American Express Blue Sky vs Blue Sky Preferred 2013

The popular Blue Sky has been out for several years, but not too long ago Amex introduced the “Preferred” version… how do they compare? Which one is best for you? Find out with this Blue Sky vs Blue Sky Preferred matchup.

First, let’s start with the original AmEx Blue Sky…

Note: The offer for the Blue Sky is currently unavailable. This info is for reference purposes.

Rewards – You will be earning them travel rewards worth 1.33% on your spending!

Like most cards, the Amex Blue Sky gives 1 point per dollar on eligible purchases. However the difference comes when you redeem… for every 7,500 points you get a $100 in travel rewards (so 1 pt is worth 1.33 cents instead of the typical 1 cent).

This $100 in travel rewards comes in the form of a statement credit – it can be applied to virtually any travel purchase you make with your card. So let’s say you want to buy a $300 plane ticket and pay for it with points. Simply buy the ticket on your own any way you like (through the airline, through a travel website like Expedia, etc.) and pay for the purchase using your Blue Sky card. Then call up AmEx and tell them you want to cash out 22,500 points to pay for that flight – in exchange they will issue you a $300 statement credit to offset the cost of the eligible travel purchase.

This is such a versatile rewards program because it gives you the freedom to spend your points on virtually any travel purchase you want, from any company you want.

Travel Benefits – When you pay with the AmEx Blue Sky card you get all kinds of benefits: Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance, Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, Return Protection, Global Assist Hotline, and others. Consult American Express for Restrictions, Terms & Conditions.

Annual Fee – There is no annual fee

Now let’s look at the AmEx Blue Sky Preferred…

Signup Bonus – n/a

Rewards – Same as above, plus 1 additional point per dollar spent on eligible categories.

The eligible categories are US restaurants, hotel rooms (only when purchased directly from hotels), and for car rentals (when purchased directly from select car rental companies). On these purchases, you will get 2x points.

Travel Benefits – You get all of the benefits of the original card, plus up to a $100 allowance per year in airline allowance to use on airline incidental fees. The $100 allowance can be used to pay for things like luggage fees, in-flight food/entertainment, headphones, blankets, etc.

Annual Fee – The Blue Sky Preferred has a $75 annual fee, which is NOT waived for the first year.

Blue Sky vs Blue Sky Preferred… who wins?

Well you’re going to come out ahead with both of these American Express cards, since they both offer above-average rewards.

I personally opt for the regular version because for someone like me (who uses multiple cards) it doesn’t make sense to pay $75 per year for the Preferred because I might not use the benefits enough to be worth it.

In addition to the $75 annual fee drawback, the other disappointment is that it (1) does not come with a signup bonus, and (2) the annual fee is NOT waived for the first year. Because of this, I think during these last couple months of 2013 it really only makes sense to go with the regular version.

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The Blue Sky Preferred does in fact offer a 15000 point bonus when $1000 is spent over the first three months, as well as an 14 month 0 apr on purchases as well as balance transfers, though the standard 3% or $5 will apply.