Why This Current Amex Welcome Offer Is a Sleeper Hit

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Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Why the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card’s Welcome Offer Is a Sleeper Hit

On the heels of Amex loosening its credit card limit policy a few days ago, a fellow hobbyist and I were talking over our new Amex card alternatives.  As we stepped through their card portfolio, we eventually got to the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.  I had held the card years ago, and I hadn’t given it much thought since then because of the supermarket bonus earning cap.  However, I decided to pursue it again based on the unique combination of circumstances below.  Here’s why I decided to go after the Amex Blue Cash Preferred now.  Perhaps you should consider it, too, before the current offer expires on May 5th!

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Amex Blue Cash Preferred Welcome Offer

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card’s current welcome offer is $300 cash back after $3k spend in the first six months of holding the card.  This heightened offer for $300 back on all $3k spend is relatively rare.  More often, I’ve seen lower welcome offers, or offers that only apply to specific spend categories (restaurants, for instance).  The current high cash back welcome offer on all spend grabbed my attention.

$200 Back in Statement Credits

My offer included $200 back in statement credits for purchases at certain home furnishing stores.  This category also includes home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.  That’s all I needed to hear – I’ll have no problem using the credits there.  Hello, gift card kiosk!

Amex Blue Cash Preferred
My wife referred from her Gold for its superior 30k Membership Rewards bonus.

Amex Referral Bonus

In my opinion, Amex has the best referral bonus program of any bank out there, by far.  Those of you in two player mode with a spouse or domestic partner can obtain even more rewards on new Amex card approvals.  My wife referred me from her Gold card and obtained a 30k Membership Rewards bonus for doing so.

No Annual Fee

Even better, Amex is currently offering the Blue Cash Preferred with no annual fee for the first cardmember year.  In the past, I’ve largely seen that the $95 annual fee is included in the first year.  No doubt, this annual fee normally takes a significant bite out of any cash back earned, so its exclusion right now is huge.

Timing

I obtained this card in close proximity to the middle of the calendar year.  This gives me more flexibility to maximize 6% cash back in the supermarket category (up to $6k spend annually) both this year and early next year.  By doing so, I’m benefiting twice from the annual limit in one (free) cardmember year.

0% APR

The current offer also comes with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening.  I don’t take advantage of these promos often, but it’s nice to know it’s there if/when I feel like using it.

I can do more with this now than with more piles of hotel points or airline miles.

Crunching the Numbers, and My Overall Take

Fun with Cash Back Math

Taking all of the above into account, I’ll step through the cash back numbers.  The math made picking up this card a slam dunk.

  • Welcome Offer:  $300
  • Home Furnishing Credits:  $200
  • Amex Referral Bonus:  $375 (30k Membership Rewards via Schwab cashout at 1.25 cents per point)
  • 2021 Supermarket Cash Back:  $360  (6% cash back, up to $6k annual spend)
  • 2022 Supermarket Cash Back:  $360
  • Total Cash Back:  $1,595

My Overall Take

Prior to crunching the numbers, I hadn’t given the Blue Cash Preferred serious consideration as my next Amex credit card.  I was originally focused on Amex’s Hilton and Delta cards.  But I quickly realized about $1.6k in cash easily outweighed anything the other current welcome offers could provide in the next 12 months.  No other rewards currency from viable Amex credit cards could offer me even close to that amount.

I’m looking at the Blue Cash Preferred as a one year rental.  It will not be a long term keeper, as I’ll want to move on to other credit card welcome offers that provide more rewards than $360 cash back annually.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred – Conclusion

This experience reminded me of something that I easily forget in the credit card rewards hobby – always challenge my long-held beliefs and preconceived notions.  I can unearth more lucrative rewards which are better customized for my situation by doing so.  It may be more work, but I’ll compare available welcome offer alternatives even when faced with what seems to be an upfront winner.  Have you obtained the Amex Blue Cash Preferred recently?  What other Amex credit cards have you pursued lately?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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17 COMMENTS

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17 COMMENTS

  1. just applied and approved for a United Quest card through your referral link. Just now 5/1/21. So verify if you get credit. First time using one of your links. THe reason I applied through your link…you don’t censor comments (That I’m aware of anyway)..unlike OMAAT.

    I used FM link last time, and will do again, as he doesn’t censor either.

  2. Literally just made the same decision 3 days ago. Though in my math I didn’t consider the referral bonus since we would’ve gotten that no matter what Amex card I was approved for. I was weighing the Brilliant against the BCP & while I wanted to top up my Marriott stash with the Brilliant SUB, the $1220 of free money was just too much to pass up.

  3. I find the 0% offers to be great when the timing is there. Using the PP Key as a debit payment, I’ve been able to pre-pay a full year of a cost that I would otherwise pay monthly, with only a one-time $10 or so debit card fee hit, getting cash-back as well as 0%, so rather than monthly cash payments from checking to the biller instead 0% lets me instead make monthly payments from checking to the credit card used instead of HOA. Same with taxes in states where the debit fee is capped. Unfortunately, it’s not too long before one runs out of large payment items that this can be used for.

      • Yes. After posting, I realized that AMEX is opted-out of PP Key. But PP Key worked great for me using Chase cards, cleared SUBs and generated URs on spending that I would otherwise used checks.

  4. Is there any guidance out there on AMEX cross-card referrals? This was a P2 Gold to a P1 for Blue. I’ve only done one P1/P2 referral, from P1 AMEX Hilton no-fee to P2 for an AMEX Surpass. I don’t recall when we did the P2 application there being any zig-zag to other AMEX cards, but maybe since we were focused on the Surpass SUB at that time.

    • DjG,

      I talked more in depth about Amex referral bonuses in this April 2020 article. Long story short, you can apply for any available card (personal or business), and the person referring will receive a bonus. Amex provides these options once you follow the referral link. This has been an option for a few years now.

      • Thank you, I had vague memory of a discussion including that perhaps AMEX was unique, where Chase doesn’t offer; great to know.

  5. Great recommendation. Refining it a bit, wouldn’t it be more accurate to measure the supermarket bonus at only the level that it’s above what you could / would earn on grocery purchases with any other existing card? For example,
    2021/22 Supermarket Cash Back: $360 (6% cash back, up to $6k annual spend) – $240 (e.g., 4% back on an existing card = $120 net per year that is above and beyond what the re-directed supermarket spending would otherwise have earned? Just offering b/c we can’t (or shouldn’t) project that we have unlimited spending capacity and time, spending dollars and time on one card always is taking away spending and time available from another card.

    • DjG,

      Thanks for chiming in. Your comment seems directed at a deeper dive on the best cards for supermarket spend, which is beyond the scope of this focused article on the Blue Cash Preferred. You may be interested in Ian’s previous article on the best cards for supermarkets.

      As I’ve previously shared, each person’s situation is different, and I recommend each individual evaluates his or her goals/needs to identify the optimal card(s). Nonetheless, we’ll continue to provide more content on the variety of options for bonus category spend (supermarkets and otherwise).

      • Understood, and fully on board, none of this is exactly the same for everyone. I’ve never been a cash-back person until this year, so have been weighing some cards and studying whether or not to jump in. Analysis alerted me to the robbing Peter to pay Paul point I was offering, that there is likely a celling on how much spending one can generate, supermarkets or other categories. In theory, unlimited dollars but our time is always capped, that’s one thing we cannot manufacture (ah, MT vs. MS).

      • Good post. But I don’t think it needs to be a deeper dive to make the observation that spending bonuses as a reason for getting a card have opportunity costs. The reality is that nobody is getting zero points for grocery spend. I think valuing the cash back at $720 for grocery spend is simply wrong unless you would pay cash but for signing up for the card. It seems like a great deal for you and I don’t have a problem with your other values but if you are going to take into account a multiplier as a reason for getting a new card, any number that does not recognize the opportunity cost component of putting that spend on that card is flawed. Unless you’re manufacturing spend and have unlimited MS capacity. But that should be disclosed to help others evaluate the offer.

    • I had the same thought, still a great deal the 6% should only count 2-4% and also takes away from the ease of hitting other sign up bonuses for that time period – yes they can be hit either way but easier on natural spend- but points still worth more than I would have thought!

    • ktc,

      I agree the ability to convert to Membership Rewards would be great, but I’m perfectly happy with this haul. 🙂

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