The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is the best in class for grocery buyers and is considered to be one of the best cash-back cards available right now. In this article, we will look at both the good and the bad points of this card, and see exactly how it stacks up compared with others who offer similar benefits.
Offering a whopping 6% cash back at supermarkets and 3% cash-back at selected department stores and gas stations make this a really attractive cash-back card. Additionally, there is also a further 1% cash back on everything else. The annual fee for the card is no longer waived for the first year for new customers, and is a substantial $95.
However, if you know roughly what you spend on groceries, gas, and other products, it will be a relatively easy process to establish if it is going to be worth that annual fee and if you will get your costs covered with cash back.
The Blue Cash Preferred $200/$250 Bonus Offer
With the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you get an introductory offer when you spend $1,000 in purchases within your first three months. The offers can differ depending on your market and when you apply and can range from $150 to $250. I’ve seen the $250 offer more often when going directly to the American Express website, while the $200 offer usually appears on referral sites.
Meeting the $1,000 spending requirement should be fairly easy within the 3 month time frame, but here are some ideas if needed:
Blue Cash Preferred Card Pros & Cons
High Cash Back Rates. Offering 6% in supermarkets and 3% in gas stations makes the cash back from the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express one of the highest paying cash back cards available. However, there are limits in place that you need to be aware of. You will earn 6% on your first $6,000 of supermarket purchases within a calendar year. Once this cap is reached, you will then earn 1% on supermarket spend.
With your cashback rate for gas and department stores of 3%, there is no spending cap on this rate whatsoever, making this one of the best offerings you can get for cashback.
To see what qualifies as eligible supermarkets, gas stations and department stores, please go here.
Introductory APR Rates. 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable APR will apply.
No Annual Fees for Additional Cards. You can get additional cards from the account without paying any annual fee on those extra cards.
American Express Account Benefits. American Express offers a wide-range of other benefits just for being a member of the Amex family. These include a free ShopRunner membership, Roadside Assistance, Global Assist Hotline, Early access to tickets through Entertainment Access, Return Protection on all eligible purchases that are paid for in full with your Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, along with a Travel Booking guarantee when you use their team to book travel.
We think this range of added benefits sets Amex aside from other cash back card offerings and when eligible purchases are made, there are some valuable cover options available to you at no extra cost that are well worth exploring.
Unpredictable APR. With the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you are unable to predict the APR in advance. This is decided based on your individual credit profile, among other factors.
The Definition of a Supermarket. This is dictated by American Express as a store that is not classified as a wholesale club. Exclusions in the Supermarket category include Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Target and other specialty stores.
American Express Acceptance. When compared with Mastercard, Discover, and Visa, American Express is accepted in fewer outlet stores, and you’ll especially notice this when traveling outside of the U.S.
What’s The Competition?
The Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®is an excellent choice for a rewards credit card with a nice bonus offer and similar annual fee to the Blue Cash Preferred. For a cash back card with no annual fee and bonus offer, the Capital One Quicksilver is a popular choice. If you’re not a big credit card user (enough to justify an annual fee), the Citi Double Cash card earns up to 2% on all purchases without any regard to categories. You can also consider the Blue Cash Preferred’s little brother, the Blue Cash Everyday Card, with no annual fee and a bit less cash back earning potential in the same categories.
One of the most negative aspects of this card, and a hurdle that many struggle with is the high annual fee. However, if we look at what you would need to spend in order to break even, it equates to around $30 per week on groceries, just to cover the annual costs. This figure is more than attainable even for those without families to shop for. The rewards program is easy to understand and straightforward to benefit from.
If the annual fee is a real sticking point for you, then you might want to consider applying for the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express instead. This card has no annual fee but does offer a little less in terms of the cash back rates, offering 3% on US supermarkets up to $6,000 annually. Another cash back card with no annual fee is the Citi Double Cash card. This only pays 1% cashback initially, but offers an additional 1% when you pay the balance off. Two of the most popular cash back credit cards with no annual fee to consider are the Capital One Quicksilver (best for all-purpose cash back) and the Chase Freedom (best for category cash back) card.
With all of this taken into account, as long as you spend at least $31 per week on groceries, you will make back enough for this card to pay for itself and it does come with some attractive perks for being an American Express card holder that can help if something goes wrong with an item you purchase using the card. If your family spends a lot on gas, this is a great card to use. If you spend just $200 monthly on gas, then you would earn around $72 annually alone.