I think it really depends on what you are looking to get out of the cards along with spending habits per category.
As you and others have noted the 'grocery' category can cater for a number of things once you take into account the plethora of gift cards they sell these days. Due to this the Grocery category can corner a big part of everyday spending IMO. Cards like BCP and EDP are great (although could be better if they weren't capped) due to the high limit of reward within this particular category and are much easier to use (again IMO) than a card with a $250 per month cap. I know that with regular groceries plus a couple of gas cards (fuel point bennys at grocery stores), iTunes cards, Amazon cards etc it is WAY TOO EASY to exceed that small cap.
Something to consider is BCP (or BCE) , EDP (or ED), Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom (some prefer DiscoverIT). This gives you a good selection of cash back with some miles thrown in, plus if you add a CSP (Sapphire Preferred) to the mix at some point then the Freedom points become way more valuable as Ultimate Rewards. In fact if you went for the non annual versions (depending on your spend requirements and want for reward redemption) of the cards above then the only card you would pay out of pocket for would be the CSP as and if you needed it.
The above cards would also give you a nice total category cap in Groceries (covered by BCE/BCP, ED/EDP & category bonus on Freedom) with a solid 2% cash back on anything non bonused. If you then dine out and travel you can use the CSP for 2x UR points (3x dining on 1st Friday of every month) or book travel through Chase (gain an extra point) to give you some miles in the game as well should you want some extra flexibility.
Of course if you find you are spending more in some of the highly rewarded categories like Groceries & Gas you may find more value from the annual fee versions, either way these are solid cards IMO.
Just a thought.
Lastly, as long as you are trying to redeem AMEX in $25 increments you should have no issues at all, just be aware it has to be in $25, never seen a problem.
I just had a very troubling experience with my Blue Cash Preferred. I wished to redeem my rewards as a statement credit. I tried doing it online and got a window which raised questions since an icon for Bonefish Grill appeared in the middle of the window. I called customer service 3 times. In the first 2 cases they said I could redeem online, but offered no explanation for the issue raised. In the 3rd case she said the website did not (yet) support online redemption and a rep must redeem for me. I told her she did not pass my sanity test; I believe she was lying to me just to get rid of me. She also refused to escalate the issue; finally I hung up. I finally got the direct number for tech support. He walked me through the steps and offered $50 to compensate me for my troubles. At this point I'm considering retiring (spelled downgrade to BCE) the card for the following reasons:
- Very tedious and confusing steps to do simple online redemption for statement credit
- Takes 2 months between transaction and cash back redemption
- No online way to see if transaction earned 6% at the time of posting
- Very incompetent customer support
On the other hand, Sallie Mae MasterCard website allows you to see rewards earned at the instant transaction posted. One can then receive cash back as statement credit in the very next statement. My question is the BCP worth the aggravation?