With an attractive cash back rewards program, solid sign-up bonuses and a ton of consumer protection benefits, the Blue Cash Everyday credit card from American Express (AXP) is a worthy option among the many cash back rewards cards on the market. Unlike American Express' well-known charge cards, the Blue Cash Everyday credit card has no annual fee. This means all cash back rewards go directly to the cardholder's bottom line and not to cover high fees or program charges.
The Rewards and Benefits
As of July 2015, the Blue Cash Everyday card has a three-tier cash back rewards program. The top tier delivers 3% cash back on up to $6,000 of annual purchases at U.S. supermarkets. The next tier provides 2% cash back on purchases at U.S. gas stations and eligible U.S. department stores, with no purchase limit. As of 2015, eligible department stores include Kohl's (KSS), JCPenney (JCP) and Macy's (M), among more than a dozen others. The third tier pays 1% cash back on all other purchases made with the card. Cash back rewards are paid out as statement credits.
New cardholder benefits include an introductory annual percentage rate (APR) for all purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of card ownership. Additionally, cardholders who spend at least $1,000 on the card within three months of card ownership get an automatic cash back bonus of $100. Beyond these special rewards and benefits, all cardholders enjoy access to a variety of American Express consumer protection benefits when they use the Blue Cash Everyday card to pay for products and travel services. Shopping benefits include protection against theft and accidental damage for 90 days, return protection, extended warranty protection and dispute resolution services. Travel benefits include access to roadside and global travel assistance hotlines, and car rental and travel accident insurance programs.
The Fine Print
After the introductory APR period, the interest rate reverts to a variable APR of between 12.99 and 21.99% depending on the cardholder's credit rating and other related factors. While this range is comparable to many other quality cash back rewards cards on the market, carrying a balance on this card is expensive, and the resulting interest payments work to wipe away any gains from the cash back rewards program in a hurry. To maximize the value of this credit card or any cash back rewards card, it is important to pay off the card balance in full every month.
To access the consumer protection benefits, cardholders must use the Blue Cash Everyday card to pay the full purchase price of the relevant product or travel service. Certain other restrictions and exclusions apply to various types of transactions, so cardholders should always check the benefit terms carefully before a purchase to ensure coverage.
There are a variety of quality cash back rewards cards available, including the Discover it card, the Chase Freedom card and the BankAmericard Cash Rewards card. These alternatives offer introductory APRs and cardholder bonuses similar to the Blue Cash Everyday card. However, the American Express offering separates itself from the others in two ways.
First, this card does not have a complicated cash back program with rotating purchase categories and various rules to remember. While Blue Cash Everyday cardholders should keep the three purchase tiers in mind, the tiers do not change from one month to the next. The other advantage is found in the excellent variety of consumer protection benefits available with this card. Used properly, these benefits can prove quite valuable over time without costing the cardholder a penny.
Who Should Get It
The Blue Cash Everyday card is an excellent option for families and others who spend a lot on groceries and gas. The 3% rate at supermarkets is a terrific value, even with the $6,000 annual purchase limit. The 2% rate at gas stations and participating department stores is also a great deal, especially considering there are no purchase limits. As long as the balance is paid in full every month, this card delivers a real discount on every purchase, every day. That is something every family can get behind.