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Limited Time Offer: AmEx Blue Cash Adds Cell Phone Rewards

March 18, 2016
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards
Limited Time Offer: American Express Blue Cash Adds Call Phone Rewards
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  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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If you walked around NerdWallet headquarters and asked the Nerds to show you what was in their wallets, you’d see a lot of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. For straight cash-back rewards, these are among our favorites.

Now American Express is adding an unusual perk to encourage people to apply for these cards and use them to pay bills online. Let’s look at the details.

Up to $200 back on cell phone bills

Most credit card welcome offers are designed to reward people for putting a lot of purchases on the card upfront. Generally, you have to spend a certain minimum amount in the first 90 days or so to get the bonus.

American Express is taking a different approach with this limited time offer. If you apply for either the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express or the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express before June 15, 2016, and are approved, you can earn 10% cash back on up to $2,000 in spending at wireless telephone service providers in 2016. That’s up to $200 in additional rewards.

Even if your household is unlikely to spend the full $2,000 before the end of 2016, you can still enjoy getting 10% back both on equipment purchases at the wireless store and on your monthly cell phone bill.

Eligible wireless service providers must be based in the U.S. They include:

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best cell phone plans

Cell phone equipment bought from retailers such as Amazon or Best Buy, rather than from wireless providers, will not be eligible.

The extra cash back at wireless phone providers is limited to new cardholders only, American Express says. Existing cardholders are not eligible.

“I see this offer as an interesting effort to get consumers to use their American Express for recurring bills — in this case, your cell phone bill,” says Sean McQuay, NerdWallet’s resident credit cards expert.

» MORE: Our review of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Regular welcome offers still apply

The 10% cash back offer at wireless providers comes on top of these cards’ usual welcome offers.

Cash-back rewards on these cards are paid out as a statement credit. That includes the regular welcome offer, the 10% rewards on wireless service and the cards’ generous day-to-day rewards on purchases at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

» MORE: Our review of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Is this a good deal?

It’s nice to see a bonus offer for new cardholders that doesn’t require you to go out and spend a lot of money you might not otherwise spend. Credit cards that make monthly bills more rewarding are always attractive.

The Nerds think it’s unlikely that most people will spend enough on cell phone equipment or wireless services to get the maximum $200 reward from this limited time offer. However, if your cable TV bill is bundled with a service provider like Verizon or AT&T that also counts as a wireless provider, you could hit that spending threshold with no problem.

Even if you don’t spend enough to get the full rewards bonus, getting 10% back on your cell phone bill for the rest of the year seems like a no-brainer. That’s especially true for a card like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express with its $0 annual fee.

If you’re looking for a good cash-back card anyway, we suggest you consider signing up before the June 15 deadline.

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @vcmcguire.


Image via iStock.