Blue Cash Preferred from American Express Review: 6% Cash Back on Groceries

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Limited-time offer. If you apply by 5/3/17, you can earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back. This is in addition to the $150 back after you spend $1,000 on all purchases within the first 3 months, for a total of $350 in sign-up incentives. Details below.

Full review:

Let’s get right to it. The best feature of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is getting 6% cash back at US stand-alone supermarkets, for up to $6,000 per year in purchases. That’s works out to an average of $500 a month. If you spend $500 a month on qualifying groceries at 6% cash back, that alone will get you $360 a year in rewards.

Other highlights including sign-up bonuses:

  • Limited Time Offer: Apply by 5/3/17 – Earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back.
  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • 6% Cash Back at US stand-alone supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 3% Cash Back on gasoline at at US stand-alone gas stations
  • 3% Cash Back at select major US department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Cash back is earned only on eligible purchases.

For more information about this card and to apply online, visit CardRatings.com.

Supermarkets details. “US stand-alone supermarkets” means that superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets. This means no Super Wal-Mart, no Super Target, no Costco. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Safeway, Meijer, Vons, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, and online supermarkets such as FreshDirect.

Gasoline details. “US stand-alone gas stations” means that superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered gas stations. This means no Target, no Costco, no Sam’s Club. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Exxon, Mobil, Hess, Shell, Gulf, Murphy USA, Murphy Express.

Major US Department stores details. These are the only stores that qualify:

• Bealls
• Belk
• Bloomingdale’s
• Bon Ton Stores
• Boscov’s
• Century 21 Department Stores
• Dillard’s
• J.C. Penney (JCP)
• Kohl’s
• Lord & Taylor
• Macy’s
• Neiman Marcus
• Nordstrom
• Saks Fifth Avenue
• Sears
• Stein Mart

Annual fee. The card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. However, spending just $31 per week at supermarkets at 6% cash back will result in over $95 Reward Dollars per year to cover the annual fee.

If you don’t like the idea of paying an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases with no annual fee. It also has a sign-up bonus.

If you spend the max cap of $500 a month at supermarkets, at 6% back that would net you $360 cash back in a year vs. $60 at 1% cash back. Note that you can find gift cards to many popular retailers at your local supermarket these days. We usually try to max out the $6,000 annual limit. We usually spend closer to $100 a week on food groceries, or about $5,000 a year. Then the rest of the annual limit we use to buy gift cards at the end of the year for holiday presents.

There are no rotating categories, no quarterly enrollments, and no point systems to learn. Not that I would mind if they also allow me to earn more than 1%.

Intro 0% APR offer. The Blue Cash Preferred also has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.74% to 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Limited-time 10% offer. To get the full $200 max from the 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, you’d have to spend an average of $334 a month at restaurants. That might be easy or really hard, depending on your spending habits. You might also spend a lot more on restaurants than you think if you haven’t been tracking it via Mint or Personal Capital.

For more information about this card and to apply online, visit CardRatings.com.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Back Again! Free Website Reveals Your Address History and Names of Relatives (Opt Out)

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Update April 2017. It appears that the same people behind the website mentioned below have created another nearly-identical website. Even if you opted-out last time, all of your sensitive personal information is up again on this website. You must opt-out again by clicking on “Privacy” at the bottom and then the “record removal link” (alternatively, try this) and then following the directions. This one allows reverse address and phone lookups as well.

Original post:

If you don’t like the idea of anyone being able to look up your address history and the names of all your relatives, you may want to enter your name into this website. Depending on the information it has gathered on your from public records, it may list personal information about you such as:

  • Your current and past addresses.
  • Names and birth years of your parents, siblings, cousins, and in-laws.
  • All of their current and past addresses.
  • Any variations of your name ever used.

While all of this information is technically in the public domain, I don’t know of any other website that has it organized in such an accessible manner that is both free and does not require any registration. The website was so detailed that it included addresses that even I had forgotten about, as well as name of relatives that I barely know (which is the intended upside, I suppose). I’m more worried about the downside.

The good news is that the website will delete your information upon request. First, you may want to save whatever information they collected about you into a PDF. Next, I would try visiting this opt-out link directly and following the directions carefully. Alternatively, you can follow the opt-out instructions in this Time article. It only takes a minute, and my name record was removed within 48 hours as promised. Found via Bogleheads.

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