Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review: The Perfect Cashback Card for Grocery Shoppers?

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If you’re looking for a cashback program that will reward you handsomely for grocery shopping, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one to check out. Although this card has an annual fee, the amount of cash back you have the potential to earn can easily cover the fee.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.49%-25.49% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more

How to earn cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

1. Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year of purchases, then 1%).

The supermarket category excludes superstores and warehouses. Specialty retailers like wine stores and convenience stores likely won’t earn 6% cash back either. The annual cap for the supermarket category is $6,000; after, you earn 1%.

2. Earn 6% cash back on streaming services

Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, including Amazon Music, Hulu, Netflix and Pandora, among others.

3. Earn 3% cash back on transit

Earn 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.

4. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 1% cash back on everything else.

There’s no annual spending cap for the 3% and 1% cashback categories.

5. Earn a welcome offer.

You can $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

How redeeming cash back works

Cash back earned converts into Blue Cash Rewards Dollars. You can redeem Blue Cash Rewards Dollars for a statement credit in increments of $25.

Word of warning: A cashback statement credit does not get applied to your minimum payment. To keep your card in good standing, you need to make at least the minimum payment each month even if you redeem cash back.

Overview of card benefits

These are the American Express perks:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance. You can decline the rental agency’s collision damage waiver because you’re covered if your rental car is damaged or stolen when you pay with this card, though some countries like Australia and Italy aren’t covered.
  • Global assist hotline. When traveling, you get 24/7 access to legal, emergency and financial assistance.
  • Travel accident insurance. You get coverage for accidental death or dismemberment during travel.
  • Extended warranty of up to an additional year after your manufacturer’s warranty expires.
  • Roadside assistance for emergencies if your car needs to be towed, you need to fix a flat or you need a battery jump. Third-party service costs may apply.

What we like about this card

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year, then 1%

Despite the annual fee and category restrictions, we’re still big fans of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. You only need to spend $1,583 per year (or $132 per month) on groceries to earn enough cash back to cover the $95 annual fee.

Since the supermarket spending cap is a generous $6,000 per year, you still have plenty of room to earn cash back beyond this break-even point. If you spend a full $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets in a year, you’ll earn $360 in cash back before the annual fee is deducted.

6% cash back on streaming services

You’ll be able to earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, including HBO Now, SiriusXM and YouTube TV, among others.

3% cash back at U.S. gas stations

You’ll be able to earn 3% cash back in the gas category without any cap, which can serve you well on your commute.

3% cash back on Transit

You’ll be able to earn 3% cash back on transit including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.

No revolving categories

This card is simple to use. You don’t need to enroll in the bonus categories quarterly or annually. You just need to remember to pull out this card when you shop at major U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

What we don’t like about this card

Store restrictions in 3% and 6% categories

Category restrictions are common for most cashback cards, but still a piece of fine print for which you should be aware. American Express uses merchant codes to determine how much cash back you get on each purchase.

Stores like Amazon, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Target and Walmart won’t qualify as supermarket spending.

Furthermore, you can’t earn 3% cash back by pumping gas just anywhere. You have to buy gas at places with a U.S. gas station merchant code. Gas purchases at U.S. supermarkets or U.S. warehouse clubs will not qualify unless otherwise noted.

This restriction on gas spending may be the biggest deal-breaker for savvy gas shoppers since supermarkets and warehouses often have competitive gas prices with minimal markup.

Before you apply for the card, contact American Express if you pump at discount locations to see if the spending qualifies. American Express has a short list of example stores that fall into each cashback category here.

Who the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is best for

Whether the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is or isn’t for you will depend on how much you spend in the bonus categories.

Here’s why:

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a sister card that comes with a $0 annual fee called the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express gives 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Pick the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express ($0 annual fee) instead of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($95 annual fee) if you spend less than $3,200 per year on qualifying groceries (about $300 a month).

If you spend more than $3,200 on groceries per year (about $300 a month), the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express with the $95 annual fee outperforms the $0 annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Another thing to consider is where you do your shopping.

If you live in a city where major supermarkets are few and far between, neither the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express nor the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express will serve you well. You won’t get 6% for food purchases at corner markets and specialty stores.

Shoppers who stock up for groceries at warehouse or superstores like Walmart will also get less use from these American Express cashback cards since that spending doesn’t qualify.

Consumers who’ll get the most out of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express are those who spend at places that are eligible for bonus cash back like Whole Foods, Safeway and Kroger.

Approval chances

You have the best chance of getting approved for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express with good to excellent credit (a score that’s 670 or above).

Alternatives

You can find our ultimate roundup of cashback cards for every category in this post.

Here we’ll cover four alternatives to compare against the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
  • Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply |  Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 15 months
Regular Purchase APR
14.49%-25.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

As mentioned, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is the $0 annual fee version of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Chase Freedom®

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

A revolving category cashback card is an alternative if you spend pretty evenly across multiple areas. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The categories change quarterly on the Chase Freedom®. There’s a $1,500 quarterly spending cap on the 5% category. The bonus categories change every quarter.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Read Full Review

The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.

An unlimited flat-rate cashback card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is good to pair with any of the category cards we discuss above. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases (Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.), making this a great card to earn a consistent cashback rate. There is a $0 annual fee for this card.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
12.24% - 15.24% Variable
Annual fee
$99 annual fee, waived the first year
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card offers unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards. There is a $99 annual fee, waived the first year. A good rewards strategy is partnering a high cashback rate category card with one of these unlimited cards for non-category spending.

FAQ

The acceptance of American Express is worse than for Visa and MasterCard — especially outside of the United States. However, the network continues to expand every year, and it is much more difficult to find places in the U.S. that don’t accept Amex.

Anything you spend over the $6,000 cap at U.S. supermarkets will earn only 1% cash back. Fortunately, there is the 6% cash back on streaming services and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, so you’ll always get bonus cash back for that spending.

No, Blue Cash Rewards Dollars do not expire as long as your account remains open.

Yes, the minimum amount to redeem Blue Cash Rewards Dollars is $25.

Blue Cash Rewards Dollars can only be redeemed for statement credit. They can’t be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards.

Blue Cash Rewards Dollars are redeemable for statement credit, while Membership Rewards® Points are redeemable for statement credit, travel, gift cards, merchandise or entertainment. With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express you receive Blue Cash Rewards Dollars.

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Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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