Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred annual fee worth it?

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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a cash back credit card geared toward folks who spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, as well as for select U.S. streaming services and transit.

Those are big expenses in most households, especially if you have a large family. Because these common expenses are bonus categories, it’s not hard to spend enough to offset the Blue Cash Preferred introductory annual fee for $0 for one year, then $95 (see rates & fees). On top of that, you’ll earn a $250 statement credit after meeting spending requirements.

If you like the rewards setup, this card has some of the best returns in the most popular spending categories. That’s why it’s one of the best grocery credit cards for cash back — quite a big deal as COVID-19 sinks its claws into the travel industry, as well as entertainment, restaurant, and most of the other big purchases we often make. Cash back credit cards are worth adding to your arsenal, especially in this climate.

The cash rewards you can earn at U.S. supermarkets can easily make the Blue Cash Preferred annual fee worth it. (Photo by gyn9037/Shutterstock)

Is the Blue Cash Preferred annual fee worth it?

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. You’ll earn:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% cash back)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases (subway, taxis, tolls, ride sharing, and more)
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • Terms Apply

At U.S. supermarkets, you can earn 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in spending each year (then 1%). At the maximum, that would mean $360 in cash back rewards ($6,000 x 6%). That breaks down to $500 per month, which is a moderate number for spending at U.S. supermarkets. You’d only need to spend ~$132 a month on purchases at U.S. supermarkets to have the $95 annual fee “pay for itself” — any rewards you earn beyond that is cash back in your pocket.

Plus, you’ll earn unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases, such as:

  • Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft
  • Parking
  • Taxi cabs
  • Train fares
  • Tolls
  • Ferries
  • Buses
  • Subways

Not only that, but purchases with select U.S. streaming services earn unlimited 6% cash back, including:

  • Amazon Music
  • Apple Music
  • Audible
  • CBS All Access
  • Direct TV Now
  • ESPN+
  • Fubo TV
  • HBO Now
  • Hulu
  • iHeartRadio
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Netflix
  • Pandora
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Sling TV
  • SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
  • Spotify
  • YouTube Music Premium
  • YouTube Premium
  • YouTube TV

Be aware that if you pay for a streaming service through a third party or as part of a bundled package, you might not earn the bonus cash back.

Add to this the fact that the card comes with Amex Offers, which are a fantastic way to save money on everyday purchases. They’re targeted statement credits or bonus points offers that only American Express cardholders receive, for things like shopping, travel and dining. You’ll often find streaming services on these sites — my account currently offers statement credits for Sling TV and Fubo TV. For example, if I spend $25 +, with Sling TV, I’ll get get $10 back (and I can receive the discount up to 2 times).

Take a look at our in-depth review of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred to see everything you get with this card.

Who should not get the Amex Blue Cash Preferred?

If you’re new to miles & points, note this card will count against your Chase 5/24 status, which means you won’t be approved for most Chase cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank in the past 24 months (excluding Chase small business cards and certain other small business cards). We recommend starting with the best Chase credit cards for this reason. They have some of the most rewarding travel cards out there.

Also, Amex is known for only approving most for around five credit cards  max. This card will count for one of your slots. Take a look at the best American Express cards before you open this one. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express earns valuable American Express Membership Rewards points.

Obviously, if you don’t spend enough in the bonus categories to justify the annual fee, you should skip this card. That said, if you spend enough to cover the annual fee (which isn’t much), it’s a solid card worth adding to your collection.

Bottom line

The break-even point to cover the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card’s annual fee is ~$132 per month in spending at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming services, which most families easily exceed. You’ll earn 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in spending per year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), and an uncapped 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, plus 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit expenses.

If those bonus categories make up the bulk of your spending each month, this is an excellent card to consider for cash back rewards. Remember, you’ll also earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, which will help offset the annual fee for the first couple of years.

If you’re looking to earn miles or points rewards for your U.S. supermarket spending, be sure to browse our list of the best grocery credit cards. And be sure to read our post on cash back credit card common mistakes.

You can apply for the Blue Cash Preferred here. And for the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, you can subscribe to our newsletter.

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

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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