Amex Blue Cash Back Cards Compared – Which is better?

By on May 11, 2013

American Express has two solid cash back cards in their arsenal under the “Blue” label. While they have other cash back and point earning cards that aren’t bad, the Amex blue cash back cards stand out because of their high percentage, unchanging accrual categories. Here, I’d like to break down the fundamental differences between the two Amex Blue Cash Back cards. Both products are held in very high regard by current account holders, and are recommended for the consumer with excellent credit. Before you apply, it’s important to understand that one may make more sense than the other depending on your personal financial situation.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Attractive signup bonus – This card comes with a great signup bonus. You can earn 100 Reward Dollars after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of Cardmembership.  This offer is a staple for a cash back card product.  In conjunction with its signup bonus, this card also stands out because it has no annual fee. It’s a very attractive feature to the savvy consumer who’s looking to grow their wealth.

Cash Back at grocery stores – Card benefits don’t stop at the signup bonus. Amex also offers their unique, unchanging cash back category bonuses to card holders. You will ALWAYS earn 3% Cash Back at US supermarkets for up to $6,000 per year in purchases. Once you hit $6,000 in annual spend at grocery stores, you will earn 1% there after until the 12 month cycle resets. Note, according to Amex – superstores and warehouse type clubs are not considered grocery stores.

Cash Back at gas stations and department stores – Separately, you’ll accrue 2% cash back at US gas stations & select US dept stores and 1% on all other purchases. Over all, this card is highly recommend to the American consumer because it offers cash back in categories that we all tend to spend a lot of money on. You will always being purchasing gas, groceries and clothing – so why not maximize your rewards on your most common spending habits?

Lengthy Introductory APR on purchases – As a signing incentive to their customers, The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express comes with 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months. After that, your APR will become a variable rate of 12.99% to 21.99% depending on your credit history, as determined by Amex at the time your account was opened.

There is no annual fee with this card – In our opinion, this is one of the most attractive features of this card. Taking into account the signup bonus and high percentage cash back categories, you will come out on top year after year as long as you always pay off your balance in full each month.

Apply online – If this card sounds like it is right for you, you can apply online.


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Like its Everyday brother, the Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a great signup bonus and some amazing cash back category benefits. Though, it does come with an annual fee as these benefits are substantially higher than what you’ll get with the Blue Cash Everyday Card.

So does paying an annual fee on a cash back card make sense? Well, lets break the offer down to see if you still come out on top.

150 Reward Dollar signup bonus – The Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a high signup bonus in comparison to other cash back products on the market. You’ll earn 150 Reward Dollars after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of opening your card account.

Annual Fee details – The card comes with a $75 annual fee, which is not waived for the first year. That being said, you’re essentially earning a $75 signup bonus after you hit the spend requirement when you subtract the annual fee. Not bad. But here’s why this card is really worth serious consideration:

One of the best cash back cards on the market – Like the Everyday version, this offer has unchanging spend categories where the consumer can rapidly accrue cash back. The Preferred card offers 6% cash back at US supermarkets for up to $6,000 in annual grocery purchases. That’s a full 3% more than its no annual fee brother. This card makes the most sense for someone who frequents the grocery store, but plans to spend under $6,000 per year in that particular category.  In addition, card members earn an increased percentage of 3% cash back at US gas stations & select US dept stores. All other purchases accumulate cash back at 1%.  If you plan to use this card in the big spending categories, you will earn significant returns over the annual fee.

Introductory APR on Purchases – The Preferred card offers 0% intro APR on all purchases for the first 12 months.  This is a great introductory offer that not many cash back cards come with.  After that, your APR becomes a variable rate of 12.99% 21.99%.

Online application – If you think your spending habits fit with this card, you can apply online through the issuers secure application.


Which is Better

The two card products discussed above are both in the top of their class when it comes to earning cash back. It’s our opinion that if you are a frequent shopper in all three major cash back categories (Supermarkets, gas stations, department stores) the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express makes more sense for you. The cash back earned by the end of the year will far outweigh the annual fee. On the other hand, if you plan to use your card primarily for gas or general shopping, the The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express will earn you higher returns in the long run, since it has no annual fee.

How to Redeem your Cash Back

Amex offers a few cash back redemption options once your cash back balance hits 25 reward dollars in your account.  According to American Express, Blue Cash card holders can retrieve their reward dollars for a statement credit, select merchandise, and also for various gift cards.

The Fine Print

As with any credit card, there are always terms and limitations that apply. It’s important to understand some of the specifics when making a decision on a cash back credit card. Both of these card products are similar in what they offer.  For grocery store purchases, it’s important to note that Amex does not consider large superstores and or warehouse type clubs to be supermarkets.  The same can be said for gas stations.  Any supermarket, superstore or warehouse club that sells gas will not net you the increased cash back percentage on gasoline (IE: Costco or Sam’s Club).  Separately, if you plan to use one of these cards at department stores, be sure to review Amex’s list of eligible stores that will net you increased cash back.  In addition, cash back is only earned on what American Express deems to be an eligible purchase.  Eligible purchases include spending on goods and services, minus returns and other types of credits. You will not earn cash back on any sort of fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents.

Amex Blue Cash Back Cards Compared

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