Since the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express reintroduced its great welcome offer last week (waived annual fee the first year, $300 cashback bonus) and people are more budget-conscious than they’ve been in a while, I thought it’d be good to compare Amex’s two Blue Cash cards: the Everyday and Preferred.
I hold both cards — and will explain why in a couple of minutes.
Blue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred: Differences and Similarities
Both cards earn Reward Dollars (which can be redeemed toward statement credit) and have base earnings of 1%.
That’s pretty much where their similarities end.
Take a look.
|Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express||Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express|
|Rewards Earned||Amex Reward Dollars (Cashback that can be applied as statement credit.)||Amex Reward Dollars (Cashback that can be applied as statement credit.)|
|Annual Fee||$0||Waived the first year as part of the current promotion. Then $95 each year after.|
|Current Welcome Offer||Receive $200 cash back after spending $1000 in eligible purchases within three months of approval.||Receive $300 cash back after spending $3000 in eligible purchases within six months of approval.|
|U.S. Supermarkets||3% cash back (up to $6,000/year in eligible purchases. Then 1%.)||6% cash back (up to $6,000/year in eligible purchases. Then 1%.)|
|Select U.S. Streaming Services||1%||6%|
|U.S. Gas Stations||2%||3%|
|Transit (taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, etc)||1%||3%|
|Select U.S. Department Stores||2%||1%|
|All Other Purchases||1%||1%|
|Introductory APR||0% for 15 months from the date of account opening. Then variable.||0% for 12 months from the date of account opening. Then variable.|
|Rates and Fees||Available here.||Available here.|
Let’s compare and contrast!
A Quick Word About Rewards Dollars
Both cards earn Reward Dollars. You can apply them against your balance whenever you have at least $25 worth of Reward Dollars stored up.
And that’s really my only beef with the cards.
I have $1.31 in Reward Dollars just kind of sitting there with my Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. And because I rarely use the card, who knows if I’ll ever hit $25. Although, the welcome bonus and Amazon promotion more than make up for it. I’m not losing sleep. Still, it’s sort of the principle of the matter.
But as long as you have at least $25 Reward Dollars, you can apply however many you want — whenever you want.
This is one area where Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards are superior to Amex’s cashback cards — because you don’t need to sit around until you have 2500 URs in order to redeem them.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express has no annual fee (which is always nice!). The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express runs you $95 a year. But the current promotion waives the first year’s annual fee. So if you’ve ever wanted the BCP, now’s the time.
Current Welcome Offer
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express awards you $200 in Reward Dollars after you spend $1000 within three months of being approved for the card. That’s fairly easy to achieve.
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, however, awards $300. But you need to spend $3000 over the course of six months. (So if you spend an average of $500 across all your purchases, this should be easy.)
This is the reason my wife and I have the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. It awards 6% back on purchases made at U.S. supermarkets. That benefit is capped at $6,000 in annual spending, though.
After that, we move to either my American Express Gold Card (4X at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 in annual spending) or use another card with any grocery promotions. (Chase’s Pay Yourself Back has been helpful for us.)
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 3% back at U.S. supermarkets and is also capped at $6,000 yearly on those purchases.
And here’s where your decision could be made. I know annual fees stink. But if you max out the Preferred‘s 6% perk, you’ll earn a total of $360 back — or $265 after factoring in the annual fee.
If you max out the Everyday‘s 6%, you’re earning only $180.
So if you spend six grand at supermarkets every year, getting the annual fee card actually awards you $85 more than the no annual fee card.
Select U.S. Streaming Services
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers its 1% base on these purchases.
U.S. Gas Stations
Both cards bonus purchases made at U.S. gas stations. This can be extra nice when you take advantage of Amex Offers featuring gas stations.
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has the edge here: 3% back compared to the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express‘ 2%. (We use our Citi Costco card for gas purchases unless there’s a great Amex Offer.)
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express earns a respectable 3% on purchases made with taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, etc. (I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve for these; it offers 3X, which I can redeem at 4.5 cents per point when booking travel through Chase.)
Select U.S. Department Stores
I’ll be honest: unless there’s an Amex Offer at a store where I actually need something, this benefit does nothing for me. But it may be great for you.
- Bon Ton Stores
- Century 21 Department Stores
- J.C. Penney (JCP)
- Lord & Taylor
- Neiman Marcus
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Stein Mart
The Preferred awards only 1%.
Both cards offer an introductory 0% APR for new approvals. The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express gives the perk to new cardholders 15 months from the date of card membership approval. But the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express comes in three months shorter 12 months.
So Which Card is Better?
This all comes down to your spending habits and budget.
If you spent a lot of money at supermarkets and have a bunch of streaming subscriptions, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is the way to go.
If you’re absolutely against annual fees, then consider the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. But remember the math from the U.S. Supermarket section above — and don’t cheat yourself out of extra money simply to make a point.
Why I Hold Both Cards
My wife and I have had the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express for several years. It’s our go-to card for grocery shopping (until we hit the $6k limit) and streaming. We easily earn back the $95 annual fee — and several hundred dollars on top of that.
I never really planned on holding the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. The Blue Cash is, for my spending, a superior card.
But a promotion last fall awarded 20% cashback on Amazon purchases (up to $200 back) and carried a $150 welcome bonus. So I got the Everyday card simply to help pay for a new MacBook Pro (and related accessories) I bought through Amazon. That shaved almost $400 off everything. And the card gave me 15 months with no APR.
Unless you really want the Everyday card right now, consider waiting. I’m hoping Amex runs a similar Amazon promo later in the year.
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express and Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express are two solid options for cashback cards. The Preferred is, in my estimation, much better. Its annual fee is easily negated thanks to its 6% and 3% bonus categories.
Do you have either card — or both? Please share your thoughts and comments below!
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