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Blue Cash Preferred from American Express 2022 review: The best grocery rewards card

The Blue Cash Preferred is one of the best credit cards for earning rewards on necessary spending, like gas and groceries.
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Written by Evan Zimmer, Finance Writer on
Reviewed by Marc Wojno

Credit cards are a great way to earn a return on purchases that you have to make, like gas and groceries. One of the best ways to use a credit card is by letting it work for you without having to alter your spending habits to fit the card. If you don't have a gas or grocery rewards card, you're missing out on easy rewards.

The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express is potentially the most rewarding card when it comes to supermarkets and select streaming services in the U.S., in addition to earning a strong rate for purchases at U.S. gas stations.

Here's why the Blue Cash Preferred would make a welcomed addition to any consumer's wallet.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
APR15.49%-25.49% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases
Annual Fee$95
Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Blue Cash Preferred is incredibly rewarding. While it does have an annual fee, the rewards you'll earn from purchases at U.S. supermarkets (excluding Walmart, Costco, and Target) you likely will forget about the fee, which is something I can personally attest to.

For example, just by spending as little as $1,600 on groceries annually cardholders will earn $96 back, which is enough to cover the fee. That works out to only about $133 in grocery spending each month, which is less than what most families spend in a single week. Cardholders also will earn much more than that after considering the card's other bonus categories.

And take note, consumers can earn that strong 6% cash back rate at other retailers by using the Blue Cash Preferred to purchase gift cards at the grocery store.

In addition to the strong grocery and gas rewards, cardholders can earn something back for all of their binge-watching needs. Most streaming services are covered, including Netflix, Spotify, HBO Max, and Hulu. Even lesser-known services like Peacock and Stitcher are covered.

Pros

  • 6% cash back for U.S. supermarkets and select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back for U.S. gas stations
  • 0% intro APR offer for new purchases for 12 months (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable)

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • $6,000 annual spending limit at U.S. supermarkets
  • $25 minimum redemption

What makes this a good choice?

Redeeming rewards

Once you've put away your groceries, filled the tank, and have the latest episode of your favorite show queued up, redeeming rewards is easy. Cardholders can redeem rewards for:

  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise

Statement credits will reduce the overall balance of the account. Just keep in mind that it won't cover the required minimum monthly payment should you revolve a balance. By paying off your statement balance in full each month, you'll avoid any interest charges, so it's recommended that consumers get in that habit.

Card benefits

While the true draw for the Blue Cash Preferred is its impressive rewards, cardholders also will find value in its benefits and protections:

  • $120 Equinox+ credit: Get $120 back in statement credits each year when you pay for an Equinox+ membership.
  • ShopRunner membership: Receive free 2-day shipping on eligible items through the ShopRunner network.
  • Amex Offers: Earn extra rewards on purchases from a list of select merchants.
  • MyCredit Guide: Check your VantageScore 3.0 credit score and TransUnion credit report for free.
  • CreditSecure: Monitor one of your credit scores, get help with identity theft, and receive fraud assistance. It's $1 for the first month, then $17 monthly.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Decline the rental car provider's insurance offer and charge the full amount to your card. Your rental will be covered against damage and theft.
  • Global Assist Hotline: Get help with medical, legal, and other assistance when you're away from home.
  • Purchase Protection: Your new purchases are covered against damage and theft for 90 days.
  • Extended Warranty: American Express will extend a manufacturer's warranty for an additional year so long as it's five years or less.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

How to apply

Head over to American Express's website, where you can securely apply. Fill out the required information including but not limited to, contact information, income, and monthly rent or mortgage payment. American Express will likely get back to you instantly with its decision or it will contact you if further information is required.

The Blue Cash Preferred is designed for consumers with good to excellent credit. To be considered for that credit range, your FICO score must be at least 670, or your VantageScore must be at least 661.

What's the difference between the Blue Cash Preferred and the Blue Cash Everyday card?

The Blue Cash Everday doesn't have an annual fee, but it offers half of the rewards. Cardholders will earn 3% cash back (on the first $6,000 spent annually, then 1%) at US supermarkets, 2% at US gas stations, and 1% for everything else. It's a bit simpler than the Blue Cash Preferred, and less rewarding.

While the lack of an annual fee may seem enticing, you'll actually get more for your money by choosing the Blue Cash Preferred.

Is the Blue Cash Preferred a metal card?

No, the Blue Cash Preferred is not a metal card. Instead, it's a sleek, plastic design.

How much do I need to spend to cover the Blue Cash Preferred's annual fee?

If you spend just $1,600 on groceries per year, you'll earn $96 back, which is enough to cover the fee. If you take into account the card's other bonus categories, such as streaming, gas, and transit, cardholders will earn much more than that.

Check out our page on the 5 best credit cards for groceries to see how it stacks up to the competition.

Is this the right card for you?

If you don't have a credit card that earns rewards for necessary purchases like gas and groceries, you'd be hard pressed to find a better option. The Blue Cash Preferred offers one of the highest rewards rates for groceries, if not the highest, among consumer credit cards.

While it does have an annual fee, it doesn't take much spending at all to cover it, and then some. The grocery rewards add up quickly, before even considering its other bonus categories. Where the card is lacking is in the benefits, but there are still a handful of perks that cardholders can appreciate, such as rental car insurance, Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, and a ShopRunner membership.

The biggest draw is earning a return on spending you're doing anyway. Earning rewards for purchases you have to make should be an easy choice for most consumers.

What's the bottom line?

If you need a card that rewards you for gas and groceries, choose this one. It's simple to use and the rewards add up quickly. I've had the card for a number of years now, and have hardly noticed the annual fee. I spend about $400 on groceries each month, so the card pays for itself in just four months, without considering the return on gas and streaming. That means the cash back accrued over the other eight months of the year is simply money that goes back into my account.

The benefits of Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty give cardholders added security when making purchases with the card, and the ShopRunner membership cuts down on shipping time if you can take advantage of it.

Are there any alternative credit cards worth considering?

The Blue Cash Preferred offers one of the highest cash back rates for grocery spending, so in terms of a grocery credit card, this is your best bet. However, for consumers who maybe don't want to have multiple credit cards or are put off by the annual fee, there are a handful of other reward cards worth considering.

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠: Earn 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in total combined purchases each quarter you activate) in bonus categories that change every quarter. Rotating categories include grocery stores, streaming services, and Amazon purchases. In addition to the rotating rewards, the card earns 5% and 3% cash back for static categories, so it covers a ton of ground and doesn't require an annual fee.
  • Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases, for no annual fee. It's a simple but rewarding card that features strong Visa Signature protections. It pairs well with other cards, like the Blue Cash Preferred. Use the Blue Cash Preferred for groceries, gas, and streaming services, and the Active Cash for everything else to maximize your return.
  • Costco Anywhere VisaIf you're a Costco member and are looking for a gas card, consider the Costco Visa card. It earns 4% cash back (on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year) for Costco gas, but that can be increased to 6% cash back if you're an Executive member. Executive members ($120 annually at Costco) earn 2% cash back (on the first $1,000 spent annually) for Costco purchases. However, the card features very few other benefits.

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