Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. Capital One Quicksilver [Full Comparison]

Maximize your cashback rewards by choosing the right credit card for your spending habits.
Last updated Jan 7, 2022 | By Lee Huffman
Blue Cash Preferred vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash

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When looking for a cashback credit card, you have to ask yourself what’s most important. For example, do you want to get huge cash back on a couple of spending categories? Or would you prefer an unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything you buy? Annual fees also play a role in the decision, because one high annual fee could erase your hard-earned cash back for the year.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card are two of the most popular cashback cards on the market. And while these cards are similar in some respects, they differ in some key areas. Here’s what to know before you submit an application.

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Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Both of these cash back credit cards offer great benefits for the right consumer. The trick is determining which one is best for you.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Annual fee $95 (waived first year) (See rates and fees) (Terms apply) $0
Intro bonus Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months of account opening
Earning 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 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day
Redemption methods Redeem for statement credit or check. Redeem for check, statement credits, gift cards, or Amazon Shop with Points purchases.
Intro APR
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% to 24.99% (variable)
Other benefits
  • Rental car insurance
  • 24/7 Global Assist hotline
  • Return protection for up to 90 days
  • Free two-day shipping with complimentary ShopRunner membership
  • Early access to ticket presales and member-only events
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • Rental car insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Access to premier culinary, music, and sporting events
  • Complimentary concierge service
  • Access to Wikibuy and Paribus to help you save while shopping online
Foreign transaction fee 2.7% (See rates and fees) None
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Learn how to apply Learn how to apply

What both cards excel at

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards are both solid cashback credit cards, but each card is better in specific situations.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

To earn the highest percent cash back (in the form of statement credits), this Amex card is rock solid, 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. 

You’ll have a hard time finding category bonuses higher than 6% from any credit card currently available. Though there are annual spending caps that limit how much you earn in these bonus categories, families who spend a lot on groceries and gas can still earn lucrative rewards. In fact, the Blue Cash Preferred is considered to be one of the best credit cards for groceries.

Credit card enthusiasts love to cash in on welcome offers, but you only get those the first year. By spending a monthly average of $500 on groceries, $75 on gas, $240 at restaurants, and $350 everywhere else, you'd earn over $450 in cash back every year with this card! That's like receiving a cash bonus each year without applying for a new card.

Even after paying the $95 (waived first year) annual fee, you can still come out way ahead.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card offers straight-forward cash back no matter where you're swiping the card. There are no bonus rewards categories to track and you don’t need to remember which store you should use it at. It earns a flat 1.5% cash back no matter what you buy.

There's also a $0 annual fee, which makes this credit card one that you'll keep in your wallet for years. Plus, it makes a great companion to other credit cards that do offer extra rewards for spending in certain categories. You can use other credit cards for the extra rewards, then use the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card for everything else you buy.

The early spend bonus is easy to attain with a low minimum spend requirement of only $500 within first 3 months. Redeeming your cash back rewards couldn't be simpler, either. You can redeem any amount for a statement credit or a check mailed to your home.

4 important differences between the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Although both of these options are among the best cashback credit cards, they have notable differences. Think about the way you spend and which benefits are most important to you as you compare these two credit cards.

1. Earning rate

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred offers 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. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day.

How much you spend in the Amex card’s three bonus categories versus everywhere else will tell you which card is the winner for cash back rewards. Review your spending in the last few months to help you determine your average expenses.

2. Fees

There is a $0 annual fee for the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card, whereas the Amex Blue Cash Preferred charges a $95 (waived first year) annual fee. Additionally, the Amex card charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, while the Capital One option charges none.

The Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card is the winner in this category.

Unlimited Cash Back

Intro Offer

Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $200 early spend bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Drawbacks

  • No bonus reward categories
  • No options to redeem rewards for travel
Card Details
  • Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 14.99% to 24.99% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 14.99% to 24.99% (variable)

3. New cardmember offer

Both credit cards offer a bonus for new accounts. Here's the Blue Cash Preferred welcome offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

The Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, however, offers new cardholders the opportunity to earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

The Amex welcome bonus is higher, but comes with a larger minimum spend requirement. Assuming that you can comfortably charge (and pay off) $333 per month for three months, then the Blue Cash Preferred wins this point.

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

Intro Offer

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

Annual Fee

$95 (waived first year)

Rewards 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

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

4. Intro APRs

If you're looking for no-interest financing on purchases, then either of these cards could be a good choice for you. Capital One is offering a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% to 24.99% (variable) on new accounts, while the American Express card is offering a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable). 

We'll give the nod to Capital One because you get a few extra months of no interest charges on purchases. In either case, make sure that you pay off those balances before the 0% APR offers expire because standard interest rates are much higher. 

Which card should you choose?

The right cashback credit card for you comes down to how much you spend in which categories. Both of these credit cards have valuable benefits and strong cash back rewards that are appealing.

Families that spend a lot on groceries, gas, and streaming services will be best served by the American Express Blue Cash Preferred. There is a $95 (waived first year) annual fee to overcome, which can be done by spending just $132 per month on groceries.

If you max out the grocery category, you'll earn a whopping $360 in cash back (in the form of statement credits) each year. By comparison, spending that same $6,000 (or $500 per month) with the no-annual-fee Capital One Quicksilver, you'll only receive $90. When you factor in the cash back on streaming services and on gas, the decision to go with Amex is even easier.

Many consumers are against paying an annual fee for a credit card or don't want the hassle of trying to remember which card to use where. If you're looking for a solid no-fee cashback credit card, then the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card might be right for you. You won’t have to worry about using the card in certain stores to earn bonus points, and you won't be charged those pesky foreign transaction fees when you travel internationally.

Amex Blue Cash vs Capital One Quicksilver FAQs

Does my American Express or Capital One cash back expire?

The cash back rewards that you earn from both of these cards does not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

What is the credit limit for the Capital One Quicksilver and Amex Blue Cash Preferred?

The credit limit for either card will be based on a number of factors, including your credit score, income, other debt payments, and existing credit limits with the bank you are applying to.

What credit should I have to qualify for these credit cards?

For the Blue Cash Preferred, it is recommended that have good to excellent credit to apply. The Capital One Quicksilver Rewards card suggests that you need good to excellent credit for approval.

If you have average credit, you may want to consider an alternative like the Capital One QuicksilverOne or wait until you've increased your score to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred or Quicksilver.  

Can I carry a balance from month-to-month?

Some American Express cards are charge cards that must be paid in full each month, but that’s not the case with this Amex card. Both the Blue Cash Preferred and Quicksilver Cash Rewards are credit cards that offer the flexibility to pay over time as needed.

While carrying a balance and paying interest is possible, it’s not recommended. The interest you pay will likely be higher than any rewards that you earn. During the introductory APR periods, you will enjoy no interest on your purchases.

Can your cash back rewards be transferred to airline partners?

Although both American Express credit cards and Capital One cards have rewards programs with points that transfer to airline partners, neither of these cards participates. Instead, their rewards are focused on earning cash back.

The bottom line

Both the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and the Capital One Quicksilver come with generous rewards and perks, and depending on your situation, one could definitely be the right choice for your wallet. But if you're open to applying for a card from a different credit card issuer, there are several other great options to consider, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Citi Double Cash.

Like the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers bonus rewards in different spending categories. As a Freedom Unlimited cardholder, you get 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases; plus 5% on Lyft rides.

If you prefer a flat cashback rate as you'd get with the Capital One Quicksilver, the Citi Double Cash Card could be a good alternative as well. This card offers flat-rate cash back, whether you're making purchases at the grocery store or a streaming subscription. Citi Double Cash cardholders get up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. Unlike the other cards mentioned, this card also comes with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable).

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

Intro Offer

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

Annual Fee

$95 (waived first year)

Rewards 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

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

Author Details

Lee Huffman Lee Huffman is a former financial planner and corporate finance manager who now writes about early retirement, credit cards, travel, insurance, and other personal finance topics. He enjoys showing people how to travel more, spend less, and live better. When Lee is not getting his passport stamped around the world, he's researching methods to earn more miles and points toward his next vacation.