U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards vs. AmEx Blue Cash Preferred: In a 6% Slugfest, Versatility Wins

Both cards earn up to 6% cash back, but the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards Card provides more flexibility.

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When it comes to cash-back credit cards, it’s rare to see a rewards rate as high as 6% cash back. But both the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earn that enviable amount on select purchases.

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card  - NerdWallet Exclusive
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That gives both cards the potential to be the one you reach for often.

The U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive earns 6% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending per quarter at two eligible retailers of your choice (from a list of 24, see below); 3% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter in one “everyday” category of your choice (including gas and EV charging stations, wholesale clubs, and bills and utilities); and 1.5% cash back on everything else. It charges an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending per year, 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% on all other purchases. It has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

Ultimately, you have more flexibility with the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive, since you can earn 6% back at a wider variety of retailers. Eligible merchants are some of the biggest in the world, including Amazon.com, Target, Walmart, Ikea, Home Depot, Macy’s and more. However, there’s still a lot to love about the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, so it can come down to where you spend money the most. Here’s how to decide which card is right for you.

The two cards at a glance

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Complete card details and application link:

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card  - NerdWallet Exclusive
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Complete card details and application link:

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95.

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms apply.

Sign-up bonus

Get a $250 bonus after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.

Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

Rewards

  • 6% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly spending at two retailers you choose.

  • 3% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly spending in one everyday category.

  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending per year.

  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming service subscriptions.

  • 3% cash back on transit and at U.S. gas stations.

  • 1% on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

APR

The ongoing APR is 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 17.74%-28.74% Variable APR. Terms apply.

Why the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive comes out ahead

The increased flexibility of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive gives you more control over where you earn the most cash back.

6% cash back at a variety of major merchants

Fixing up your home or filling up your cart at a superstore like Target or Walmart can cost a lot, so the ability to pick merchants where you know you’ll spend big bucks is a helpful feature of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive. If you spend around $500 a month at one of the card’s eligible retailers, you can earn up to $360 back per year.

Since you can switch your merchants quarterly, you can plan around anticipated spending. Perhaps you’ll choose a home improvement store one quarter for renovations, for example, and then choose a furniture store later on once you’re ready to decorate your new space. The key is being able — and willing — to track all of that.

  • Ace Hardware.

  • Apple.

  • Amazon.com.

  • Anthropologie.

  • Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

  • Best Buy.

  • Chewy.com.

  • Crate & Barrel.

  • Disney.

  • Home Depot.

  • Ikea.

  • Kohl's.

  • Lowe's.

  • Lululemon.

  • Macy's.

  • Menards.

  • Nordstrom.

  • Pottery Barn.

  • QVC.

  • Restoration Hardware.

  • Target.

  • Walmart.

  • Wayfair.com.

  • Williams Sonoma.

Practical ways to earn 3% cash back

In addition to selecting two merchants each quarter to earn 6% back, you also choose one “everyday” category where you’ll earn 3% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. Those categories include gas and electric vehicle charging stations, wholesale clubs, bills and utilities — all potentially useful areas to save some money.

A higher base rewards rate

With tiered bonus cash-back cards, it’s common for all purchases outside of the bonus categories to earn just 1% cash back, but the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive earns 1.5% back, which is a nice touch.

Why you might prefer the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express puts more parameters around its bonus categories, but if they match your spending, it’s an easier card to manage.

Greater simplicity

With the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive, you need to pick your 6% and 3% merchants and categories quarterly, or else you’ll only earn the base rate of 1.5% back. Not only is that an extra task to complete, but you may not always be able to predict which merchant will capture much of your spending for the next three months. Plus, merchants are subject to change, which can throw a wrench into your plans. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express sticks to the same categories, so you can earn a high cash-back rate without the added work.

Annual, not quarterly, spending caps

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has an annual $6,000 spending cap on earning 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (and, conveniently, no other caps in its other bonus categories). Terms apply. That gives you more wiggle room compared with a quarterly spending cap, even if $1,500 a quarter adds up to the same $6,000 per year.

Cash back on all kinds of commuting

The U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive earns 3% back on gas and EV charging, but what if your commute involves, say, driving to a train station, paying to park and then hopping on public transportation? The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express will earn 3% cash back on more ways to get around, including gas, trains, buses, taxis and ridesharing services, parking, tolls and more. Terms apply.

Which card should you get?

The U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive offers more ways to earn a generous amount of cash back. If you don’t mind a card with a little extra effort and the list of eligible merchants includes some of your favorites, you can certainly put this card to work for you.

But if groceries are a large part of your budget anyway, and you’d prefer an easier card to manage, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a worthy contender.


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