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CNN Underscored reviews financial products based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through our affiliate partners if you apply and are approved for a product, but our reporting is always independent and objective. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

Our quick take: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers significant value for high spenders in the grocery, streaming, gas and transit purchase categories, making this a great card for families and commuters looking to save money where they spend the most.


  • No annual fee in the first year (see rates and fees).
  • 0% introductory APR for new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, then rises to a variable 18.99% to 29.99% APR (see rates and fees).
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1% back).
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% cash back on transit (including taxis, ride share, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations.
  • $84 in annual statement credits for The Disney Bundle, dispersed monthly.
  • $120 in annual Equinox+ statement credits, dispersed monthly.
  • Purchase and return protection benefits.


  • Limited redemption options.
  • Cash back at U.S. supermarkets is capped at $6,000 in spending per year.
  • $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees).

Current welcome bonus: $250 statement credit when you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months of card membership.

Best for: Those looking to earn cash back and increased earnings on grocery, streaming, transit, and gas purchases.

Digging into the Blue Cash Preferred card

Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year, then 1%) with the Blue Cash Preferred.

The Blue Cash Preferred card is the only American Express cash back card that comes with an annual fee after the first year. At the same time, it also includes the highest earning potential for a handful of bonus categories and a solid welcome bonus.

The Blue Cash Preferred earns cash back based on the following rates:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1% back).
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% cash back on transit (including taxis, ride share, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more).
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The card earns cash back in the form of Reward Dollars which can be redeemed for statement credits that lower your credit card bill. Right now, this is your only redemption option.

The Blue Cash Preferred also offers two statement credits: one for The Disney Bundle and another for Equinox+. Neither covers the full cost of a monthly subscription, but they can provide a substantial discount if you already pay for these services.

  • The Disney Bundle: Up to $84 in annual credits, dispersed in increments of $7 per month when you spend $12.99 or more on a subscription.
  • Equinox+: Up to $120 in annual credits, dispersed in increments of $10 per month.

Because of this, card holders can get up to $814 in value in the first year if maximizing the annual 6% cash back cap on groceries, using the The Disney Bundle and Equinox+ credits offered and earning the welcome bonus. Additional earnings are dependent upon individual spending. While a $95 annual fee kicks in after the first year, you may be able to offset it depending on where you spend the most money.

Advantages of the Blue Cash Preferred card

An NYC subway train on elevated tracks in the borough of Queens.

The biggest advantage of the Blue Cash Preferred is its elevated earnings on groceries and streaming. In fact, it offers the highest cash back rate on the two categories of any cash back card. So if those are two of your major spending categories, this card could help you save some serious cash.

Cardholders can also enjoy a generous unlimited cash back rate of 3% on gas and transit, which can be a costly area of living for heavy commuters or road warriors. For example, a New York City commuter who spends $127 every month for an unlimited MetroCard would earn $45.72 in cash back over the course of a year.

You also have access to Amex Offers as a Blue Cash Preferred card holder, which opens up the opportunity to earn even more cash back on top of your regular earnings. For example, you could be targeted for a bonus cash back offer on gas on top of the 3% you already earn on gas transactions.

Again, cardholders get an annual credit of up to $84 (or $7 a month) towards a Disney Bundle subscription when you spend at least $12.99 on a monthly subscription. At the $12.99 level, Disney’s Trio Basic bundle includes Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ with ads. Your monthly subscription falls to $5.99 per month (plus tax, if applicable) when paired with this statement credit.

The card also includes up to $120 Equinox+ (or $10 a month) credit, which gives members unlimited access to Equinox, SoulCycle, Pure Yoga, Precision Run, Headstrong, Rumble, and TB12 on-demand fitness classes via the mobile app. The subscription costs $39.99 (plus tax, if applicable) per month before factoring in the credit.

Like many American Express credit cards, the Blue Cash Preferred has a handful of purchase protection benefits. Eligible purchases made with the card are covered against damage and theft for the first 90 days after purchase, up to $1,000 per covered purchase and $50,000 per yer. Claims due to natural disasters are capped at $500 per covered event.

Further, the card also includes return protection. If a seller won’t take back an item within 90 days of purchase, Amex will refund you the full purchase price excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. This only valid on purchases made in the U.S. or its territories.

Disadvantages of the Blue Cash Preferred card

Hand tapping a blue credit card on a payment terminal

While the Blue Cash Preferred offers top-notch earnings at U.S. supermarkets, there is a $6,000 spending cap on how much cash back you can earn. That means you can only earn 6% on the first $6,000 spent, which comes out to $360 annually. After this, your grocery earnings drop to 1%.

Other cash back cards offer lower earnings on groceries, but there is no spending cap. If you know you spend more than $500 on groceries per month, then you may get more value out of another card even if it has a lower earning rate on groceries.

This card also comes with a limited redemption options, but that shouldn’t be a surprise given the card’s name clearly calls out that it’s for those who prefer cash back. As discussed previously, you can use the Rewards Dollars earned with this card toward statement credits that offset your balance.

It’s also worth noting that earnings are geared towards U.S. spending, and you will be charged a 2.7% foreign transaction fee if using the card abroad or charge in currencies other than the US dollar. Consider a credit card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees if you’re planning a trip abroad.

Finally, this card comes with a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year. You can easily make up for this with the earnings and benefits, but know that there are no annual fee credit cards that offer comparable earning rates.

Stacking up the Blue Cash Preferred to our benchmark card

CNN Underscored has chosen the Citi Double Cash® Card as our current “benchmark” credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s the best credit card on the market — rather, we use it as a basic standard to compare other credit cards and see where they score better, and where they’re worse.

Here’s how the Blue Cash Preferred scores against our benchmark. The features of each card in the below chart are colored in green, red or white. Green indicates a card feature that’s better than our benchmark. Red indicates the feature is worse than our benchmark, and white indicates the feature is either equivalent or cannot be directly compared to our benchmark.

Citi Double Cash Card Blue Cash Preferred Card
Card type Mastercard American Express
Welcome bonus None Earn $250 when you spend $3,000 on purchases within six months of account opening
Earning rate 2% on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it off) Earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back), 3% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% back on transit, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and 1% back on other types of spending.
Redemption value 1 cent (cash back) 1 cent (cash back)
Ease of basic redemptions Easy Easy
Advanced redemption options Can transfer ThankYou points to travel partners if you also have the Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige® None
Quality of advanced redemptions Good N/A
Annual fee $0 $95, waived the first year.
Foreign transaction fee 3% 2.7%
Travel perks None None
Purchase protections None Purchase protection for 90 days after making a purchase
Travel protections None Car rental loss and damage insurance
Other perks None Monthly Disney+ and Equinox+ statement credits
Introductory APR on purchases None 0%
Length of introductory APR on purchases N/A 12 months
Introductory APR on balance transfers 0% 0%
Length of Introductory APR on balance transfers 18 months 12 months
Introductory balance transfer fee 3% or $5, whichever is greater 3% or $5, whichever is greater
APR after intro period ends/standard APR 18.99%-28.99% variable 18.99%-29.99% variable

When reviewing other credit cards, we use this format and these criteria to compare them with our benchmark. You can read our credit card methodology for more details on what we take into account when it comes to perks, protections and redemption value.

Also, when comparing these two cards, remember that different credit cards are made for different customers. The Blue Cash Preferred is meant for those who are looking to earn extra cash back in select spending categories such as groceries, streaming, transit, and gas. Meanwhile, the Citi Double Cash is better for consumers looking for a simple credit card to earn a rebate on all of their daily spending. Consider your needs before deciding on the right credit card for you.

Other credit cards similar to the Blue Cash Preferred

A Boeing 747 at the gate in Seoul airport.

There are two other American Express credit cards you might consider when deciding whether or not to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred. The first is the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, which is effectively the no annual fee (see rates and fees) version of the Blue Cash Preferred.

The Blue Cash Everyday is also a cash back card that earns bonus cash back at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations However, it earns less than the Preferred and has slightly different earning categories:

  • 3% cash back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back).
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 spent each year (then 1% back)
  • 3% cash back on up to $6,000 spent on U.S. online retail purchases each year (then 1% back).
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

This card can be a good option for those wanting to each cash back on groceries and gas without the annual fee. Plus, you’re trading 3% back on transit for 3% back on purchases made with U.S. online retailers (up to $6,000, then 1% back). This may be advantageous for those who do not commute to an office.

Related: Blue Cash Everyday: Impressive rewards on daily purchases with no annual fee

Those looking for travel rewards might consider the American Express® Gold Card. Unlike the Blue Cash Preferred, this card earns American Express Membership Rewards points on all purchases. These can be redeemed for a variety of different things, including travel. You can book travel through or by transferring to one of Amex’s list of 20+ airline and hotel transfer partners. When using transfer partners, you can maximize your points and book things like business class airfare.

The card earns bonus points at supermarkets, restaurants and other categories:

  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per year (then 1 point per dollar).
  • 4 points for every dollar on dining worldwide.
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

The card has a higher $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) that’s largely offset by various monthly credits. The card provides up to $10 per month in Uber Cash and $10 per month in dining credits, which can be used at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly,, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. If you maximize these benefits, the card almost pays for itself.

Related: American Express Gold card: How the best card for buying food nearly pays for itself

Should you get the Blue Cash Preferred card?

The Blue Cash Preferred offers significant value to those who are high spenders in the grocery, streaming, transit and gas categories. Because of this, the card is great for families and commuters, as they can earn 3% to 6% back on their everyday spending.

However, you might want to stay away from this card if you value travel rewards. Rewards Dollars earned with the Blue Cash Preferred cannot be converted to Membership Rewards points or otherwise used for travel. If you’re looking to maximize grocery purchases and earn travel rewards, consider the Amex Gold instead.

Learn more and apply now for the Blue Cash Preferred card.

Click here for rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred card.
Click here for rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday card.
Click here for rates and fees of the Amex Gold card.

Looking for a new credit card? Check out CNN Underscored’s list of the best credit cards available right now.

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