While the Blue Cash Everyday® and Blue Cash Preferred® Cards From American Express both offer excellent rewards, one frequently asked question we get is “Which one should I apply for?”
While the Preferred version clearly has a superior reward profile (see the table below), it also comes with a $75 annual fee, which does complicate the decision-making a bit. But fear not, that’s why we’re here.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the key features and benefits of each card:
Figuring Out Which Card, Blue Cash Everyday® or Blue Cash Preferred®, Is Better
Since by far the biggest rewards difference between the Everyday and Preferred versions of the card has to do with purchases made at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, it makes sense that we focus on this spend category.
As the table immediately below shows, the break-even point between the 2 cards is $208 per month in spend at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets (assumes these are the only purchases you make with the respective cards). If you spend more than that, you’ll be better off with the Blue Cash Preferred®. Less than that, and the Everyday version is the way to go.
Note that we intentionally don’t factor in the sign-up bonuses into the analysis, since they are a one-time event and only inject “noise” into the conclusions, though if you only planned on holding either of these cards for a relatively short period of times (say 2-3 years or less), then factoring in the sign-up bonus would be required for sure. You can use the GetDebit Ranking Engine to do that analysis!
|Annual (Monthly) Spend at U.S. Stand-alone Supermarkets||Annual Rewards Earned: Blue Cash Everyday®||Annual Rewards Earned: Blue Cash Preferred®||Blue Cash Preferred® AFTER Annual Fee||Difference in Rewards: Preferred Version Minus Everyday Version|
|$1,000/yr ($83/mo)||$30||$60||-$15||-$45 (Everyday version wins)|
|$2,000/yr ($167/mo)||$60||$120||$45||-$15 (Everyday version wins)|
|$2,500/yr ($208/mo)||$75||$150||$75||$0 (tie)|
|$4,000/yr ($333/mo)||$120||$240||$165||$45 (Preferred version wins)|
|$6,000/yr ($500/mo)||$180||$360||$285||$105 (Preferred version wins)|
|$8,000/yr ($667/mo)||$200||$380||$305||$105 (Preferred version wins)|
On other interesting observation worth calling out: you can see that at annual spend of $6,000 or more at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, the difference in rewards between the Blue Cash Everyday® and the Preferred version remains the same, at $105. That’s because both cards earn the same 1% cash back after you reach $6,000 in annual spend at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets.
Now What Happens If You Also Use These Cards To Make Purchases In Other Bonus Categories
Now, if you use either card to make purchases at select major department stores or U.S. stand-alone gas stations (in addition to purchases at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets), the Blue Cash Preferred® becomes even more attractive relative to the Everyday version. This makes intuitive sense, since the Preferred version offers 1% more cashback in these two categories, relative to the Everyday version, and with a fixed annual fee, this incremental 1% goes straight to the bottom line.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ve assumed combined additional monthly spending for US stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores is equal to monthly spending at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, per the table above.
As the table below shows, even at a modest $333 per month of spend on these 2 additional bonus categories, the Blue Cash Preferred® card would earn $120 of additional cash back per year, versus $80 for the Blue Cash Everyday®, a net gain of $40. The benefit only gets larger the more you spend on these special bonus categories.
|Annual (Monthly) Spend at U.S. Stand-alone Supermarkets||Annual Rewards Earned: Blue Cash Everyday®||Annual Rewards Earned: Blue Cash Preferred®||Blue Cash Preferred® Rewards Versus Blue Cash Everyday®|
It should be clear by now that the Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express outperforms the Everyday version at even modest monthly spend at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, and widens the gap even more if you start using the Preferred version to make purchases at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores.
However, we strongly encourage you to make use of the GetDebit Ranking Engine (found off our home page), which allows you to enter your specific spending patterns, and then, based on that, will calculate a much more precise estimate of what you can expect to earn on these cards.
From a cafe in Berkeley, mirupafshim (that’s Albanian for goodbye;)
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.