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Updated September 24, 2018

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 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 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.

Earn $200 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.

Current American Express Promotions: October 2018

ForCard
Groceries and GasBlue Cash Preferred
Cash Back / No Annual FeeBlue Cash Everyday
Rewards / No Annual FeeAmex EveryDay

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. 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.

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 $200 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). 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

 

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 APR14.99% to 25.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors14.99% to 25.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.99% to 25.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors14.99% to 25.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$95 annual fee$0 annual fee
Terms Apply. See Rates & FeesTerms Apply. See Rates & Fees
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.Introductory Bonus Cash Back: $150 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.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%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.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 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 and at select U.S. department stores, 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 Card
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 Card

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: $200 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 spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with 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. 
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 at US restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US 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 year for incidental fees at one selected 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%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.Grocery Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Restaurant Dining Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US restaurants.
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. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy 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 September 24, 2018. 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.

Disclaimer: The information for the The Amex EveryDay® Credit 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
  • $200 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 14.99% to 25.99%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • $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 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
14.99% - 25.99% 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
  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 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 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • 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 15 months
0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months
14.99% - 25.99% 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®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

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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:

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