American Express® Blue Cash Preferred Card Review 2023

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4.8
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Quick Take: The American Express® Blue Cash Preferred credit card is an impressive offering for several reasons. For starters, the card offers impressive cash-back rates in popular categories, such as groceries at U.S. supermarkets and gas at U.S. gas stations. It also comes with many perks and benefits you'll find on most American Express cards. However, unlike many other rewards cards, including the American Express® Blue Cash Everyday, Blue Cash Preferred carries an annual fee.
  • Rewards
    4.9
  • Cash Back
    4.7
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Welcome offer
  • Introductory APR for the first year
  • Robust rewards rate for grocery and streaming purchases
  • Higher-than-average rewards rate for gas and transit purchases

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • American Express is not accepted everywhere.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Overview

The Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express, Member FDIC, gives you cash back in the form of reward dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit once your rewards total $25 or more. You can also receive a welcome offer of $300 if you spend $3,000 in purchases on your card within the first six months of membership.

A 0% promotional APR is available for purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, then an APR will apply. The card also has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after which the annual fee is $95.

The Blue Cash Preferred card offers one of the highest rewards rates available for U.S. supermarkets at 6% cash back. While there is a yearly cap of $6,000 in purchases for this category, you can still rake in $360 annually by meeting the maximum threshold each year. Plus, you’ll still get 1% on all your U.S. supermarket purchases above $6,000 annually.

The card also features other rewards categories, including qualified U.S. streaming subscriptions, gas at U.S. gas stations and transit purchases, which are all unlimited.

Key Features

The Blue Cash Preferred card is a highly competitive option for both its rewards and its cash back features.

Rewards

As far as rewards cards go, the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred credit card is a front-runner.

You’ll enjoy dispute resolution; fraud protection; and access to exclusive concerts, shows and events through American Express® Experiences. The Global Assist Hotline is available if something goes wrong when you are more than 100 miles from home.

The Blue Cash Preferred card offers purchase protection when you use your card.

You also get return protection, so that if you make a purchase in the U.S. or U.S. territories and the merchant won’t take it back within 90 days from the date of purchase, American Express will refund the purchase price up to $300 per item, shipping and handling excluded, assuming you used your card for the full purchase price. You can make up to $1,000 worth of such claims per calendar year.

American Express also offers Blue Cash Preferred® Card Members a $120 Equinox+ credit, delivered as a $10 credit each month, that you can use for your gym membership at equinoxplus.com with your Blue Cash Preferred card.

Cash Back

The standard welcome offer for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred is extremely generous, giving new card members $300 if they spend $3,000 in purchases on their card within the first six months of membership.

U.S. Supermarkets

The card offers 6% cash back on up to $6,000 worth of groceries purchased at U.S. supermarkets each year. After that cap is reached, a 1% cash-back rate will be earned. 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, superstores, such as Walmart and Target, and warehouse clubs, such as Costco and Sam’s Club, are not considered supermarkets.

U.S. Streaming Services

The card also offers 6% back on U.S. 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.

U.S. Travel and Transit

The card also offers three additional reward categories: 3% cash back on transit, 3% back on gas at U.S. gas stations 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. Fueling stations attached to superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs are not considered gas stations and are not eligible for rewards.

What Sets the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred Card Apart?

The industry-high 6% cash back on groceries from U.S. supermarkets sets the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred card apart from other cards in its class, though this cash-back rate is capped at $6,000 per year in purchases. After that cap is reached, a 1% cash-back rate will be earned.

Also, you’ll have the stellar customer service and prestige of American Express behind you when you carry the card. American Express ranked No. 1 amongst national issuers in 2020 and 2021 for customer satisfaction.

The 0% intro APR and better-than-average interest rate for customers with excellent credit also make the card a value if you are going to carry a balance. Whether you’re paying for a vacation, home improvements or just treating yourself to something special, you’ll have a full 12 months to pay off your card with no interest charges. After the introductory rate, an APR will apply.

The American Express® Blue Cash Preferred card series also has another feature that’s growing in popularity but not yet widely available: A buy now, pay later program with American Express Plan It®. You can select any purchase greater than $100 and make a purchase plan to pay it off over a set time limit. For the first 12 months, these purchases have no fees attached. After the first year, you’ll pay 1.33% of each purchase amount on a plan.

Comparable Credit Card Options

You may be unsure whether the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred card is right for you. Here are some other options to compare:

Chase Freedom Flex offers a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a APR.

Chase Freedom Flex also offers a competitive 5% cash back on grocery store purchases up to $12,000 for the first 12 months after account opening — then 1% cash back — plus a $200 welcome offer after you spend $500 in the first three months.

American Express® Blue Cash Everyday Card 

Those who are considering the Blue Cash Preferred card may also look closely at the Blue Cash Everyday® card from American Express. With no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months — followed by an APR — the Blue Cash Everyday card might be better for cardholders on a budget who want to forego the annual fee or need more time to pay for purchases.

The features and benefits of both cards are very similar, but the choice of which is better might come down to rewards. And, in that regard, Blue Cash Preferred wins with 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases a year, as well as 1% – 6% back on U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit and 1% cash back everywhere else.

By comparison, the American Express® Blue Cash Everyday card offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on U.S. online retail purchases and at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 per year in each of those categories. After the category caps are reached, you will earn 1% cash back on any additional purchases, as well as 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

How To Apply

To apply for the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express, head to the card’s main page on the American Express website.

The application will request information, such as your name, birthdate, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number or individual tax ID number, address, phone number and email address, employment status, and annual gross income.

Once you have filled out the necessary fields and read and agreed to the terms and conditions, click the “Submit” button to finalize your application.

Who the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card Is Best For

If you spend at least $500 monthly on groceries — and who doesn’t with prices these days? — you’ll easily max out your cashback rewards at U.S. supermarkets, making this card well worth the annual fee. Likewise, if you subscribe to U.S. streaming services, you’ll earn even more cash back.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use cash-back rewards card with the prestige of American Express, flexibility to pay off your balance over time and generous rewards, Blue Cash Preferred could be a good option for you. And unlike American Express® Green, Gold or Platinum, the Blue Cash card is a credit card, not a charge card.

Final Take

The American Express® Blue Cash Preferred card offers impressively high rewards in popular categories. Additionally, the card features a generous introductory APR.

Whether this card is worth it to you depends on where you regularly grocery shop and buy gas, the APR you’ll receive and whether you’ll get enough value from the rewards to offset the annual fee, which is $0 for the first year. However, as mentioned, if you earn the $300 welcome offer after spending $3,000 in your first six months, you will have already covered the annual fee for the next three years.

American Express® Blue Cash Preferred Card FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred card.
  • Is it worth it to upgrade to Blue Cash Preferred?
    • Yes – if you are willing to pay the annual fee, the benefits, rewards and welcome offer you'll receive with Blue Cash Preferred make it a logical upgrade from the American Express® Blue Cash Everyday card.
  • Is Blue Cash Preferred hard to get?
    • American Express does not publish the credit score required to qualify for the Blue Cash Preferred credit card. However, the card is designed for individuals with good to excellent credit, which would mean a credit score of 670 or above.
    • You can see if you pre-qualify for the card, or for another American Express card, on the American Express website.
  • Does Blue Cash Preferred have a limit?
    • Blue Cash Preferred does have a credit limit, but American Express doesn't publish its starting credit limit. Your limit will be based on your creditworthiness, income and other factors.
  • What is the difference between Blue Cash and Blue Cash Preferred?
    • The features and benefits of both cards are very similar. Blue Cash Preferred has better rewards with double the cash back at U.S. supermarkets, but it also has an annual fee.

Cynthia Measom and Chris Ozarowski contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of May 12, 2023.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

All information about American Express card offers has been collected independently by GOBankingRates and has not been reviewed or approved by American Express. These offers are not available through GOBankingRates.

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