23/06/2022

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Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Get Rewarded for Your Commute

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Get Rewarded for Your Commute

The Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express offers the best grocery rewards on the market. When cards are so strong for a singular purpose, the offer is usually weaker in other aspects, but the Blue Cash Preferred bucks that trend. It also offers top rewards for your commute, a competitive welcome offer and introductory APR.

With both gas prices and food prices running rampant, this card becomes even more valuable than usual. But even if you don’t own a car, the Blue Cash Preferred is one of the few credit cards that supports public transit and other transportation purchases. 

For the first year, you’ll enjoy a $0 introductory fee before the normal $95 annual fee applies thereafter (see rates and fees). You’ll need good to excellent credit in order to qualify for this card, but for most budgets this is a great card to optimize your rewards.

In this article

Intro OfferEarn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

APR14.74% – 24.74% Variable

Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases

Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Balance Transfer Fee N/A

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Penalty APR 29.99% Variable

  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases

Cash-back rewards program

You’ll earn 6% cash back on groceries at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). So at the maximum spending threshold for this category — the equivalent to approximately $115 in weekly grocery spending — you could earn $360 in cash back over a year, easily covering the cost of the card.

The 6% cash-back rate also applies to select U.S. streaming subscriptions, including those below (this is not an exhaustive list).

Apple Music Fubo TV Kindle Unlimited Pandora SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
Apple TV+ HBO Max MLB.TV Paramount+ Spotify
Audible HBO NBA League Pass Peacock YouTube Music Premium
Disney+ Hulu Netflix Prime Video YouTube Premium
ESPN+ iHeartRadio NHL.TV Showtime YouTube TV

You can earn 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations and on transit. Superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline do not count as gas stations in this context. Transit purchases include trains, taxicabs, ride-sharing services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses and subways. Airfare, car rental and cruise purchases are not covered by this category.

For other purchases that don’t fall into one of these categories, you’ll earn 1% cash back. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

Welcome offer

You can earn $300 after spending $3,000 in purchases on your Blue Cash Preferred within the first six months of account opening. You’ll receive the $300 as a statement credit, but it won’t post to your account for eight to 12 weeks after you meet the spending threshold. 

Introductory APR

With this card, you’ll enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will range from 14.74% to 24.74%. During this time, you must make minimum payments and pay your balance in full at the conclusion of 12 months to avoid interest charges.

In a similar vein, you’ll also get introductory $0 Buy Now, Pay Later, Plan It® Fees for payment plans set up in the 12 months following your account approval. This program allows cardholders to split up large payments into monthly installments paid over time, usually with a fixed fee. After the 12 introductory months, you’ll be subject to a plan fee of up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors (see rates and fees). But don’t be fooled — this 1.33% fee could add up to roughly the same amount as the APR would cost you over the course of a year.

To use this card most strategically for recurring large purchases, you might use the 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months (14.74% to 24.74% variable APR thereafter), and then open a Buy Now, Pay Later with Plan It® plan for large purchases made in month 11 of card ownership — this would allow you to enjoy no interest on select purchases for as long as possible with this card. But as always, you should avoid making a charge you won’t be able to comfortably pay in full before fees or interest accrue.

Redemption

While this card is marketed as a “cash back” card, you actually earn your rewards in the form of Blue Cash Reward Dollars. You can redeem these reward dollars for statement credits once your balance is at $25 or more. Redemption also cannot be applied to your minimum payment due.

Other perks

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

One of the extras you’ll receive with the Blue Cash Preferred is an annual credit for Equinox+, a fitness app featuring on-demand classes. You’ll earn up to $10 in monthly statement credits, or up to $120 each year, to compensate you for membership. However, it’s important to note that you must first enroll for membership through your Blue Cash Preferred account before signing up and paying with your Blue Cash Preferred card at equinoxplus.com.

Though the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express card charges 2.7% for foreign transaction fees, it can still be useful for some domestic travel — for instance, you’ll get car rental loss and damage insurance*. You’ll also get return protection*, which lets you return eligible purchases to American Express within 90 days of purchase if the seller won’t accept them.

Learn More

Comparable cards

Citi Premier® Card

If the spread of rewards across everyday spending is what appeals to you in the Blue Cash Preferred, the Citi Premier is a good alternative. Though it doesn’t hit rates as high as 6%, you do earn 3x points on restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, hotels and air travel. This is equivalent to 3% cash back in all of these categories, as each point is worth $0.01 when redeemed for a gift card or travel through thankyou.com, or statement credit. The welcome offer is a little more fruitful than that of the Blue Cash Preferred, too.

Read more in our full review of the Citi Premier Card.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

If the high return on groceries or the introductory APR is what draws you to the Blue Cash Preferred, the Citi Custom Cash Card is worth exploring. You earn 5% cash back on up to $500 spent in your highest eligible spending category for each billing cycle (1% cash back thereafter). Eligible categories include grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment. So you can earn up to $25 in cash back at grocery stores per billing cycle — or up to $300 per year, compared to up to $360 with the Blue Cash Preferred. But there is no annual fee to worry about.

You also get a better introductory 0% APR deal — 15 months on purchases and balance transfers after opening your account (14.74% to 24.74% variable APR thereafter). The welcome offer isn’t as competitive — $200 in cash back after you spend $750 in purchases in the first three months (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back) — but the lower spending threshold makes it more accessible.

FAQs

How do cash-back credit cards work?

Cash-back credit cards offer cardholders rewards on their spending in the form of statement credits or cash. A statement credit is a reduction in the amount due to the credit card company on your monthly bill. Note that rewards are not always available the month you earn them — they are usually applied to your balance by credit card issuers after one or two billing cycles.

The redemption process for cash-back credit cards is either automatic or very simple. Some cards automatically apply cash rewards to your statement balance each month. Others require you to log in and redeem available rewards points for statement credits. Most points don’t expire, but you will lose them if you close the account before redeeming them. 

How do you choose the right grocery credit card?

Deciding which grocery credit card is right for you will depend largely on your shopping habits. Keep in mind that most major credit card companies do not consider wholesale clubs and big-box stores like Walmart and Target to be grocery stores, so your purchases there might not qualify for the same rewards. Before applying for a grocery credit card, you’ll want to closely read the fine print to make sure that your needs will be met depending on where you shop.

One last thing to keep in mind: Don’t fall for credit cards just because of a welcome bonus offer. While the immediate cash back can be appealing, it is typically a one-time or short-lived reward. Groceries are purchases that you need to make every month. You’re better off focusing on maximizing these rewards over time rather than going for the up-front bonus.

What is a gas credit card?

A gas credit card is one that rewards cardholders for spending at gas stations. Most gas credit cards aren’t offered by gas stations themselves. Instead, other credit card issuers offer bonus rewards on gas purchases, among others. The best gas credit cards offer up to 5% back on gas purchases, but most offer 2% to 3%.

Our approach

We review the cards that are in the highest demand and offer the best benefits. We scour the fine print so there aren’t any surprises when you open an account. We find the key factors that make a card stand out and compare them with other top cards. That way, readers can opt for a different card with similar features if our pick isn’t right for them. Our reviews are regularly checked and updated to incorporate new recommendations, as well as to reflect changes in offers and the market.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, click here.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.