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 Mar 27, 2020 | By Kat Tretina

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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

  • $250 statement credit welcome offer
  • 6% cash back on U.S. streaming services and U.S. supermarkets
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • Has foreign transaction fee


Who should get this 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 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 on groceries consumed at home. 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 have a large family or high monthly food costs; you only receive 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets and on 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

Annual Fee $95
Welcome Bonus Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.7%

Top card benefits

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers many valuable benefits that can help you when you travel or shop. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Strong welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Rewards that add up fast: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year) and U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases.
  • 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.

Earning & redeeming

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express allows you to earn a higher rate of rewards on routine purchases than you’d get with other credit cards. Depending on where you shop, you could earn up to 6% cash back.

Best ways to earn

Categories Rewards rate
U.S. supermarkets 6%
U.S. streaming services 6%
Eligible transit 3%
U.S. gas stations 3%
All other purchases 1%

You’ll earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets and on U.S. streaming services. After that, you’ll earn 1% cash back. Specialty stores, superstores, and warehouse stores do not qualify as a U.S. supermarket and are not eligible for the 6% cashback rate.

You’ll also earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit expenses, including taxi fares, rideshare costs, toll fares, bus tickets, and train tickets. Cardholders can earn 1% cash back on all 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.

Common questions

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 an annual fee, it offers higher rewards than the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express. The maximum cashback rate you can earn with the Everyday Card is just 3% rather than 6%.

With the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express — which has no annual fee — you’ll earn:

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

What 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 stores (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 June 2019, the following U.S. streaming services qualify for the 6% cashback rate:

  • 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
  • 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 an alternative like the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard. Both charge no annual fee and offer generous cashback rewards.

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

Special Offer

Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Credit Card
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Credit Card
  • 3% Intro cash back for 12 months on first $10,000
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee