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

Jul 23, 2020

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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 cash-back card options to choose from as well. These days, the ability to redeem cash back to help you save money might be higher on the priority list than stocking up points for a vacation.

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

Today, we’re walking through the benefits offered by both and when it makes sense to choose one over the other.

In This Post

Comparison overview

Card

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Amex Blue Cash Everday

Annual fee $95 (see rates and fees) $0 (see rates and fees)
Welcome bonus $250 back after spending $1,000 in the first three months $150 back after spending $1,000 in the first three months (although keep in mind you may be targeted for a different offer through Amex)
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

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

Terms apply

Intro APR 0% APR on new purchases for 12 months (13.99% – 23.99% variable APR after intro period ends) 0% APR on new purchases for 15 months (13.99% – 23.99% variable APR after intro period ends)
Other benefits Secondary car rental loss and damage insurance

Global Assist Hotline

Return Protection

ShopRunner 2-day shipping

Entertainment access

Secondary car rental loss and damage insurance

Global Assist Hotline

ShopRunner 2-day shipping

Entertainment access

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 Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.)

Objectively, the Blue Cash Preferred is definitely the superior card. But the Blue Cash Everyday does have two benefits the Blue Cash Preferred does not: 2% back at U.S. department stores and no annual fee (see rates and fees).

Department stores is a bonus category you don’t find often anymore. If you’re looking for a card that specifically earns bonus rewards at U.S. department stores, this card will be more helpful than the Blue Cash Preferred. However, do keep in mind that you can get 2% cash back with the no-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card across all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill), which has the potential to be more lucrative if you’re considering applying for the Blue Cash Everyday based mostly on that rare department store bonus category.

Related reading: Best no-annual-fee credit cards

Something 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 (see rates and fees). If you are a credit card beginner who is only going to spend $100-$200 per month total on your card, the no-fee Everyday might be the better choice.

Related reading: 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 a credit card, the Blue Cash Preferred is the better choice. For starters, for the same spending requirement, you’re getting an extra $100 with your welcome offer. That alone will cover your Preferred’s annual fee for the first year. Plus, you’re getting a higher earning rate across the board — 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 reading: 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, $80 on streaming, $150 on gas and/or transit combined and $100 at 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 $231.60 in rewards over the course of the year. The Blue Cash Everyday would earn $123.60. Even after you factor in the $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) with the Blue Cash Preferred, it still comes out on top, with $136.60 in rewards each year. And $430 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 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.

Related reading: Amex Blue Cash Preferred card review

Bottom line

It’s no secret that the Blue Cash Preferred is definitely the all-around better card. You’re getting a better welcome bonus, higher earning rates, expanded bonus categories and superior protections. Even though the card does come with a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees), the higher bonus you’ll earn after spending $1,000 in the first three months makes the card worth it over the Everyday no matter your budget for the first year. And if you continually 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.

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 Cash Everyday, click here.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: $250 Cash Back Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $250

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: New! 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

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 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, currently 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 and no interest.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
13.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.