For most of us, our grocery budget is a decent chunk of our monthly budget. Wouldn’t it be great to get some of that cash back?
In our American Express Blue Cash Preferred review, we highlight one of the best cash back credit cards out there for grocery shoppers across America.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred review
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express can be a great fit for applicants who:
- Want to enjoy one year of sign-up bonuses, worth up to $350.
- Want to earn serious cash back rewards, with up to six percent back.
- Want a cash back card for groceries and everyday purchases. The Blue Cash Preferred Card grants six percent back at grocery stores, three percent back on gas and one percent back on all other purchases.
- Value competitive annual percentage rates (APRs) that beat those offered by many other rewards cards, including a 0% APR introductory rate for the first 12 months.
- Have excellent credit to meet the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card requirements.
However, if you’re squeamish about credit card fees, you might be better served by a lower-cost option. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred has fees for foreign transactions, cash advances, and balance transfers.
The card also has a higher-than-average $95 annual credit card fee. Although rewards earned can easily offset this annual cost, take a look at your monthly spending habits and do the math before deciding if this card is right for you. If you charge at least $133 of groceries a month ($1,600 a year) in the six percent cash back category, you’ll come out ahead of the $95 annual fee.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred rewards breakdown
If you’re looking for a card that will lower your costs on everyday items, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred delivers.
While most cash back cards cap out rewards at three to five percent back, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers up to six percent back. Here is a breakdown of the card’s cash back rates:
- Six percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 worth of purchases annually (this excludes warehouse stores and superstores).
- Three percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores.
- One percent cash back on all other purchases, including any supermarket purchases above $6,000.
Additionally, American Express pays out rewards you earn as Blue Cash Reward dollars. Cardholders claim these rewards dollars as statement credits whenever they accrue $25 or more.
However, keep in mind card users cannot apply these statement credits toward their minimum due payment. And they can only earn rewards on new purchases, not balance transfers or cash advances.
Sign-up bonuses with American Express Blue Cash Preferred
These sign-up bonuses can boost your cash back rewards during your first year as a Blue Cash Preferred cardholder. Here’s what you can get:
- 10 percent cash back at U.S. restaurants for the first six months of membership, up to $200 in rewards.
- $150 cash back bonus when you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months.
Overall, you could get up to $350 in sign-up bonuses. Keep in mind that these bonus offers are valid for credit card applications submitted through May 3, 2017.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred interest rates and fees
Cardholders should expect some fees with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. However, the costs of this card are on-par with those charged by other rewards and cash back credit cards.
When it comes to this credit card’s interest rates, the APR will be a variable rate. Based on your creditworthiness and other factors, you will have an APR of 13.49 to 23.49% (as of March 2017)
Yet, these credit card interest rates start well below the average 15.61% APR for cash back cards, according to CreditCards.com. The card does carry higher APRs for cash advances and penalty interest rates on late payments.
Other Blue Cash Preferred Card fees are levied on a transaction or as a penalty. This gives the cardholder complete control over whether they pay theses costs. Fees for this card include:
- Balance transfer fee of either $5 or three percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- Cash advance fee of either $5 or three percent of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
- Foreign transaction fee of 2.7 percent after conversion to U.S. dollars.
- Late payment fee of up to $38
- Returned payment fee of up to $38
Applying for an Amex Blue Cash Preferred card
The American Express website is easy to use and navigate. And for card shoppers, its card comparison feature makes it easy to see how different Amex offers match up.
You can click “Add to Compare” for the cards you’re interested in and select up to five cards. Then click “Compare Cards” at the top of the screen and the site will generate a table comparing features and terms (pictured below).
Once you’ve selected the card you want, like the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, you can select “Apply Now.” This will take you to a page with a credit card application.
The American Express credit card application asks for the following information (pictured below):
- Identifying information like name, birthdate and Social Security number.
- Contact information including email, phone number, and residential address.
- Income amount and source.
Once you hit submit, the application will process in 60 seconds and you’ll know right away if you’re approved for the credit card. You will be able to view the full credit card details and terms, and agree to them. Then you should get your credit card in just a week or two by mail.
If you prefer, you can call American Express at 1-800-243-3888 and apply for a credit card over the phone.
Cardholders can use the company’s site to log in, view, and manage their account. They can also do this through the American Express mobile app, available for iOS and Android. The app offers features like real-time alerts and Amex rewards offers.
Eligibility and credit requirements for the Blue Cash Preferred Card
Before you apply for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, you should know that not every applicant will qualify.
Amex requires an excellent credit score prior to approval for this card. You’ll probably need a credit score at least in the mid-600s, but your chances will be best if it’s above 700. You should check your credit score before you apply.
Your income might also impact your Amex Blue Cash Preferred application or the terms you’re offered, such as the APR or credit limit.
If you fall short of the credit requirements for the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you might be approved for another, less-exclusive card from Amex.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred customer service and experience
Overall, Blue Cash Preferred cardholders like this credit card and give American Express good ratings, according to Credit Karma.
Most say the Blue Cash Preferred is the ideal grocery rewards card, and love the cash back and bonus offers they earn on everyday purchases. However, some cardholders also say they didn’t get as much cash back as they expected.
One thing to remember is that American Express is not as widely accepted by businesses as other credit cards, like Visa or MasterCard. This, combined with restrictions on store selection, keep some customers from taking full advantage of the six percent cash back at supermarkets.
While the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express can deliver cash back savings above and beyond other cards, only you can tell if they will outweigh the annual fee attached to it. Always keep your spending habits top of mind when deciding on the best credit card for you.
How to contact American Express
You can log in at AmericanExpress.com to chat live with a representative whenever you want.
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|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.
†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com
**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.
|5.75% – 16.24%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|7.69% – 35.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|7.99% – 35.89%*||$1,000 - $50,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%2||$5,000 - $35,000|
|5.99% – 29.99%3||$7,500 - $40,000|
|6.79% – 20.89%4||$5,000 - $50,000|
|9.99% – 35.99%5||$2,000 - $25,000|
|6.95% – 35.89%6||$1,000 - $40,000|
|6.99% – 18.24%7||$5,000 - $75,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000|