Update 12/11/2012: The terms of the benefits of this card are now limited such that you only get 6% back on the first $6,000 annually with this card, which limits it to $360. Still, not horrible, but not as lucrative as it could have been.
6% cash back at grocery stores, 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else; sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Let me explain…
I love travel rewards cards; I’m not one for cash back cards. I also eat food; pretty sure we all do. We have two cars that get us to/from work. I’d say there are probably a lot of us in the same position.
We spend between $75 and $100 a week in groceries, the majority of that gets spent at a grocery store. Depending on the week we’ll also hit up a local farmer’s market. Regardless, like most everyone else we venture to our grocery store and pick up most of what we’ll eat for the week. The weekly trip we take is the most economical way, and oftentimes the most healthy way for the two of us to eat.
I’ve learned to stay out of the center aisles as much as possible, and keep myself and the cart on the outer edges of the store; its where I find everything perishable/fresh. It is also typically where the most expensive products can be found. I know I’ll be paying more for fresh tuna versus the canned version; same goes for the bread from the bakery versus the loaves delivered on the 18-wheelers, or the frozen/canned fruits and vegetables versus the fresh ones.
I hunt for the occasional coupon, and could easily see myself getting sucked into extreme couponing, but as a rule I don’t spend my time couponing. I’ll purchase sale items in bulk, but the effort associated with matching coupons to deals is too much for me.
I’m lucky that my store accepts American Express; and through now I’ve been using my Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and get a point for every dollar spent. I value those points at 2.5 cents each, so I see myself getting 2.5% back. Albeit, it is not in cash, but it works for me. If you’ve got the Chase Freedom card currently you can get 5% cash back on up to $1500 in purchases through June 30, 2012 ($75 net).
2.5% all year without any restrictions or 5% during a promotion period sound pretty decent; they’re certainly better than 1% cash back. What about 6% cash back, all year, with no limits on a card, and 3% back on all gas.
Enter Blue Cash Preferred℠ from American Express… One of our most formidable statesmen Benjamin Franklin wrote in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes; while that certainly may be the case, groceries and fuel for our vehicles are likely a reality for us too.
If we say the average family of four spends $200/week on groceries (based on statistics from the USDA) we’re looking at $10,400 annually. Spend that on the Blue Cash Preferred where you’ll get 6% cash back that comes to $624 in cash back, for changing nothing other than the card you pull out of your wallet when you pay.
For gas, everyone has different commutes so I’ll take conservative numbers here. Say 12,000 miles a year in a vehicle that gets 30 miles to the gallon. At current national average gas prices of $3.87 for regular unleaded the annual fuel cost is $1,512; use the Blue Cash Preferred and you’re getting $90 back. Translate that to miles and you’re getting 698 miles of gas back.
In our economy we need easy ways to save money and this card fits the bill for me. I will be applying for this card shortly and am looking forward to about and annual $500 in cash back based on our expenses for doing nothing other than using a different card.
For expenses that I know I’m going to incur on a regular basis, especially where I can very easily quantify it by looking back at previous receipts / bills, this is a no-brainer for me.