Skip to content

Why the Amex Blue Cash Preferred might be the best cash-back card right now

Sept. 09, 2021
6 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor's Note

This story has been updated with the latest information. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the latest information.


Whether a big trip is on your radar or not, now may be a great time to save for your next getaway ... or perhaps earn some cash back to use however you wish.

One way to do that is to collect points and miles to prepare for the journey ahead. But there is also the simplicity and appeal of cash back, too. If you prefer to be rewarded in cents instead of points — or find yourself at least currently prioritizing cold hard cash — a cash-back card may be the best rewards card choice.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

And there's a cash-back card that has captured my attention more than any other during the pandemic: the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. While it carries a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees), this is more than offset by its generous (and timely) category bonuses.

Want the latest card benefits and travel news sent to your inbox? Sign up for our TPG daily newsletter.

If earning cash back is more your current style than miles or points, here are three reasons why the Blue Cash Preferred might become your new go-to card.

Bonus categories perfect for being closer to home

In my view, no card has had a better permanent combination of cash-back category bonuses than this one.

The Blue Cash Preferred has bonus earnings on U.S. supermarkets, select U.S. streaming services, U.S. gas stations and transit. In every single one of those categories, it's made our list of best credit cards. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

Let's break it down further.

U.S. supermarkets

The Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending each calendar year, then 1%). While it's a bit frustrating to have the $6,000 annual cap, you would still get $360 in cash back if you fully maximized this bonus category.

Last year, grocery spending saw a tremendous surge and while that has since leveled off, groceries remain a key spending category as the pandemic lingers.

Related: Best credit cards for groceries

Streaming

Next up, you'll also get 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions with the Blue Cash Preferred.

A 2020 study from Deloitte highlighted just how prevalent streaming and subscriptions have become. Before the start of the pandemic, the average U.S. consumer had 12 paid entertainment subscriptions. That number jumps to 17 subscriptions if we're talking specifically about millennials.

(Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

For months, streaming was a primary source of entertainment. And while that is no longer the case, there is still strong demand for streaming. Here is the latest list of qualifying stream services from Amex for that 6% back:

Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now, Audible, CBS All Access, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, HBO Max, HBO (standalone streaming subscription only, formerly known as HBO Now), Hulu, iHeartRadio, Kindle Unlimited, Luminary, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, Netflix, NHL.TV, Pandora, Peacock, Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite, Spotify, Stitcher, Tidal Music, YouTube Music Premium, YouTube Premium and YouTube TV

Related: Best credit cards for streaming

Gas

With this card, you'll receive 3% back at U.S. gas stations for running around town. And if you're ready for a fall road trip, you'll be all set too. As you might have guessed, this card is indeed on our list of best credit cards for gas.

Transit

While fewer U.S. residents are commuting, the transit category can still be worthwhile since it covers some expense types not just in the realm of public transit, but also when driving your own car. The Blue Cash Preferred earns 3% cash back on transit, including parking, tolls, ride-hailing, subway, etc.

Bike-share and other mobility-related expenses might also count toward earning 3% back. There's a reason why this card made it onto our permanent list of best cards for transit.

(Photo by B&M Noskowski/Getty Images)

No confusing temporary categories

Instead of limited-time temporary bonus categories, you might prefer something simple (instead of keeping track of perks 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 (my preferred choice), get gift cards or shop directly with your rewards.

Higher welcome offer

New Blue Cash Preferred applicants now receive a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Related: Review of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card

Bottom line

Creating a viable points, miles or cash-back strategy is smart. If cash back happens to be more up your alley right now — and these bonus categories align with your spending — then you can't go wrong with the Blue Cash Preferred.

Just remember there are pros and cons to picking a cash-back card over a travel rewards card, but if you don’t travel frequently and want the flexibility to spend your rewards in other ways, the Blue Cash Preferred might be right for you.

Apply here for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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

Featured image by THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best for U.S. streaming rewards
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 6% cash-back
6%6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
6%6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
3%3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
3%3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%1% Cash Back on other purchases

Intro offer

$350
Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you like cash back and spend a lot on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, you can’t get much better than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Check out our latest guides, news, and reviews for this card below.

Pros

  • This card has one of the best earning structures out there for cash-back credit cards.
  • The card does come with access to Amex Offers (enrollment required), which can save you even more money on specific purchases.

Cons

  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarket bonus category, which may not work for those with large grocery budgets.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, so it’s not a great choice when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 16.99%-27.99%.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 Plan It fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • 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.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Thinking about getting The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. Enrollment required.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6%6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
6%6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
3%3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
3%3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%1% Cash Back on other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

    $350
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

If you like cash back and spend a lot on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, you can’t get much better than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Check out our latest guides, news, and reviews for this card below.

Pros

  • This card has one of the best earning structures out there for cash-back credit cards.
  • The card does come with access to Amex Offers (enrollment required), which can save you even more money on specific purchases.

Cons

  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarket bonus category, which may not work for those with large grocery budgets.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, so it’s not a great choice when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 16.99%-27.99%.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 Plan It fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • 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.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Thinking about getting The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. Enrollment required.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees