Amex credit card showdown: Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday
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. These days, the ability to redeem cash back to help you save money on whatever you need might be higher on your priority list than stocking up points for a future vacation.
Two of the more notable cash-back cards in the Amex lineup 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 other divergent bonus categories to consider between the two cards — along with different earning rates and annual fees.
Currently, both cards are offering new, elevated welcome offers that might have you taking another look and trying to decide between them. Today, we’ll walk through the benefits provided by both and when it makes sense to choose one over the other.
|Annual fee||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (see rates & fees).||$0 (see rates & fees).|
|Welcome offer||Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.||Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.|
|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.
|3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations, and on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per category per year in purchases; then 1%).
1% cash back on everything else.
Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
|Foreign transaction fees||2.7% (see rates & fees).||2.7% (see rates & 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
Objectively, the Blue Cash Preferred is the superior card of the two. But the Blue Cash Everyday does have some benefits the Blue Cash Preferred does not: 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), no annual fee and up to $15 per month in statement credits when you purchase Home Chef meal solutions.
Something else you really should consider is your monthly budget. Both cards earn bonus rewards at U.S. supermarkets, though at differing rates. You’ll need to earn enough rewards with the Blue Cash Preferred to offset the cost of that card’s $95 annual fee. For that reason, 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.
When you should get the Blue Cash Preferred
The Blue Cash Preferred will likely be the better choice for most of those looking for their next rewards credit card.
For starters, you’re getting a higher welcome offer (though you do have to spend more with the Preferred to earn the bonus).
But you’re also getting a higher earning rate at U.S. supermarkets (6% instead of 3%) and additional bonus categories in transit and streaming services. If you spend a ton on gas — in this case, more than $6,000 annually — you'll have uncapped 3% cash back with the Preferred, whereas the Everyday drops from 3% to 1% cash back after $6,000 in purchases.
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 a mere $123.60 cash back. 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 $136.60 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.
If you're an Equinox+ user, you'll also receive $10 in monthly statement credits. Enrollment required.
A final thing 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 calendar year per cardholder account. That may not be a commonly used perk, but it helps when you need it and is not available with the Blue Cash Everyday.
Related: Amex Blue Cash Preferred card review
It’s no secret that the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is the all-around better card for most.
You'll get 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 after the first year, the higher welcome bonus makes the card worth it over the Everyday, no matter your budget. And if you continue to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on the card per month, you'll end up getting more value with the Preferred, even after your first year with the card.
Official application link: Amex Blue Cash Preferred with a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
Official application link: Amex Blue Cash Everyday with a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Stella Shon.