Executive Summary -
These two cards from the Blue Cash series are a must have for those who are looking to earn cash back from their credit card. The categories which let's you earn extra cash are quite unique in the market (in particular the department store and grocery categories). We highly recommend these cards. Please read our verdict below for greater explanation of our thoughts.
I'll start off by saying that I rate both cards in the Blue Cash Series (both the "everyday" and "preferred" version) highly. What I really like about them is the fact that it is very simple. You get to earn extra cash on certain categories. In this case, it is standalone supermarkets, gasoline and department stores.
Because of the nature of the categories, this makes this card suitable for everyday use. After all, who does not buy groceries, fill up gas or buy the occasional stuff at department stores? I have searched high a low for cards that allow you to earn more than 1% cash back in the categories that this card offer and I have found any similar so far.
The closest competitor is from Bank of America with their cash rewards card, which pays 3% cash back on gas and 2% on groceries. However, you can only earn the extra cash back with bank of america for up to $1,500 in quarterly spending on these categories! The Blue Cash series does not impose any such caps.
The other type of competition that this card face is from what we call rotating category cards like the Discover IT or Chase Freedom. These cards have certain categories which they pay 5% cash back. But they change every quarter, and you have to register each quarter to activate it! These cards also have online shopping portals where you can earn extra cash back from their online merchant partners. I view these other cards as more of a complimentary to the Blue Cash series since they really work differently.
To sum up, I would say that American Express has once again come up with a winner in the cash back category. By removing the old tiered structure to a more simple cash back formula, they have made this card even more appealing. Very few cards that we know of lets you earn extra cash back at groceries. Even affinity cards issued by groceries require you to make in-house brand purchases to earn more points! This card has no such requirements. Any purchases made in a standalone supermarket earns you extra cash back. The addition of the department stores (bricks and mortars) is also a game changer here. At present, I know of no other cards that lets you earn extra cash back when you shop at a B&M department store (and also their online website). This will come in so handy during the shopping season and in fact, all year round. The extra cash back and savings will be tremendous. You could obviously apply for lots of store credit cards. But if you have particular brand loyalty, then this card makes more sense than stuffing your fat wallet with lots of retail store cards.
If you would like to earn cash back from your credit card, then this card is a must in your wallet.
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