My favorite rewards credit card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card with unlimited 1.5% cash back and no annual fee. However, if you're looking to expand your rewards credit card portfolio, check out the Blue Cash Everyday® Card From American Express. This is the card I used all throughout my 20s as a young investment banker in NYC.
With $0 annual fee and great cash back rewards, it was the perfect personal credit card to use for all my purchases.
Blue Cash Everyday cardholders can earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000 a year spent at U.S. supermarkets and then 1% thereafter, along with 2% at U.S. gas stations and partnered U.S. department stores. Outside of these categories, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card rewards 1% in every other category.
In other words, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card From American Express provides some of the highest cash back rewards on what Americans spend the most money on. That's a win, win.
Overall, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card From American Express is a great utility card for your daily spending needs with generous rewards. For the average person who spends about $500 – $1,000 a month, this credit card is a fantastic choice.
American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Overview
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday® card is the perfect card for everyday spenders. Once you start spending over $1,000 a month, many start considering upgrading to the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, where you can get 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6k a year in purchases, then 1%).
Just know that the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a $95 fee. Therefore, it's best to start with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card initially with no annual fee, and then work your way up.
Let's review some of the key benefits of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card From American Express.
Great Welcome Bonus
The AmEx Blue Cash Everyday® offers new customers $100 back after spending $2,000 within the first six months. That's a nice 5% one-time cash back return right there!
In addition, you can earn 20% back for card purchases on Amazon.com in the first six months up to $150 back.
The typical cash back rewards credit card requires $3,000 worth of spending within the first three months. So the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® beats the competition. If you need a credit card, always try to sign up for cash back rewards credit cards with no annual fee and take advantage of the free money and perks.
Generous 0% Intro APR
Signing up for the Blue Cash Everyday® card also comes with 0% APR on purchases in the first 15 months. This is a great perk for those of you who plan to buy more expensive items and need some time to pay it off.
When I first got my Blue Cash Everyday® card, I used it to buy a $2,000 laptop and some other electronics. I needed the equipment for work. Yet I was only making $40,000 a year and living in a studio in Manhattan. Being able to pay 0% interest for 15 months was great. I got my bonus months later and paid everything off.
If you're trying to bring over a balance from another card, check out these great balance transfer credit cards we've reviewed for you to consider as well.
Foreign Transaction Fees
If you like to travel abroad, be aware that this card has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee. Therefore, you want to keep this credit card at home if you are traveling overseas. Instead, I recommend you use an international rewards credit card that charges 0% foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
My personal favorite for international travel is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. You can earn a nice 60,000 mile sign-up bonus equal to $600 in travel credit and earn 2X miles on everyday purchases. Further, there are no foreign transaction fees.
When my wife and I visited six countries in Asia the other year, we used the Venture Rewards Credit Card for all our expenditure. As a result, we gained enough rewards to book ourselves a round-trip ticket to Hawaii!
Getting Approved For The Amex Blue Cash Everyday® Card
In order to get approved for the Amex Blue Cash Everyday® Card, you will need a credit score of around 670 or greater.
To check if you prequalify, you can visit American Express’s website and click “Go to Personal Cards,” and then “Check for Offers.”
If you have a 700 credit score, you are highly likely to get approved. A 700 credit score is considered good, while an 800+ credit score is considered excellent.
Here are some of the best credit cards by various credit score ranges if you are looking for more options.
Redeeming Amex Rewards Is Easy
Cash back rewards for the Blue Cash Everyday card come in the form of Amex Reward Dollars that you can apply directly to your statement. Using your rewards for statement credit is the responsible way to go. Not only do you pay down debt, you also don't waste time and money buying something you really don't need.
If you’re not interested in a statement credit, however, you can also cash your rewards in for gift cards and merchandise. Just make sure you come up with some things you really need to buy and then go shopping. Shopping with a purpose will help you save.
In order to redeem your Amex Reward Dollars, the Amex Blue Cash Everyday® card comes with a $25 minimum redemption threshold. This means you can only cash in your rewards when you’ve accumulated enough points to reach a balance equivalent to $25 or more.
It’s also important to know that the 3% rewards at U.S. supermarkets are capped at $6,000 annually. After you reach $6,000 in spending, the rewards drop back to 1% at the grocery store.
Spending $500 a month at the grocery store to feed up to a family of four is generally doable. But if you live in a place like NYC, you could easily spend 3X – 4X more on groceries and food.
How One Family Takes Advantage Of The Blue Credit Card
Take a look at this real budget of a family of three in NYC. They spend $1,560/month on food and their $300,000 income goes pretty quick!
If you live in an expensive city, consider getting the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Credit Card. This card provides the following benefits:
- Dining (3% cash back): includes purchases at restaurants, cafés, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries.
- Entertainment (3% cash back): includes tickets purchased for movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, pool halls or bowling alleys. It also includes purchases at record stores and video rental locations. However, you won’t get the bonus rate on cable, digital streaming and subscription services.
- Groceries (2% cash back): includes purchases at grocery stores, dairy product stores and specialty markets. Purchases at superstores like Walmart and Target, however, will earn 1% cash back — even if it’s for groceries.
You'll also earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases.
Upgrade To The Amex Everyday® Preferred
The big brother to the Blue Cash Everyday® card is the Blue Cash Everyday® Preferred card. It is more comprehensive and has higher cash back percentages. Terms apply.
- 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6k in purchases a year, then 1%)
- 6% back on select US streaming subscription services
- 3% at US gas stations
- 3% on transit, including taxis, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and even rideshares like Lyft and Uber
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
To get all these benefits, the Blue Cash Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, whereas the Blue Cash Everyday® card is free.
Let's look at the Blue Cash Everyday® card benefits again.
- 3% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6k in purchases a year, then 1%)
- 2% at US gas stations and select department stores
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
Bottom line, in order to get the Blue Cash Everyday® Preferred card, you should probably spend at least $1,000 a month on your card to make it worthwhile.
Don't Be Late On Payments
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card does charge a late fee if you miss a payment. That's pretty standard.
If you miss a payment, Blue Cash Everyday® charges a high penalty APR for at least six months after your late payment. After the penalty period, your APR will return to its normal rate. But if you end up paying your balance off in full soon after, the penalty APR doesn't matter.
The normal APR for both purchases AND balance transfers is based on your creditworthiness and other factors. But you won't have to worry about interest fees for a while because this card offers 0% APR for 15 months and as a smart shopper, you will be paying off your monthly balance each month after in full.
Amex Unique Feature #1: Plan Fee
One unique feature of American Express cards is “Plan It.” It allows Amex customers to pay for purchases of $100 or more over six months with no interest on a fixed “plan fee” per month.
The Plan It program kicks in after the 15 month 0% APR period. It might make sense for smaller purchases under $500, but you'll have to run the numbers.
Amex Unique Feature #2: Pay It
Pay It is another Amex feature available to all of the company’s U.S. credit cards. Pay It lets you reduce your balance by making small payments throughout the month on the American Express app.
The payments are applied to your outstanding balance. Customers use this feature to lower their balance before the billing cycle ends, so they are charged with less interest.
But hopefully, you will never need to use this feature because you will only buy things you can afford to pay off in full each month.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card Is Excellent
For those of you who need an everyday use cash back credit card, I highly recommend getting the Blue Cash Everyday® Card. I used it for eight years and was very pleased with the benefits. Terms apply.
Once you start regularly spending more more than $1,000 a month, you can consider getting another one of my favorite rewards credit cards. I've spent hundreds of hours since I founded Financial Samurai in 2009 analyzing the best credit cards available.
Always take advantage of credit cards and never the other way around. Be responsible with your spending and enjoy all the benefits a rewards credit card has to offer!
Main Credit Card Recommendation
If you haven't signed up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card yet, I highly recommend you do so. You get a free $200 in cash back after spending just $500 within three months of signing up. Further, you get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Free money is great!
About the Author: Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments. He spends most of his time playing tennis and taking care of his family.
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Disclosure: Credit card terms and features are subject to change.