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Both of these cards have a lot to offer, but if you spend quite a bit at U.S. supermarkets the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express will offer more rewards despite the annual fee. If you typically spend less, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express will likely provide more overall cash back.
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Imagine you’re standing in front of the display counter at the local bakery. You’ve come in for some pastries, and there’s quite a few on offer.
You’re eyeing a particularly delicious looking danish for $3, but then you see the chalkboard. There’s a special going on: Buy three, get a fourth on the house. And you know there are hungry mouths waiting at home that would more-than-happily devour a quality pastry. So by spending more, you actually end up getting more danishy goodness per dollar for you and yours.
That decision between buying one and getting less, or buying three and getting more, is mirrored by the choice between the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
The latter is the upgraded version, with higher rewards and an additional bonus category, but also an annual fee. (Rates & Fees) The former lacks an annual fee, but offers less-impressive rewards. (Rates & Fees)
Both still have a lot to offer, but the Blue Cash Preferred will provide more overall rewards if you spend enough. If you typically spend less than that, the Blue Cash Everyday will end up being the more rewarding option for you.
Take a look at a brief comparison of the two cards:
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review)||$0
(Rates & Fees)
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review)||$95, $0 first year
(Rates & Fees)
Keep reading to see a more in-depth breakdown, and to find out how one might be the card for you.
The Preferred earns twice as much at U.S. supermarkets, and adds a new 6% category for streaming services. It also features a slightly higher rate at U.S. gas stations (3% compared to the Everyday’s 2%), and instead of a bonus category for select U.S. department stores, you’ll get one for transit.
There’s a small difference in the benefits between the cards as well, with the Preferred adding a few protections you won’t get from the Everyday.
In the end, the choice between these cards comes down to your spending habits and how much you’d earn from each, particularly from your spending at U.S. supermarkets.
When we talk about grocery spending below, we’re only referring to groceries bought from U.S. supermarkets. Groceries from other stores, like Walmart or gas stations, won’t earn 3% with the Everyday or 6% with the Preferred. Similarly, all gas spending refers to gas bought at U.S. gas stations.
Because of the Blue Cash Preferred’s annual fee, you’ll want to make sure your spending suits the card. There’s a certain point where one becomes more rewarding than the other, so let’s run through each card’s rewards, based on a year of spending.
Overall, we’ll find that the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has the advantage over the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express for a fairly typical year of expenses, but you may find that your spending patterns give a different result.
If you’re using your card for most of your purchases, your spending might look a little like this. Granted, everyone is different, and these are just estimations based on how much the average person might spend. You can adjust it as necessary to figure out how much you’d likely earn with these cards.
Here’s a sample spending table for a year:
|Spending Category||Annual Spending|
|Select U.S. department stores||$600|
|All other purchases||$6,000|
Remember, the Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% at U.S. supermarkets compared to the Blue Cash Everyday’s 3%. That means this category will likely determine which card is best for you.
For gas, another major expense, the Preferred earns 3% while the Everyday earns 2%. That single percent difference doesn’t amount to too much, as we’ll see, so look more closely at the other categories.
Let’s see how these cards would earn rewards, based on the annual spending above.
|Annual Grocery Spending|
|Blue Cash Preferred (6%)||$3,500||$210.00|
|Blue Cash Everyday (3%)||$3,500||$105.00|
The Everyday earns decent rewards here, but the Preferred quickly and easily outpaces it.
Even if you’re spending a measly $1,600 per year on groceries with the Preferred, you’d already cover its annual fee. (Rates & Fees) And that’s without taking the other categories into account. Many people probably spend double that, easily, so you might be missing out on a good chunk of rewards by sticking with the Everyday.
The Preferred has the advantage of including a 6% category for streaming services. But the Everyday will still earn 1% cash back for them as well, like it does for every purchase outside of its bonus categories:
|Annual Streaming Spending|
|Blue Cash Preferred (6%)||$348||$20.88|
|Blue Cash Everyday (1%)||$348||$3.48|
So your rewards will get a little extra boost, depending on how many streaming services you subscribe to. The spending example of $348 covers the current cost of Prime Video, Disney+, and Netflix for a year, if you subscribe to their most popular plans.
With the Preferred, you can expect to earn 6% cash back from all the major streaming services.
|Annual Gas Spending|
|Blue Cash Preferred (3%)||$2,000||$60.00|
|Blue Cash Everyday (2%)||$2,000||$40.00|
The Preferred still has a slight advantage over the Everyday in this category, but not by much.
Now the cards split a bit more. The Preferred earns 3% cash back on transit while the Everyday earns 2% at select U.S. department stores.
For the Everyday, the U.S. department store category covers purchases at Macy’s, JCPenney, Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and a few more. It only applies to “major” department stores in the U.S.
|Annual Select U.S. Department Store Spending|
|Blue Cash Preferred (1%)||$600||$6.00|
|Blue Cash Everyday (2%)||$600||$12.00|
The Preferred’s transit category includes purchases for rideshares like Uber and Lyft, taxis, buses, tolls, trains, and more. Pretty much anything that takes you from point A to point B, without flying.
|Annual Transit Spending|
|Blue Cash Preferred (3%)||$150||$4.50|
|Blue Cash Everyday (1%)||$150||$1.50|
So, the rewards from these categories aren’t as impressive as what you’ll likely rake in from the others, but if you spend more time in U.S. department stores and Ubers, maybe they’ll make more of a difference for you.
|All Other Annual Spending|
|Blue Cash Preferred (1%)||$6,000||$60.00|
|Blue Cash Everyday (1%)||$6,000||$60.00|
With all of those calculations out of the way, we can simplify it a little bit, and compare the rewards side by side to see which card would suit you better:
|Total Rewards Earned|
|Card||Annual Spend||Rewards (Annual Fee Deducted)|
|Blue Cash Preferred||$12,598||$266.38|
|Blue Cash Everyday||$12,598||$221.98|
Even with the annual fee deducted, the Blue Cash Preferred (Rates & Fees) earns more rewards than the Everyday at these spending levels. If you typically spend even more on groceries, gas, or streaming services, that’ll make the Preferred all the more worth it.
These cards work well in addition to a flat-rate rewards card. You could use either the Blue Cash Preferred or Blue Cash Everyday when spending in the above-mentioned bonus categories, and the other rewards card for everything else.
The two cards largely share the same benefits, but the Preferred still has a leg up here. It features a few extra shopping and travel protections the Everyday doesn’t have: return protection, extended warranty, and rental car insurance.
The benefits these cards share include:
So you’ll get a little more coverage from the Preferred with the inclusion of these three protections:
While those extra protections can prove to be pretty helpful, they alone likely won’t tip the scales for you one way or the other. But it’s still always nice to have a little more protection.
Clearly, either of these cards could be a good choice. The benefits are relatively comparable, but the Preferred does have three additional protections over the Everyday. The welcome bonuses are too similar to really tip the scales, so what’s important is where you plan on using your card, and how much you typically spend.
If you only consider your grocery and gas spending, if you spend more than $2,500 at U.S. supermarkets, and around $2,000 or more at U.S. gas stations, the Blue Cash Preferred will provide more rewards. At those spending rates, you’ll offset the Preferred’s annual fee and still earn more than you would have with the Everyday. (Rates & Fees) If you spend less than that, the Everyday might prove the better choice, because the Preferred’s annual fee will eat up too much cash back.
That said, it’s still pretty easy for the Preferred to outpace the Everyday. All it takes is a few extra groceries, a few more gallons of gas, and a couple streaming subscriptions. Not to mention if you travel often and take advantage of transit services.
It is important to note, however, you should never adjust your spending to match a card. Instead, the card should always work for you. So if the Everyday is a better option, great, if the Preferred suits you more, perfect. Take a look at your spending habits, and choose which card works best for you!
I’ve had the Blue Cash Preferred for just under half a year now. I spend around $300 on groceries a month, and probably another $100 on gas. I subscribe to Disney+, Spotify, and Hulu streaming services, but rarely partake in Lyft or Uber rides (especially since March).
I’ve already earned a fair amount of rewards, more than enough to cover the annual fee, and it hasn’t even been a full year yet. (Rates & Fees) I’ll likely earn over double what it costs to have the card before the year is up, if that helps put things in perspective for you.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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