Cashing in at the Supermarket: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review
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Earning rewards from your credit cards is a lot like earning interest on your investments. Cardholders should look for the highest returns possible considering the amount they spend and the type of merchants they frequent. They then need to balance these rewards against any fees assessed on their cards. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers as much as 6% cash back rewards for your spending at a time when many reward cards only offer 1%-2% cash back. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
Why We Like This Card
- $350 cash back special offer (ends 6/15/16)
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (with limits and restrictions)
How This Card Works
Like many credit cards, customers earn 1% cash back on purchases from most retailers, but it is the bonus categories that make this card stand out.
A whopping 6% cash back is earned from purchases from U.S. supermarkets, not including warehouse or discount stores. How good is that? Let's just say that some people were taking this discount so far that American Express recently imposed a $6,000 annual cap on eligible purchases. Cardholders will earn 1% on subsequent purchases.
Plus, you get 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. (Cash back terms and limitations apply. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.) The annual fee is $75.
Sign-up bonus: Get $150 back after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
Special offer: Apply by June 15, 2016 to get 10% back when you use the Card at U.S. Wireless Telephone Service Providers in 2016, up to $200.
With the sign-up offer and special offer combined, you can get up to $350 back!
Because Blue is an American Express card, you can expect a wide range of other benefits beyond simple cash back.
Return Protection: If a merchant refuses to accept a return within 90 days, American Express may refund the full purchase price (up to $300 per item, $1,000 maximum per year).
Extended Warranty: Get up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer's warranty, if it is 5 years or less.
Purchase Protection: Protect your purchases against accidental damage and theft for up to 90 days.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: You can decline the extra fee car rental companies charge for insurance. Use your AMEX card to pay for your rental and be covered if the car is damaged or stolen.
Important Note: Exclusions and restrictions apply on benefits.
- $75 Annual Fee
- 13.24%-23.24% APR (0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months)
- 3% Balance Transfer Fee ($5 minimum)
- 2.7% Foreign Transaction Fee
Sign up bonus. Get $150 back after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of having the card. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit. (See also: Best Credit Cards That Offer Bonus Cash for Sign-Up)
High cash back percentages. This card provides high cash back rewards on most common purchases such as those at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and select U.S. department stores. (See also: Best Cash Back Credit Cards)
0% intro APR. Get 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. (Then it goes to a variable rate, currently 13.24% to 23.24%, depending on creditworthiness and other factors.) (See also: Best Credit Cards with 0% Intro APR)
Reasonable annual fee. $75 is a significant annual fee, but considering that the cash back rewards are so high, it is not out of line with many leading reward cards. (See also: Best Credit Cards with Annual Fees)
Generous benefits. Like many American Express cards, this card offers great benefits for consumers like Return Protection and Extended Warranty.
Foreign transaction fees. This card has a transaction fee for foreign purchases, which makes it not ideal for spending abroad. The Discover it Card not only offers 5% cash back on categories that rotate every quarter (up to the quarterly maximum of $1500), it also doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees, making it a much better travel companion. (See also: Best Cards with No Foreign Fees)
Mediocre interest rates. After the intro period, cardholders receive an APR of between 13.24% and 23.24%, depending on their credit worthiness. There are other cards with lower interest rates best suited to those who carry a balance. (See also: Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards)
Annual cash back limit. The 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets is only for the first $6,000 in purchases. After that, the cash back percentage drops to 1%.
Who This Card Is Best For
This card, like all reward cards, is not for those who carry a balance on their credit cards. If you do, you should focus on finding a low interest card and paying off your debt.
For everyone else, the key to this card is figuring out if you normally spend enough on the key cash back categories to easily justify the annual fee.
Note: If you do the math and come out way ahead, this might be the cash back card for you. But if the numbers don't work, you might want to consider the "Everyday" version of this card, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Sure, there are fewer bonuses, but there is no annual fee.
Terms and limitations apply.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.