Which AmEx Blue Cash Card is Right for You? Preferred® vs. Everyday®

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In the world of cash back rewards, American Express has two cards that are both near the top of the heap: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Each of these cards has strengths and weakness – read on to find out which one could be right for you.

Head-To-Head

It might be easy to confuse these two cards – both the Blue Cash cards have similar names and similar offerings, from their near-identical welcome bonuses to their indistinguishable travel benefits. But there are a few key differences that really set these cards apart:

  • Annual Fee: The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a $0 annual fee, while the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express sports a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 after that. While both cards start with no annual fee, this may look like it makes the Everyday® card a clear winner in the long term. Keep in mind though that the expanded rewards program and stronger welcome offer of the Preferred® card might more than make up for that small annual cost. Speaking of…
  • Welcome Offer: Blue Cash Preferred® offers $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. That's $50 more than the $100 offer available from Blue Cash Everyday®. However, Everyday® has a much lower threshold - $2,000 spent in the first 3 months - to earn that welcome offer.
  • 0% Intro APR: Everyday® has the advantage here – it offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months and then 13.99%-23.99% Variable APR once that intro period is up. Preferred® only offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months, but with the same 13.99%-23.99% Variable APR after that.

But it’s rewards where the differences between the cards really become apparent:

  • Starting with Blue Cash Everyday®: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • And how about Blue Cash Preferred®? 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

At first glance, Preferred® puts up bigger cash back numbers than Everyday®, though Everyday® might be a better choice if you’re looking for extra time to pay off a large purchase without running up interest charges. Let’s take a closer look.

Breaking It Down

Remember what we said about the Preferred® annual fee being worth it? While the Preferred® card has that $95 annual fee after the first year of card membership, it also has a significantly stronger welcome offer – about 40% more than the Everyday® card. You can easily use the extra $100 from your welcome offer on the Preferred® card for paying down the annual fee in your second year and you’ll still end up with more in your pocket from that offer, even if the spending threshold is a little higher with Preferred®.

But do the increased rewards rates justify that annual fee? Well, think about it this way:

  • Cash back at US supermarkets on the Preferred® card is double that of the Everyday® card (6% vs. 3% on up to $6000 in purchases per year – after that threshold both cards offer 1%). If you’re making frequent trips to the grocery store, the extra cash back provided by the Preferred® card is a no-brainer.
  • The Preferred® card offers 50% more cash back at U.S gas stations and on transit (3% vs. 2% for Everyday®). Because this category also includes a wide array of transit costs like parking, rideshares and bus and train fares, odds are you’ll be getting cash back no matter how you travel.
  • Blue Cash Preferred® uniquely offers 6% cash back on select streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. According to a 2021 survey from J.D. Power, the average US household has 4 streaming services and the average viewer pays $47/month on all their streaming subscriptions – that’s $564/year. Subscription costs for all those streaming services can add up fast, and Preferred® is one of the few cards on the market with a compelling cash back offer targeted directly at them.
  • As a new offer, both cards offer 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card in the first 6 months, but with Everyday® those rewards cap out at $150 total, while with Preferred® you can earn up to $200.

Beyond that, both cards feature a flat 1% cash back on all purchases outside of the above categories. If we’re just talking cash back, Preferred® is the easy pick between its superior benefits on grocery, transportation and streaming entertainment purchases.

Bottom Line

It’s pretty obvious that Preferred® is the better cash back card between the two, but there’s more to the story than just rewards rates. As with any money decision, you should pick the card that’s best for your financial situation.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is right for you if:

  • You’ve got a big purchase coming up. Everyday® offers over a year of 0% intro APR on purchases compared to just 12 months for Preferred®. That extra time can be key to avoiding large interest fees.
  • Annual fees really aren’t for you. In the world of no annual fee cards, Everyday® is still an excellent choice. Annual fees aren’t right for everyone.
  • You’re not a big grocery shopper. If you dine out a lot or don’t spend much on groceries, you won’t feel the lower cash back earning rate for Everyday® as much.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is right for you if:

  • You’re not afraid of annual fees. $95 may seem like a lot after paying a $0 annual fee your first year, but between the high rates at which you’ll be earning cash back and the robust welcome bonus you may barely notice it.
  • You’re a Netflix binger. 6% cash back on select streaming services is a great perk for a modern credit card and could save you more in the long-run than you might think.
  • You’re an aspiring home chef. Preferred has one of the best cash back programs on the market today for groceries.

No matter which card you choose, you could get a decision in 60 seconds or less. Why wait?

Methodology

Each month, the CompareCards team reviews over 100 credit card offers examining the features most valuable to consumers including rewards, sign-up bonus, the interest rate, fees and other features to identify the best offers shown here

In the world of cash back rewards, American Express has two cards that are both near the top of the heap: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Each of these cards has strengths and weakness – read on to find out which one could be right for you.

Head-To-Head

It might be easy to confuse these two cards – both the Blue Cash cards have similar names and similar offerings, from their near-identical welcome bonuses to their indistinguishable travel benefits. But there are a few key differences that really set these cards apart:

  • Annual Fee: The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a $0 annual fee, while the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express sports a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 after that. While both cards start with no annual fee, this may look like it makes the Everyday® card a clear winner in the long term. Keep in mind though that the expanded rewards program and stronger welcome offer of the Preferred® card might more than make up for that small annual cost. Speaking of…
  • Welcome Offer: Blue Cash Preferred® offers $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. That's $50 more than the $100 offer available from Blue Cash Everyday®. However, Everyday® has a much lower threshold - $2,000 spent in the first 3 months - to earn that welcome offer.
  • 0% Intro APR: Everyday® has the advantage here – it offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months and then 13.99%-23.99% Variable APR once that intro period is up. Preferred® only offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months, but with the same 13.99%-23.99% Variable APR after that.

But it’s rewards where the differences between the cards really become apparent:

  • Starting with Blue Cash Everyday®: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • And how about Blue Cash Preferred®? 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

At first glance, Preferred® puts up bigger cash back numbers than Everyday®, though Everyday® might be a better choice if you’re looking for extra time to pay off a large purchase without running up interest charges. Let’s take a closer look.

Breaking It Down

Remember what we said about the Preferred® annual fee being worth it? While the Preferred® card has that $95 annual fee after the first year of card membership, it also has a significantly stronger welcome offer – about 40% more than the Everyday® card. You can easily use the extra $100 from your welcome offer on the Preferred® card for paying down the annual fee in your second year and you’ll still end up with more in your pocket from that offer, even if the spending threshold is a little higher with Preferred®.

But do the increased rewards rates justify that annual fee? Well, think about it this way:

  • Cash back at US supermarkets on the Preferred® card is double that of the Everyday® card (6% vs. 3% on up to $6000 in purchases per year – after that threshold both cards offer 1%). If you’re making frequent trips to the grocery store, the extra cash back provided by the Preferred® card is a no-brainer.
  • The Preferred® card offers 50% more cash back at U.S gas stations and on transit (3% vs. 2% for Everyday®). Because this category also includes a wide array of transit costs like parking, rideshares and bus and train fares, odds are you’ll be getting cash back no matter how you travel.
  • Blue Cash Preferred® uniquely offers 6% cash back on select streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. According to a 2021 survey from J.D. Power, the average US household has 4 streaming services and the average viewer pays $47/month on all their streaming subscriptions – that’s $564/year. Subscription costs for all those streaming services can add up fast, and Preferred® is one of the few cards on the market with a compelling cash back offer targeted directly at them.
  • As a new offer, both cards offer 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card in the first 6 months, but with Everyday® those rewards cap out at $150 total, while with Preferred® you can earn up to $200.

Beyond that, both cards feature a flat 1% cash back on all purchases outside of the above categories. If we’re just talking cash back, Preferred® is the easy pick between its superior benefits on grocery, transportation and streaming entertainment purchases.

Bottom Line

It’s pretty obvious that Preferred® is the better cash back card between the two, but there’s more to the story than just rewards rates. As with any money decision, you should pick the card that’s best for your financial situation.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is right for you if:

  • You’ve got a big purchase coming up. Everyday® offers over a year of 0% intro APR on purchases compared to just 12 months for Preferred®. That extra time can be key to avoiding large interest fees.
  • Annual fees really aren’t for you. In the world of no annual fee cards, Everyday® is still an excellent choice. Annual fees aren’t right for everyone.
  • You’re not a big grocery shopper. If you dine out a lot or don’t spend much on groceries, you won’t feel the lower cash back earning rate for Everyday® as much.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is right for you if:

  • You’re not afraid of annual fees. $95 may seem like a lot after paying a $0 annual fee your first year, but between the high rates at which you’ll be earning cash back and the robust welcome bonus you may barely notice it.
  • You’re a Netflix binger. 6% cash back on select streaming services is a great perk for a modern credit card and could save you more in the long-run than you might think.
  • You’re an aspiring home chef. Preferred has one of the best cash back programs on the market today for groceries.

No matter which card you choose, you could get a decision in 60 seconds or less. Why wait?

Methodology

Each month, the CompareCards team reviews over 100 credit card offers examining the features most valuable to consumers including rewards, sign-up bonus, the interest rate, fees and other features to identify the best offers shown here