Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review: Best cash-back credit card for families winner
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Earn 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and on up to $6,000 spent annually at U.S. supermarkets, 3% back on transit purchases and at U.S. gas stations, and 1% back on other purchases.
- Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
- A best credit cards of 2023 winner in the best credit cards for families category.
- This is a great card with outstanding benefits for those who spend a lot; however, if you don't spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets you may have a difficult time offsetting the annual fee.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Blue Cash Preferred® Benefits
- Blue Cash Preferred® Annual Fee
- Blue Cash Preferred® Credit Score
- Blue Cash Preferred® Supermarket List
- Blue Cash Preferred® Foreign Transaction Fee
- Blue Cash Preferred® Cardholder Scores
- How Blue Cash Preferred® Compares to Other Cards
- Is Blue Cash Preferred® a Good Card?
CardName is one of the most popular cards with our readers because of such generous cash back on everyday purchases. In fact, its popularity earned it a spot on our best credit cards of 2023 list as the best cash-back credit card for families. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.
In addition to 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets annually, unlimited 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 1% back on other purchases, users can also earn 6% back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% back on transit purchases.
The card carries a AnnualFees This shouldn't be hard to offset after the first year if you regularly use your card at U.S supermarkets. Plus, new cardholders can earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first six months. There's also a low intro APR period of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening (then RegAPR). (See Rates and Fees.)
The bonus categories aren't rotating so the cash back-eligible businesses are predictable. If you're more of a set-it and forget-it type of person who doesn't want to have to worry about activating bonus categories and missing out on extra rewards, this card is perfect - especially if you regularly spend money at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations, have a U.S. streaming subscription such as Spotify, Hulu, Netlix, or Pandora (which who doesn't these days?) or if you're a regular commuter. It should be noted though that "transit" is exclusive to ground transit, meaning you won't gain points on flights. However, "ground transit" in this case has a broad meaning, covering everything from taxis, to ferries to parking fees.
Really, with this card, we love the high-rewards rate and the simplicity of the rewards program. Plus, the high rewards rate in the supermarket category lends itself to a unique opportunity cardholders may not think about: cash back for gift cards. Many supermarkets have racks filled with gift cards for popular restaurants and stores that may not fit within the cash-back categories of this card, but a gift card can be purchased at a supermarket, with the 6% cash-back rate, and then used elsewhere. This concept is the definition of using credit cards as a tool.
CardName has a AnnualFees Don't let the annual fee after the first year deter you though. Think of it this way: if you spend $1,585 at U.S. supermarkets annually, at 6% cash back you've already covered the annual fee (6% x $1,585 = $95.10)! If you’re an avid card user, the high rewards percentages allows you to quickly offset the annual fee, assuming you use your credit card for the categories honored by American Express like at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.
American Express doesn't explicitly state what credit score is needed to receive the CardName; however, this card is reserved for those with good to excellent scores. A good FICO score is typically anything above 670, according to the credit scoring agency Experian, but having a score above 740 or even 800 may further increase your chances of approval. Please note though that these numbers can vary between different bureaus.
Earning 6% cash back on supermarket purchases is one of the biggest benefits of the CardName. Although, to make the most of this perk, you need to understand how American Express defines a supermarket. Not every store that sells groceries will qualify.
For instance, American Express does not consider any of the following to be supermarkets:
- Superstores such as Walmart and Target
- Convenience stores
- Specialty shops such as cheese or wine stores
- Warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam's Club
The company defines supermarkets as stores that offer a wide variety of food items as well as household goods, pet supplies and pharmacy products. They include the following chains, among others:
- Whole Foods
- Stop and Shop
To receive the 6% cash back, all purchases must be made at a qualifying U.S. location.
Like with any credit card it's imporant to read the fine print. In this case, as we discussed above, some stores that may seem like "supermarkets" may not actually qualify for the rebate. Wholesale clubs, superstores and alcohol retailers are typically the culprits for this confusion.
Also, while this rewards card is excellent for particular categories, if you’re a traveler who uses airlines frequently or a fine restaurant dining connoisseur, you may be missing the boat with the rewards offered with this card.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card is also not really great for traveling abroad, or it's at least probably not the best card to exclusively hold if it's traveling abroad where you hope to earn your rewards, and plus, using it internationally will come at a price. Foreign transaction fees for this card are foreign_fee (See Rates and Fees.) This might not seem like too big of a deal, but think of it this way: if you spend $2,000 on a trip abroad, you'll end up paying $54 in fees. If you travel internationally often, this fee can cause things to add up in a hurry.
CardRatings conducts a survey annually to learn what actual cardholders think of their cards. Here are the results:
|Current Scores||Past Scores|
|Rewards Program Satisfaction||7.8||7.8|
|Likelihood of Continuing to Use||8.2||7.9|
|Recommend to a Friend/Colleague||7.5||7.8|
Blue Cash Preferred® vs. CardName
The CardName also earns bonus rewards at supermarkets and gas stations, but unlike the Blue Cash Preferred® card, it has no annual fee. With that said though, the earn rates are also lower.
With the CardName cardholders earn two ThankYou Points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 spent annually and one point per $1 after hitting that cap. You also earn one point per $1 on other purchases.
This card, however, offers the unique benefit of automatically rounding your rewards up to the nearest 10 points on each purchase you make. So for example, say you spend $82 at a local restaurant, you'll earn 90 points instead of just 82, or you spend $156 at the supermarket, you'll earn 320 points instead of 312. When it comes to earning rewards, every little bit helps, so this is a nice feature. Another unique feature is that Citi gives you a 10% rebate on the first 100,000 ThankYou Points you redeem each year. So, if you redeem 30,000 points, Citi will put 3,000 points back into your ThankYou account.
The CardName also offers a 20,000-point bonus to new cardholders who spend $1,500 on purchases within three months of opening the account, and a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from the date of first transfer (must be made in the first four months) and on purchases from the date of account opening (then, RegAPR). A balance transfer fee applies: BalanceTransferFees Also, new cardholders can earn five points per $1 spent on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked via the Citi Travel portal through June 30, 2024.
Blue Cash Preferred® vs. CardName
Some of the rewards categories are the same with these two cards. CardName offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 spent in each category per year, then 1%), and 1% back on other eligible purchases. The decision between which of the two offers is right for you will boil down to how much you use your card and where you shop.
The Blue Cash Everyday® does not have an annual fee so if you spend less than $50 a week with your card it might make more sense. On the other hand, spending over $50 offsets the annual fee moving forward for the Blue Cash Preferred® card, and the higher rewards rates could be more beneficial to you.
Finally, the Blue Cash Everyday® offers new cardholders the opportunity to earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
Blue Cash Preferred® vs. American Express® Gold Card
Both the Blue Cash Preferred® and CardName are solid rewards cards from American Express. However, they cater to different rewards seekers.
Offering 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. grocery stores, Blue Cash Preferred® is a strong cash back credit card contender. It also gives cardholders 3% cash back for transit and U.S. gas purchases and 1% cash back on other purchases, making it a solid choice for everyday use.
Meanwhile, the American Express® Gold Card is geared primarily towards travelers. It offers 4X Membership Rewards® points for purchases at restaurants and 3X points for airfare booked directly with carriers or on amextravel.com. Points can be redeemed for travel or transferred to other rewards partners.
The Gold Card does also offer points on purchases at U.S. supermarkets— 4X Membership Rewards® on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X— but the other perks of the card are primarily focused on travel, such as a $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available, when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights with American Express Travel at over 600 properties, and no foreign transaction fees. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Both cards have welcome bonus offers although there is a lower spending requirement for the Blue Cash Preferred® card. With the Gold Card cardholders can receive 60,000 Membership Rewards® points but must spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months to earn it.
There is also a notable difference in the annual fees for each card. The American Express® Gold Card will set you back AnnualFees each year, which is more than double what it costs to carry the Blue Cash Preferred® card.
CardName is great for frequent commuters, those who enjoy listening to their favorite albums throughout the day (or who appreciates a good Netflix binge), and for anyone who frequently spends at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations: think soccer parents toting kids to and fro while simultaneously ensuring they have a home-cooked meal to keep their energy up (with maybe some good music on the background to help keep everyone happy).
Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2022 to conduct surveys among 1,554 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2022-Aug. 31, 2022 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted. "Current Scores" reflect scores from the most recent survey (2022); "Past Scores" reflect scores from the 2021 survey.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Compared to Other Cash back Cards
Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.
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