American Express Blue Cash Showdown: Everyday or Preferred?

If an annual fee isn't a dealbreaker, the Blue Cash Preferred will earn you the highest rate on groceries around, plus elevated rates in several other areas.
Jul 15, 2022
American Express Blue Cash Showdown: Everyday or Preferred?

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Choosing between the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express used to boil down to one basic question: Are you willing to pay an annual fee in exchange for best-in-class rewards on groceries, or not? And that's still a core part of the decision. But the Everyday version of the card underwent an overhaul in July 2022 that complicated matters.

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges an annual fee of $95. It pays much higher cash-back rates at U.S. supermarkets, on select streaming services and on transit, and it offers uncapped bonus rewards at U.S. gas stations. If you spend a lot on groceries and streaming, this card may be the better fit. It's also appealing to commuters.

  • The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a $0 annual fee. It pays a lower cash-back rate at U.S. supermarkets but a higher rate on U.S. online retail purchases. It pays the same rate at U.S. gas stations, but its bonus rewards on gas are capped. If your grocery bills are modest and you shop online frequently, this card may come out ahead.

Blue Cash rewards compared

Here's how the two cards' rewards categories break down. (Note that non-bonus-category spending on either card earns only 1% back. Terms apply.)

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card
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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

U.S. supermarkets

6% (on up to $6,000 a year in spending)

3% (on up to $6,000 a year in spending)

Select U.S. streaming subscriptions

6%

1%

U.S. gas stations

3%

3% (on up to $6,000 a year in spending)

Transit (including taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains and buses)

3%

1%

U.S. online retail purchases

1%

3% (on up to $6,000 a year in spending)

All other purchases

1%

1%

Grocery rewards

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives you 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending annually, and 1% back beyond that.

  • The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express gives you 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year in spending, and 1% back beyond that.

  • Terms apply.

If you're going only by grocery rewards, you'll come out ahead with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express if you spend at least $61 a week at U.S. supermarkets.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Many supermarkets sell gift cards for a variety of retailers, restaurants and other merchants. Buying gift cards with either of the Blue Cash cards, then using those gift cards, means you can effectively extend your bonus cash back to a much wider range of categories.

Gas and transportation rewards

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and other types of transit including trains, buses, parking, tolls, taxis and rideshares, with no cap on spending.

  • The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 in spending per year. There are no elevated rewards on other forms of transit.

  • Terms apply.

Rewards on streaming services

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services including Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and Spotify. The card also offers up to $84 a year in credit for the Disney Bundle streaming subscription, which includes Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+. It comes in the form of a $7 monthly statement credit.

  • The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express doesn't offer bonus rewards on streaming, so spending in this category earns 1% back. However, the card also comes with the same $7 monthly statement credit for the Disney Bundle streaming subscription.

  • Terms apply.

Rewards for online purchases

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express does not offer bonus rewards for online purchases. Online shopping would earn 1% back.

  • The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 in spending per year. Eligible purchases include goods bought through a retailer’s website or app. The online purchase of services, like travel bookings or food delivery, aren’t eligible and would earn 1% back.

  • Terms apply.

Bonus offers for new cardholders

Both cards come with a welcome offer, with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offering a bigger enticement.

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

  • The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

Making the choice

The eye-popping rewards on U.S. supermarket spending is what makes the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express so distinctive and attractive. The chart below uses grocery spending to illustrate the relative value of carrying the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and paying the annual fee. It shows three scenarios:

  1. The amount you would need to spend with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to break even on the annual fee.

  2. The amount you would need to spend with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to earn more cash back than you would with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, taking into account the cost of the annual fee.

  3. The total amount of bonus cash back on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express when you max out the 6% U.S. supermarket bonus category. (All spending over this amount earns 1% back on either card.)

The comparison

Yearly spending

Weekly spending

Yearly cash back after subtracting annual fee

1. U.S. supermarket spending needed to break even on the annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, after the first year

$1,583

$31

$0

2. U.S. supermarket spending needed to beat the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

$3,167

$61

$95

3. Maximum bonus cash back on U.S. supermarkets

$6,000

$116

$265

Comparing your own spending to this chart helps determine whether you should choose the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express or the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express — but it doesn't paint the whole picture since you also have to take into account other spending.

And the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express still has pluses going for it. If you're dead-set against any kind of annual fee, if you drive yourself to work rather than rely on public transit and if you happen to spend a bunch of money shopping online, it could still be the right pick.

Use our calculator below to see which card is the better deal for you based on your monthly spending patterns.

Note: U.S. supermarket rewards on both the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express apply only at stand-alone grocery stores and supermarkets — not warehouse clubs (e.g., Costco, Sam's Club) or big-box stores with grocery sections (e.g., Target, Walmart). Gas rewards apply only at U.S. gas stations — not superstores, supermarkets or warehouse clubs that also sell gasoline.

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.

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