The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card may come with an annual fee, but it more than makes up for that cost due to the excellent cash back perks it offers on purchases.
By offering six percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets and streaming services, this card is great for both individuals and families.
With an enticing welcome offer, low introductory APR, cash back perks and other rewards, it is one of the most tempting credit cards on the market. But is it the right one for you? As you weigh your card options, learn more below in our review of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred® card.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred® fees
Fees are often a key consideration when applying for a credit card. This card offers a $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then the price tag increases to $95 annually. This offer expires on December 10, 2020.
American Express also currently offers a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on the Blue Cash Preferred® credit card, which is valid for the first 12 months. After that period, the APR range varies depending on the credit score and other applicant details. Common factors that can influence the APR beyond credit score include debt to income ratio, annual income, employment history, loan terms, and more.
Individuals should be aware that not everyone is offered a 0% intro APR either. If your credit score is high enough to qualify for the card but not sufficient to qualify for 0% APR, you may have some interest attached to the Blue Cash Preferred® Card for the first 12 months.
Newcomers to the U.S. who have a credit history in their home country can use Nova Credit to share their information with financial service providers in this country. Rather than applying for an American Express card with little to no credit, Nova helps newcomers leverage their good credit back home to obtain excellent credit cards in the U.S.
Other fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® charge card include a penalty APR of up to 29.24% which is triggered if cardholders are late on their monthly payments. Both the late fee and returned payment fee on this AMEX card are up to $40 and there is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%.
Benefits of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred® Card
Intro APR and welcome bonus offers
The introductory APR, which is available to most applicants eligible for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card, is one of the card’s most appealing benefits.
New cardholders are eligible for 0% APR, which means they do not have to worry about paying their balance in full during the first 12 months. While it is always best to avoid keeping a balance month-to-month, a low introductory APR offers the flexibility to keep some balance on the card during the first year.
American Express currently also offers $300 back in the form of statement credits if the cardholder spends $3,000 on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card within the first six months. That offer means that individuals immediately come out ahead when taking the annual fee and the statement credit into account. Add in a 0% APR and the card looks very enticing for the first 12 months.
Cash back offers
One of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred® card’s most attractive perks is its generous cash back offers. Amex currently offers 6% cashback on U.S. supermarket purchases for up to $6,000 a year in spending. If a cardholder exceeds $6,000 spent at stores such as Whole Foods, Walmart and Target in a year, it defaults back to 1% cash back.
The 6% cash back offer also applies to spending on U.S. streaming services. If a family loves to stream music through Spotify or Apple Music, watch movies on Netflix and Hulu or watch video games on Twitch Prime, they can also receive cash back on that spending.
Cardholders receive 3% cash back on money spent at U.S. gas stations and on transit. Transit spending includes taxis, rideshare companies, trains, buses, tolls, parking and more. Every other purchase provides 1% cash back.
There are no limits on how much cash back can be earned in a given month or year. All the cash back that American Express cardholders receive from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card is delivered through Reward Dollars. These Reward Dollars are redeemable as statement credits.
“Plan It” for expensive purchases
Are you planning any significant purchases? Perhaps you are considering buying an expensive laptop, HD television or furniture for your home.
To help you finance big purchases, American Express now offers Plan It, which allows cardholders to divide purchase amounts of $100 or more into monthly payments for a fixed monthly fee and no interest charges.
American Express has perks for shoppers that go beyond cash back on purchases. The company also offers Return Protection on items that a seller may refuse to take back.
The purchase protection is valid for up to 90 days from the date of purchase. Amex provides a full refund on the item, but it does not include shipping and handling expenses.
Return Protection is valued at up to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. If cardholders are planning to use the card to invest in more expensive items, it’s wise to make sure to fully understand the seller’s return policy.
Having the Blue Cash Preferred® charge card also entitles cardholders to a free Shoprunner subscription. Shoprunner is a free two-day shipping service that is valid at more than 100 online stores.
Amex also provides its members with access to ticket presales and exclusive cardholder events in major cities around the U.S. Ticket presales are especially useful for theater, concert and sporting event tickets as Amex cardholders have a chance to buy tickets before the general public.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card offers a couple of travel perks like car rental loss and damage insurance. If you’re renting a car abroad, for example, you can skip the expensive collision damage insurance. This perk is valid in all countries except Australia, Italy and New Zealand.
American Express also provides Blue Cash Preferred® cardholders with access to their Global Assist Hotline. If a cardholder travels 100 miles or further from their home city, they can call a 24/7 emergency number for assistance with medical, legal, financial or other problems.
The Blue Cash Preferred® card, however, does offer the most extensive travel benefits and may fall short of the expectations of frequent travelers as it doesn’t offer special cash back bonuses, points rewards or statement credits for airfare or hotel purchases. For a card better suited to frequent travelers, browse our American Express options here.
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Other American Express services
Every American Express cardholder can rest easy knowing that each card comes with fraud protection. If there is a charge on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card that you don’t recognize, contact Amex and they will resolve the matter swiftly. There are no out-of-pocket or deductible expenses when dealing with fraudulent charges.
Is the Blue Cash Preferred® your ideal credit card?
If you spend close to $100 a month on streaming services, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card is an excellent option for you. The 6% cash back perk on U.S. streaming subscriptions can help cardholders earn enough statement credits to make up for the annual fee.
Spending that much money on streaming may sound unusual, but in the golden age of television, it is not out of the question. Subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Showtime, and a live TV streaming service could easily cost your family up to $100 or more a month.
Spending $1,200 a year on streaming services delivers $72 cash back in the form of statement credits, which almost erases the $95 annual fee itself.
Adding the 6% cash back at supermarkets into the equation makes the Blue Cash Preferred® Card even more appealing. A couple can easily spend $150 a week at supermarkets or warehouse clubs like Costco if they cook most of their meals, which translates to $7,200 spent a year.
The first $6,000 of that figure would net the added cash back perk and deliver $360 in statement credits. If you have other credit cards, you could stop using the Blue Cash Preferred® after hitting $6,000 and switch to a card with other rewards for the year’s remaining grocery shopping.
The transit cash back is another excellent perk from American Express. If you live in an area where not everyone owns a car, you may spend regularly on taxis, ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft and public transit. All those expenses would earn 3% cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card.
Individuals who rely on cars can also benefit from 3% cash back on purchases at U.S. gas stations, including gas and other items. If you travel by car daily, those cash back statement credits can add up very quickly. Those who enjoy taking long road trips can also earn cash back on the snacks and essentials they buy at gas stations during their journeys.
The low intro APR on the Blue Cash Preferred® may sway individuals or families who seek to benefit from the above perks and are considering comparable credit card offers. Not having to worry about interest for the first 12 months is very appealing, especially if the cardholder is planning expensive purchases.
When to avoid the Amex Blue Cash Preferred® credit card
Individuals who recently moved to the U.S. and do not have a good or excellent credit history in their home country should consider other credit cards. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card typically requires good to excellent credit, which most students and young professionals without a credit history at home or in the U.S. don’t possess yet.
The Blue Cash Preferred® does not offer extensive cash back perks for restaurant or food delivery transactions. Cardholders would only earn 1% cash back on those expenses, while there are cards such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express that offer more attractive dining perks.
The Blue Cash Preferred® charge card is also not particularly useful for people who frequently travel outside of the U.S. Aside from its limited travel benefits, there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on every purchase.
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card has appealing cash back perks for everyday use. If someone spends significant money at U.S. supermarkets and on transit, they should earn more than enough cash back to offset the annual fee.
With 6% cash back on those purchases, it would only take spending $1600 a year on groceries or transit expenses to break even on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card.
There are charge cards, however, that can offer more value to cardholders depending on your regular expenses. American Express, Chase, Discover, Citi, and Bank of America have other cards tailored to frequent travelers, shopping enthusiasts and other kinds of spenders.
The bottom line is that if you are planning on owning one or two credit cards, there are better options compared to the Blue Cash Preferred®. Those who plan to fit it into their rotation of five to six cards can make the most of additional cash back rewards at U.S. supermarkets before switching to other rewards cards.
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