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Cash back rewards have become increasingly popular with consumers looking to save cash during the coronavirus pandemic. And, if you're looking for one of the best cards for groceries that earns cash back rewards, you likely noticed the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
After all, the Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% cash back on up to $6,000 per year in groceries from U.S. supermarkets. So, if you max out this 6% cash back category, you'll earn at least $360 in cash back each year. But, there's a lot more to this card than cash back at U.S. supermarkets.
So, in this guide, I'll discuss nine of the lesser-known perks of the Blue Cash Preferred.
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Bonus cash back on streaming, gas and transit
It's easy to focus on the 6% cash back that the Blue Cash Preferred earns on up to $6,000 per year spent on groceries at U.S. supermarkets. But, in doing so, many cardholders forget that the card has other cash back bonus earning categories. Specifically, you'll also earn:
- 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (see the current list here)
- 3% cash back on transit including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more
- 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
The Blue Cash Preferred has an annual fee of $95 (see rates and fees). But, you can earn $95 of cash back after spending $1,584 on 6% categories or $3,167 on 3% categories. Of course, most cardholders will earn cash back in a mix of 6% and 3% categories. But, this calculation should help you decide if the Blue Cash Preferred is right for you.
Amex Offers is an undervalued perk offered on U.S. consumer and small business American Express cards issued by a U.S. banking subsidiary of American Express. So, as a Blue Cash Preferred cardholder, you'll have access to Amex Offers.
The details and quality of Amex Offers vary. But, you can expect to see offers from your favorite dining, shopping and travel brands. And, even during the coronavirus pandemic, you'll see Amex Offers that will help you save money and make life easier.
Car rental loss and damage insurance
The insurance and protections that come with credit cards can seem unnecessary until you need them. One often-overlooked protection is rental car coverage. Luckily, several credit cards offer rental car coverage, including the Blue Cash Preferred.
You can be covered when you use your Blue Cash Preferred to reserve and pay for a rental car. Specifically, if the rental vehicle is damaged or stolen, your card may provide coverage up to $50,000. However, you must decline the collision damage waiver at the rental company counter.
This card only includes coverage for up to 30 consecutive days per rental agreement. And, there are some exclusions regarding coverage area, vehicle types, rental companies and payment method. In particular, if you use a non-American Express loyalty program's points to rent a car, you won't be covered. So, read the guide to benefits before assuming you'll be covered.
Finally, some cards offer primary coverage when you pay for a rental car using your card. But, the Blue Cash Preferred provides secondary coverage. And, secondary coverage means you must file with any other insurance you have first.
But, if you want primary coverage when renting vehicles with your Blue Cash Preferred, you can enroll in American Express' Premium Car Rental protection program. After registering, you'll pay a modest amount per rental in exchange for primary coverage.
Purchase protection for recent purchases
Credit card purchase protection recently saved one TPG reader $1,700. And, purchase protection can save the day if your Apple watch breaks. But, you can only benefit from purchase protection if the following occur:
- The incident occurs soon after you purchase the item
- You use a credit card that offers purchase protection when you buy the item
The Blue Cash Preferred offers purchase protection for purchases made within the last 90 days. So, if a recent purchase is stolen or accidentally damaged, you may be covered for up to $1,000 per purchase. The card provides coverage for up to $50,000 per calendar year, but only $500 per natural disaster event. And, some types of purchases aren't covered. So, check the guide to benefits before assuming an item is covered.
Extended warranty protection
Some credit cards also offer extended warranty protection. TPG readers and staff have used this protection to extend the warranty period on a broken tablet, bricked cell phone and malfunctioning cell phone. Whenever I purchase electronics or other items with a manufacturer's warranty, I use a card that offers extended warranty protection.
Fortunately, the Blue Cash Preferred offers extended warranty protection when you use your card. Specifically, this protection can extend the original manufacturer's warranty for up to one year. And, this protection may cover up to $10,000 per item and up to $50,000 per calendar year. But, only warranties of five years or less will be covered. And, you must make the original purchase in the U.S. or its territories. You can see the full details in the card's guide to benefits.
The Blue Cash Preferred offers one additional type of Amex shopping protection: return protection. Specifically, this protection can help when you try to return an item you purchased within the last 90 days and the merchant won't take it back. In this case, American Express may refund up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year. But, as with all credit card perks, check out the guide to benefits for full details.
You can unlock VIP event access with the Blue Cash Preferred through Amex's Entertainment Access program. This program provides exclusive access to ticket presales for select events. And, Amex cardholders may get access to added perks at select events and venues. For example, being a cardholder can unlock dedicated entrances, concession offers or exclusive meet and greets. Finally, the program may also provide access to card member-only events.
The only catch is a minor one: you must pay with your American Express card. So, you might earn more on your purchase if you used one of the best cards for entertainment spending. But unlocking presale access and member-only events may be well worth it.
Global Assist hotline
When travel issues occur, it can be challenging to know who to call. But, as a Blue Cash Preferred cardholder, you'll have access to Amex's Global Assist hotline on most trips that take you more than 100 miles from home.
The Global Assist hotline can provide medical, legal and financial coordination and assistance services at no charge. For example, the hotline can help with medical referrals, legal referrals, cash wires, passport replacement, missing luggage and more. Plus, the hotline can help with trip planning, such as customs information and vaccination information. But, you'll be responsible for any costs charged by third-party service providers.
Plan It® option pay for large purchases over time
The Plan It® feature allows you to pay for large purchases over time in exchange for a fixed monthly fee. You can group up to 10 qualifying charges of $100 or more into a plan. But, you'll need to log in to your American Express online account to do so. If you use the mobile app instead, you can only add one charge to a plan instead of up to 10.
And, you can have up to 10 active plans on your account at any given time. But the monthly fee and whether you are eligible to create a new plan depends on many factors, including your creditworthiness and credit limit. To see your options, log in to your online account and click on Plan It next to an eligible charge.
But, if you need to finance multiple charges now and expect your financial situation will improve soon, one of the top no-annual-fee credit cards with a 0% intro APR may be a better option.
Sure, many consumers get the Blue Cash Preferred is for its cash-back earning at U.S. supermarkets. But, as I showed in this guide, several other lesser-known perks can provide significant value. From shopping protections to Amex Offers, there's a lot of potential value to be found.
To learn more, check out the full review of the Blue Cash Preferred Card.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, please click here.
Featured image by The Points Guy.
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