Full Review of Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card
Generous cash back rewards at supermarkets, with no annual fee
It's an Amex card on which you can carry a balance
Decent 0% APR offer on purchases
Grocery rewards are capped and some stores are omitted
Less suitable for foreign travel than many cards
- Generous Cash Back Rewards at Supermarkets, with No Annual Fee: This card offers a competitive rewards rate on grocery spending at supermarkets, with 3% back on up to the first $6,000 in purchases each year. If they reach that cap, card members continue earning 1% cash back while paying no annual fee.
- It's an Amex Card on Which You Can Carry a Balance: When American Express began, it issued only charge cards, on which the balance must be paid in full each month, and some of their products remain that way. The Blue Cash Everyday, however, is among the Amex cards that now allow you to carry a balance month to month, with interest, as needed.
- Decent 0% APR Offer on Purchases: This card is a respectable choice if you want to make a number of purchases without the need to pay them off immediately to avoid interest charges. It offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and the interest-free period is 15 months, which is a bit more generous than the 12- or 14-month offers of some other cards. After the promotional period ends, the regular variable APR range of 13.99% to 23.99% applies.
- Grocery Rewards Are Capped and Some Store Types Are Omitted: The 3% cash back rewards rate at supermarkets represents a solid reward, but it's important to be mindful of its $6,000 annual spending cap. While that limit should suffice for a typical household, heavy grocery spenders may prefer a card with unlimited cash back rewards or one with a higher rewards rate on its capped purchases. All purchases beyond the limit earn only the default 1% cash back rate. Also, grocery purchases at superstores like Walmart and Target and wholesale clubs like Sam's Club or Costco do not qualify for the 3% cash rate. Nor does gas purchased at those retailers qualify for the 2% rate on fuel purchases.
- Less Suitable for Foreign Travel Than Many Cards: In terms of card acceptance, American Express tends to lag behind Visa and Mastercard, mainly outside the U.S. It's a good idea, then, to check acceptance at your location or to carry another card you know can be widely used if you are planning international travel. That additional card should be one with no foreign transaction fee, since the Amex Blue cash Everyday charges 2.7% on purchases abroad.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday card is good for people who spend up to $6,000 per year on groceries, on which they can earn 3% cash back—a generous rate for a card with no annual fee. If you were to spend the average on groceries (about $4,500 per household, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), you'd earn $135 or so in cash back. If you spent up to the maximum earnings cap, you'd earn $180.
And those figures don't consider what you'd earn from the card in other cash back. This card is also a decent choice in a no-fee card if you spend regularly on gas, since it offers 2% cash back on fuel purchases. While you can get better rewards on gas with some other cards, including some no-fee ones, that's still a decent rate for a card's secondary category. If you spend the national household average for gas, of $2,000 or so a year, you’d earn approximately $60 a year with this card.
Finally, it's an ideal choice if you still like to shop at traditional department stores. You’ll earn 2% cash back at eligible department stores that include Bloomingdale's, Century 21 Department Stores, J.C. Penney (JCP), Kohl's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. Assuming you spent the national average for apparel spending at those outlets, which is also about $2,000, you'd earn approximately another $60 a year with this card.
You could, then, earn about $250 a year in cash back in those premium categories alone. With a 1% cash back rate on everything else to round things out, this card could deliver a decent amount of cash back annually.
Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card Bonus
The Blue Cash Everyday card offers a $100 bonus for new card members. To qualify for the bonus, you need to spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership. In addition, new cardholders can earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases made on the card for the first 6 months of card membership, up to $200 back. That means new cardmembers can potentially earn up to $300 back in the first 6 months, which will be given as a statement credit.
Rewards Earning Details
This card's rewards structure is fairly straightforward. You earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to the first $6,000 in purchases each year. After that, you earn 1% rewards on those purchases.
Purchases made at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores (including Bloomingdale's, Century 21 Department Stores, J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom) earn 2% cash back. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
The cash back you can earn at 1% and 2% is not capped yearly. American Express does specify that superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gas are not considered gas stations. If you buy gas regularly from any of those locations, that's important to know, since those purchases would earn only 1% cash back.
Rewards Redemption Details
The $100 welcome bonus, along with the additional opportunity to earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases - up to $200 back, is received as a statement credit. All other cash back rewards earned with this card are received in the form of Reward Dollars. Those Reward Dollars can be redeemed at full value for a statement credit. The minimum amount of rewards required to redeem is $25.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
There are a few ways to ensure that you're getting the most possible cash back from this card. The first is to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to get the introductory one-time offer. Assuming you spend $1,000 or more in eligible purchases, that's a relatively easy way to earn $100 in cash back. Then, if you take advantage of the 20% back on Amazon.com purchases during the first 6 months of card membership you can potentially add another $200 to your cash back tally.
Next, endeavor to maximize your spending at U.S. supermarkets, where you’ll earn 3% in cash back on all purchases, including those for non-grocery items sold at markets. Obviously, you won’t be ahead financially if you can buy items elsewhere at a savings of more than 3% over your local market, so you may want to keep track of the comparative prices on items you buy frequently.
You should also consider shopping at department stores to take advantage of the 2% cash back you’ll earn at the chains that partner with Amex. You can receive the 2% rate when shopping at the stores' online sites as well as their brick-and-mortar locations. Again, though, it’s prudent to comparison-shop to ensure that you’re truly saving money on a department-store purchase, including its cash back, compared with buying it elsewhere.
You can continue maximizing your card by charging to the card all of your gas purchases, which also earn 2% cash back, along with miscellaneous everyday purchases, which earn only 1% cash back but whose rewards could nonetheless add up to a surprising amount over the course of a year. Keep in mind, however, that if you're spending heavily on travel, a card that offers higher equivalent earnings in miles or points on those purchases may be more lucrative.
Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits
- Pay It Plan It program offers two ways to pay down purchases over time
- Global Assist Hotline offers emergency assistance 24/7 when you're more than 100 miles from home
- Free two-day shipping on eligible items with ShopRunner
- Purchase and return protection
- Extended warranty protection
- Roadside assistance and travel accident insurance
- Entertainment benefits include exclusive ticket access to selected events
- Fraud protection
According to J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, American Express ranks second overall for customer satisfaction, behind Discover.
Card members can access and manage their accounts online, through the American Express app or by phone. Customer service is available by phone 24/7. Personal card members can call 1-800-528-4800 for help.
Chat assistance is also available. You can also connect with American Express on Facebook or tweet questions and comments to @AskAmex.
The Blue Cash Everyday card offers the typical array of measures to thwart fraud, including monitoring your account for suspicious transactions and contacting you if fraudulent activity is suspected. A few less-common protections with American Express include:
- Using 128-bit encryption technology to protect online user IDs and passwords.
- Automatically logging you out from online account access after 10 minutes of inactivity.
- Allowing members to establish a Personal Security Key to authenticate account access.
- Using pre-purchase verification to verify your personal information before authorizing a transaction.
This card offers solid cash-back returns on everyday purchases, and particularly groceries, without either the complication of earning rewards as points or the anxiety of paying an annual fee that might not be justified over the year.
That said, cardholders who are comfortable with paying an annual fee have a choice of cards that offer better cash back rate at supermarkets. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, for example, offers 6% cash back at those retailers, with the same $6,000 annual cap. A household with the typical average annual spending on groceries would earn another $135 or so with this card compared with the Amex Blue Cash Everyday, a difference that’s more than enough to justify the $95 annual fee for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card’s decent 0% introductory APR on purchases is also a plus, as is the low minimum spending requirement to earn the introductory bonus—which is admittedly modest, at $100. The addition of 20% back on Amazon.com purchases during the first 6 months of card membership, up to $200 back, makes the bonus offer much more compelling, however.
The card is less than ideal for use when traveling abroad, though. Amex cards in general have lower acceptance outside the country than other major brands, and the 2.7% foreign transaction fee contrasts a number of competitors that impose no such charge and are also free of an annual fee, such as the Discover It Chrome card.