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The AmEx Blue Cash: 5 Reasons It’s Worth Your While

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American Express replaced the old American Express Blue Cash card with two new cards. While the Nerds weren’t impressed with the previous card, we’re big fans of the replacement cards — the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

The Nerds disliked the former American Express Blue Cash card for a number of reasons, including the unfavorable spending threshold and awkward rewards redemption options. But now that AmEx kicked up its rewards rate while simplifying the rewards program, break out the pom-poms, because we’re Blue Cash cheerleaders. Here are our five reasons to love the American Express Blue Cash cards:

1. No spending threshold

While the former Blue Cash card required that you spend $6,500 to get the full rewards rate, the current cards don’t have a spending threshold. You’ll begin earning the full rewards with your first purchase.

2. Easy-to-redeem rewards

The former Blue Cash card paid out rewards in a once-a-year statement credit, so if you closed your account, you’d lose some of your rewards. American Express then started allowing for multiple redemptions per year, but in the end decided to keep the status quo. The current Blue Cash cards let you redeem as many times per year as you’d like — starting at $25 for statement credit.

3. Simple, clear rewards program

The Blue Cash rewards are simple. The rewards rate you see is the rewards rate you get: 6%, 3% and 1% for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and 3%, 2% and 1% for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Rewards rates are year-round and static. You don’t need to sign up for quarterly rotating bonus categories like with the Chase Freedom® or the Discover it® - Cashback Match™. The rates:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year in spending) 6% 3%
U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores 3% 2%
All other spending 1% 1%

Overall, we think the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express almost always outweighs the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Let’s say you’re like the average American and you spend $4,000 on groceries, $2,500 on gas and around $1,600 at department stores each year. Assuming your purchases were made at qualifying U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, you’d get rewards $288 from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. There is an annual fee of $95. Conversely, you’d get $202 in rewards with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

To make things simpler, if you spend at least $2,501 in groceries annually, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the better deal.

4. Fringe benefits

American Express is pretty generous with its network benefits, extending them to most of their cards. Included in the many perks are purchase protection, extended warranty, car rental insurance and return insurance. Here’s where you can find more information and details about American Express benefits.

5. Cash sign-up bonuses

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express boasts a large cash sign-up bonus: $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a smaller, but still-solid sign-up bonus: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. If you refer a friend who’s then approved for a Blue Cash card, you’ll receive a referral bonus of 50 Reward Dollars per referral, capped at 550 Reward Dollars per calendar year.

Bottom line: Thanks to the changes in the Blue Cash program, the Nerds enjoy both the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Provided your spending is high enough to negate the annual fee, we recommend the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It boasts the higher sign-up bonus and rewards, and the annual fee is easily canceled out. Otherwise, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is still a solid card for spending at U.S supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores.

Updated on Aug. 11, 2017.