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The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card is one of the best military family-friendly cashback credit cards on the market. It’s best for high-activity users who can quickly rack up cashback bonuses to offset the $95 annual fee that kicks in during the second year.
Blue Cash Preferred Card Benefits
- Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first six months.
- Annual fee waiver for the first year.
- Balance transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the account opening date. After that, 17.74 – 28.74% variable APR.
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
- 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit, including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
- 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Learn More About Applying for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
Blue Cash Preferred Benefits Deep Dive
The Blue Cash Preferred card’s 6% rewards are available only at U.S. supermarkets. American Express excludes wholesale clubs such as Sam’s Club, superstores like Target and Walmart, specialty food stores and others. This means you’ll need to consider where you buy your groceries – not just how much you spend on them each year.
However, the 6% rewards are available at most military commissary stores, according to American Express. You may even be able to use your 6% rewards to buy gift cards for other merchants at grocery registers when they code purchases as groceries.
If a transaction isn’t coded correctly, you can contact American Express and ask for a merchant code update.
Cardholders receive cash back in the form of reward dollars, which you can redeem for statement credits, once you accrue at least $25 in rewards. You can also redeem them for gift cards and merchandise.
American Express extends other 3% cashback rewards on transit expenses like rideshares, tolls, taxis, buses, trains, gas and parking.
You can earn up to $120 back annually when you work out at home with Equinox+. Use your Blue Cash Preferred card to pay for Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com to receive monthly statement credits.
There are also ways to generate reward dollars faster. For instance, add an authorized user to your credit card, such as your spouse. When they spend money in qualifying categories using the card, the cash back can start to add up.
Conversely, if you have a big household or spend more than $6,000 on groceries annually, you’ll cap your 6% reward at $360 before a meager 1% reward kicks in. Users get around this by often strategically using the Blue Cash Preferred Card with others to max out combined benefits.
Additional Blue Cash Preferred® Card Perks
Additionally, service members can enjoy these standard American Express cardholder benefits:
- Pay It® Tap: This app lets you make purchases under $100 in the American Express® App to make transaction payments quickly.
- Dispute Resolution: American Express will work with you to help resolve the issue if there is a fraudulent or incorrect charge on your statement.
- American Express Experiences: Get exclusive access to ticket presales and card member-only events in a city near you for Broadway shows, concerts, family events, sporting events and more.
- Global Assist® Hotline: This valuable benefit can help you in many ways when you travel more than 100 miles from home. The hotline can help if you lose your passport, come down with a sudden illness, need legal services, assistance to clear customs, missing luggage, translation services and more.
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Use your card to reserve and pay for your rental car, and if you decline the collision damage waiver, your Blue card can still cover you for rental vehicle or theft damage in a covered territory. Exclusions and restrictions apply, including restrictions against certain types of rental vehicles.
- Return Protection: If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express may refund the full purchase price, except for shipping and handling. Return protection covers up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per on purchases made in the United States or its territories.
- American Express Plan It Program: You can split large purchases into monthly installments with a fixed fee while earning rewards. This installment payment option provides more flexibility with easy-to-understand terms. You can see your fixed monthly fee when you make the purchase, so you’ll know how much to budget each month. However, you’ll owe no fees for the first 12 months of your payment plan. After that, you’ll pay a fixed monthly plan fee of up to 1.33% of your purchase amounts.
- Send & Split®: Send money and split purchases with any other Venmo or PayPal user directly from the Amex App. You must enroll in this program to use it, and terms apply.
- Fraud Protection: Amex card users aren’t responsible for fraudulent charges.
- Online Account Management: Accessing your account online is easy. Get up-to-date information on your reward dollar balance, spending and reward possibilities, all in a few clicks.
- Year-End Summary: In January, you can get an annual summary that reflects charges posted to your account from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of the prior year.
Blue Cash Preferred Pros and Cons
- Generous, family-friendly cashback offers on groceries, gas, public transportation and more.
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening
- Comes with several other Amex benefits, including Global Assist, car rental loss and damage coverage and return protection.
- The Plan It Program gives you more flexibility for large purchases, but you’ll pay added fees after the service’s 12-month introductory period.
- Although American Express waives fees in the first year, its usual $95 annual fee is higher than some competing cashback cards.
- This is not a “get it and let it sit” type of card. You must use the card consistently to reap enough rewards to offset the annual fee.
- After an initial 12-month 0% introductory offer, the variable APR on purchases and advances is a hefty 17.74% to 28.74%.
- The 6% rewards are available only at U.S. supermarkets and do not include warehouse stores and big box retailers.
- 3% gas rewards are available only at traditional stand-alone gas stations. Warehouse clubs, superstores, and supermarkets that sell gas aren’t eligible.
- Requires a good to excellent credit score of at least 670.
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card Annual Fee
The annual fee is $95 – but active-duty service members can benefit from the card’s perks without paying the annual fee through the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
How to Request an American Express SCRA Fee Waiver
Once you apply and receive approval for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card, contact American Express by phone or online to request a waiver of your card’s annual fee and other SCRA protections for your card.
Submit Request Online
Once enrolled, you can submit relevant documents through the Amex online document center. You may need to submit paperwork establishing your active-duty service, such as:
- Active-duty orders
- Change of station orders
- DD-214 forms
- Letters from commanding officers
Submit Request by Phone
If you wish to request SCRA benefits and the annual fee waiver by phone, you can call the number on the back of your card or contact American Express at 1-800-253-1720. Service members stationed outside of the United States can make a collect call to American Express at 1-336-393-1111; fees may apply.
Submit Request by Mail
If you cannot submit your request online or over the phone, you can mail a copy of your documents to American Express. Include the American Express account numbers you want SCRA benefits applied to, as well as a detailed note outlining your request.
You can send documents to:
Learn More About Applying for an American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card