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Updated March 15, 2019

Blue Cash Preferred Review: Worth 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.
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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 U.S. supermarkets (up to $6k/year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 3% at U.S. 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

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card earns 1% Cash Back on most categories and has a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). Nothing to get excited too about, right?

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

(See more benefits)

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.

Earn $250 Back

What credit score do you need?
Typically, AMEX has higher credit score requirements. Most Blue Cash Preferred cardholders have good to excellent credit scores over 700.

Why This Card

Is the annual fee worth it? Families who spend a lot on groceries and gas find that the rewards more than make up for the annual fee. Even if you spend just $100 a week at U.S. supermarkets, that will give you $312 in cash back per year. Generally, we say this card is worth it if you spend more than $264 per month at U.S. supermarkets.

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.

Foreign transaction fee: Blue Cash Preferred has a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars (See Rates & Fees). So it's not the best choice to take abroad. If you're a frequent traveler, check out these credit cards with no foreign transaction fee.

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.

Streaming Subscriptions List

Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. You can earn cash rewards for purchase made from these specific providers:

  • Amazon Music
  • Apple Music
  • Audible
  • CBS All Access
  • Direct TV Now
  • ESPN+
  • Fubo TV
  • HBO Now
  • Hulu
  • iHeartRadio
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • MLB.TV
  • NBA League Pass
  • Netflix
  • NHL.TV
  • Pandora
  • Prime Video Unlimited
  • Showtime
  • Sling TV
  • SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
  • Spotify
  • YouTube Music Premium
  • YouTube Premium
  • YouTube TV

Note: If your subscription is bundled with another product or service or billed by a third party (such as a digital platform, a cable, telecommunications, or internet provider, or a car manufacturer), your purchase may not be eligible.

Pros:

  • Earns bonus cash back on specific categories: 6% U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000/year in purchases (then 1%), 3% U.S. gas stations
  • Earn $250 statement credit after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases during the first 3 months

Cons:

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

How it Compares

With the Blue Cash Preferred, you have the potential to earn at least $360 a year in rewards just for doing your regular grocery shopping (if you spend at least $500 per month at U.S. supermarkets).

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

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months0% introductory APR on Purchases for 15 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months0% introductory APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Purchase APR14.74% to 25.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors14.74% to 25.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.74% to 25.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors14.74% to 25.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$95 annual fee$0 annual fee
Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees 
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
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.
GasGas Rewards: 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.Gas Rewards: 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
GroceryGrocery Rewards: 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).Grocery Rewards: 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
 Apply NowApply Now

Blue Cash Everyday: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees was obtained on September 19, 2019 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Blue Cash Preferred vs Blue Cash Everyday: Blue Cash Everyday has no annual fee, but earns less rewards. It gives 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases), instead of 6%. And 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations, instead of 3%. If you spend less than $264/month at U.S. supermarkets, then consider the no-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday.

If you want to earn Membership Reward points (instead of cash back):
American Express Gold
Apply for American Express Gold Card
You may want to consider the American Express 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.

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

 

Blue Cash Preferred

American Express Gold

Foreign Transaction Fee2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.No foreign transaction fee
Annual Fee$95 annual fee$250 annual fee
Terms Apply. See Rates & FeesTerms Apply. See Rates & Fees
Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. 
Bonus Deal Introductory Bonus Offer: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
 
Airline Airline Rewards: Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Points Point Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Airline Status Airline Status: $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
GasGas Rewards: 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 
GroceryGrocery Rewards: 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).Grocery Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Restaurant Dining Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide.
Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
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 reviews website. Write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com

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 March 15, 2019. 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.

Editorial Note: 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 any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Gold card, please click here.

Disclaimer: The information for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • 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 Protection$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
14.74% - 25.74% Variable
$95

Compare Blue Cash Preferred to:

Compare Blue Cash Preferred vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
$95

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