The Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express (learn more) has some of the best earning potential for your everyday purchases like groceries. But is it the right credit card to add to your wallet? This Simple Flying review helps you decide.
This card offers you…
- $200 welcome bonus
- 6 percent back on groceries
- 3 percent back on gas
- 3 percent back on department store purchases
- $95 annual fee
- 2.7 percent foreign transaction fees
The card’s welcome bonus is pretty standard. You get $200 cash back after you spend $1,000 within three months of your account opening. This is better than the card’s sister, the Blue Cash Everyday Card (learn more), but, if you’re a frequent traveler, there are other cards out there that give you more value for a sign-up bonus.
As mentioned, this card comes with some really fantastic earning potential, particularly where your everyday purchases are concerned. It has one of the best return rates for groceries — 6 percent cash back.
However, keep in mind that the 6 percent cash back is limited to the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets each year, and the U.S. supermarkets where this is valid is a limited list of brands — no Wal-Mart or Target purchases allowed here. You also want to keep in mind that, depending on your household, $6,000 for groceries might not be that much, particularly if you’re a family of four or more living in a relatively expensive part of the United States, like the Northeast, compared to, say, a single person living in the South.
Overall, you can earn…
- 6 percent on your first $6,000 spent at select U.S. supermarkets
- 3 percent on gas purchases
- 3 percent at select department stores
- 1 percent on everything else
The Annual Fee
This card, unlike the Blue Cash Everyday Card (read more), comes with an annual fee. The $95 annual fee, however, is offset if you do actually use the card, particularly on groceries. If you spent just $31 per week on groceries at qualifying supermarkets, the annual fee would be offset by the end of the year. Additionally, if you meet the spending requirements to earn the introductory offer, that also will offset the annual fee for two years.
Foreign Transaction Fees
Unfortunately, the card also comes with a foreign transaction fee, 2.7 percent on international purchases. This means it’s definitely not ideal if you’re a frequent traveler looking for a cash back credit card to add to your arsenal.
Low Rate of Acceptance
This is both true for vendors that don’t always accept American Express, and for the rate at which card applicants are accepted for this card. You won’t get in with just any old credit score. An above average credit score is required, so you’ll want to ensure you have that part covered before you submit your card application.
Your cash back comes in the form of American Express Reward Dollars, and then you can redeem those Reward Dollars for statement credits, or skip the cash back and get gift cards and merchandise, etc. You can only redeem Reward Dollars in quantities of $25 or more.
Final Thoughts: Is the Blue Cash Preferred Card Right for You?
The Blue Cash Preferred card is best for those who spend at least $6,000 on groceries at select supermarkets each year, who spend a lot on gas and who want to earn cash back. It’s a simple, easy-to-use card that helps you earn a little bit of rewards on the stuff you’re buying anyway. Learn More.
The Blue Cash Preferred card is not right for those who are looking to earn miles and points for travel, who want to transfer their points and miles between various travel rewards programs and those who spend a lot in categories that do not include groceries and gas (like travel and dining).
Additionally, it’s not a good card for those who are looking to carry a balance. The card offers 0 percent introductory rates on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, but that’s nothing above average.
Likewise, this card isn’t a good fit for those who are trying to avoid an annual fee. Those individuals might be better off checking out the Blue Cash Everyday Card (learn more). The only caveat? With Blue Cash Everyday, you do give up 3 percent of your supermarket earnings in exchange for not having that annual fee.