American Express Blue Cash Preferred: No Better Card for Grocery Stores

Marcy Bialeschki
May 4, 2020

The undeniable lure of the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is the unprecedented 6% cash back at grocery stores, up to $6,000 per year. This 6% also applies to select streaming services with no cap. The other categories boast 3% back with no caps at gas stations and on transportation such as buses, trains, tolls, rideshares, taxies, and more. Customers will receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. Even better, these categories are constant.

The sign-up bonus is a nice feature, as well. New American Express Blue Cash Preferred card owners can earn $250 in cash back rewards after spending $1,000 in the first three months. This sign-up reward is lower than some similar cards; however, the required spending is lower as well, making the bonus easier to obtain.

Sound like a great deal? The AmEx Blue Cash Preferred card is a contender for families who can maximize the grocery store rewards and enjoy unlimited 6% cash back on select streaming services. But, does this card have enough other attractive features to put it at the top of the shortlist? Read on to see if the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is right for you.

Another attractive feature of the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred card is the 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. Also, the post-introductory period APR is low at 12.99% - 23.99% variable, making potential cardholders take a longer look.

Other than the annual $6,000 cap on grocery store purchases, none of the other cash back categories have caps. The 3% constant cash back at gas stations is a lucrative deal. The competition has a 5% cash back in a quarterly category. It is up to you to discern if a constant 3% is a better deal than 3 months of 5% back. Be aware, 3% cash back will only apply to stand-alone gas stations. It is not attached to warehouse clubs, superstores, and supermarkets with gas stations. Buying gas at one of these places will only earn the 1% cash back.

Likewise, the 6% cash back for your streaming service may only be available if it is a stand-alone purchase. If it is bundled with other services and billed by a 3rd-party such as cable and phone, you may not be eligible for the maximum cash back reward. Similarly, some restrictions apply to the 3% cash back at supermarkets. Superstores such as Walmart and Target, as well as wholesale companies, are not considered grocery stores; therefore, you will earn 1% back on groceries at these types of stores.

Rewards and Sign-up Summary

While the cash back rewards of the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card are impressive, there are a few things you should know. First, the cash back is only available in statement credit, gift cards, or merchandise. Those people who like the cash direct deposited in their account will probably not be satisfied with this card. Here is a breakdown of the rewards:

$250 sign-up bonus with $1,000 in purchases made in the first three months

6% cash back limited to $6,000 annually for purchases made at grocery stores

6% unlimited cash back on select streaming services

3% unlimited cash back at gas stations and for local transportation

1% cash back on all other purchases

0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months

Basic Features

Minimum credit score is 700

Annual fee = $95

3% or $5 balance transfer fee

5% or $10 minimum cash advance fee

Cash advance APR = 25.24% variable

Maximum late fee = $40

Travel & Shopping

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is not a travel card. Still, the occasional traveler will value the assurance of the Global Assist Hotline. The hotline can be utilized for assistance on trips of 100+ miles from home. It is a 24/7 access service to medical, legal, financial, and other emergency services. The hotline can help you replace a lost or stolen passport, send cash wires, assist with missing luggage, and more.

If you need a rental car, charge the entire amount on your American Express Blue Cash Preferred card and decline the rental company insurance. For eligible vehicles, you are covered if the car is damaged or stolen.

If you plan to use your AmEx Blue Cash Preferred card for shopping, AmEx may allow you to return items the seller won't refund. This perk caps at $300 per item and $1,000 per year and is restricted to a 90-day purchase window. This return option includes shipping, and all purchases must be made with the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred card in the US and its territories. Purchases may also be protected by an extended warranty of up to 2 years beyond the manufacturer's warranty.

Shoppers using the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred card will also receive ShopRunner, a 2-day free shipping service offered through 1000+ online stores. Some stores may require a minimum purchase.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred customers also have the option to use a service called Plan-It. This feature allows you to set up a monthly plan for big purchases. You select the plan length, pay a fixed monthly fee with no interest, and make a constant payment each month. Plan-It is designed to take the worry and hassle out of making a big purchase on the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred card.

Pros

Easy to attain sign-up bonus

Generous cash back rewards

0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 12 months

Constant cash back categories

Low 12.99 % - 23.99% APR

Cons

High $95 annual fee

Lower acceptance in the US and abroad than other comparable cards

No direct deposit option for cash back rewards

2.7% foreign transaction fee

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is designed for families with the primary rewards being at grocery stores, streaming subscriptions, and gas stations. With industry-leading 6% cash back at grocery stores and for streaming services and 3% unlimited cash back at gas stations, this card doesn't need many other bells and whistles. If you want a reliable everyday cash back card and don't mind paying the $95 annual fee, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card might be right for you.

See all posts →