Comparing Blue Sky® vs. Blue Sky Preferred® from American Express

The American Express Blue Sky® and Blue Sky Preferred® credit cards both offer rewards points that can be applied to a broad range of travel expenses, but which is best for you? It depends on how you spend your money. The amount you spend on airline incidental fees, restaurants, hotels, and car rentals are the biggest factors in determining which of the two cards gives you the biggest benefit.

Key Differences between Blue Sky and Blue Sky Preferred

The Blue Sky® has no annual fee, and the Blue Sky Preferred® has an annual fee of $75.

The two cards have a different setup for rewards. The Blue Sky card offers 1 point for each dollar spent on general purchases. The Preferred version of the card offers 2 points for each dollar spent on restaurants, hotels, and car rentals (and 1 point for each dollar spent on other purchases).

The Preferred offers a $100 Annual Airline Allowance that is not offered by the Blue Sky. The Preferred’s airline allowance allows you to be reimbursed up to $100 per year for flight incidental fees such as baggage fees, in-flight movie costs, and in-flight internet access costs.

The two cards have different welcome offers. The Blue Sky has a welcome offer of 7,500 points (a $100 value) if you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months of owning the card. The Preferred has a welcome offer of 15,000 points (a $200 value) if you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months of owning the card.

Key Similarities between Blue Sky and Blue Sky Preferred

The reward points for both cards can be redeemed as statement credits that can be applied toward travel expenses for airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines, and travel agencies. Also, both cards have these benefits in common: Emergency Card Replacement, a Global Assist Hotline, Return Protection, Roadside Assistance, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, an Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection, and Travel Accident Insurance. To sweeten the deal, both cards have a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months.

Which Card Will Give You the Most?

At the end of the day, you’ll want to go with the credit card that gives you the better value. Depending on your expenses for airline incidental fees, restaurants, hotels, and car rentals, one of these cards will outperform the other.

If you spend over $75 dollar each year on airline incidental fees, the Blue Sky Preferred® will always have a better value for you than the Blue Sky®. With the Preferred, you would regain more than the cost of the $75 annual fee through up to $100 in airline incidental fee reimbursements, and you would get twice as many reward points for expenses at restaurants, hotels, and car rental agencies.

Now, let’s look at a different situation. What if you have no airline incidental fees each year? As outlined in the table below, if you spend more than $5,625 on restaurants, hotels, and car rentals in a year, you would still get a better value with the Preferred card. However, if you spend less than $5,625 in those three areas, then you would get a better value with the Blue Sky. These figures do not take into account the one-time-only welcome offers of the two cards.

Value of American Express Blue Sky® vs. Blue Sky Preferred® Reward Points
Annual Spending on Restaurants, Hotels, and Car Rentals Value of Blue Sky® Points Accumulated Value Blue Sky Preferred® Points Accumulated Value of Blue Sky Preferred® Points minus Annual Fee Difference in Value (Blue Sky Preferred® minus Blue Sky®)
$2,000.00 $26.67 $53.33 -$21.67 -$48.33
$4,000.00 $53.33 $106.67 $31.67 -$21.67
$5,625.00 $75.00 $150.00 $75.00 $0.00
$7,000.00 $93.33 $186.67 $111.67 $18.33
$10,000.00 $133.33 $266.67 $191.67 $58.33

Conclusion

The Blue Sky Preferred® offers some extra perks and a more attractive rewards system than the Blue Sky® in exchange for a $75 annual fee. It is in your favor to pay the extra $75 per year for the Preferred if you spend greater than $75 each year on airline incidental fees or greater than $5,625 per year on restaurants, hotels, and car rentals. If airline incidental fees aren’t a part of your life and you spend less than $5,625 per year on restaurants, hotels, and car rentals, the normal Blue Sky would have a better value.

You can apply for the Blue Sky Preferred From American Express Card here, or follow the link below for the non-preferred version.

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.

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