American Express Blue Cash Preferred Review

By David / January 31, 2017
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review

American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Overview

Analysis of Blue Cash Preferred Cash Back Rewards Credit Card

CreditShout Rating

Excellent

Annual Fee: $95

Credit Required: Excellent​

Rewards Program and Signup Bonuses*:

  • Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Everyday Cash Back: 6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 3% at U.S. gas stations; 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. You can only earn cash back on eligible purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.49% to 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

Intro APR

0% for 12 Months on Purchases​

Intro Balance Transfer

0% for 12 Months + 3% BT Fee

Regular APR

13.49% - 23.49% Variable

Verdict: Blue Cash Preferred® is one of the best cash back rewards cards of 2017 for good reason. It is hard to beat 6% cash back on your first $6,000 of groceries at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets (and 1% after that), unlimited 3% cash back on gas purchases at ANY U.S. stand-alone gas station, and 1% back everywhere else. This card provides bonus cash back where most families spend their money.

It's important to note that this card comes with a $95 annual fee. There is a no annual fee version called Blue Cash Everyday - and we recommend that card if you are not going to be maximizing your rewards on groceries, gas, and at department stores. 

Blue Cash Preferred or Blue Cash Everyday?

Do you spend at least $3,167 per year in groceries? If you do, you will earn enough additional cash back rewards with Blue Cash Preferred to justify the annual fee.

Key Features & Benefits

The top perks offered by Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express are:

  • Earn Cash Back on Everything. With Blue Cash Preferred you can earn tremendous cash back rewards: 6% at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (1% thereafter); 3% at US gas stations and select US department stores; and 1% on other purchases.
  • Welcome Bonus. Get a bonus of $150 in statement credit bonuses by spending $1,000 in your first three months.
  • Buyers Assurance Plan. American Express matches the manufacturers warranty of any products bought with the Blue Cash card up to an additional one year. So if anything you buy breaks before this additional warranty is up, American Express will pay for it.
  • Return Protection. If you try to return a product you buy with your Blue Cash card within 90 days, and for some reason the store won’t take it back, American Express will refund the purchase price to you. This benefit is limited to up to $300 per item (maximum of $1,000 annually). Although there is the $1,000 cap, this is still a good thing to have.
  • Travel Protection. By using your American Express card, you’ll receive automatic car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, and access to cash and travelers’ checks in whichever currency you need.

Blue Cash Rewards Program Overview

The Blue Cash Preferred rebate program is very straightforward. There are no rotating categories to sign up for each quarter. If your family spends a lot on gas, groceries and clothing, this card offers you the opportunity to earn a lot of cash back rewards.

Blue Cash Preferred allows you to earn 6% cash back on grocery at U.S stand alone- supermarkets and the first $6,000 in purchases at U.S stand-alone supermarkets, and 1% cash back thereafter. You also earn 2% cash back at stand alone gas stations and select department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases throughout the entire year.

Shortcomings of Rewards Program

  • ​Grocery bonus rewards are capped to first $6,000 of spending.
  • Grocery rewards are not available to warehouse stores or super centers - so you only earn 1% at Costco, Target, and Walmart.
  • Department stores available are only major department stores, and fails to include places like the Gap or even H&M.
  • Gas rewards are only available at stand-alone gas stations - so you only earn 1% when you fill up at Costco, Walmart, Kroger, etc.

Interest Rate, Fees & Other Fine Print

This card carries a $95 annual fee (it was $75 until August 3, 2016). It also comes with a late-payment and returned-payment fee of up to $38, as well as a foreign transaction fee. Overall, the fees are a bit high on this card - and can easily wipe out any rewards you earn.

However, we do like the 12 month introductory 0% APR offer for purchases and balance transfers - just watch out for the 3% fee on those transfers.

Charges and Fees

APR for Purchases

0% intro APR for 12 months from date of account opening. After the intro APR expires, your APR will be 13.49% to 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

APR for Balance Transfers

0% intro APR for 12 months from date of account opening, if requested within 30 days of account opening. After the intro APR expires, your APR will be 13.49% to23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

APR for Cash Advances

25.49%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Penalty APR

29.49%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate

Annual Fee

$95

Balance Transfer Fee

Greater of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.

Cash Advance Fee

Greater of $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance

Foreign Transaction

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Late Payment Fee

Up to $38.

Returned Payment

Up to $38.

How Blue Cash Preferred Compares to Other Cash Back Rewards Cards

Our Guide to Cash Back cards provides some nice tables and tips on choosing which cash back card will maximize your rewards. You can even see estimates of what different rewards cards will earn you back in a year based on spending levels.

For those deciding between Blue Cash Preferred and the Everyday credit card, read on...​

Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred is similar to the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, except for these few key differences:

  • Blue Cash Everyday Card pays 3 percent back at grocery stores (with the same $6,000 cap before yielding 1%).
  • Blue Cash Everyday pays 2 percent cash back at gas stations and department stores.
  • The Everyday Card has no annual.
  • Blue Cash Everyday offers a $150 signup bonus, not $250, if you spend $500 in the first 3 months. So the bonus reward for BCP is higher, but you will need to spend more to get it - and this works out to only a 25% bonus for BCP cardholders, versus a 30% bonus for BCE cardholders. 

An easy test to help you choose between the two Blue Cash cards is to ask whether you spend at least $2,500 per year in groceries. If you spend at least that amount on groceries, the extra 3% of cash back rewards will generate $75 per year - and will justify the annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred Card.

Conclusion

Blue Cash Preferred is a great credit card for bigger spenders as it allows you to maximize your rewards on groceries, gas, and clothing. The useful American Express features such as the Buyers Assurance Plan and Return Protection are an added bonus.

Pros:

  • Amazing cash back reward opportunities
  • Earn up to $150 with signup bonus offer
  • Introductory 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • All American Express card benefits

Cons:

  • ​$95 annual fee
  • Cap on grocery rewards
  • Location limitation on grocery rewards and gas rewards
  • Department stores does not include Gap and the like
  • Fees are a bit high
  • Foreign transaction fee

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