Amex Blue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred

Grocery spending is one of the biggest line items in many households’ budgets. So, it only makes sense to maximize the reward points you earn from your grocery purchases.

Some credit cards earn the same amount of rewards no matter where you are spending, while others earn a category bonus in certain categories – and grocery spending is a bonus category on many different cards. Two of the most popular cards with bonuses on grocery spending are the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

Though the two seem similar at first glance, they have slightly different rewards rates and annual fees, tailoring them to a specific kind of spender. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Blue Cash Everyday versus Blue Cash Preferred to see which might be right for you.

Blue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred: at a glance

Blue Cash Everyday
Blue Cash Everyday
Blue Cash Preferred
Blue Cash Preferred
Rewards rate
  • 3% cash back U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back general purchases
  • Terms apply
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply
Introductory bonus
  • $100 when you spend $1,000 in first six months; 20% back on Amazon purchases for the first six months
  • Terms apply
  • $250 when you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • Terms apply
Annual fee $0 $95
Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend, including sign-up bonus) $310 $406
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Best rewards rate on groceries
Cons
  • Lower rewards value than the Blue Cash Preferred card, even with the annual fee factored in
  • High annual fee
Who should get this card?
  • Cardholders who don’t want to commit to an annual fee
  • Cardholders who spend at least $3,200/year on groceries
  • Cardholders who want an all-around great card for their everyday spending

Rewards rate

Both the Amex Blue Cash Everyday and the Blue Cash Preferred cards have bonus rates in similar categories, though there are slight differences. Additionally, the Blue Cash Preferred card has higher rewards earning rates, which makes sense given its annual fee.

The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card earns:

  • 3% cash back U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations
  • 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card earns:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
  • 3% cash back on transit
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

While both cards earn a spot on our list of the best cards for groceries, the Blue Cash Preferred card’s earning categories are certainly better than those on the Blue Cash Everyday. Not only do you get higher rewards earning rates at gas stations and grocery stores, but you also get additional bonus categories for select streaming subscriptions and transit.

The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card does earn 2% cash back at department stores, but that is more of a niche category that is not as relevant for most people. Plus, you could match that rate with a top flat-rate cash back card while boosting your earnings on other purchases.

Annual fee

Another big difference between the Blue Cash Preferred and the Blue Cash Everyday cards is their annual fee. The Blue Cash Everyday card does not have an annual fee, while the annual fee on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is $95.

Additionally, unlike some other cards, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card’s annual fee is not waived the first year. Whether the annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred card is worth it depends mostly on how much of the grocery cash back benefit you use each year.

Introductory bonus

The two cards have similar introductory bonus offers, but like with the rewards rate, the cash back you can get with the Blue Cash Preferred card’s is higher. The current offers for the two cards are as follows:

  • Blue Cash Everyday – $100 when you spend $1,000 in first six months; 20% back on Amazon purchases for the first six months, up to $200 back
  • Blue Cash Preferred – $250 when you spend $1,000 in first 3 months (terms apply)

You can see that the introductory bonus on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is $100 higher than the bonus on the Blue Cash Everyday. But the Everyday is currently offering a limited-time bonus of 20% back on Amazon purchases for the first six months, up to $200. You’ll have to spend a little over $3,300 in six months to meet the full cap, but if you do, you’ll end up with a net $50 more than the Blue Cash Preferred’s bonus.

Plus, the Blue Cash Preferred card also comes with a $95 annual fee, so the difference in the welcome offer is not quite as significant as it appears at first glance.

Best for cardholders who spend more than $3,200/year on groceries: Blue Cash Preferred

Thanks to the Blue Cash Preferred card’s higher rate on U.S. supermarket spending, $3,200 in annual grocery spending is the break-even point where you will earn enough extra rewards on grocery purchases to offset the $95 annual fee. When you break that down per month, $3,200 per year on grocery spending comes out to $267 each month.

Considering the latest USDA report indicates a family of four will spend $1,000 or more each month on groceries, it’s not unreasonable that you might be able to max out your grocery rewards with the Blue Cash Preferred card. Remember that you only get the 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in grocery purchases this year, then the rate drops to 1%. That averages about to $500 per month, and if you hit that, you’ll come out nearly $100 ahead with the Blue Cash Preferred card over the Everyday, even accounting for the $95 annual fee.

Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a flat 1.5% cash back rate on every purchase.

Best for cardholders who spend less on groceries: Blue Cash Everyday

If you spend significantly less than the average household on groceries, you may not earn enough rewards to offset the $95 annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred card. In that case, it may make sense to go with the no annual fee Amex Blue Cash Everyday card.

This is also true if you have other cards with good earnings at grocery stores, like the American Express Gold Card. The Gold Card earns 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets for the first $25,000 in spending.

You might also consider the Blue Cash Everyday over the Preferred if you don’t want to pay the $95 annual fee upfront. In that case, the lack of an annual fee on the Blue Cash Everyday may be attractive.

Bottom line

When comparing only the Blue Cash Everyday and the Blue Cash Preferred, the Blue Cash Preferred is a clear winner.

For most people (those spending at least $267 per month at grocery stores), the Blue Cash Preferred will net you more cash back, even considering the $95 annual fee. But for everyone, you always have the option to downgrade your card to the Blue Cash Everyday, which still offers a solid cash back rate on U.S. supermarket purchases.

 

Source: creditcards.com