With summer travel coming up, it’s not only time to reevaluate how you use your current cards, but also to look at what cards to add to your wallet for the future. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one such card to consider.
The Blue Cash Preferred is currently offering a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months. Plus, it comes with a $0 intro annual fee for first year, then $95 (see rates & fees).
Let’s dive into whether the Blue Cash Preferred is the right card to add to your wallet — and who should and shouldn’t get one.
Key benefits of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred
The most notable perk of the Blue Cash Preferred is its generous bonuses for certain spending categories. While some cards may earn a cash back (or points) bonus on only one or two categories, the Blue Cash Preferred actually offers a bonus on four areas of spending:
You’ll earn 1% everywhere else. Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as as statement credit.
Earning 6% cash back (and even 3% cash back) is nothing to sneeze at. And if you take a closer look, these are all categories that benefit everyday spending the most. From groceries to streaming, these are generally the areas we’re spending more in now than before, whether you’re traveling or not.
Cardmembers can also receive a $7 monthly statement credit after qualifying purchases online with Disney+, Hulu or ESPN+. That’s up to $84 in yearly value for these popular streaming services.
Related: Review of the Blue Cash Preferred
Who should get the Blue Cash Preferred card?
You want to earn cash back
This is obviously the first thing you should consider deciding if the Blue Cash Preferred is right for you. The age-old question, especially for many card beginners: is it better to earn points for your purchases or earn cash back?
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If you want to travel (at least one day) and your top priority is getting the most value from a credit card, you should get a points- or miles-earning card. You can get a far greater return out of a points rewards card from maximizing the perks and redemption options when compared to most cash-back cards.
Related: My mom got her first rewards card after using cash for 50 years
But not everyone has travel as a priority right now. Additionally, not everyone has the time — or inclination — to put much effort into tracking spending and redemption strategies, which is where cash-back cards like the Blue Cash Preferred come in. There’s the amazing simplicity of earning and redeeming a flat amount — and you always know what to expect when redeeming.
If you’re already a subscriber to Hulu, Disney+ or ESPN+, for example, that’s an easy $84 of yearly value with the Blue Cash Preferred.
You spend a significant amount in the bonus categories
If you don’t have a lot of spending on at least one or two of the bonus categories (U.S. streaming subscriptions, U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per calendar year, transit and U.S. gas stations), then it likely doesn’t make sense to get this card.
For instance, you’d earn $360 if you max out the cash back benefit on U.S. supermarkets per year, making the intro annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95 (see rates and fees) more than worth it. That breaks down to spending $500 on groceries per month.
In addition, the average U.S. consumer subscribes to 12 media and entertainment services, so the 6% cash back on the card should come in handy. However, streaming as a category likely wouldn’t earn you a significant haul of cash back since services usually are no more than $20 each per month.
Still, when you combine two 6% categories and two 3% categories, you’ll earn a meaningful amount of cash back each year.
Related: Your credit card now has you covered if you forget to cancel a subscription service
You don’t want to remember temporary categories
The Blue Cash Preferred is built for simplicity. It has relevant, simple bonus categories and the ease of cash-back earning. To redeem, you can easily receive a statement credit, get gift cards or shop directly with your rewards.
Related: Monthly card benefit updates you should know about
Who shouldn’t get the Blue Cash Preferred Card?
Conversely, there are several reasons why the Blue Cash Preferred might not be the best fit for you.
You prefer points or miles to cash back
The Blue Cash Preferred’s selling point is its simple cash-back structure; if you want a card better suited for travel rewards, you’d be much better off with something like the American Express® Gold Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express, where you can stack up points to your heart’s content.
You want loads of perks
Similarly, the Blue Cash Preferred doesn’t have much in the way of additional bells and whistles. Compare that to the Amex Platinum’s plethora of annual statement credits, which work best for frequent travelers and high spenders.
You can handle complex earning structures
If you don’t mind doing a little more day-to-day credit card calculus — juggling all the pieces of plastic in your wallet and deciding which card is best for every purchase — you might prefer one of the aforementioned Amex cards, or a cash-back card with a more complicated earning structure, to the Blue Cash Preferred.
Amex’s Blue Cash Preferred is one of the best rewards credit cards — and for good reason.
This is a lucrative card if you can maximize the bonus categories and want to earn cash back (instead of points). You can currently take advantage of the current offer of a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership.
Even if you decide against applying for the Blue Cash Preferred, check out TPG’s list of the best credit cards to find the right card to meet your earning goals.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, click here.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox.