Blue Cash Preferred from American Express
WHY IT WINS
If you do most of your charging on basic purchases— food, gas, clothing at the mall—the American Express Blue Cash® Preferred card delivers the best rewards. You get 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend each year at a grocery store—delivering $360 annually, if you hit the max. You’ll also earn 3% at U.S. gas stations and some department stores, such as Macy’s and Nordstrom. The sign-up bonus is generous and relatively easy to collect.
Unlike most cash-back cards, this has an annual fee, now $95. So if you spend less than $1,600 a year at grocery stores, for example, you could actually lose money. You won’t get the grocery bonus at wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club. For non-bonus categories, switch to a 2% flat-rate card like the Double Cash.
Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year; 3% at U.S. gas stations and at some U.S. department stores; 1% on all other purchases.
Sign-up bonus: $350 in statement credits after spending $3,000 within the first six months.
Annual fee: $95