American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card Review
Sign Up Bonus
Before applying for a credit card, it can help to weigh the pros and cons.
About American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card is free of an annual fee for the first year. It offers one of the highest rewards rates available for groceries at 6%. While there is a cap of $6,000 in this category, you can still rake in $360 annually by meeting the maximum threshold each year.
Cash back is received in the form of reward dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. The card also features other rewards categories, including streaming subscriptions, gas and transit purchases, which are all unlimited. A 0% promotional APR is available for the first year, but no balance transfer option is available. Two $200 sign-up bonuses, one for statement credit and the other for use on Amazon.com, are available by meeting spending requirements.
Benefits and Rewards
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card has plenty of benefits and rewards. Here’s what you need to know.
Introductory and Regular APR
For the first 12 months, a 0% introductory APR applies, which will save you money on interest if you don’t pay off your bill in full each month. After the first year, however, American Express will assign your card a purchase APR of 13.99% to 23.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors. According to the latest Federal Reserve data, the average APR for credit card accounts that incur interest is 16.30%, so a starting purchase APR under 14% is good.
The card offer includes $400 worth of welcome offers. You can earn the first $200 in statement credit by spending at least $3,000 within the first six months of the day your account is approved. The bonus will be applied as a statement credit to your account approximately eight to 12 weeks after you meet spending requirements.
If you like to shop on Amazon, you can earn 20% on all purchases made within the first six months with the card. To get the maximum bonus of $200, you’ll have to spend $1,000.
High Rewards Rate
As far as rewards cards go, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred credit card is a front runner. It offers 6% cash back on up to $6,000 worth of groceries purchased at U.S. supermarkets each year.
For example, if you spend approximately $116 every week on groceries for 52 weeks, you could earn the maximum reward of $360. Whether this will be worth it for you depends on where you shop for groceries. Unfortunately, according to the terms and conditions of the card, superstores, such as Walmart and Target, and warehouse clubs, such as Costco and Sam’s, are not considered supermarkets.
The card also offers 6% back on streaming subscriptions from select providers, including, but not limited to, Apple Music, Audible, Disney+, HBO Max, SiriusXM, Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Spotify and YouTube Premium. The catch is that if your streaming subscriptions are bundled with another product or service or billed to you by a third party, such as a cable or internet provider or a car manufacturer, they may not be eligible for rewards.
Additional Rewards Categories
The card also offers three additional rewards categories: 3% cash back on transit, 3% back on gas and 1% back on all other eligible purchases.
Transit rewards include purchases with your card for parking, tolls, taxis, rideshares, buses, trains and more. Airfare, car rentals and cruises are not eligible.
Gas rewards include gasoline at gas stations located in the U.S. Gas purchases at superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs are not considered gas stations and are not eligible for rewards.
Even though it has plenty of benefits and rewards, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card also has some drawbacks to consider.
High Annual Fee
Even though you won’t pay an annual fee for the first year, it’s $95 annually thereafter, which may or may not be worth it to you, depending on how much you earn in rewards with the card. And while there are plenty of rewards credit cards available that don’t carry an annual fee, they may not offer 6% back on a major category like groceries.
Here’s one way to feel better about the high annual fee: If you meet the requirements to earn the maximum sign-up bonuses of $400 in the first year, that will more than cover your annual fee for the next four years. Then, you won’t have to worry about making sure paying the annual fee is worth it until the fifth year of card ownership.
Unfortunately, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card does not offer unlimited rewards for one of its biggest rewards categories — groceries. The card only rewards 6% on up to $6,000 of eligible grocery purchases made at U.S. supermarkets per year. After that, the rewards rate reduces to 1% until the following calendar year.
While $6,000 may seem like an ample amount, it may not be, depending on the type and amount of food you purchase at the grocery store.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Males between 19 and 50 require approximately $75 per week for moderately priced food eaten at home, while females of the same age require $63.60.
- Children, ages 1-11, require between $35.70 and $67.10 per child, per week.
- A family of two adults and two children buying moderately priced groceries could spend up to $332.20 per week or $17,274.40 per year.
Granted, you won’t likely consistently buy that much each week, due to takeout or dining elsewhere, but these figures can help you decide if the card’s rewards structure will be worth it for you or if a card with a lower, yet unlimited, rewards rate for groceries would be more beneficial.
The good news is that other rewards categories, including streaming subscriptions, gas and transit, are not subject to caps.
Is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card Right for You?
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card won GOBankingRates’s No. 1 spot for Best Rewards Credit Card. Its high rewards rate of 6% for both groceries and streaming subscriptions is impressive. Plus, you can also earn 3% back on gas and transit expenses.
Additionally, the card features a 0% introductory APR for the entire first year, and its lowest regular APR starts at 13.99%, which is below the national average for credit cards.
Whether this card is worth it to you really depends on where you regularly grocery shop and buy gas, the APR you’ll receive (rates go up to 23.99%) and whether you’ll get enough value from the rewards after the first year because that’s when the card’s $95 annual fee kicks in. However, as mentioned, if you earn the $400 in sign-up bonuses, that amount will cover the annual fee for the first four years.
Methodology: GOBankingRates.com identified the best rewards credit cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may or might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the web page. Data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material between Aug. 4, 2021, and Sept. 26, 2021. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.
Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.
- Board of Govenors of the Federal Reserve System. "G.19 Consumer Credit For release at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time)."
- Lending Tree. "Best Cash Back Credit Cards of October 2021."
- U.S. Department of Agriculture - Food and Nutrition Service. "Usda Food Plans: Cost of Food Reports (Monthly Reports)."