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The Amex Blue Cash Preferred is one of the few cash back cards I’ve used in the past to put a little bit of green back in my wallet. But the Blue Cash Preferred just got revamped and now comes with some new benefits (and some sweet new card art). Here’s everything you need to know about the new and improved Blue Cash Preferred.
With this card you can earn $250 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. $250 cash back is pretty solid for a cash back credit card but you can do better with some other cards.
A hot offer right now for up-front value is the 60,000 point offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Those 60,000 points are worth $750 if used toward travel in the Chase Travel Portal.
Due to the Chase 5/24 rule, I would definitely consider a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred before I went for the Blue Cash Preferred, since the Blue Cash Preferred will always be there. By the way, if you get tripped up with credit card application rules, be sure to check out WalletFlo — the new app that will automate your credit card eligibility for you!
Note that the Blue Cash Preferred does NOT earn Membership Rewards — only cash back that you can use for something like a statement credit. So you can’t transfer your points to Amex travel partners.
The Blue Cash Preferred lost the 3% at department stores on July 31st, 2019 but still earns the following rates.
- 6% back at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
- 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
- 3% back on transit
- 3% cash back at US gas stations
You’ll be able to earn 6% back at US supermarkets but note that superstores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets — so places like WalMart or Costco likely won’t trigger the bonus earnings.
The 6% back at US supermarkets is great and can be highly rewarding. It’s the #1 reason I used the Blue Cash Preferred in the past.
However, I still prefer to earn 4X on groceries with the Amex Gold Card (up to $25,000 per year) since I value 4X Membership Rewards at 1.75 cents per point which comes out 7% back.
The limit on $6,000 per year in purchases is also why I prefer to go with the Amex Gold Card as well — there’s just a much higher ceiling for rewards with the Gold Card. Consider that $6,000 per year comes out to $500 per month, which is much lower than what some people spend on groceries every month.
Getting 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions is nice but I’m not huge on this bonus category because the monthly payments for streaming services are usually very low. Even if you spend $100/month on streaming that’s only $72 back each year. That’s enough to lessen the blow of the annual fee but most people are probably not looking at a huge amount of savings.
Also, some other card could offer better rewards for some services. For example, the Chase Ink Cash is known to earn 5X on some streaming services like Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu. Granted with the Blue Cash, the list is probably much more extensive.
Here are some of the streaming services that qualify for the 6% back:
It’s worth noting that the Blue Cash Preferred is weak on dining and other cards like the Amex Gold Card would be good ways to supplement your earnings.
3% back on transit is a great replacement to the department store category. This category is relatively broad and includes the following:
- Ride share services like Uber and Lyft
I’d still prefer a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that earns 3X on ALL travel purchases, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot of true cash back cards offering 3% cash back on these transit categories.
Since these expenses can add up quickly, I actually think this is a pretty strong new category for the Blue Cash Preferred. In my opinion, this is where the the bulk of the added value is with the new card.
Nothing changed with getting 3% cash back at US gas stations. 3% back on gas isn’t bad but If you really want to save on gas there are other cards out there offering 4% to 5% back on gas so 3% back isn’t the best bonus rate for fuel out there. For example, the Sams MasterCard allows you to earn 5% back on gas (up to $6,000 per year) and there are other better options out there as well.
The Blue Cash Preferred comes with an into 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.
This card comes with a $95 annual fee. That’s actually very easy to offset with heavy grocery store spend. For example, if you maxed out the $6,000 supermarket category you’d earn $360 in cash back.
It is worth noting that there are some great cash back cards out there with no annual fee like the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.
Overall, the new revamping makes the Blue Cash Preferred a better product but not by a wide margin, in my opinion. It’s got the same rates on supermarkets and on gas and though it gained the local transit + streaming categories, it lost department stores. I’d definitely investigate other options if you spend a lot on groceries, dining, and general travel expenses.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.