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

Maximize your cash back rewards by choosing the right credit card for your spending habits.
11/15/19 | 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.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
Annual fee $95 $0
Intro bonus Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Earn a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Earning rate 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on first $6,000 in purchase per year, 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on all other purchases 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day
Redemption methods Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits, and occasionally gift cards or merchandise. Redeem for check, statement credits, or gift cards.
Intro APR
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months
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
  • 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% None
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent

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, this Amex card is rock solid. 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.

Credit card enthusiasts love to cash in on sign-up bonuses, 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 sign-up bonus each year without applying for a new card.

Even after paying the $95 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’s no bonus 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 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 credit cards offer cash back rewards, 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 on first $6,000 in purchase per year, 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on all 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 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.

3. New cardmember bonus

Both credit cards offer a bonus for new accounts. The Blue Cash Preferred bonus offers the chance to earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

The Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, however, offers new cardholders the opportunity to earn a $150 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.

4. Intro APRs

If you're looking for no-interest financing on purchases and balance transfers, both credit cards have you covered.

Capital One is offering a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months on new accounts, while the American Express card is only offering an intro APR 12 months.

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

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 annual fee to overcome, which can be done by spending just $132 per month on groceries.

If you max out the 6% grocery category, you'll earn a whopping $360 in cash back 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 6% cash back on streaming services and 3% 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 is 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 excellent credit for approval.

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 or balance transfers.

Can your cash back rewards be transferred to airline partners?

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

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Benefits

  • $250 statement credit welcome offer
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and at U.S. supermarkets on first $6,000 in purchases per year
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months
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