American Express Blue Cash Preferred review

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Groceries, gas, transportation and streaming services are big expenses in most households. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the best grocery credit cards to use in the U.S. at supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, as well as for transit and select U.S. streaming services. When you apply, you’ll also earn a $300 statement credit after meeting minimum spend requirements.

Groceries and streaming services are especially critical during the coronavirus lock-down sweeping the U.S. These are purchases you will absolutely make, and it’s wise to throw those expenses on the right card — preferably one that earns a whopping 6% cash back.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card review

Pros and cons

Here’s the thing: Opening a new credit card is often drenched in stigma — especially if you already have a handful to your name. Truth is, the cons to opening the Amex Blue Cash Preferred are few:

  • Your credit score may (very briefly) drop a few points, as your average credit history will be reduced and Amex will report a hard inquiry on your credit report
  • Opening certain credit cards can actually prevent you from opening certain Chase cards (read our post on the Chase “5/24 rule” for a very simple explanation, and how to avoid it)
  • The card comes with a $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. (See rates & fees)

That’s it. That’s a no-brainer for perhaps the best cash back credit card on the market:

  • Great welcome bonus worth well over 2x the annual fee
  • Crazy high earning rates on everyday purchases like groceries and gas
  • Earns a currency more flexible than any travel credit card

Current bonus

If you’re looking to take the sting out of your fuel costs and supermarket bills, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred should be in your wallet. With the Blue Cash Preferred, you can earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership.

That’s a sizable bonus for such little spending — It even makes our list as one of the best credit cards for low minimum spend.

Benefits and perks

Unbelievable earning rates

It’s easy to earn cash back with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, thanks to the following bonus categories:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% cash back)
  • 6% cash back on 20+ select U.S. streaming services (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Apple Music, Pandora, etc.)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and for transit (including parking, tolls, ride-booking services)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Terms Apply

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

The average family in the U.S. will spend several hundred dollars per month at supermarkets and on streaming services. You’d only need to spend ~$132 a month in these 6% cash-back categories to cover the annual fee (~$132 X 12 months X 6%).

Remember, supermarkets offer you much more than just food. You can buy toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc., all while earning 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent per calendar year, then 1%.

Note: Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s qualify for the 6% cash back, but superstores like BJs and Target do not.

Grocery Shopper
Earn Bonus Cash Back on up to $1,500 in Spending Each Quarter at Grocery Stores and Gas Stations

Unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit

You will earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit with no maximum limit, making this a useful category for almost any commuter.

Transit purchases that qualify for 3% cash back include:

  • Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft
  • Parking
  • Taxis
  • Train fares
  • Tolls
  • Ferries
  • Buses
  • Subways

For those who spend a lot on transportation, this card might be a great fit.

Unlimited 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services

You can earn the bonus for the following streaming services:

Amazon MusicNBA League Pass
Apple MusicNetflix
CBS All AccessPandora
AT&T TV NowPrime Video Unlimited
Fubo TVSling TV
HBO NowSiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
iHeartRadioYouTube Music Premium
Kindle UnlimitedYouTube Premium

If you purchase any of these services as part of a bundle or through a third party, you might not earn the bonus. For example, if you pay for HBO Now through your Amazon or iTunes account you aren’t guaranteed to earn the bonus cash back.

Earning 6% cash back on select streaming services can add up. (Photo courtesy of Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock)

Free shipping with ShopRunner

For as long as you have your card, you’ll also get a ShopRunner membership, which requires enrollment. ShopRunner is like Amazon Prime but for over 100 retail stores. You get free two-day shipping and free returns with your online orders through participating retailers. An annual membership for ShopRunner normally costs $79. (enrollment required).

Extended warranty

When you purchase eligible items with your Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, you can get one additional year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less. It’s smart to use a credit card with this perk to purchase things like vacuums or electronics.

Return protection

Didn’t like that vacuum? If a merchant won’t take back an eligible item and it is within 90 days of the purchase date, Amex could reimburse you up to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year.

Purchase protection

Oops. Did you break that vacuum? Theft and accidental damage can be covered by purchase protection. If it is within 90 days of your purchase date, then you could get up to $1,000 back per claim up to $50,000 per account per calendar year.

How to redeem cash back

There are three easy ways to redeem your hard-earned cash returns:

  •    Statement credits
  •    Gift cards
  •    Shopping through the online portal

The only stipulation is that you must have at least $25 in cash back in order to redeem it. You can read our post on what cash back is to better learn if this is the right card for your wallet — there are several forms of cash back, after all!

Is the annual fee worth it?

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred has a $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 (See rates & fees), but you can earn $95 cash back if you spend as little as ~$1,583 at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. streaming services in a year (~$1,583 x 6% cash back). That’s less than $132 a month.

And that’s not even factoring in the 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit. It’s likely that you spend hundreds of dollars each month just getting to and from work, so the cash back for your transportation is just gravy.

Who is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred for?

You can only earn the welcome bonuses on a specific Amex card once per card in your lifetime. Meaning, if you have ever earned a bonus for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, you are ineligible for the welcome bonus.

Amex online applications have also introduced a system to let you know if you’re eligible for the welcome bonus during the application process. So if you aren’t eligible, you’ll know before Amex pulls your credit.

Final thoughts on the American Express Blue Cash Preferred

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card is a great card for earning premium cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on select U.S. streaming services and on expenses like U.S. gas station purchases and transit.

You’ll earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in purchases per year made at qualifying U.S. supermarkets (then 1%).

You’ll also earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership. You can apply for the Blue Cash Preferred here.

Credit cards similar to the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Lots of credit cards can check off some of the same boxes when it comes to perks and benefits.

For anyone who wants to squeeze a little more value out of rewards, consider the  Chase Freedom®, which provides

  • 5% cash back (5 Chase points per dollar) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus
  • 1% cash back (1 Chase points per dollar) on all other purchases

The card currently has a welcome bonus of $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months. It’s a great card if you have a limited credit history. Many of our readers have been approved for this card with credit histories dating back less than three years and credit scores around 680. You can read a detailed review of the Chase Freedom here.

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

This card often has bonus categories that are similar to the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card, so it’s a terrific alternative with no annual fee.

Both of these Chase cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so if you’ve opened five or more credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months (excluding certain small-business cards and Chase business cards), Chase will not approve you for many of their best travel rewards credit cards, including the Chase Freedom..

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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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