Sunday, August 26, 2012

AMEX BlueCash Everyday

The American Express BlueCash card was the third and final new credit card I got in June. And when I say June, I mean late at night on June 30th.

June was an eventful month for me in the world of credit cards. I upgraded my AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card to the Platinum card. Additionally, I applied for (and got) the Chase Amazon Rewards Visa. I was well into the process of becoming a credit card rewards geek and already planning future applications a few months ahead. Something was missing, though. Something I didn't want to go without: grocery store rewards.

I was thrilled with the Premier Rewards Gold card, and I needed something to replace my extra points on grocery store purchases. Granted, this card is not a Membership Rewards card, but cash back is not a bad deal. With the PRG card, I earned 2X Membership Rewards on grocery and gas purchases. I get gas purchase rewards on a couple of other cards, but nothing else in my wallet gave earnings multiples on grocery stores. Enter the BlueCash card, which gives three points per dollar on grocery purchases. The full multiples listing is below:

-3% cash back on groceries
-2% on gas stations and department stores
-1% everything else
-2.7% foreign transaction fee (clearly not a card to use overseas)
-Redeem for cash back or statement credit any time for $25 or more

I gave careful consideration to the BlueCash Preferred card, which offers a whopping 6% cash back on grocery purchases. It has an annual fee of $75, while the Everyday version I got has no annual fee. I did the math, and it would be worth the annual fee to double grocery rewards from 3% to 6% for me. Nevertheless, I opted for the Everyday version. I'm getting married next year and just could not justify paying an annual fee, even though it would be worth it. However, I am planning to upgrade to the Preferred version of the card next year.

A note about that...I discovered after applying that you CANNOT upgrade this card if you've had it less than a year. It's not AMEX; it's a consumer protection law that has an unexpected side effect. You can read about that here.

The wild card here is department stores. That is not a benefit I've seen offered on other cards, and I'm not sure how much it will benefit me. Nevertheless, it's not a bad thing to have. 1% cash back on everything else is not great, and is really the bare minimum you should be earning. Now that I've met the $1,000 spend requirement for the $100 signup bonus, this card will get only grocery and some gas purchases unless the department store category turns out to be useful.

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