Blue Cash Preferred® Credit Card from American Express Review

Nov 01, 2016 | Be First to Comment!

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit CardIn a sea of cash back credit cards, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a standout for shoppers who want to spend and save at the same time. The card comes packed with perks, including the ability to earn 3% cash back when shopping at grocery stores. Beyond that, the card pays 3% cash back at gas stations and selected U.S. department stores, along with 1% back on everything else so you save everywhere you go.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express also comes with the chance to earn all the travel, shopping and entertainment benefits that you’d expect with an American Express credit card. Dive in as MyBankTracker breaks down the card’s finer points.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express main benefits

If you’re shopping around for a new cash back credit card, you want to know exactly what you’re getting before you sign up. Here are some reasons why the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express should be in your wallet:

  • Simple rewards structure – The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives you three ways to earn cash back but you don’t have to juggle any rotating spending categories. This card has a great rewards earning potential without any added hassles.
  • 0% promotional APR – If you want to transfer a balance or make a large purchase interest-free the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an excellent choice. This card comes with a 0% promotional rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months.
  • Payment flexibility – Many American Express card offerings are charge cards, which means you have to pay in full each month. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives you the option of carrying a balance from month to month.
  • Easy rewards redemption – The cash back you earn with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is paid out as Reward Dollars, which you can easily redeem for statement credit.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express best features

Most cash back cards offer you 2% or 3% cash back. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is no different in this regard as you still receive 3% cash back on purchases up to $6,000 per year. However, once you hit that 3% limit on your purchases, you'll continue to earn 1% cash back when you are shopping.

Maxing out the 3% bonus should be relatively easy. If you’re thinking the card isn’t a good fit because your grocery budget is much lower, there’s a reason to reconsider.

The 3% bonus applies to supermarket purchases but there’s no rule on what you have to buy. If your local grocery store sells gift cards, you can stock up on them using your Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. For every $100 you spend on gift cards, you’ll earn $3 back, which can add up to some decent savings whether you’re buying them for yourself or someone else.

Additional card highlights

To round out our review and spare you the trouble of having to read the fine print, we’ve broken down the rest of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express key features.

Rewards

We already mentioned it but it bears repeating that the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express pays you 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores. That’s good news if you’re planning a shopping trip or you’re hitting the pump regularly. For anything that doesn’t fit into one of the bonus categories, you always get 1% cash back.

Card extras

While the best reason to choose the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the 3% cash back, that’s not all you get. The card also comes loaded with extras that can make traveling, shopping or enjoying a night on the town easier, including:

  • Roadside assistance hotline
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Global travel assistance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Exclusive ticket access for selected entertainment events
  • Extended warranty program
  • Purchase protection
  • Return protection
  • Dispute resolution

All of these extras are included at no extra charge as long as your account is open and in good standing.

Interest rates and fees

Since you have the option to carry a balance with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express that means you’ll be paying interest on what you spend but luckily, it doesn’t kick in right away.

New members pay 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. Once the promotional period ends, a regular variable rate ranging from 13.24% to 23.24% applies. You’ll pay a variable APR of 25.49% for cash advances.

As far as the fees go, there is a $95 annual fee. To earn the fee back, you’d need to spend at least $1,585 on supermarket purchases a year, which comes out to just over $132 a month. That shouldn’t be too hard to do if you’re using the card regularly.

Other fees include:

  • Balance transfer fee – Either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
  • Cash advance fee – Either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fee – 2.7% of each purchase
  • Late payment fee – Up to $37
  • Returned payment fee – Up to $37

There’s no penalty for going over your limit but maxing out your card can hurt your credit score. Keeping the balance low is the best way to maintain a good score.

Card protections

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has EMV chip technology, which offers an added layer of security protection when you’re paying for purchases in-store. All you have to do to activate the chip’s security protections is use the store’s chip reader when paying at the checkout.

Final verdict: Is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express right for you?

Whether you’re picking up gift cards to your favorite retailers or grabbing something quick for dinner, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can’t be beat for earning cash back at the supermarket. The fact that it has a $95 annual fee and a 2.7% foreign transaction fee makes it a less than ideal choice if you don’t spend at least $132 a month on grocery purchases or you do a lot of traveling outside the U.S.

Ultimately, we’d recommend the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to anyone who uses credit at the grocery store on a regular basis and wants the flexibility of being able to carry a balance.

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