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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 cards to use in the U.S. at supermarkets and gas stations, as well as for transit and select U.S. streaming services. When you apply, you’ll also earn a $250 statement credit after meeting minimum spending 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.
You can apply for the Blue Cash Preferred here or read on for our detailed review.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card review
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 $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
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 everything else
- Terms Apply
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%.
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
- Train fares
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 Music
- Apple Music
- CBS All Access
- Direct TV Now
- Fubo TV
- HBO Now
- Kindle Unlimited
- NBA League Pass
- Prime Video Unlimited
- Sling TV
- SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
- YouTube Music Premium
- YouTube Premium
- YouTube TV
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 $95 annual fee (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.
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, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a great welcome bonus and is our favorite credit card for beginners. You earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account.
You can read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review to learn tricks to get $1,000+ worth of travel from those 60,000 points. Or instead, you can get $750 worth of travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal with little effort. Or…turn the 60,000 points into $600 if you love cash.
Also, 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.
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 and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
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%). This card does come with an annual fee of $95 but you can earn that back with ~$132 in spending on groceries and eligible streaming services per month, which is less than what the average household spends.
You’ll also earn $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. You can apply for the Blue Cash Preferred here.
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For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.