How to Get Cash Back For Transit with AmEx Blue Cash Preferred Card

Meghan Coyle
By Meghan Coyle 
Published
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express wants to better reward cardholders, particularly millennials, for their everyday spending habits. That’s why some new bonus categories have been added to the card, including 3% cash back on transit purchases.

While it isn’t considered a travel rewards card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can be a great way for infrequent travelers to earn more on certain travel expenses and get rewards (cash back) they’ll actually use. Note that the card has an annual fee of $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Here’s what you should know about the new transit spending perk.

What counts as transit purchases

The transit category is pretty wide. Paying for parking, train tickets or tolls counts as transit spending. Ridesharing is also part of the definition, so taking an Uber or Lyft will earn you the 3% cash back as well. There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn in this category, unlike the grocery category, which will earn the 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in purchases, then drop to 1% cash back. You can also earn the bonus on transit purchases abroad, too.

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Why the bonus for transit

The card’s refresh follows the results of a consumer survey of older millennials. American Express and Wakefield Research conducted an online survey of people ages 31-38 on their day-to-day spending habits and found that groceries, streaming services and commuting are their biggest expenses. While other American Express cards offer benefits with individual transportation partners, like Uber statement credits that come with The Platinum Card® from American Express , this is the first transit bonus category for American Express.

Who benefits

Travelers also can benefit by using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to pay for public transport and Lyft or Uber rides during their trips. More general travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire cards already include transit purchases as part of their bonus on travel spending, so make sure you know what bonuses your current card already has before signing up for this one.

Road trip enthusiasts can compound the transit bonus with 3% cash back on gas purchases and access to the American Express Roadside Assistance hotline (855-431-1156), which can help with car troubles like flat tires or dead batteries.

If you want cash back for transit ...

The new 3% cash back on transit purchases is great for travelers who don’t already have a card that rewards them for taking rideshares or the subway. People who don’t travel frequently are also more likely to use the cash back than the travel rewards points.

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-5%

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
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