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Last week American Express announced that it would be refreshing its Blue Cash Preferred credit card to offer cash back for spending in a number of new categories. Not all the details of the refreshed card were available at the time but, now that applications for the card are live (as of today), all the key questions have been answered.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
The Blue Cash Preferred credit card has had a redesign so it now looks a lot less like the no annual fee version of the card and quite a bit more like the Cash Magnet card that Amex also issues.
Aesthetics aside, here’s what you need to know about the refreshed card:
- The annual fee remains unchanged at $95.
- The card continues to earn cash back paid out in the form of Reward Dollars which can be redeemed as statment credits.
- The sign-up bonus has been increased to $250 cash back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in your first 3 months of card membership (the $250 is given back in the form of a statement credit).
- The 6% cash back at US supermarkets remains (up to a purchase limit of $6,000 after which the cash back drops to 1%.
- A new 6% cash back category has been introduced for purchases made through select US streaming subscriptions. These subscription services are as follows (source):
- Amazon Music
- Apple Music
- CBS All Access
- Direct TV Now
- Fubo TV
- HBO Now
- Kindle Unlimited
- NBA League Pass
- Prime Video Unlimited
- Sling TV
- SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
- YouTube Music Premium
- YouTube Premium
- YouTube TV
Streaming services not included on this list will not earn the 6% cash back.
- The 3% cash back at department stores that was previously available is no longer a feature of this card. Existing holders of the Blue Cash Preferred credit card will continue to earn 3% cash back at department stores through 31 July 2019 after which the benefit will be discontinued entirely.
- The 3% cash back at US gas stations remains.
- A new 3% cash back category is introduced for transit purchases. American Express hasn’t provided a definitive list showing what ‘transit’ covers (I suspect that may be a very long list) but it has said the following:
To earn additional rewards on transit purchases, the purchase must be made at a merchant whose primary business is transit. Some examples of transit are the following:
- Taxi cabs
- Ride share services
Airfare, car rental and cruises are not considered transit.
- The 1% cash back available for all other purchases remains.
The 6% cash back on streaming services looks strong as the line up of services which will trigger the cash back is impressive.
I know a few people were concerned that Spotify may not be included because it’s technically a Swedish company but it looks like the benchmark for inclusion on the approved list is simply that the service has to be available in the US….so Spotify will trigger the 6% cash back.
The other cash back categories will probably appeal to people who prefer a simplified rewards system (i.e one that doesn’t require the user to deal with a points/miles currency) but, considering this card comes with a $95 annual fee, I can see better options out there for the miles & points community.
The Amex EveryDay Preferred credit card (shopping & gas) and the Citi Premier ThankYou credit card (transit/travel & gas) will both probably be seen by many to offer better returns than the Blue Cash Preferred credit card (while charging the same $95 annual fee) so I don’t expect this card to find a strong following with most of this blog’s readers.
It’s also important to note that unless you’re keen to use the card for all its benefits (i.e use it to earn cash back across all the categories in which it offers a bonus) it’s probably not going to be a card worth keeping just for the 6% cash back on streaming services.
With a $95 annual fee it will take approximately $1,583 of spending on streaming services just to break even and I doubt that there are many people who spend that kind of money streaming every year.
As a card for someone who would prefer not to have to deal with the intricacies (and hassle) that can come with a miles/points rewards program the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card may be an option worth considering, but for most miles and points enthusiasts I think there are better (more lucrative) products available.
What do you think?