AmEx Blue Cash Preferred: Department Store Rewards Remain (UPDATED)

NerdWalletNov 16, 2018
AmEx Blue Cash Preferred Ends 3% Back at Department Stores
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In May 2019, American Express said it was eliminating the 3% cash back rewards at select U.S. department stores for holders of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. See our article on the changes to the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express for details.

Representatives of American Express have confirmed to NerdWallet that the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express will continue to offer 3% cash back at select U.S. department stores — even though references to that benefit have been all but erased from the issuer's homepage for the card. UPDATE May 9, 2019: The 3% department store rewards have been eliminated for new cardholders; they'll be ended for existing cardholders July 31, 2019. 

On Nov. 15, 2018, American Express's marketing materials for the card eliminated all mention of the 3% rewards at select U.S. department stores. Information about department store rewards also disappeared from the online terms and conditions for the card.

Those resources stated only that the card offered 6% cash back on up to $6,000 a year in spending at U.S. supermarkets, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and 1% cash back on all other purchases. (Terms apply.)

However, the cardmember agreement available online still referred to the 3% cash back at select U.S. department stores, although that agreement indicated that it was current only as of Sept. 30, 2018. The discrepancy led to reports by NerdWallet and other outlets that the department store rewards may have been eliminated for new cardholders, or perhaps even all cardholders.

Asked to clear up the confusion, American Express representatives said Nov. 15, 2018, that the department store benefit is unchanged, even if it has been de-emphasized on the issuer website.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95, making it one of the priciest cash-back credit cards on the market. Eliminating a 3% category would have seriously changed the value equation for many cardholders, especially those who spend a lot of money at department stores.

Other details of the card remain unchanged. New cardholders get an introductory APR of 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. The card offers a bonus for new cardholders: Earn up to $350 in statement credits: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits. Terms Apply.