Blue Cash Everyday from American Express Review

I keep seeing the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express winning “Best Best Cash-Rebate Card” from financial magazines like Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. A few people have asked about it, so here’s my quick review.

First of all, new applicants receive a welcome bonus in the form of 50 rewards dollars after you use your new card to make $1,000 within the first 3 months of Card membership, which shouldn’t be that hard to do considering that this is the card you will be using on all your day to day purchases. Next up, is a free year of membership to Amazon Prime for meeting that same $1,000 spend hurdle (for anyone not already a member of Amazon Prime).  Another reason to make this your everyday card, is the cash back you receive on everyday purchases:

* Earn 3% cash back at US supermarkets. (up to $6,000)
* Earn 2% cash back on gasoline at US gas stations and select US department stores.
* Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

“Eligible Purchases” are everyday Purchases made at US supermarkets, gas stations and department stores, in each case that are not departments of superstores or warehouse clubs.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express card offers 0% intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be a variable rate of 12.99% – 21.99% Variable. Excellent credit is needed to get this card but the level of your excellence will determine which variable rate your card will be set at.

As opposed to the previous Blue Cash Card from American Express, the Blue Cash Everyday Card has no spending limits or tiers that need to be reached in order to receive the aforementioned cash back. No calculations needed, just use the card on everyday purchases and start racking up the cash.

The cash can be redeemed once you’ve earned at least $25. If all the rewards and cash back weren’t enough, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express does not charge an annual fee, which is rare for an American Express card.

Quick Conclusions

  • Get 50 Reward Dollars, redeemable for a $50 statement credit, after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
  • Plus, get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign up for a new membership with your Card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period.
  • As an Amazon Prime member, you get unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items.
  • Earn Cash Back: 3% at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% at US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.

“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.”

Comments

  1. Just as a data point, this past year my wife and I achieved an overall cash-back ratio of 1.95% using the AMEX Blue Cash card.

    This percentage would be slightly higher if an AMEX were able to be the only card that we ever used, however there are several places we regularly do business with that do not accept AMEX.

  2. They also don’t count “departments of superstores” or “warehouse clubs”. I do 90% of my shopping at Walmart and Costco to get their lower prices. By the time I reach that $6,500, I would have fewer goods to show for my money, which would effectivley cancel-out that 5% rebate.

    I only use cards that count all purchases (like the EmigrantDirect Mastercard (http://www.emigrantdirectmastercard.com/), so I can shop around for the lowest price AND get a rebate on top of that.

    Costco only takes AMEX, but there are AMEX cards that offer rewards for all purchases, like the AAdvantage AMEX. Not as good as cash but at least you get something. This 5% card gives you nothing for Costco purchases.

  3. A Different Tim says:

    Odd, that’s almost exactly my ratio as well – 1.96% to be exact (still have 1 month to go). I had several big ticket items (grad school tuition, home renovations) that fell into the 1.5% bin & brought my percentage down. All-in-all, I’m very happy with the card.

    My boss is able to make his mortgage payments on his card, nice perk if you can swing it…

  4. I am still getting 5% on every day purchases from the Chase Cash Rewards card up to $300/yr. With that card and 2% cash back from Citi Dividend cards for every day purchases that averages out to 3.5% back given spending of $1,000 per month on everyday purchases. This is a good card to keep in mind if Chase does away with the 5% back like Citi did with their everyday purchases.

  5. Just one other thought. Citi Driver’s Edge card gives back 6% on every day purchases for the first 12 months and 3% thereafter. So will apply for that card later this year when the Chase rewards are about to run out.

  6. I am in dire need of a new cash rewards card. I’ve just about reached my limit with my Chase Freedom visa. Instead of simply crediting my cash rewards towards next month’s balance, they insist on sending a check in the mail. Well, it’s been two months since they CLAIM to have mailed it and still no check. I haven’t been able to get anybody to do anything about it over the phone either. They keep saying “give it another week and call back if it doesn’t arrive.” I think I’m just going to cancel and get an AMEX card because Chase is ridiculous.

  7. I’ve been searching for a good single rewards card, and discovered this one from Pentagon FCU. 5% on gas, 2% on groceries and 1.25% on everything else. You need to be a member to get the card. To qualify, you need to either have a military connection, or join the NMFA for $20. Then fund the account with $5 and you can get the card. For me, it should add up to about $500 a year in rewards, vs $350 with the Chase, and I can use just one card for everything. link

  8. but the real question is: how much more do you spend using plastic?

  9. John,

    You don’t spend any more at all as long as you don’t carry a balance. Charging everything onto a rewards card and paying the balance in full each month helps you earn some free money.

  10. There is a Chase issued “Countrywide” card that is 1% back on everything. However the rewards is doubled if you put the payment towards a countrywide loan and just recently you could get the double reward posted to a countrywide savings account.

    So its bascily a 2% for everything card if you open a countrywide savings account. Countrywide savings has a good rate too. Unfortnately the BoA merger will not doubt ruin it, but that’s still many months away.

  11. My cash back was very similar to Tim…1.92% for the year.

  12. Cool post. I enjoy reading stuff about credit cards. AMEX Blue is a good choice for people who spend a lot and don’t want to juggle plastic for the optimal rewards. The tiers suck for people who don’t spend a lot though. If I was spending a ton I’d definitely consider it. For me, I prefer to use a combination of cards.

    I think it is very easy to get >2% cash back as detailed in this terrific post on MMB –> http://www.mymoneyblog.com/archives/2006/10/is-0-apr-on-purchases-better-than-cashback.html

    The downside of the 0% APR on purchases and 1%+ cash back is that the offers are only good for 12 months and then it’s time to switch cards. Many would consider it a PITA and therefore are understandably willing to accept lower rewards.

    As for 5% on gas, groceries & drugs, there are a few cards which are not tiered and offer this level of cash back or more. Chase Cash was mentioned although this card is no longer available. The aforementioned Driver’s Edge card beats AMEX Blue on everyday purchases for the first 12 months and is wonderful if you drive a lot. Also, see FW and the discussion about the Associated Bank card which is basically the same as the old Citi Dividend.

  13. Something else that makes this a worse deal is the cashback is only paid out once per year as a credit to your account. I think most people would prefer to get the cashback as soon as they hit some sort of threshold each month instead.

  14. Personally I use my PenFed (http://www.penfed.org) card for everything. It’s 1.5% cash back on everything and gets rebated every month automatically applied to your statement balance. AmEx is great, but PenFed is king :)

  15. nicolas wilson says:

    I have the amex blue, cust service is excellent.. and the cb rewards are great… i have about 100$ cb earned with 5 months to go at the 5/1.5%

  16. Warning:

    I signed for this same card on Amex’s Small Business side in December 2006, the website gave the same information, that the 5/1 is for $6500+. And even though I rarely pay for “everyday expenses” with my business card, I was a better deal than the 1% cash back that I was getting. The only better offer at the time was Discover’s 1.5%, a card that wasn’t accepted by one of my major supliers. I remember getting the card in the mail, UPS 2nd Day, I had them deliver it to me in New York, when I read the disclosure I learned that the 5/1 goes down to 0.75/3 (if my memory serves me) after $15,000/ year. I checked the website and it had no mention. I called Amex furious, after many calls I was told that the website was wrong. I was not happy to have a hard credit pull for no reason. I was told that the Simply Cash Card would be a better bet for me becuase it had no cap. They were going to transfer me to it, but because Simply Cash was a brand new card, they either had to do a new application (another hard pull) or I had to wait until it was added to their computer system. It took me 6 months to get the Simply Cash(1% Flat). I ended up opening a CapitalOne Visa with 1% (plus 0.25% at the end of the year). My supplier stopped taking Amex, so I only used the Simply Cash for Fedex Shipments (Extra 5% off). The CapitalOne Serves its purpose, I pay it off 3 times a month because they only gave me a $7,000 Limit (Amex Gave me $35K), and Customer Service is India.

  17. Personal Finance Management says:

    I should really get one of those.. ;-)

  18. I have used the Blue cash approx, with $12,500 in everyday purchases and $12000 in all other. I recieved a $642 credit to my account. calculating the exact purchases with my year end statement into almos any citi rewards card 5%/1% my year end bonus would have been $702 slightly higher for drivers edge first year card. I had $1300 in fraudulent charges on card and the process while financialy painless was horrific as far as the way their cuistomer service handled it. It went back and forth with atleast 6 interactions and phone interviews before it was resolved. A few years back I had the same situation with B of America and it was handled much better.

  19. I have used my Blue Cash personal card for almost a year, not exclusively, but have managed to rack up $18,680 of general, and $4918 of bonus, for a grand total of $23,598. This resulted in pending (It has not quite been a year) cash back of $396.35. Amex’s website shows that the average person is using 15% bonus and 85% general, while I am using 21% bonus and 79% general. – ** I recently requested an interest rate adjustment and they said yes and instantly changed it from 18.9% to 12.9%. Nice! I am thinking of picking one up for the business as well.

  20. thanks for the post. Every six months I see different credit card vendors giving some kind of deals for credit card reward. So should one keep on getting more credit cards? Managing so many becomes a nightmare and I have heard that cancelling messes with the credit score.

  21. mhesidence says:

    FYI, the penfed card is not 1.5% back on everthing, it is 5% for gas and 1.25% for everything else.

  22. Seems like I change my financial plan every few days, depending on what brain storm I come up with next. I’ve got the regular American Express Blue (not cash back) with 15 month 0% interest and a credit line of $21,000. I was going to use it for some major dental work. Then I got the Citi Cash Returns with 5% back on everything for 3 months, so I’m using that for everything, and will pay it off every month, spacing the dental work charges out over the 3 months.

    After the 3 months is over, I was going to apply for some other card with a great introductory cash back rate, but my new idea is to charge all my expenses on the Amex Blue with the 0%, and just make the minimum payments until next April when the 0% ends, then pay it off. In the mean time, my cash would be in my WaMu savings earning 4% (or whatever my next high interest savings account turns out to be).

    Is charging everything on the 0% and leaving my money in savings just like getting 4% cash back, or is there something I’m missing? I paid off my house, and all my credit cards have a 0% apr, so I never pay any interest. Would this be the way to go, or is there a downside? Plus, I would be earning the rewards with American Express.

  23. Correction to my penfed post up top:

    Visa Platinum Gas Cash Reward
    • Earn 2% cash back on supermarket purchases*
    • Earn 5.00% cash back from gas purchases paid at the pump
    • Earn 1.25% cash back from all purchases** you make with the card during each billing cycle
    • No Annual Fee
    • Cash Rewards credited each month

  24. My wife and I use Blue Cash and appreciate the convenience of charging everything on one card. Our card anniversary was in November, and we would appear to be on track for a rather sizable cash back rate this year — having blown through the $6500 tier in the first month (mostly buying furniture and paying other expenses for a new apartment).

    Bill, Gary and others: how do you determine the percentage “everyday” purchases versus general? I’ve never been able to figure out how to track this precisely, or to determine how a specific merchant is being counted.

  25. Eric Voight says:

    Out of curiosity–has anyone thought of a good purchase to make with a rewards card that can be easily sold for the same price (or returned for cash)? With a $10,000 credit limit, if this was done every month with 3% back, that would generate an additional $3600 per year (non-taxable?). I have thought about gold buillon, but the price fluctuation is not ideal for this. Something with a stable price that is easy to sell would be best. Any ideas?

  26. I’ve been using this card for quite a while now. Here is some data from my own usage over the past 4 years.

    Cash Back,Total Spent Percentage back
    2007 $161 $11,742 1.37%
    2006 $314 $16,494 1.90%
    2005 $261 $16,269 1.60%
    2004 $126 $12,139 1.04%

  27. When I signed up for the Amex Blue Cash card almost two years ago, I specifically asked the representative about the rebate tiers. I was told that when spending less than $6500 for the entire year, the lower tier rebate would apply, but as soon as you spend over $6500 then the entire amount of purchases for the entire year would accrue the higher rebate tier. That made sense because the rebate is calculated and credited at the end of the anniversary date. I think that the online info I read at that time also stated this same explanation that 5% would be earned if over $6500 were spent during the year. However, I just spoke to a representative and was told that it never worked that way; just the amount spent over $6500 was eligible for the 5% rebate. Major bummer! I like the idea presented by Eric Voight a couple of posts above to charge items to get over the first tier hump, then return or sell the items; that way essentially the program would work as it was first promoted to me. Just need to find that good idea of what to purchase and sell or return (returning would probably erase the eligibility for the tier purchases).
    By the way, through mid-August 2008 you can increase the max rebate from 5% to 6% by enrolling in a special Amex program; I received a postcard with the info, or visit http://www.americanexpress.com/cash1500, or call 1-800-794-1308 as listed on that site and enter the promotion code 117870009 which is also listed on the site, then your account will be enrolled to get the extra 1% back when you spend over $1500 per month. Steep requirements, but if you have some major expenses, you can get a few extra bucks back.
    One other thing; be careful where you make your gas purchases because many convenience stores are registered as some other category rather than “gas”, so you won’t get the 5% rebate from there ever. I’m not sure what Wal-mart’s gas station is considered. Rather than going there tonight for $3.84/gallon I went to Chevron for $3.96/gallon to ensure I got the 5% back, plus it was more convenient at the time.

  28. You may want to check out Fidelity AMEX, if you want something to use at Costco (which only accepts AMEX). Fidelity AMEX pays 2% cashback to any Fidelity investment account (including an interest bearing money market account). It transfers the money automatically each month (no more thresholds or waiting for a lost check in the mail from Chase, and no waiting until February rewards month like Costco AMEX, which only pays 1% at Costco).

  29. How well does the AE Blue Cash Card play with Quicken software? It’s a deal breaker if it doesn’t download easily.

  30. bdenton42 says:

    American Express Blue Cash quietly dropped their “everything else” cash back rate from 1.5% to 1.25% a couple months ago. I’m not sure I even received a notice for it. The other cash back rates seem to be unchanged.

    I did however receive a notice that “to be responsive to the business and economic environment” that as of 10/1/09 they are increasing the interest rate to prime + 13.99% (currently 17.24%).

    If you are late with a payment it goes to a whopping prime + 23.99% (currently 27.24%). Just to add insult to injury the late payment fee is also increased to $39 if the balance is over $250.

  31. Let’s say I used this card only for gas, and I spend $1K/mth. That’s $12K/yr. The reward should be $6500 at 1% and $5500 at 5% which is $65 + $275 = $340. Why does the cash back rewards calculator on the Amex site show $142?

    https://www124.americanexpress.com/cards/loyalty.do?page=bluecash.maximize.new&intlink=cashtracker_calculator_howmuch

    Click on “Set It Yourself”, and slide the gas bar all the way to right. Try other combinations. I can’t make any sense of this.

  32. I have an AMEX Blue Cash card. I’ve found that it’s terrible at categorizing purchases. Less than half of my purchases are associated with the correct categories to get my 5% (and I’m well over the $6500 cutoff to get that). I’ve contacted their support, and the first couple of times they corrected it. However, they’re now blaming the merchants for not categorizing the purchases correctly. I don’t buy that though. All of my other cards that offered bonuses in the same categories have correctly applied those bonuses, even my Costco Truearnings card, which is also an AMEX, when I’ve used it at the same gas stations (that one doesn’t offer bonus for grocery or drug stores).

    At any rate, I’m very frustrated at this point and am probably going to look for a different card to use that will actually categorize my purchases correctly so that I can get the Cash Back that is promised.

  33. Sean,
    Have you found anything that tops the AMEX Blue Cash? I’m getting ready to sign up for a card and I’m trying to do as much research up front as I can before committing.

  34. Had the Blue Cash card for a year. Have spent over $90,000 so far and still have 2 months to go. We charge everything to the card, including my kids’ college tuition (hence why we spent so much this year). They lowered the cash back to 1.25 instead of 1.5 for most purchases a while ago, so this upcoming year we are changing credit cards. It did work well for us though for this year becuase we charged so much and getting over the 6,500 threshold was extremly easy this year. In 2010, we will use the Charles Schwab Invest First Visa credit card (2% back on everything, deposited monthly into schwab account) for everything except gas, eating out, and travel, which we will charge to our Costco TrueEarnings AmEx card. That card is 4% for gas, 3% for eating out, and 2% for travel. Even though it’s the same percentage as the visa, we’ll use it for travel for all the built-in assurances of using an AmEx card. Being an AmEx cardholder comes with so many free benefits that are often overlooked such as roadside assistance, accidental damage replacement, overnighting of a replacement card, etc. LOVE everything about AmEx, just that the schwab card has better cash back. FYI-The schwab card can only be applied for over the phone.

  35. Sean above is absolutely correct. AMEX does not categorize properly and the consistently make the errors every two months like clockwork. Once I hit the 6500 tier they can’t even get the gas right. Their customer service will never give you the same person twice even in the middle of one issue. Their card is not what they advertise. My Chase card doesn’t pay the same rewards but at least they fairly categorize my spending.

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