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American Express Blue Cash Preferred review: Two new bonus categories and a $250 bonus

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American Express Blue Cash Preferred review: Two new bonus categories and a $250 bonus

Devon O'RourkeAmerican Express Blue Cash Preferred review: Two new bonus categories and a $250 bonusMillion Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is now the most rewarding cash-back card to use for U.S. streaming services.

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 streaming services. When you apply, you’ll also earn a $250 statement credit after meeting minimum spending requirements.

You can apply for the Blue Cash Preferred here or read on for our detailed review.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred review: This card is a great choice for earning cash back at U.S. supermarkets. (Photo courtesy of Davizro Photography/Shutterstock)

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.

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees), but you can easily offset it if you spend a lot in the card’s excellent bonus categories.

How to earn cash back with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

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+ 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

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.

How to use your cash back

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

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

Note: You must have at least $25 in cash back in order to redeem it.

Benefits of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

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 Music
  • Apple Music
  • Audible
  • CBS All Access
  • Direct TV Now
  • ESPN+
  • Fubo TV
  • HBO Now
  • Hulu
  • iHeartRadio
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • MLB.TV
  • NBA League Pass
  • Netflix
  • NHL.TV
  • Pandora
  • Prime Video Unlimited
  • Showtime
  • Sling TV
  • SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
  • Spotify
  • 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.

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.

Roadside assistance hotline

You can call 855-431-1156 if you need assistance with things like a flat tire, towing, jump-start, etc. Access to the hotline is complimentary with your Amex, but costs incurred for services are not.

Car rental loss and damage insurance

When you decline your rental car agency’s rental coverage and pay your reservation in full with your Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, you’ll get secondary coverage for damage from collision or theft for up to $50,000 per rental agreement.

Extended warranty

When you purchase eligible items with your Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, you can get up to two additional years 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.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Get free Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection with the Blue Cash Preferred

Purchase protection

Oops. Did you break that vacuum? Theft and accidental damage can be covered by purchase protection. If it is within 120 days of your purchase date (90 days for New York residents), then you could get up to $1,000 back per claim up to $50,000 per account per calendar year.

Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred worth the annual fee?

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.

Does the Amex Blue Cash Preferred have a foreign transaction fee?

Yes. (See rates & fees)

Who is eligible for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred?

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 new 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. Here are cards we’d recommend in addition to, or in place of, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred:

For anyone who wants to squeeze a little more value out of rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a great welcome bonus and is our favorite first credit card for beginners.

You earn 60,000 amazing Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account.

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.

With the Chase Freedom, you’ll get: 

  • 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus
  • 1% cash back (1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) 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.

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 cards, however, 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.

Bottom Line

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 can 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.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

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

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

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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Article says, “But you can earn $95 cash back if you spend as little as ~$1,583 at US supermarkets and US streaming services in a year (~$1,583 X 6% cash back). That’s less than $132 a month.”

Although those are 6% categories, the net of 4% should be used in the breakeven calculation since there are no-annual-fee 2% cashback on everything cards. Or, use net of 3% since no-annual-fee Amex Blue Cash Everday gives 3% on groceries.

Neighborhood Walmarts do get the 6%