CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison and financial education website. This website is made possible through financial relationships with card issuers and some of the products and services mentioned on this site. Advertiser Disclosure†

Updated April 27, 2017

Blue Cash Preferred Review: Worth $95 Annual Fee?

Read more about Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

If you are looking to get cashback rewards on common household categories like purchases at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Amex created the Preferred card as an upgrade to the Blue Cash Everyday.

Blue Cash Preferred
Apply Now

Overall Score

4.0

Rewards

4.5

Interest Rates

3.0

Fees

4.0

Benefits

4.5
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • 6% at US supermarkets (up to $6k/year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 3% at US gas stations
  • Bonus cash back promotional offer
  • $95 annual fee
  • Not a Visa/MasterCard

Bottom Line

Excellent cash back credit card for families

Attention Shoppers

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card earns 1% cash back. Nothing to get excited too about, right?

But here's the kicker: for certain purchases, you have the potential to earn a lot more...

You earn 6% cash back for your purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.

Before you go on a caviar and lobster shopping spree, note that only the first $6,000 of purchases at US supermarkets in a year qualifies for 6% cash back (it drops to 1% thereafter).

For practical families, this is one of our favorite credit cards for groceries and gas.

Who This Card Is Good For

  • Weekly grocery shoppers: Do you always find yourself spending too much on groceries?

    If you have many mouths to feed, you'll enjoy the boost you'll get with this card's 6% cash back on items you're probably already buying at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 worth of purchases, then 1%).

  • Commuters: Do you drive to work?

    Some cards give you extra rewards on gas but only for 3 months out of the year. With this card, you get 3% back for what you pay at the pump at U.S. gas stations year-round.

Why This Card

  • Consistent Rewards: With Blue Cash Preferred card, there's no need to memorize special categories that change every 3 months like other popular cash back credit cards.

  • Nice bonus offer: If you spend $1,000 with this card within the first three months of opening the account, you get a $150 statement credit.

    To take advantage of this promotion, visit American Express' secure website -- remember you need to spend $1,000 within the first 3 months to qualify for the $150 offer.

    Related: 23 Ways to Meet $1,000 Credit Card Promotion Spending Requirement

  • 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 13.99% - 24.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors.

Supermarket List

You might be wondering what exactly qualifies as a "U.S. supermarket".

American Express considers a supermarket to be a store that offers a variety of food and household products, including produce, meat, and dairy as well as cleaners and pet food.

Chances are if a store sells clothes and electronics in addition to groceries, it is not - in Amex's view - a supermarket. So-called "big-box stores" (like Wal-Mart and Target), online superstores (like Amazon), and warehouses (like Costco) are NOT considered supermarkets. Your mom-and-pop corner convenience store or specialty shop that only sells cheese or meat are also NOT considered supermarkets. Retailers that qualify include Whole Foods, Meijer, Shoprite, Winn-Dixie, Stop and Shop, Vons, Pathmark, and online supermarket FreshDirect, among others.

Gas Station List

The good news about this card's cash back for gas station purchases is it goes beyond just gas. If the gas station you frequent also has a convenience store, consider using your Amex both at the pump and inside the store to get your milk or other last-minute items.

Amex views qualifying gas stations as those in the United States that primarily sell gasoline, so supermarkets (like Safeway) and warehouse clubs (like Costco) do NOT fall under this category even if they have their own pumps. Shell, Mobil, Hess, Exxon, Gulf, and Murphy are some examples of gas stations where you can get 3% back with this card.

Department Store List

Earn 3% cash back at select department stores in the U.S. You can get cash rewards for purchase made online or in stores in these specific places:

  • Bealls
  • Belk
  • Bloomingdale's
  • Bon Ton Stores
  • Boscov's
  • Century 21 Department Stores
  • Dillard's
  • J.C. Penney (JCP)
  • Kohl's
  • Lord & Taylor
  • Macy's
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Sears
  • Stein Mart

Pros:

  • Earns bonus cash back on specific categories: 6% US supermarkets on up to $6,000/year in purchases (then 1%), 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores
  • Earn $150 statement credit after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases during the first 3 months
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After that, it's a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99% based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

Cons:

  • $95 annual fee
  • Not as widely accepted as Visa/Mastercard
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Is It Worth the Annual Fee?

With the Blue Cash Preferred, you have the potential to earn at least $360 a year just for doing your regular grocery shopping (if you spend at least $500 per month at U.S. supermarkets). That's still $265 in your pocket if you subtract the $95 annual fee. Plus, that doesn't take into account the other cash back you could earn from gas and department store purchases.

If you want a no annual fee credit card:
For a side-by-side comparison, here is how the Blue Cash Preferred stacks up against the Blue Cash Everyday, it's no annual fee sibling.

 

Blue Cash Preferred

Blue Cash Everyday

Annual Fee$95 annual fee$0 annual fee
See Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.Introductory Bonus Cash Back: $100 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year. 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.Cash Back Rewards: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
GasGas Rewards: 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Terms and limitations applyGas Rewards: 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Terms and limitations apply
GroceryGrocery Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year. Terms and limitations applyGrocery Rewards: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms and limitations apply
 Apply NowApply Now

If you want to earn Membership Reward points (instead of cash back):
You may want to consider the Premier Rewards Gold Card, which earns Membership Rewards points.

Why would you want Membership Rewards points instead of cash back? Well if you like to travel, you can transfer Membership Reward points to a number of airline transfer partners and hotel partners. To learn more, read our beginner's guide to airline miles.

The Blue Cash Preferred card brings a lot to the table, but the Premier Rewards Gold Card also holds its own. You'll earn 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines; 2x points at US restaurants, US gas stations and US supermarkets.

Compared to the Blue Cash Preferred card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card has the edge in terms of how rewards can be used (see Blue Cash Everyday vs Premier Rewards Gold Card for an in-depth comparison).

 

Blue Cash Preferred

Premier Rewards Gold Card

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR on Purchases for 12 monthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory APR on Balance Transfers for 12 monthsN/A
Purchase APR13.99% to 24.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factorsN/A
Balance Transfers APR13.99% to 24.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factorsN/A
Annual Fee$95 annual feeIntroductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195
See Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. 
Points Deal Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year. 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. 
Airline Airline Rewards: Earn 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.
Points Point Rewards: 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms Apply.
Airline Status Airline Status: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
GasGas Rewards: 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Terms and limitations applyGas Rewards: Earn 2X points at US gas stations. Terms Apply.
GroceryGrocery Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year. Terms and limitations applyGrocery Rewards: Earn 2X points at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
Restaurant Dining Rewards: Earn 2X points at US restaurants. Terms Apply.
Airline Transfer Partners Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Emirates, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways and more.
 Apply NowApply Now

Bottom Line:

In our opinion, families who spend a lot on purchases at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations should consider the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card. Since this card charges a $95 annual fee, you need to use your card often to justify this cost. If you do not pay by credit card often, you are better off with the no annual fee American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card. Remember, as with all credit card offers, terms and limitations apply.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on March 23, 2012. This content may have been updated on April 27, 2017. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check American Express website for updated information.

More Articles in Reviews

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
Apply for Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Introductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance $0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% on Purchases for 12 months
0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$95

Compare Blue Cash Preferred to:

Compare Blue Cash Preferred vs Blue Cash Everyday
Apply for Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • $100 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance $0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% on Purchases for 12 months
0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0

Compare Blue Cash Preferred vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Leave a comment about Blue Cash Preferred Review: Worth $95 Annual Fee?

Name
Email (won't be published)


Blue Cash Everyday Review

If you want a cash back credit card with the same rewards categories year-round and no annual fee, then consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Read on for the pros and cons.
More Articles in Reviews

Learn more about Cash Back, Gas and Grocery cards:

Cash Back


How to Save Money on Gas


Grocery










About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.