Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review [2021]: Easy Cash Back on Groceries & Streaming Services

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can be a powerful cash back card for your wallet, but be sure it lines up with your spending habits.
Last updated Sep 30, 2021 | By Kat Tretina

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

When it comes to earning rewards with a cash back credit card, people often look for opportunities to earn rewards on routine expenses. If you’re in the same boat and looking to earn rewards on everyday expenses, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express might be the perfect choice for you.

In this review, we’ll find out how the card works and what unique benefits it offers to justify the annual fee.

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

Intro Offer

$300 statement credit

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

up to 6% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months
  • 6% cash back on U.S. streaming services and at U.S. supermarkets
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit
  • $95 annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee after first year
  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 12 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)
  • Terms apply

In this Blue Cash Preferred by American Express review:

Who should get the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card?

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express allows you to earn a significant amount of cashback rewards on routine purchases. With 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases, this card can help you earn rewards fast if these areas contribute a decent amount to your recurring monthly expenses. The Blue Cash Preferred is considered one of the best credit cards for groceries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, households spend an average of $4,363 at grocery stores. If you paid for all that food with your Blue Cash Preferred at U.S. supermarkets, you could earn a whopping $261.78 in cashback rewards — more than double the cost of the annual fee.

That being said, the card may not be right for you if you have a large family or high monthly food costs; you only receive 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and select U.S. streaming services. If you regularly spend more than that limit, it may make sense to use this card in tandem with another Amex rewards card within the Amex Trifecta to maximize your rewards.

Card basics

Card type Cash back
Credit card issuer American Express
Annual fee $95 (waived first year) (See rates and fees) (terms apply)
Welcome bonus Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months
Reward rate 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee 2.7% (See rates and fees)
Intro APR 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Amex Blue Cash Preferred benefits and perks

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred credit card offers many valuable benefits that can help you when you travel or shop. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Strong welcome offer: New cardholders can earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
  • Rewards that add up fast: With the Amex Blue Cash Preferred credit card, you'll get 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases.
  • Intro APR offer: With this card, you'll have the opportunity to pay down large purchases over time. You'll have a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months after account opening, then an APR of 13.99% to 23.99% (variable).
  • Car rental insurance: Cardholders receive secondary coverage on car rental loss and damage insurance. Just be sure to use your card to pay for your car rental and turn down the rental company’s insurance.
  • Purchase protection: Nothing is worse than dropping and breaking your new $1,000 phone. But with the Blue Cash Preferred, you get purchase protection. That means you’re covered for up to 90 days after making a purchase for up to $1,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 in a calendar year.

Drawbacks to the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

  • Annual fee: The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card has an annual fee of $95 (waived first year). If you're looking for a no-fee card, this one is not your best option.
  • Foreign transaction fee: While this card does offer valuable cashback rewards and other benefits, it has a foreign transaction fee. If you use this card to make purchases while traveling abroad, those fees can add up.

Maximizing your cash back with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your cash back can add up with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1,118 in the form of a statement credit

Year two earnings: $873 in the form of a statement credit

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card offers a higher rewards rate on routine purchases than you’d get with other credit cards. Here's a look at what you'll earn:

Categories Rewards rate
U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and select U.S. streaming services 6%
U.S. gas stations and eligible transit 3%
All other purchases 1%

With the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, you’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases.

Maximizing your redemptions

When you use your card, you earn cash back in the form of Blue Cash Rewards Dollars. You can redeem these dollars for statement credits whenever your rewards balance reaches $25 or more. Keep in mind that you can’t use your Blue Cash Rewards Dollars to pay your minimum monthly payment; you can only use it as a statement credit after paying your minimum.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred FAQs

Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred worth it?

If you are interested in a cashback rewards card for everyday purchases, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is a fantastic option. It offers a generous 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases.

If much of your spending is outside the Amex Blue Cash Preferred bonus categories or you're looking for a card with lower fees, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card may be a better value. Comparing the Blue Cash Preferred vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash cards can help you decide which best fits your needs.

What credit score do you need for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card?

You'll likely need a good to excellent credit score in order to get approved for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred credit card. According to FICO, a good credit score falls within the 670-739 range.

Is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred a charge card?

While certain American Express cards are charge cards — which means their balance has to be paid in full each month — the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is a credit card. It has a revolving line of credit, and you’ll have a minimum monthly payment, so you can spread out the cost of purchases over the course of several months if needed.

How does the Amex Blue Cash Preferred fare against the Amex Blue Cash Everyday?

While the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express does have a $95 (waived first year) annual fee, it offers higher rewards than the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express. With the Everyday Card, you'll earn up to 3% cash back rather than up to 6% cash back.

With the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express — which has a $0 (See rates and fees) annual fee — you’ll earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases.

What U.S. supermarkets can I earn 6% cash back at with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred?

You can earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent at select U.S. supermarkets. The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express eligible supermarket list includes:

  • Gristedes
  • Foodtown
  • Meijer
  • Shoprite
  • Stop and Shop
  • Trader Joe's
  • Vons
  • Whole Foods
  • Winn-Dixie
  • Online supermarkets such as FreshDirect

Specialty shops, superstores (such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart), and warehouse clubs (such as Costco) are not eligible for the 6% cashback rate.

What U.S. streaming services are eligible for the 6% cashback rate with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card?

As of May 2020, the following U.S. streaming subscription services qualify for the 6% cashback rate:

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

What do I need to know about adding an authorized user to my Amex Blue Cash Preferred account?

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express authorized user policy is fairly straightforward. You can add an additional card for anyone who is 13 years old and up, and you’ll earn the same cashback rate on their purchases that you do on your own transactions.

American Express allows you to set spending limits on authorized users. If you don’t set a limit, the authorized user can charge up to your total credit limit.

Other cards to consider

While the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers a lot of value, its annual fee may be prohibitive for some. If that’s the case for you, consider a different card such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a $0 annual fee, and cardmembers earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. 

The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card has a $0 annual fee, and cardmembers earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases.

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k in your first year)
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
  • No annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

Author Details

Kat Tretina Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been published by publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, MarketWatch, and more. She specializes in producing content around paying down debt, increasing income, and maximizing credit cards. You can view her work at www.KTretina.com, or contact her on Twitter @KatTretina.