Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express

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By : Mr Credit Card

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a very good card for earning cash back at supermarkets. No other card that we know of offers 6% cash back in this category. Though there is an annual fee, many folks will more than make up for that with cash back earnings.

Card Details
Card Details

Earn Cash Back : This is the cash back formula for this card.

6% cash back @supermarkets (up to $6000 annual spending)
3% cash back @gas stations and select department stores

Annual Fee: $95.
How to Redeem Rewards?
How to Redeem Rewards?

The cash back that you earn with this card is called "Reward Dollars". You can redeem the rewards that you earn in a few ways.
 

  • You can redeem them for statement credits
  • You can redeem them for shopping goods
  • You can redeem them for gift cards


Below is a screenshot of the various ways which you can redeem your cash back.

reward dollars reward dollars reward dollars reward dollars
 

Definition of Supermarkets, Gas Stations and Select Department Stores
Definition of Supermarkets, Gas Stations and Select Department Stores

Before we go on, I think it is worth exploring what does Amex mean by supermarket, gas stations and select department stores. With regards to supermarkets, only regular supermarkets that offer a wide variety of food and household products such as meat, fresh produce, dairy, canned and packaged goods, household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies count. Superstores, convenient stores, specialty stores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets. On their website, they gave the following examples:

Gristedes, Foodtown, Meijer, Pathmark, Shoprite, Stop and Shop, Vons, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, Online supermarkets such as FreshDirect.

These are not considered supermarkets:
Specialty stores (eg cheese shops and wine shops) Superstores (Amazon, Target and Walmart) Warehouse Clubs (BJs)

Below is a screen shot of my statements from my trip to Acme. It was classified as grocery.

BCE statement - grocery

Gas stations are defined as businesses whose key purpose is to sell gasoline to consumers. That means your usual stations like the following fall within the definition:

Gulf, Murphy USA, Murphy Express, Exxon, Mobil, Hess, Shell etc.

However, gas stations that are part of supermarkets (like Walmart, Kroger etc) will not earn 2% cash back.

Below is a screenshot of my statement showing my purchase at a Gulf gas station.
 

BCP-gulf purchase


Amex defines Department stores very strictly. In fact, they have given a specific list on their site as to which are considered department stores. Below is the list:

Bealls, Belk, Bloomingdale's, Bon Ton Stores, Boscov's, Century 21 Department Stores, Dillard's, J.C. Penney (JCP), Kohl's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, Stein Mart

Peer Comparison
Peer Comparison

Card Features Annual Fee
Blue Cash Preferred 6% @supermarket ($up to $6000 a year)
3% @gas stations and select department stores
1% @everything else
$95
Blue Cash Everyday 3% @supermarket ($up to $6000 a year)
2% @gas stations and select department stores
1% @everything else
$0
BankAmericard Cash Rewards 3% @gas, 2% @supermarket and wholesale club ($up to first $2,500 each quater)
1% @everything else
$0
Chase Freedom 5% Quarterly Rotating Category
1% @everything else
$0
Discover IT 5% Quarterly Rotating Category
1% @everything else
$0
Capital One QuickSilver 1.5% @everything $0
Barclaycard Cash Forward 1.5% @everything $0
Chase Unlimited 1.5% @everything $0
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa 1.5% @everything $0


As you can see from the table above, there are three kinds of cash back credit cards. The first type is something like this card where you earn 1% cash back, and more than 1% on a couple of categories. Other examples of this type of cards include the BankAmericard CashRewards. There are also rotating category cards where you can earn 5% cash back on certain items, but only for a quarter. And the categories change every quarter. Then, there the 1.5% cash back cards where you earn a flat 1.5% cash back for all your spending. These cards are becoming more popular.

For it's category, this card offers perhaps the highest cash back. For example, the BankAmericard CashRewards lets their card members earn 2% cash back at supermarkets and wholesale club whereas BCP lets you earn 6%.

It is really hard to compare this card to rotating category or 1.5% cash back cards as it is really comparing apples and oranges. All we can say is that if you use your card at supermarkets and grocery stores, you should definitely consider this card because there is no other card that allows you to earn 6% cash back at supermarkets.

Another thing to note is that this is one of the rare cash back cards that charges an annual fee. But in return, you get to earn 6% cash back at supermarkets (no other card offers that), 3% cash back at gas stations (very few cards offer this) and 3% cash back at select department stores (no other cards offer cash back at select department stores let alone 3% cash back)

Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 6% cash back @supermarkets (up to $6,000 in annual spending)
  • 3% cash back @gas stations and select department stores
  • Redeem cash back for statement credits, shopping items and gift cards
  • Free FICO score as an American Express card member


Cons



  • Annual fee of $95
  • Cash back cannot be redeemed for check or direct deposit into bank account

Our Take
Our Take

As far as we know, the 6% cash back that you can earn at supermarkets (ie grocery spending) is something no other card offers at the moment. The 3% cash back you can earn at gas stations is pretty competitive and we also know of no other cards that allow you to earn 3% cash back at "select department stores".

Unless you don't cook at all and eat out all the time, you should seriously consider this card because you could earn cash back (and save money) by using this card at supermarkets. I suspect that most families and kids will benefit a lot from this card.

We mentioned earlier that American Express also has a no annual fee version of this card. The cash back you earn is less (3% @supermarkets vs 6% for this card, 2% @gas stations and select department stores vs 3% for this card). You should analyze your spending and figure out which card would earn your more cash back. Despite the fact that there is an annual fee for this card, many of you will be better with this version rather than the no annual fee version.

Once again, we suggest using our calculators to compare both cards.

Blue Cash Preferred Calculator

Blue Cash Everyday Calculator