For some, earning cash is more appealing than earning miles and points. I’m trying to become more balanced when it comes to this game. Points and miles can offer far greater value than cash. Cash back cards offer a flexibility that points and miles aren’t always able to. They also can be handy in miscellaneous expenses, such as taxes and fees, food, excursions and non travel items (if that’s what you like). One cash back card that is winning me over slowly is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred. It offers really solid earnings (in particular groceries!), other great perks and this card has earned a spot in my rotation.
The Sign Up Bonus:
The sign up bonus is decent, starting with a $100 credit statement after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. It also comes with a year of Amazon Prime, which is worth $99. There is also an offer $150 credit statement without Amazon Prime. When I applied, I apparently didn’t read I wouldn’t receive Amazon Prime with my $150 statement credit. Oops!! Had I been paying attention to that detail, I would have signed up for the $100 credit statement with the free year of Amazon Prime. If you don’t use Amazon or would prefer $150 credit statement then go for the larger credit statement! This does come with a $75 yearly fee that is not waived, but I believe it is well worth the price! I’ll explain why.
This is where the card really shines! Starting with 6% cash back earned at grocery stores, up to $6,000 per year. If you spend $6,000, your cash back from groceries alone would be $360. Plenty of grocery stores sell gift cards as well, so I have no problem earning 6% cash back on my Starbucks addiction or my Amazon purchases (which I then use shopping portals to earn even more!) 😀
If you were to spend less than $25 a week on groceries, using the fee free version probably would be better. If you spend more than $25 a week at the grocery store, this would be a better option than the fee free version. (Fee free earns 3% on groceries). I would think for most people, spending $25 a week at the grocery store would be fairly easy to do.
The Blue Cash Preferred also earns 3% cash back on gas. While there are cards that offer more cash back for gas purchases. This is still a decent amount of cash back, especially if you are not interested in using multiple cards. I am currently using my Discover Card, because it is currently 5% cash back on gas purchases (will be through March). You could also decide to purchase gas station gift cards at the grocery store at 6%.
You will also earn 3% at select department stores (pictured below). You could possibly find some of these gift cards at a grocery store and earn 6%. If you can’t find gift cards at the grocery store, this a good option if you shop at these stores.
Lastly, you will receive 1% on all other purchases made. You can most certainly find cash back credit cards that offer more than 1% on all purchases. The Citi Double Cash offers 2% cash back on all transactions.
My spending on my Blue Cash Preferred is in this chart. I put gas spending on this card for 6 months because the other 6 months, I earn 5% back with other cards. I don’t use this for 1% earnings because I earn more with other cards.
|Category||Yearly Spending||Cash Back|
This is one of my favorite extras with this card. AMEX offers is another way you can save money on purchases you would already make. You will find your special offers when you log on to your American Express account, either from computer or smart phone. You can also register for these offers through Twitter and Facebook These credit statements are given in addition to the cash back you would earn on the purchase.
For example, if I bought a $200 gift card to Hyatt on Newegg.com, I will receive a $25 credit statement. If I were to make a reservation at a Hyatt Place totaling $350, I could use my $200 gift card bringing my total to $150. Using my Blue Cash Preferred, I will earn an extra $50 credit statement. Saving a total of $75 and I were to use a shopping portal, I could save even more!
- Shop Runner- You will receive a free subscription with your American Express Blue Cash Preferred, you must register first. This site gives you free 2 day shipping and free returns from many websites. That can save you lots of money depending on the where you shop and the cost of shipping.
- Purchase Protection- up to $1,000 per occurrence and up to $50,000 per calendar year.
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Extended Warranty- up to $10,000 per occurrence and up to $50,000 per calendar year. Also adds up to 1 extra year to original manufactures warranty!
- Car Rental and Damage Insurance
- Access to pre-sale tickets to concerts and sporting events, premium seating at certain events
- American Express Auto Purchasing Program
American Express has some of the best extended warranty protection coverage around. Many people will forego extra points/ cash back and use their American Express Card on large purchases because of the purchase protection and extended warrantees.
If the you don’t want to pay an annual fee, there is a fee free version of this card. It earns 3% back at grocery stores, 2% at gas stations, 2% at select department stores and 1% on everything else.
This card does have a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so leave this card at home if your leave the country
If we take my spending from above and apply that to the fee free version:
|Category||Yearly Spending||Cash Back|
The difference is $220! If you subtract the $75 fee (which the bonus pays for the fee for atleast 2 years), you still earn an extra $145 per year! Making the $75 well worth the cost.
Redeeming your cash back is done in $25 increments in the form of a credit statement. You are also able to redeem for gift cards. American Express occasionally offers discounted rates on gift cards. I would prefer to use for credit statement.
This card has earned a permanent spot in my card rotation. It has an awesome earning rate especially at grocery stores plus the AMEX Offers increase the value of this card even more, The purchase protection is top notch and would be worth forgoing the points on larger purchases. This is well worth the $75 annual fee. I wish American Express would remove the foreign transaction fee and until they do, it will not be an option for international travel.
Do you like earning cash back over points/miles? Does this card deserve a spot in your rotation?