These days, the most likely reason we break our monthly budgets is that we eat too much at restaurants or take-out. The more I spend at the grocery store on raw ingredients, the more I cook, and the less we spend on food overall.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives me 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, which we don’t usually hit as a family of two adults and two kids under 4.
Overall highlights of this card include:
- 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.
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 Meijer, Vons, Whole Food, 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:
• Bon Ton Stores
• Century 21 Department Stores
• J.C. Penney (JCP)
• Lord & Taylor
• Neiman Marcus
• Saks Fifth Avenue
• Stein Mart
Annual fee. The card has a $75 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. However, spending just $25 per week at supermarkets at 6% cash back will result in over $75 Reward Dollars per year ($78) to cover the annual fee by itself.
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%.
The Blue Cash Preferred also has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR will then be a variable rate, currently 13.24% to 22.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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