American Express Blue Cash Preferred

Summary

Pros Cons
6% Back on Supermarkets/Streaming Services $95 Annual Fee

American Express card (less acceptance worldwide)

Considerations Before Applying/Credit Score Needed

Before applying for this card, keep in mind that this is an American Express credit card, and as such, requires you abide by American Express’ credit card guidelines. The main things to be aware of is you cannot get approved for more than one American Express card within a 5 day period, cannot get approved for more than 3 cards within a 90 day period, and finally, you cannot hold more than 5 credit cards with American Express. 

On the bright side though, if you happen to already have an American Express card, chances are that you will not get a hard inquiry when you apply for the card. The only real instance this happens on a repeat American Express customer is if the customer barley got approved for their first credit card. 

If you are considering applying, wait until you have at least a 680 credit score. While it’s possible to get approved with a lower score, it would be better if you at least have this high of a score. 

Sign Up Bonus/Annual Fee/Foreign Transaction Fee

Currently, the sign up bonus on the Blue Cash Preferred is $250 for spending $1000 within the first 3 months. Before applying though, check to see if you can get a referral to the Blue Cash Preferred as it’s possible you’ll receive a increased sign up bonus.

There is an annual fee that comes with the card of $95, however depending on how much you shop at grocery stores can be completely offset. Finally, there is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% when using the card in different countries.  

Reward Categories

In early 2019, the Blue Cash Preferred underwent a revamp which changed some of the reward categories for the card. The categories are currently as follows:

  • 6% Grocery Stores ($6,000 cap, 1% after that) and Streaming Services
  • 3% Gas and transit (taxis/ride share, buses, trains, etc)
  • 1% Everywhere Else

If you are able to spend $6,000 in grocery store spending per year, you would be earning $360. After you consider the annual fee of $95, spending in that category alone would net you $255 per year. 

Cards This Competes With

It’s difficult to find a card that competes with the Blue Cash Preferred. There aren’t many cards that offer similar categories. The cards that do, don’t charge an annual fee. The closest thing could be the Wells Fargo Propel card. The Propel card comes with a $300 sign up bonus for spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee (compared to Amex’s 2.7%). The Propel offers 3% cashback for travel, dining, gas stations, and streaming services. Obviously for grocery shopping and streaming services the Blue Cash Preferred has the Propel beat, but the Propel offers quite some value too, especially for travelers. 

The other card that could compete with the Blue Cash Preferred is American Express’ own Everyday Preferred. The Everyday Preferred offers the exact same categories, but the Everyday Preferred pays out its reward categories in points. Depending on the point redemption you can get, that could make the card earn more. Plus, it also happens to have bonuses if you are able to meet 30 transactions per month. 

Cards This Pairs Well With

As this card doesn’t earn membership reward points, it sort of stands on its own. I wouldn’t consider this card part of the Amex Trifecta. The best way you can pair this card is to consider your monthly spend, and try to find other cards that fit in those categories that the Blue Cash Preferred isn’t the top in. 

Final Considerations

The Blue Cash Preferred targets a very specific demographic. It is a cash back credit card, but it also has an annual fee. The rewards themselves are very high at 6% for grocery shopping and streaming, but you will have to spend some money on the card in order to make up for the annual fee. If you completely max out the grocery shopping limit, you will have made over $265 in just cash back every single year from just that category alone. Just make sure that you are getting enough value from the card to offset the $95 fee. If you enjoy the categories but don’t want to pay an annual fee there is the Blue Cash Everyday which earns less but doesn’t have that annual fee. This card is also the only way to downgrade the Blue Cash Preferred.

If you prefer to earn membership reward points for your spending instead, there are a couple of options. The most immediate connection would be the Everyday Preferred. If you value the Membership Reward points at 2 cents per point, then the Everyday Preferred basically has the exact same point earning. Of course there are some differences, including the Blue Cash Preferred’s streaming category plus the Everyday Preferred’s 30 transaction bonus. The Everyday Preferred also has the same $95 annual fee. 

If you are interested in the grocery category, and again, value the MR points at 2 cents per point, another option could be the Gold card. The Gold card gives its users up to 4x MR points for their grocery spend, which would be the same as earning 8% cashback on all grocery spend. The card does come with an increased annual fee though, so it’s important to keep track of your spending, and make sure you are able to max out the credits the Gold card gives you. If you aren’t able to do that, then it doesn’t make sense to get the Gold card, and instead, the Blue Cash Preferred or the Everyday Preferred should be your go-to.

What do you think about the Blue Cash Preferred? Do you like its revamp and new design? Let us know below!

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