Today we are going to talk about whether it makes sense to either get or to keep the American Express Blue Cash Preferred credit card that’s been updated with the new multipliers.
If you’re someone with good credit and spend a lot of money on groceries and gas stations, then the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred might be a great credit card for you.
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is one of the best everyday rewards credit cards for high spenders. Even though the card has a $95 annual fee, you can easily offset it with the welcome bonus, and if you spend a little bit on groceries, you’ll cover a lot more than the annual fee.
Since the Blue Card Preferred card does have a downgrade path to the Blue Cash Everyday card after the first year, it might make sense for some people to downgrade, depending on your circumstances.
To figure out whether this card is worth it for you in the long term we’re going to look into the multipliers that have been updated. So, let’s get into the details. The card has an annual fee of $95 that is not waived for the first year, and that’s remaining the same even after the enhancements. That’s different than when they refreshed the Amex Platinum card and the Amex Gold card. Both cards had their annual fee increased with the new benefits.
For the welcome bonus, you’ll get $250 back as a statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. That’s a great bonus offer; it’s like getting 25% back on everything you purchase for the first $1,000. That’s on top of the cashback you’d typically get from the bonus category. The Blue card gives 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers up for 12 months. That’s awesome if you have another card with debt on it that you’re paying interest on; you can transfer that debt over and try to manage it over the 12 months. The most important thing is not to carry over a balance after the 12-month period is over. Otherwise, you’ll get slammed with interest rates anywhere between 15% and 25% which will wipe out any benefits you’re getting with the card.
One of the big reasons that people really like this card is because it has a very high percentage multiplier cash back for different categories that people tend to spend money on. You’re going to get 6% cash back at US supermarkets for up to $6,000. Anything after that you’re only going to earn 1%.
The next category is a new one, and it’s 6% on select US streaming. This beats any other card for this bonus category. The Wells Fargo Propel from American Express offers 3X points on streaming services that can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent apiece, but you can redeem them for airfare at 1.5 cents each on the Wells Fargo travel portal when you own another card that earns Rewards points like the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card. This makes the streaming category potentially a 4.5% back with that card.
Another card that offers a bonus category on streaming services is the Uber Visa card, but it’s only 2%. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is far better for this category.
Next category is 3% back at US gas stations. Gas stations are a big category that doesn’t get love from many travel rewards credit cards. It’s mostly cash back cards that give a bonus on it, so many people who drive a lot end up losing a lot of points in this category. For example, you might be able to earn some points when the Chase Freedom has it on one of its quarterly 5% bonus categories.
The next category, which is another new one, is the 3% back on transit, including trains, buses, parking tolls, taxis, and ride shares. This category is not huge bonus since a lot of other travel credit cards cover these things under their travel bonus category as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve for example, which earned far more valuable points than just a 3% cashback. Otherwise, it’s a solid category for someone who only has a cash back credit card, so earning a 3% back on such a popular high spend category is great for that person.
For the most part, we’re focused on the 6% and the 3% stuff. It doesn’t really make sense spending any money on the 1% categories because that’s just non-optimal. For a lot of people, groceries spend is going to be a relatively high category. Subscriptions end up being a bit interesting. It sounds excellent and it’s a really good multiplier. 6% is pretty good, but how much do you really spend on subscriptions? If you compare it to something like groceries or dining out, those are going to overcast this by a significant margin.
If you spent about $500 a month on groceries that’s going to be $6,000 per year. Let’s say you spend $500 from streaming and let’s say you spend about $2,000 on transit because it does cover quite a bit and $1,000 on gas. That’s going to equate to cashback of $480. Your numbers are obviously going to be different, and it depends on how you distribute your spend to other cards you have, so you might want to factor that in as well.
American Express did the research when it came to picking these categories. According to Amex, the new bonus categories were based on consumer insights. They say that according to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research and American Express, the places were older Millennials -ages 31 to 38- are spending the most day-to-day, now compared to five years ago, are groceries at 67%, streaming at 36%, and commuting at 34%.
Besides refreshing the benefits of the Blue Preferred card, American Express is giving the card a new sleek design aesthetic featuring the Centurion iconography. The card will also have a contactless payment feature, which makes paying for things at a point of sale much faster.