The Blue Cash Preferred. The ultimate family cash back card. Don't let the $95 annual fee scare you away. Ask yourself, do you spend $132 on groceries a month? If so, the groceries you buy will earn you enough cash back to cover the annual fee. Spend upwards of $500 a month on groceries? Then you'll clear an additional $264 a year in cash back. That is so many Capri suns. The Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back on groceries for up-to $6,000 on grocery purchases (from U.S. grocery stores). You'll earn 3% on U.S. gas station purchases and select department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else. Do you have a minivan? This card is for you.
But wait, there's more. American Express recently added two additional earning categories to make this card more attractive to minivan avoiding millennials. You'll also be able to earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, and 3% cash back on transit expenses. These new categories come with no earning limits, which is nice to see from American Express. Transit covers useful things like tolls, parking, subways, and ride share services - making this card more attractive for Uber rides than one of our favorite cash back cards, the Uber Visa. 3% on transit also pairs really nicely with the existing 3% perk for U.S. gas stations. This was a well thought out change that we personally love.
Noms. 6% on U.S. grocery store purchases (up-to 6,000 a year). That's $360 a year. 3% on gas from U.S. gas stations and some department stores up to an "unlimited amount", which for us is $75 a week or so, or $117 a year in rewards, plus 1% on everything else. A qualifying list of grocery and department stores can be found at American Express. For the family spender that wants cash back this card is easily worth the $95 annual fee.
Redeeming cash back is pretty simple. Login to your American Express account once you have $25 in rewards and request a statement credit. You can also redeem for gift cards or merchandise, but statement credits are generally going to make the most sense.
The Blue Cash Preferred does one thing well - allow you to earn cash back. There aren't a ton of additional bells and whistles here, but there are a couple of often overlooked features.
People with excellent credit. You should have a credit score in the 700s if you are considering applying for this credit card. Family folks would be the target market for the Blue Cash Preferred. These are people that love to cook (or at least have to cook). People that love wine, if your grocery store sells wine. People that drive. Do you drive places? An unlimited 3% on gas and tolls can add up quickly.
Those that travel via plane. Those that want to travel aspirationally. Cash back isn't particularly useful in those instances and your earning potential will be stifled if you don't spend money on groceries. If you're a power traveler we'd consider the Amex Gold card for 4 points per dollar on dining out or groceries, with the ability to transfer to hotel and airline loyalty programs via Membership Rewards. If you're more interested in cash back without the annual fee, the Uber Visa offers a healthy 4% cash back on dining without the annual fee.
American Express is kind of notorious for their restrictions and terms apply language. U.S. grocery stores, U.S. gas stations, etc. As long as those restrictions aren't deal breakers for your shopping patterns, we wouldn't worry too much about these. They come into play much more when you get into Amex's travel focused credit cards.
If you have a baby seat, stop reading. You should have signed up for this card already. You're just reading for fun at this point. If you are attending brunch this weekend and then traveling to Mykonos, take a look at the Amex Gold Card, or Uber Visa.