Category Archives: Credit Card Reviews

American Express Blue Cash Credit Card Review

blue cash everyday

The American Express Blue Cash Everyday credit card offers generous cash back of 3% on the first $6,000 spent on groceries; 1% cash back after that, 2% on gas and select department stores, and 1% on all other everyday purchases. Avoid having to remember rotating bonus categories or the need to enroll for the cash back! Enjoy the benefits of an American Express cardholder with Blue Cash with no annual fees. This includes travel benefits, purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty, and other premium services.

Blue Cash Everyday at a Glance

Rewards Program
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Annual Fees None
APR 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months;
After Intro period, variable APR is 12.99% – 21.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.7%
Signup Bonus Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Verdict:

Good if you:
  • Want to enjoy the cardholder benefits of an American Express card without any annual fees
  • Spend a lot at supermarkets, gas stations and department stores
  • Like that there are no rotating reward categories to remember
  • Want to use the credit card in conjunction with another card in order to maximize your cash back (will discuss more below)
Bad if you:
  • Don’t spend much at supermarkets, gas, or department stores
  • Don’t have good credit

Let’s first take a more in-depth look at the advantages of the Blue Cash Everyday.

10 American Express Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card Benefits

1)      3% Cash Back at Supermarkets and 2% Cash Back at Gas Stations and Department Stores – The 3% cash back at supermarkets applies to purchases up to $6,000 per year. Once $6,000 is reached, all subsequent supermarket purchases will earn 1% cash back. However, you can keep earning 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases without a limit.

2)      1% Cash Back on All Purchases – Some credit cards may give you great rewards for only a few categories but below-average rewards on everything else. Although the Blue Cash Everyday card caps the 3% cash back on groceries at $6,000, there is no cap on the 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores! Even after the $6,000 limit, you are still guaranteed unlimited 1% cash back when you spend at supermarkets. You can easily make the Blue Cash Everyday card your default credit card or use it in conjunction with another card.

3)      Free $100 Bonus Sign Up – You receive a free $100 signup bonus in the form of a statement credit after you spend $1,000 on your credit card within the first 3 months of account opening.

4)      No Annual Fee – Other American Express cards have an annual fee. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred has an annual fee of $75. However, with Blue Cash Everyday, you get to enjoy the benefits of an American Express card without having to pay any annual fee.

5)      0% Introductory APR for 15 months – The 0% introductory rate applies to purchases and balance transfers made within 15 months of account opening. After the introductory period, variable APR is 12.99% – 21.99%

6)      No Rotating Categories – Unlike the Chase Freedom credit card or the Discover It credit card, which have changing bonus categories each quarter, the Blue Cash credit card does not have any rotating categories. Get 3% cash back at supermarkets, up to $6,000, and 2% cash back at gas stations and select departments anytime throughout the entire year. The cash rewards program is simple, where you earn cash back right away and no enrollment is needed. Avoid any hassle of having to remember changing bonus categories.

7)      $50 Bonus Reward For Referring Friends & Family – When you refer your friends and family to the Blue Cash rewards credit card, you get 50 Reward Dollars, up to 550 Reward Dollars per calendar year. Your friends must apply through your referral link and be approved for the credit card in order for you to earn your referral bonus.

8)      Flexibility to Carry a Balance or Pay in Full – American Express charge cards requires you to pay off your monthly balance in full. However, with Blue Cash credit card, you have the option to carry a balance and pay over a period of time, although doing so would incur interest charges.

9)      Return Protection – If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the store refuses to take it back, American Express may refund the full purchase price up to $300 per item excluding shipping and handling, up to a maximum of $1,000 annually. See other shopping benefits, including their purchase protection and extended warranty.

10)     Low Threshold for Cash Back Redemption – Some cards only allow you to redeem rewards once you reach a certain threshold, often a high one. With Blue Cash Everyday, cash rewards are redeemable once you earn at least $25 Reward Dollars. You can redeem your points in the form of gift cards, merchandise, or as a statement credit.

How American Express Blue Cash Everyday Compares to Other Credit Cards

Blue Cash Everyday Disadvantages

Limits to earning cash back:
One disadvantage of the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card is that although, it offers a competitive 3% cash back at grocery stores, this is limited to $6,000 of combined purchases per year. However, you will still be eligible for 1% cash back after the limit is reached.

If you spend well over $6,000 at supermarkets, you may want to use the Blue Cash Everyday card in conjunction with another card. For example, to maximize your cash back on groceries, also consider getting the BankAmericard Cash Rewards card, which has 2% cash back at grocery stores, limited to $1,500 per quarter. This way, after you reach the $6,000 limit at supermarkets, instead of earning just 1% cash back, you can earn 2% cash back for another $1,500 in grocery purchases.

Other tips: Consider using Chase Freedom credit card on gas expenditure for the 6 months and on select department stores for the 3 months when they offer 5% cash back.  Also, if you have BankAmericard, which offers 3% cash back at gas stations up to $1,500 per quarter, you may want to use it for gas before using the Blue Cash. Once the limit of $1,500 is reached on BankAmericard, use Blue Cash to earn 2% cash back on additional gas expenditure.

High credit:
Blue Cash Everyday is generally for people with good to high credit. If you do not have a good credit score, you may not be approved right away or you may start off with a low credit limit.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers generous ways to earn and redeem rewards. Although it is best known for its travel rewards, you can use the rewards on just about anything, including cash back and merchandise. The card also has great purchase and travel protection. There is no annual fee for the first year, then $95 afterwards. However, if you use the card regularly, your rewards will easily cover that cost.

Chase Sapphire Preferred at a Glance

 

Rewards Program
  • 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn additional 1 point per dollar when you book airfare & hotel accommodations through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Annual Fees $0 the first year, $95 after
APR 15.99% variable APR
Foreign Transaction Fee None
Signup Bonus Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening

Verdict:

Good if you:
  • Frequently dine at restaurants
  • Often travel
  • Also have Chase Freedom credit card  (to maximize benefits and get the most value out of your points)
Bad if you:
  • Don’t spend much on dining or travel
  • Want an introductory 0% APR

Let’s first take a more in-depth look at the advantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

10 Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Benefits

1)      2X Points on Travel – Earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel when you use your card to pay for airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars, train/bus tickets, taxis, tolls, parking and more. Plus, you can earn an additional 1 point (total of 3 points) per $1 if you book your flight or hotel accommodations through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which offers the same flight prices as Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz or other airline websites. There are no blackout dates or restrictions. As long as there is a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can book your airfare, hotels, and rental cars using a combination of cash and points.

2)      2X Points on Dining – Earn 2 points for every dollar you spend at restaurants, from fast food to fine dining. This is perfect if you eat out a lot and it is an easy way to rack up points. For example, if you eat out with friends, you can offer to charge the entire bill using your Chase Sapphire Preferred card and have everyone pay you back in cash.

3)      1 Point Per $1 ­– Aside from earning 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and at restaurants, earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.

4)      Free 40,000 Bonus Points – Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on your credit card within the first 3 months of card ownership. That’s equivalent to $500 towards airfare or hotels when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus, you can earn an additional 5,000 bonus points if you add the first authorized user. This is one of the best sign-up bonuses available.

5)      20% Off Travel – Always get 20% off airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises when you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, the 40,000 bonus points you earn is worth a $500 flight! That’s a $100 savings. Even if you do not have enough points to redeem, you can still book your travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and charge the remaining cost on your credit card.

6)      1:1 Point Transfer to frequent Flyer Miles – Transfer your points to participating frequent travel programs at full value. This means you can transfer 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 1,000 partner miles or points. Travel programs include:

  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards
  • Korean Air Skypass
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • InterContinental Hotels Priority Club

7)      0% Foreign Transaction Fee – Unlike many other credit cards that charge as much as 3%, Chase Sapphire Preferred does not charge any foreign transaction fee when you use your card on purchases made outside the United States.

8)      Travel Protection – Chase Sapphire Preferred has many travel benefits. For example, if your trip is canceled or ended early due to sickness, severe weather, and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid and non-refundable travel expenses, including tours, train/bus fares, and hotels. In addition, if you or your immediate family members’ luggage are damaged or lost by the carrier, you are covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

9)      Purchase Protection – Chase Sapphire Preferred has many purchase protection, including warranty, price, and return. For example, the card covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. You can also be reimbursed for items the store won’t accept back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year.

In addition, if you bought something and the price went down within 90 days, you can be reimbursed for the difference up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year. The card also extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.

10)      Transfer Chase Freedom (or any other Chase cards that use Ultimate Rewards) points to Sapphire UR points – This can be a big advantage for Chase Freedom cardholders because you can use the Sapphire card in conjunction with the Freedom card to get the most out of your rewards from both cards. This is because, with the Freedom card, you cannot transfer points to frequent flyer miles and you do not get 20% off travel when you redeem through Ultimate Rewards.

As mentioned here, Chase Freedom has 5% cash back on rotating categories. You can use your Freedom card on the bonus categories to earn 5% cash back and then transfer your Freedom Ultimate Rewards points to Sapphire UR points. This way, you will be able to get more value out of your points by using them for travel or converting them to frequent flyer miles.

UR points also never expire and can be redeemed in many ways, including cash back, merchandise, experiences, and gift cards.

How Chase Sapphire Preferred Compares to Other Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Disadvantages

Annual fee:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a $0 introductory fee for the first year and then a $95 annual fee after. If you can spend a lot, especially on travel, the rewards can definitely outweigh its cost. However, if you do not plan on using your credit card on a regular basis, consider other rewards credit cards with no annual fees.

No Introductory APR:
Unlike Chase Freedom which has a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases, Chase Sapphire Preferred has no introductory APR