American Express has two great cash back credit cards: the no-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which comes with a $95 annual fee. They're two of our favorite cash back credit cards, and can generate sizeable cash back earnings for the average consumer. Read more about the benefits and differences in our review of the Amex Blue Cash cards.
The Amex Blue Cash cards are two of our favorite credit cards for cash back because their rewards categories line up nicely with the major buckets of most consumers' spending: groceries, gas, and shopping. On top of this, their cash back percentages are on the higher end compared to other cards. These two factors make the Blue Cash cards quite valuable in the wallet of the average person.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of our favorite cash back credit card because it gets the average consumer the most cash rewards back. It offers high rewards rates on three categories that make up most people's budgets. At 6%, the U.S. supermarket rewards rate (capped at $6k in purchases per year) is the highest bonus percentage we've seen for that category. While the 6% can only be earned on the first $6,000 of U.S. supermarket spending in the year, it is still a solid deal for the category compared to other credit cards. A 3% cash back rate on U.S gas stations is above average as well. These accelerated bonuses more than make up for the annual fee of $95 for the typical person.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is another good no-annual-fee cash back credit card to consider for people who tend to eat out more instead of cooking and generally spend less. Like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express rewards purchases made at U.S. supermarket, and U.S. gas station - just at lower rates of 3% (capped at the same $6k in purchases per year), 2% respectively.
Which Card Should I Get: the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express or the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express?
If you're deciding betwen the no-annual-fee version and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, the choice will depend primarily on your supermarket spending. If you spend more than $3,200 on groceries or at the supermarket in a year, go with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Its extra 3% U.S. supermarket bonus over the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express pays for itself above this mark. In fact, it ranked as our favorite cash back credit card since it yielded the most cash back in an analysis of rewards earned on the average consumer's budget.
On the other hand, if your annual supermarket bills are less than $3,200, then other no-annual-fee credit cards may get you more cash back than the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. We found that for the average consumer's spending, the Fidelity Amex and the Chase Freedom® actually earned more cash rewards. When your supermarket bills are lower, the overall 2% Fidelity Amex rewards rate you earn on other buckets of spending proves more valuable than the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express 1% rate on all other. The Chase Freedom® rewards categories offer great seasonal 5% bonuses that get consumers more bonus categories than the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has, which means more opportunity to earn rewards faster. More on this below in our comparisons.
|Credit Needed||Excellent, Good|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.|
|Credit Needed||Excellent, Good|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.|
Analysis of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Rewards
To give you a sense of the rewards a typical family with children can earn, we've calculated the cash back assuming an average family's annual expenditure. Average spending is based on expense data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that we think can be charged on a credit card. This excludes one-time welcome bonuses.
|Annual Consumer Spending for Family||Amount||Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express|
|U.S. Supermarket (first $6k at bonus rates)||$7,400||$194||$374|
|U.S. Gas Station||$6,600||$132||$198|
|Less: Annual Fee||$0||$95|
|Net Cash Back Earned||$25,000||$436||$587|
Rewards Rate for the Amex Blue Cash Cards
The more you spend towards the bonus categories of groceries (up to $6,000), and at U.S. gas stations the better your rewards rate. Based on the cash back earned on an average family's credit card spending, the rewards rate for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is 1.7%, while the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express rewards rate is 2.4%. These figures are calculated by dividing an annual credit card spend of $25,000 by the net cash back earned in our table above.
What's Included in the Bonus Categories?
U.S. Supermarket bonuses are capped at $6,000 a year for both the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. You can earn these bonuses by shopping at places that primarily sell general groceries and everyday household products, such as Shoprite, Whole Foods, and Fresh Direct. Grocery spending beyond the first $6,000 earns 1% cash back. On the other hand, specialty places, like cheese shops or wine shops, just get 1%. Superstores and warehouse clubs like Amazon, Walmart, and Sam's Club don't count either. Gas bonuses can only be earned at standalone gas stations, so your typical roadside Mobil, Shell, or Exxon stands are included. However, if you refuel at Sam's Club or buy cartons of gasoline in a store, then those would fall into other categories.
How to Redeem Rewards with the Amex Blue Cash Cards
Cash back comes in the form of Reward Dollars with Amex. You can redeem Reward Dollars in multiples of $25 towards statement credits or gift cards with various merchants. If you want a check for your cash back / Reward Dollars, you'll have pay your account balance in full, and then call American Express to request the check. It takes about 5 - 7 business days to mail the check.
We've picked out a few other credit cards that are similar in terms of rewards rate and rewards structures for your reference.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express vs. Chase Freedom®
Generally speaking, someone with an average spending pattern (mostly groceries, eating out, and gas, etc.), will get the most cash back from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, then the Chase Freedom®, followed by the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. The Blue Cash cards are preferable for people who just want an easy-to-use and preloaded card, while the Freedom's categories require quarterly activation.
The more detailed answer depends on how you spend your money, and how much effort you want to put into your card. For example, if your spending is pretty regular during the year and you spend at least $2,500 at the supermarket, then the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express bonus categories will reward you more. However, if you spend below $2,500 on groceries and household goods, or just want access to more bonus categories or merchants, then go for the Chase Freedom®. The Chase Freedom® has a broader array of opportunities for 5% cash back, including Starbucks, movie theaters, home improvement stores, etc., along a seasonal theme and depending on the quarter. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, while a good cash back credit card, pales compared to the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and Chase Freedom®. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has fewer rewards categories and lower bonus percentages versus the two.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express vs. Fidelity Investment Rewards
This comparison depends on what your major buckets of spending are. If you purchase a lot of goods and groceries at your local supermarket, then you'll be better off with the 6% cash back on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express in that category. On the other hand, if your spending is irregular, or you just eat out more and take public transportation more, than the Fidelity Investment Rewards Amex is the better choice. You'll earn a flat 2% rewards rate on every dollar of net spending. The one consideration is that cash rewards need to be deposited into a Fidelity account, so you'll have to open one if you don't have one.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
If you're looking for a credit card with a high rewards rate, and have a preference for travel, then the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a better choice. You get a general high 2% rewards rate on all spending when you redeem rewards for travel. Other advantages for the traveler with the Venture are: no foreign transaction fee on international spending. You're better off with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express if you spend more at supermarkets, and gas stations care more about cash back.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Card
The advantages of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card over the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express are simplicity and flexibility. With the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card, you earn a lower (still decent) but more broadly applicable cash back rate: 1.5% cash back on all net spending. No need to keep in mind category restrictions or caps. For example, if most of your spending is at Costco, or on Amazon.com, and you spend a lot more than $6,000 on supermarkets, then the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card will reward you 1.5% for all of that, compared to the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express 1%. However, if your spending levels are moderate, and you naturally spend more at supermarkets and gas stations then the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express makes more sense. Both are no-annual-fee cards.
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