With a new suite of a bonus categories and a slightly improved welcome offer, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express might be the strongest entry yet in what I call the “premium cash-back card” category, i.e. cards that don’t focus on lucrative travel rewards, but do offer great perks and/or cash back bonus categories with modest annual fees.
The Blue Cash Preferred is, at heart, a cash-back card, so there are no transfer partners or redemption bonuses to speak of. You can redeem your cash back for statement credits or gift cards, but they’re always going to be worth the same amount, regardless. Unfortunately, you can’t transfer them to your American Express® Gold Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express account to convert them them into Membership Rewards points.
That said, it’s earning that cash back that makes this card interesting. You’ll earn a whopping 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (for your first $6,000 in spend for the year, after which you’ll earn 1%), 6% back on select streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 3% back on transit purchases (including Uber and Lyft), in addition to 1% back on all other purchases.
Earning 6% cash back on anything is basically unheard of, let alone on categories as popular as U.S. supermarkets and select streaming services in the U.S. The combination of U.S. gas stations and transit also means that you’ll effectively earn 3% back on all land-based transportation, which is terrific.
Unlike a lot of cash back cards, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred does carry a $95 annual fee. However, you’ll also earn a perfectly respectable $250 in cash back after spending your first $1,000 in your first three months, which should ease the sting. Of course, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers 30,000 points (worth $300), albeit on $3,000 of spend in the first three months, with no annual fee.
Beyond the standard fare like secondary (i.e. not very useful) rental car coverage, purchase protection, and roadside assistance, the Blue Cash Preferred is basically devoid of any sexy bonuses and perks. You could certainly argue that getting 6% back on some purchases is a perk of its own, but you won’t find anything along the lines TSA Precheck reimbursement, trip delay insurance, or free in-flight Wi-Fi.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred is a remarkably simple credit card to understand. If you shop at U.S. supermarkets, pay for streaming services, or travel via wheeled, motorized vehicles, it could be a great addition to your wallet. The annual fee is a bit of a bummer, but the $250 welcome bonus alone covers it for nearly three years, so you can feel better about racking up the points.
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