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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Review [2024]: Impressive U.S. Supermarket Rewards

This card could help combat increasing grocery prices — depending on where you shop. But is it worth the annual fee?

Updated June 13, 2024
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
5.0

OUR VIEW

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has one of the best cash back rates of any card I’ve come across. It’s hard to understate how impressive the 6% rate on purchases from U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services is. Depending on your spending, that could add up to a few hundred dollars per year in rewards, just for that one category.

There are a couple of catches, though. One is that, like most credit cards that categorize your purchases, it doesn’t count purchases at Walmart or Target as supermarket purchases. Another is its annual fee — $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter. And finally, rewards are offered as a statement credit, so you can’t get them deposited to your bank account like you can with other cards.

Despite the annual fee, a lot of families can still come out ahead if they add this card to their wallets.

Pros

High cashback rates at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, eligible transit, and U.S. streaming subscriptions (cash back is in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit)
Introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers
$7 monthly statement credit toward an eligible Disney bundle subscription (subject to auto renewal) of $9.99 or more (enrollment required)

Cons

Cap on highest reward category limits what you can earn
Welcome offer is a little lackluster compared to other cards
Has foreign transaction fee
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card type Cash back
Credit card issuer American Express
Annual fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter (terms apply)
Welcome bonus Earn a $250 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 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee 2.7%
Intro APR 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 19.24% - 29.99% Variable

0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months, then 19.24% - 29.99% Variable

Who should get the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express?

You should consider getting this card if a significant part of your budget goes to groceries and you don’t do your grocery shopping at Walmart or Target. Families, in particular, tend to spend a ton on groceries (especially if they have teenagers), so this card could help offset those costs. Note that this card only rewards spending at U.S. supermarkets.

If you don’t have a family, you still might want to consider this card if you have a long commute on the roads or on public transit, work in a major city where you have to pay for parking, or otherwise have high transportation costs. Why? This card offers 3% cash back on U.S. gas stations and eligible transit. And unlike U.S. supermarkets, there’s no cap on rewards. While the reward rate isn’t the same as U.S. supermarkets, it’s still pretty healthy and could work well if you also spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets.

Finally, you also get the highest reward rate on U.S. streaming subscriptions. While I don’t consider this a reason to get the card on its own, if you’re debating, this could be a factor that tilts you in favor of the card. Especially if you are subscribed to a high number of streaming services.

Is this card worth the annual fee?

The annual fee for this card is $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter. Your rewards will need to exceed the annual fee for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred to be worth it. Based on the rewards rate as of this writing, you would need to spend about $1,600 (or around $134 per month) on groceries at U.S. supermarkets per year to break even after the annual fee. That doesn’t include spending on other categories.

Given that households spend an average of $5,703 at grocery stores annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that seems achievable.

All that being said, similar cards from other issuers don’t have an annual fee. For example, the Citi Custom Cash® Card offers 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent, then 1% cash back) and has a $0 annual fee. So lower cash back rate, but no annual fee. However, the Citi Custom Cash Card’s other cash back categories aren’t as strong.

Other notable benefits and perks

Statement credits for a Disney subscription bundle

While I wouldn’t get the card just for this benefit, earning $7 back each month in the form of a statement credit after spending $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) is definitely helpful. Enrollment is required for this benefit.

Intro APR purchase offer

This card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 19.24% - 29.99% Variable. That definitely helps if you have a larger purchase you want to pay off over time. This card also has a balance transfer offer, but I wouldn’t recommend this card for that, as its balance transfer period is relatively short at 12 months. I’d go with one of our top balance transfer cards instead and aim for a card with an intro balance transfer APR of 18 months or more.

A drawback to consider

Lackluster welcome offer

You can earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months. And while that’s helpful, there are better welcome offers available.

For example, the Citi Custom Cash Card has a welcome offer where you earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. this bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 thankyou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back. So while that’s a lower reward, you have a spend requirement that’s half of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

So tl;dr Don’t get this card just for the welcome offer.

Maximizing your cash back with the American Express Blue Cash Preferred®

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your cash back can add up with the American Express 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: $1,088 in the form of a statement credit

Year two earnings: $743 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 American Express Blue Cash Preferred® 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 (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services 6%
U.S. gas stations and eligible transit 3%
All other eligible purchases 1%

Eligible U.S. supermarkets for the 6% cashback rate include but are not limited to:

  • ALDI
  • FreshDirect
  • Gelson's
  • Hy-Vee
  • Kings Food Markets
  • Meijer
  • ShopRite
  • Smart & Final
  • Stop & Shop
  • Trader Joe's
  • Vons
  • Whole Foods
  • Winn-Dixie

While these supermarkets cover many popular options, we couldn’t use this card to earn 6% cash back at certain stores outside this list. Stores that aren’t eligible include:

  • Specialty stores: Such as bakeries, butchers, cheese shops, fish markets, and liquor stores,
  • Superstores: Such as Target or Walmart
  • Warehouse clubs: Such as Costco or BJ's Club
  • Convenience stores: Such as 7Eleven
  • Meal-kit delivery services: Such as Blue Apron, Freshly, and Hello Fresh

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 or at Amazon.com checkout.

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.

To get the most redemptions, the obvious strategy is to move as much spending as possible to the highest reward categories. But you can earn even more by using it along with other cards.

For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express works well with this card. It offers 3% cash back on U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per year on purchases in each category, then 1%). So once you hit the cap on purchases at U.S. supermarkets with the Blue Cash Preferred, you can switch to the Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card and still get an elevated rate up to that card’s cap.

An alternate to consider

While we like the value that the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® offers, we understand that its annual fee may not be for everyone.

If that’s the case, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great credit card for everyday use. It also has no category-specific caps.

It has a $0 annual fee and helps you 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

So its earning rate on supermarket purchases is less than the Blue Cash Preferred, but it has elevated rates in other cards. And you don’t have to choose between the two cards — you could get both and use them in tandem for different purchases. You could put U.S. supermarket purchases on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred up to the maximum, but put dining and drugstore purchases on the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Learn more in our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred® FAQ

What credit score do you need for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred®?

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

Is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® a charge card?

While certain American Express cards were charge cards — which means their balance had to be paid in full each month — the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® 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.

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

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® eligible U.S. supermarket list includes:

  • ALDI
  • FreshDirect
  • Gelson's
  • Hy-Vee
  • Kings Food Markets
  • Meijer
  • ShopRite
  • Smart & Final
  • Stop & Shop
  • Trader Joe's
  • Vons
  • Whole Foods
  • Winn-Dixie

Specialty shops, superstores (such as Target and Walmart), warehouse clubs (such as Costco), and meal-kit delivery services (such as Hello Fresh) are not eligible for the 6% cashback rate.

What U.S. streaming services are eligible for the 6% cashback rate with the American Express Blue Cash Preferred®?

As of June 2024, the following U.S. streaming subscription services qualify for the 6% cashback rate:

  • Amazon Music Unlimited
  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV+
  • Audible
  • DirecTV Stream
  • Disney+
  • ESPN+
  • Fubo TV
  • Hulu
  • iHeartRadio
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Luminary
  • MAX
  • MLB.TV
  • NBA League Pass
  • Netflix
  • NHL.TV
  • Pandora
  • Paramount+
  • Peacock
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Sling TV
  • SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
  • Spotify
  • YouTube Music Premium
  • YouTube Premium
  • YouTube TV

Bottom line

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a good choice for someone looking to earn high cash back rewards on essential everyday spending.

However, it has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter and a cap on the elevated rewards it earns at U.S. supermarkets. That’s why we recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express as two cash back credit cards that you can use along with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets

5.0

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Current Offer

Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter

Rewards Rate

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Melinda Sineriz, ABFP™

Melinda Sineriz is a Lead Editor at FinanceBuzz and an Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional™ designee. Melinda has a B.A. in English from Miami University and a master’s degree from Bard College. Before focusing on personal finance content, she worked in insurance for six years, educating clients on Medicare supplements, life insurance, long-term care, and annuities.