Amex Blue Cash Preferred Review: Easy Cash Back on Groceries & Streaming Services [2020]

The Blue Cash Preferred can be a powerful cash back card for your wallet, but be sure it lines up with your spending habits.
Last updated Oct 8, 2020 | 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

Benefits

  • $300 statement credit welcome offer (limited time offer - ends Dec. 10)
  • 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
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee after year one
  • Has foreign transaction fee

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 up to 6% cash back cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets and on U.S. streaming services, this card can help you earn rewards fast if these areas contribute a decent amount to your recurring monthly expenses.

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) and select U.S. streaming services. If you spend more than that, the earning rate goes down to 1% cash back on those purchases. If you regularly spend more than that limit, it may make sense to use this card in tandem with another rewards credit card to maximize your rewards.

Card basics

Card type Cash back
Credit card issuer American Express
Annual fee $95 (waived first year)
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) 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%
Intro APR 0% on purchases for 12 months

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) 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% on purchases for 12 months after account opening.
  • 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: $1,173

Year two earnings: $873

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. Depending on where you shop, you could earn up to 6% cash back.

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

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 many 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 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, 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 complete supermarket list includes:

  • Gristedes
  • Foodtown
  • Meijer
  • Shoprite
  • Stop and Shop
  • 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 new card like 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. 

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

Special Offer

Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • 5% cash back grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12k)
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
  • $200 welcome bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
  • Terms apply