Amex Blue Cash Preferred Review – Superior Cash Back for Any Lifestyle

ElitePersonalFinance
Last Update: February 6, 2021 Credit Card Reviews

Cashback credit cards with different rewards based on shopping categories are frustrating. All too often, the perks’ value is obscured by the simple fact that our spending habits fluctuate. The result: The benefits diminish as we spend outside the key reward categories. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is a rare exception to this catch. Though the card does offer different cashback percentages based on various categories, the rewards program will benefit everyone. Why? The remarkable 6% cashback offer pertains to US supermarkets. Unless you never plan to eat again, you can rest assured you’ll get a good deal with the card. This is just the beginning.

Pros:

  • 6% Cashback at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 3% Cashback at US gas stations.
  • 3% Cashback at select US department stores.
  • No rotating reward categories.
  • $250 Cashback upon $1,000 in spending in first 3 months.
  • Carry a balance or pay in full each month without penalties.
  • 0% APR for the first 12 months.
  • No over-limit fee.

Cons:

  • $75 Annual Fee.
  • Variable-rate APR ranging from 13.24%-23.24%.
  • $37 Late payment penalty.

Getting Value from The Amex Blue

The card’s brilliance is seen in the high cashback percentages offered for everyday spending we all incur. Some cards offer a flat rate across all spending, which is easy. However, these other cards cannot offer a high rate of 6%. As recently as 2014, the US Bureau of Labor & Statistics reported that the annual household spending on groceries is $3,971. At a 6% cashback rate, you’ll save $238. Couple this with the $250 cash back on the first $1,000, and you’ll have $488 in savings in the first year.

Better yet, the saving grows with the other cashback perks on everyday necessities. Let’s look at the complete list of average US household spending and the cashback they’ll get from the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card.

How to Make The Value Count?

The perks are clear, so what’s the catch? The catch is you. All credit cards make money when you fail to pay on time. The APR on this card is not insignificant, and Amex is willing to offer hundreds in cashback to get your name etched in plastic. They do this because they know enough cardholders will fail to pay the necessary balance. Fees accrue, and in the end, Amex makes money, not you. AS with any card, the way to actualize the value is to be a responsible cardholder. Use the card as often as you can but don’t build a balance you can’t pay. The advice is perhaps simplistic but critical nonetheless. Some other soft benefits should also be mentioned:

  • Rental car damage coverage.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Exclusive entertainment ticket presales for select events.
  • Purchase protection on spending.

Avoiding Pitfalls to Card Ownership

Consider your current credit score and overall creditworthiness before jumping into this card. You’ll find yourself landing on the upper end of the APR range if Amex deems you non-credit worthy. Stay away from cash advances. This service’s benefit is offered, but it’s not what a credit card is for in reality. Engaging it will cost you an APR of 25.49% and increase based on the Prime Rate changes. Balance transfer costs are not unreasonable but are best avoided as they erode the savings listed above. This will cost the highest of $5 or 3% of the transfer balance. The same APR range of 13.24% to 23.24% applies for balance transfers.

Alternative to Those Who Want to Avoid Annual Fees

Many will consider the annual fee a major detraction for this card. Serious credit card maximizes life by avoiding all annual fees. As illustrated above, the rewards more than offset this annual fee. However, there is a more simplified Amex Blue for those determined to stay away from all annual fees.

The rewards structure here is much more streamlined, though likely less beneficial for nearly all consumers. The card is absent of any annual fee. Each dollar spent equals 1 reward point. These points cannot be used to offset account balances. However, the points can be put towards gift cards, travel, dining, shopping, and entertainment. The problem here is that the rewards are more restrictive. The 1-point to $1 ratio does not directly apply to the value of redeemed points towards a gift card. Multiple points are needed to earn each dollar on a gift card in many cases. Additionally, the range of stores and services offered in the gift card program is also restricted to a participating list. Here the APR is a slightly more favorable range of 15.49% to 20.49%.

Great Choice for All Shoppers

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card will fit the profile of every consumer. In particular, Larger families will benefit the most from the grocery and gas cashback. Consider that no other card offers a cashback rate as high as 6% on any category. The closest is a 5% cashback reward on revolving categories offered by the Discover it credit card, a far less desirable option. Make the Amex Blue Cash preferred your card.

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