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A Credit Card to Get You (Eventually) 5% On Your Vanilla Purchases

I’ve been a fan of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, as it earns me 6% cash back on groceries up to $6500 a year, and 3% cash back on gas. Fantastic, yay me (minus the $75 annual fee).

But a friend of mine recently alerted me to an older version of that card called the Amex Blue Cash card that, if you’re a heavy duty manufactured spend person, will likely be a better deal for you:

You can see the full information here, but go into private browsing first)

You’ll earn 1% cash back on grocery, gas, and drug stores on the first $6,500 you spend every year.
You’ll earn .5% cash back on everything else on the first $6,500.

After you spend $6,500, you’ll earn 5% cash back on those categories (grocery, gas and drug store), and 1% cash back on everything else. There’s no annual fee.

If you’re someone who, for example, buys a lot of Vanilla Reload cards at CVS, this can be a very lucrative shift for you.

If you max out at $5k/month in VRs, here’s the math:

- If you use a 2.2% cash back Barclays Arrival, you’ll generate $1340 cash back (subtract VR fees from that).
- If you use this card, you’ll generate $2,787 cash back (1% on first $6500, 5% after that). Plus there’s no annual fee.

If you have an Amex Blue Cash Preferred, you should be able to switch to this version…

There are a MyFICO thread here, and an FT thread here if you’re interested.

Again, clear your cookies or go into private browsing, then you can get to the application here.

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  1. I’ve had this Blue Cash no-fee card for over a decade. In fact, before I started reading travel blogs and found it was possible to get outsized redemptions with air miles, this was my #1 go-to card. Amex has been steadily trimming back the benefits in the past few years, especially after the recent credit card reform law. Previously, after you spent $6500 they would give you 5% cash on grocery, gas and drugstores and 1.5% on everything else. Now it is only 1% and they have revised their definition of drug stores to only CVS Pharmacy, DUANEreade, Rite Aid and Walgreens and gas stations must be standalone (i.e. they cannot be part of a grocery or warehouse club complex). The foreign transaction fees are also pretty hefty, nearly 3%, so you want to avoid using this card abroad.

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