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Who should (and who shouldn’t) get the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card?

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 2/25/2021 Chris Dong
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. 

Over the past year, the pandemic has drastically shifted how people use their credit cards. Spending on certain travel-related expenses (like airfare) has declined while increased spending on streaming and grocery spending has become almost essential parts of most of our routines.

That means it’s a good time 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. And now, the card has a newly increased welcome offer.

The Blue Cash Preferred is currently offering a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Plus, the first-year annual fee is waived, then $95 (see rates & fees).

a close up of a card: (Photo by The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by The Points Guy)

Let’s dive into whether the Blue Cash Preferred is the right card to add to your wallet — and who should and who shouldn’t get one.

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Key benefits

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.

Those spending bonuses are as follows:

a group of people waiting at a train station: (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

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.

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?

If you want to travel (at least one day) and your top priority is getting the most value out of 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.

a hand holding a remote control in front of a television: (Photo by Paolo De Gasperis/Shutterstock) © The Points Guy (Photo by Paolo De Gasperis/Shutterstock)

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 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 annual fee of $95, waived the first year (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 be able to earn a meaningful amount of cash back on a per-year basis.

Related: Your credit card now has you covered if you forget to cancel a subscription service

a person standing next to a bowl of fruit: (Photo by Yagi Studio/Getty Images) © The Points Guy (Photo by Yagi Studio/Getty Images)

You don’t want to remember temporary categories

Over the last year during the pandemic, there is a new card update or bonus category change announced almost monthly. Thankfully, we have a guide to card benefit changes that breaks it all down. However, you might prefer something simple (instead of keeping track of limited-time perks and when they kick in or expire).

The Blue Cash Preferred is ideal for that. It has bonus categories that are relevant to our current environment and has the ease of cash-back earning. To redeem, you can receive a simple statement credit, get gift cards or shop directly with your rewards.

Related: Monthly card benefit updates you should know about 

Bottom line

Amex’s Blue Cash Preferred is one of the most popular rewards cards — and for good reason. On paper, it’s one of the best cash-back cards and is now even more rewarding during the pandemic when consumer spending patterns have shifted.

If you can maximize the bonus categories and want to earn cash back (instead of points), this is a lucrative card to have. You can currently take advantage of a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months. Plus, the first-year annual fee is waived (see rates & fees).

Even if you decide against applying for the Blue Cash Preferred, make sure to check out TPG’s list of the best credit cards to find the right card to meet your travel goals. Alternatively, here is a list of other credit cards with increased welcome bonuses.

Related: Chase thought I stole my own identity — so I got my first credit card with Amex instead

Featured photo by The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, please click here.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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