Who should (and who shouldn’t) get the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card?

Oct 12, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. 

The pandemic has drastically shifted how many people use their credit cards. Certain travel spending (like airfare) has diminished while streaming and grocery spending has been booming.

That means it’s not only time to reevaluate how you use your current cards, but also what cards to add to your wallet for the future. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one such card to consider. The Blue Cash Preferred is currently offering a limited time offer: waived first-year annual fee and a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases (Offer ends 12/10/2020).

While it carries a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) after the first year, it’s easily offset by its generous (and timely) category bonuses for the times we live in now.

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Of course, a cash-back card isn’t for everyone. Let’s dive into why else the Blue Cash Preferred is a card to consider — and who should and who shouldn’t get one.

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Key benefits

The most notable perk of the Blue Cash Preferred is its generous bonuses for certain spending categories. While some cards may earn a cash back (or points) bonus on only one or two categories, the Blue Cash Preferred actually offers a bonus on four areas of spending.

Those spending bonuses are as follows:

6% cash back (and even 3% cash back) is certainly nothing to sneeze at. And if you take a closer look, these are all categories that benefit everyday spending the most. From groceries to streaming, these are all areas we’re spending more in now, whether you’re traveling or not.

Related: Review of the Blue Cash Preferred

(Photo by NAO/Twenty20)
(Photo by NAO/Twenty20)

Who should get the Blue Cash Preferred card?

You want to earn cash back

This is obviously the first thing you should consider deciding if the Blue Cash Preferred is right for you. The age-old question, especially for many card beginners: is it better to earn points for your purchases or earn cash back?

If your top priority is getting the most value out of a credit card, you should get a points card. You’ll get far more return out of a points rewards card from the bonus, the points, the perks and the redemption options than you’ll get from a cash-back card.

Related: My mom got her first rewards card after using cash for 50 years

But not everyone has the time — or inclination — to put this much effort into tracking spending and returns, which is where cash-back cards like the Blue Cash Preferred come in. There’s the amazing simplicity of earning and redeeming a flat amount — and you always know what to expect.

(Photo by Paolo De Gasperis/Shutterstock)
(Photo by Paolo De Gasperis/Shutterstock)

You spend a significant amount in the bonus categories

If you don’t have a lot of spending on at least one or two of the bonus categories (U.S. streaming subscriptions, U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per calendar year, transit and gas stations), then it likely doesn’t make sense to get this card.

For instance, you’d earn $360 if you max out the cash back benefit on U.S. supermarkets per year, making the annual fee of $95 after the first year (see rates and fees) more than worth it. That breaks down to spending $500 on groceries per month.

In addition, the average U.S. consumer subscribes to 12 media and entertainment services, so the 6% cash back on the card should come in handy. However, streaming as a category likely wouldn’t earn you a significant haul of cash back since services usually are no more than $20 each per month.

Still, when you combine two 6% categories and two 3% categories, you’ll be able to earn a meaningful amount of cash back on a per-year basis.

Related: Your credit card now has you covered if you forget to cancel a subscription service

(Photo by Yagi Studio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yagi Studio/Getty Images)

You don’t want to remember temporary categories

If it seems like there is a new card update or bonus category change or every week or two during the pandemic, you’re not far off. Thankfully, we have a guide to card benefit changes that breaks it all down. However, you might prefer something simple (instead of keeping track of limited-time perks and when they kick in or expire).

The Blue Cash Preferred is ideal for that. It has bonus categories that are relevant to our current environment and has the ease of cash-back earning. To redeem, you can receive a statement credit, get gift cards or shop directly with your rewards.

Related: Monthly card benefit updates you should know about 

Bottom line

Amex’s Blue Cash Preferred is one of the most popular rewards cards — and for good reason. On paper, it’s one of the best cash-back cards and is now even more rewarding during the pandemic when consumer spending has shifted.

If you can maximize the bonus categories and want to earn cash back (instead of points), this is a lucrative card to have. You can currently take advantage of a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first six months and a $0 intro annual fee (see rates and fees) for the first year.

Even if you decide against applying for the Blue Cash Preferred, make sure to check out TPG’s list of the best credit cards to find the right card to meet your travel goals.

Related: Chase thought I stole my own identity — so I got my first credit card with Amex instead

Featured photo by The Points Guy

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

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: $300 Cash Back Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $300

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
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
  • Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
13.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
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.