By Stephanie Miller


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The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is one of my favorite cash back credit cards. I use it to earn serious rewards on groceries, gas, and department store purchases, which I can then redeem for statement credits.

I noticed something recently, though: while American Express hasn’t said anything about eliminating any of the rewards offered by the Blue Cash Preferred card, they seem to be “avoiding” one of the categories in all of their new marketing material. Is this the first sign that these lucrative rewards are making their way to the chopping block?

3% Back at Select Department Stores

Now, I use the Blue Cash Preferred Card primarily to earn 6% back on my first $6,000 in grocery purchases each year, as well as 3% every time I stop at a gas station. However, there’s another reward that’s still earned me a pretty penny over the years, even though it’s not my primary focus: department stores.

With the BCP Card, all purchases at “select” department stores earn cardholders 3% cash back. This is one of the highest shopping categories offered by a rewards credit card, and can really add up throughout the year (especially for things like back-to-school shopping). The list of department stores is short – only 16 chains are included – which has been my only complaint to-date.

Gone from Marketing Material

As of this month, however, it would seem that American Express doesn’t want to promote the 3% cash back at department stores, either to new customers or even existing cardholders. Marketing material directed at both groups has eliminated any mention of the rewards feature, which may indicate that it’s headed for the chopping block.

I was first alerted to the ghosted perk when my mom – who I’ve been nudging toward the Blue Cash Preferred Card for years – finally went to apply. She spends a fair amount at stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom, so that 3% cash back was a big selling point. However, when she went online to apply for the card, there was no mention of any bonus cash back at U.S. department stores.

When she looked, the only spending advertised to earn 3% is at U.S. gas stations. I looked online at the terms and conditions available to new applicants, just to discover that department stores had disappeared from the 3% cash back category there, too.

Of course, it still appears on both my cardmember agreement and online card portal, once I log in. And a quick call to American Express confirmed that I do still receive 3% back when I shop at these select stores. But the fact that they are no longer advertising this rewards category hints that it’ll be the next to go.

What to Do

If you have the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, and use it to earn significant rewards at U.S. department stores, just be aware that a change might be on the horizon. Since American Express hasn’t released anything saying that department stores are disappearing, you can safely assume that cash back will continue on as normal for the foreseeable future.

Just know that in a few months, we may very well get notified that this category is indeed being eliminated. American Express has, in my experience, traditionally given cardholders at least three months’ notice regarding new changes, so the rug won’t be pulled out from under you.

If you have some big department store purchases planned, though, you might want to squeeze them in over the coming months. If a new wardrobe, wedding registry, or even home décor remodel is on the horizon, you’d be smart to earn that 3% while it’s still a guaranteed category.

So, what if American Express does eliminate it’s 3% cash back offer at U.S. department stores for existing cardholders? Well, there are a few other cards that will earn you 2 or more percent back for your shopping. These include the Citi Double Cash (which gives you 2% back on everything) and the Discover it Card (which essentially earns you 2% back on everything your first year, thanks to CashbackMatch, as well as 10% back on rotating categories).

Keep checking back here, as Credit Card Reviews will ensure that you’re the first to know if and when American Express decides to make any changes to their credit cards… especially if that means eliminating rewards categories.

While American Express hasn’t said anything about eliminating any of the rewards offered by the Blue Cash Preferred card, they seem to be “avoiding” one of the categories in all of their new marketing material.

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