Starting Thursday, the top-notch cash-back grocery rewards card is waiving its first-year annual fee for consumers who apply through certain affiliate websites, including NerdWallet. There’s a catch, though: Applicants who take advantage of this deal won’t get the card’s former 0% APR offer — previously, 12 months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. Applicants now get a Special Offer: $0 intro annual fee for the first year of Card Membership, then $95. The ongoing APR is 13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.
For cardholders who regularly pay their balances in full every month, this is an outstanding deal, shaving $95 off the card’s price tag right off the bat. If you don’t carry a balance from month to month and wouldn’t normally pay interest, the lack of 0% APR makes no difference. Plus, the card offers a sign-up bonus: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
This trade-off isn’t as favorable for those who plan to carry balances. If you carried a balance of more than about $4,560 for one month on the card, for example, and you had the highest purchase APR the card offered as of this writing, you’d end up racking up over $95 in interest charges. That would effectively cancel out any money saved on the waived first-year annual fee. In that case, you might be better off with a card that offers 0% APR and charges no annual fee.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is among the few cash-back grocery-and-gas credit cards that charge an annual fee, which increased from $75 to $95 last year. But its unparalleled rewards at U.S. supermarkets make it well worth the price for those who cook most of their meals at home. It offers:
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
If you spend more than $31 at the grocery store each week after the first year of holding the card, the rewards you earn will exceed the annual fee. To learn more or apply, visit NerdWallet’s review of the card.