per month on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, $80 on select U.S. streaming services, $150 on gas in the U.S. and/or transit combined and $100 at select U.S. department stores — which evens out to a modest $480 in card spending per month within the potential bonus categories. With the Blue Cash Preferred, that would mean earning $231.60 in rewards over the course of the year. The Blue Cash Everyday would earn $123.60. Many families spend much more than $150 per month on groceries, so adjust your numbers accordingly based on your own spending patterns.

Even after you factor in the $95 annual fee with the Blue Cash Preferred, it still comes out on top with that math, with $108 in rewards each year plus the higher welcome bonus. And $480 in card spend per month is a conservative estimate for most people’s monthly budgets in these categories.

Something else to consider is that the Blue Cash Preferred comes with return protection. If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the purchase date and the merchant refuses to take it back, Amex will refund up to $300 per item, excluding shipping and handling charges, up to a maximum of $1,000 per year per cardholder account. That may not be a commonly used perk, but it helps when you need it.

Related: Amex Blue Cash Preferred card review

Bottom line

It’s no secret that the Blue Cash Preferred is the all-around better card for most.

You’re getting a better welcome offer, higher earning rates, expanded bonus spending categories and superior protections. Even though the card does come with a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees), the higher welcome bonus makes the card worth it over the Everyday, no matter your budget for the first year. And if you continue to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on the card per month, you’re going to end up getting more value with the Preferred, even after your first year with the card.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

Featured image by The Points Guy staff. 

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

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: $Up to 350 Cash Back Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $350

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% cash back on transit. Plus earn 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) and 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back.
  • Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • 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.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
13.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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