The American Express Blue Cash credit cards (the Blue Cash Everyday and the Blue Cash Preferred) are well known for their high cash back on everyday spend categories. However once upon a time there was a big caveat to this rewards program...

American Express Blue Cash Review
Previously this program came with a big catch – a tiered reward program. That is, they used the dreaded term "earn up to" when referencing the cash back structure which mostly just benefited large spenders (because annual spending up to $6,500 only earned 0.5 percent to 1 percent cash back, even though the highest percentages were advertised).

Fortunately about two years ago, American Express launched a new and improved reward structure, which made this one of the best cash-back programs in the market today. If you are an existing cardholder and were grandfathered in with the old program, call customer service and request to be switched to the new, far more lucrative, "Everyday" or "Preferred" version.
Blue Cash Preferred
Blue Cash Preferred
This version has an annual fee of $75 per year, but it gives significantly higher rewards. Even if you're a light spender, consider starting with this one because it comes with a bigger bonus (you can always downgrade later on if needed).
  • 6 percent cash back on the first $6,000 spent per year at U.S. supermarkets, 1 percent after that.
    3 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, without caps.
    1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99 percent to 21.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Current Offer as of March 2014: Earn 100 Reward Dollars + one year of Amazon Prime
    The 100 Reward dollars (redeemable for a $100 statement credit) are awarded after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. You also will get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign-up for a new membership with your card and fulfill the spending requirement in the same time period.
Blue Cash Everyday
Blue Cash Everyday
The differences between the two cards is that the "Everyday" version has no annual fee, a smaller bonus offer and less cash back on category spending (yet it's still quite generous).
  • 3 percent cash back on the first $6,000 spent per year at U.S. supermarkets, 1 percent after that.
    2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, without caps.
    1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99 percent to 21.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Current Offer as of March 2014: Earn 50 Reward Dollars + one year of Amazon Prime
    The 50 Reward dollars (redeemable for a $50 statement credit) are awarded after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. You also will get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign-up for a new membership with your Card and fulfill the spending requirement in the same time period.
Best of all, these cards have none of those "rotating categories" or quarterly reward enrollments to hassle with. These are about the most simple, straightforward reward programs you will find. With both versions, the cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

How much will you save in 2014 and beyond?
  • U.S. Supermarkets: The average American spends nearly 10 percent of their income on food. Earning 6 percent (or 3 percent with Everyday) will equal some serious money, especially if you buy groceries for your entire family. Up to $6,000 per year spent in this category qualifies for the higher cash back, then it reverts to 1 percent.
  • U.S. Gas Stations: Think about it... earning 2 percent back on gas is like a 10-cent-per gallon discount on an average gallon of gas with the unlimited 3 percent you get on the Blue Cash Preferred. Best of all, you get this at all U.S. gas stations instead of just one brand. Right now I am not aware of single gas station or bank-issued card on the market that will give you an unlimited 3 percent like this one does.
  • Select U.S. Department Stores: Not only will you be saving money on clothes, but also the appliances, tools, electronics and whatever else you buy at these stores. Right now you can get a lot of use out of this category while you knock out your Christmas shopping. Consult the issuer for current participants but last I checked (March 24, 2014) the list of department stores that qualified were:
  • Nordstrom
  • Bloomingdale's
  • Belk
  • Bon Ton Stores
  • Kohl's
  • Dillard's
  • J.C. Penney (JCP)
  • Boscov's
  • Bealls
  • Lord & Taylor
  • Macy's
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Sears
  • Stein Mart
  • Century 21 Stores

Comparison of the AmEx Blue Cash Everyday vs. Preferred annual savings:
Everyday versus Preferred card comparison

You can save more than $500 with just average spending! Secondary cards on the account also earn rewards, so add your spouse and together you can rack up reward points that much faster!

Insider Tip: As you know, you can often buy gift cards for places like Home Depot, iTunes, Kohl's and other retailers while shopping at U.S. supermarkets. Use your Blue Cash to buy gift cards there -- that way you can earn 3 or 6 percent back when buying them.
And let's not forget the one year of Amazon Prime you get after you sign-up for a new membership with your card and meet the spending requirement in the first three months.
benefits of Amazon Prime

Normally Prime would cost you $99 for the first year and I've NEVER heard of any promotion (neither from Amazon nor any one else) that allows you to get that without paying.

When I originally applied for my BC card it did not come with any signup offer whatsoever. That means now is definitely the time to get one, while AmEx is still running these promotions:

Blue Cash Preferred: Here is the link to earn 100 Reward Dollars + one year of Amazon Prime
Blue Cash Everyday: Here is the link to earn 50 Reward Dollars + one year of Amazon Prime


As mentioned above, the bonus Reward Dollars are given after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. During that same time period if you fulfill the spending requirement, you can get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign-up for a new membership with your Card.

In addition to some of the highest cash back categories around, these cards also come with valuable benefits that you won't get from every other credit card company. These are included at no additional cost:
Extended Warranty Coverage: It seems like stores try and sell you an extended warranty on everything you buy these days. Usually it's too expensive to be worth the price. But what if you could get free extended warranty coverage on eligible purchases? With the Buyer's Assurance Plan (included) you can shop worry-free knowing that the terms of the original manufacturer's warranty will be matched up to one additional year, on warranties of five years or less that are eligible in the U.S. This is a built-in benefit American Express includes with your Blue Cash Preferred or Everyday card.

Purchase Protection: Have you ever bought something brand new, only to accidentally damage it a few days or weeks later? This benefit protects eligible items against accidental damage and theft for up to 90 days from the date you buy them.

Return Protection: Don't you hate it when you can't make a return because you've lost your receipt or the store is just giving you a hard time? With Blue Cash you have free return protection. If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days and the merchant won't take it back, American Express will refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item -- and up to $1,000 annually per account.
Which one is best for you? Ask yourself these 3 questions...
  1. How much do you spend on groceries?
    The biggest difference between the two cards is the Preferred card's 6 percent rebate at supermarkets in the U.S. For families, the value is obvious. But even for individuals, it still could be worth it if you buy a lot of prepared foods at places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc. The bottom line is if you spend $100 per week at supermarkets, that's $5,200 per year (which would net you more than $300 cash back with the Preferred card's 6 percent).
  2. How much gas do you buy?
    If you use public transit or don't drive much, obviously this category won't be of much use. But those who drive will benefit from this rebate, since the price at the pump hovers around $3.50/gallon (or more).
  3. Do you use more than one credit card?
    If you're using several cards to maximize rewards, then the no-annual-fee Everyday Blue Cash card might be the smartest choice for the long run (since your full spending won't be going on this American Express, the $75 fee for the Preferred might not be worth it). Even if you do play the credit card game, as long as you spend at least $50 per week on groceries from the supermarket, you're earning more than $75 more per year by going with the Preferred versus Everyday.
Verdict? This line of cards gets you consistent cash back year round for realistic and useful everyday spending categories. Few other reward cards out there come close.

So the only question left is which one? In my opinion, Blue Cash Preferred is the way to go, and judging by the number of our forum members who list this card in their arsenal, it seems to be a frequent choice among people in the know. Even if you're a light spender, given the high bonus offer right now on Blue Cash Preferred, it might make sense to start with that and downgrade after the first year if needed. But ultimately the choice is yours.