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VS

Compare the Features and Benefits of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and
United℠ Explorer Card

Detailed Comparison Overview

Key Facts
Annual Fee
Avg. Min. Credit Score
APR on purchases
APR on balance transfers
Ongoing APR
Balance transfers fees
Best Multiplier
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
Bonus Offer
Rating
Review
Key features
Unique Card Benefits
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
0% Intro APR on Purchases
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
Annual Statement Credits
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
Return Protection
No Fees for Authorized Users
Amex Offers
Free Checked Bags
Airport Lounge Access
Priority Boarding
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
Trip Protections
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Concierge Services
Free Access to Credit Score
Annual Fee
$0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95 (Rates and fees)
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
APR on purchases
0% Intro APR (on purchases for 12 months, 19.24%-29.99% thereafter)
APR on balance transfers
0% Intro APR (on balance transfers for 12 months, 19.24%-29.99% thereafter)
Ongoing APR
19.24%-29.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
6x Groceries

At U.S. Supermarkets on the first $6,000 of yearly spend; 1X thereafter. * American Express defines a supermarket as offering a wide variety of food and household products such as meat, fresh produce, dairy, canned and packaged goods, household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies. (Superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs are NOT considered supermarkets.)

6x Streaming Services

On select U.S. Streaming Services

3x Transit
3x Gas Stations

At U.S. Gas Stations

1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.01
Bonus Offer

Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms apply.

Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.08) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a rewarding cash-back card thanks to its range of useful bonus categories. Perhaps the most valuable bonus category is the ability to earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on the first $6,000 spent annually. Households who spend $500 or so can maximize this threshold to earn a tremendous $350 in reward dollars every year, and that’s before you consider the other bonus cash-back opportunities like 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Still, you will want to subtract the $95 annual fee from that bounty.

The 6% cash back rate applies to select U.S. streaming subscriptions, which covers virtually every participating provider out there. From Apple Music to YouTube TV to Netflix to Prime Video, it’s likely that you subscribe to one (or more) of these popular live TV, movie or music streaming services.

apple-music-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express

Not to mention, you can enroll your card within your American Express account to receive a $7 monthly statement credit when you spend $9.99 (or more) each month on a subscription to The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, or ESPN+. If you already subscribe to one of these eligible services, that’s an instant savings of $84 every year.

You can also earn bonus cash back when you’re on the road. The Blue Cash Preferred provides 3% at U.S. gas stations and for local transit expenses, which includes anything such as taxis, rideshare services like Lyft and Uber, parking expenses, tolls, and train and bus fares.

Simply put, the cash back earnings add up swiftly with the Blue Cash Preferred, especially if you have a large household. You’ll earn cash back in the form of reward dollars, which can then be redeemed for any amount on your monthly statement credit through American Express. One reward dollar equals $1.

Other benefits on the card, such as purchase protection, return protection and access to Global Assist Hotline may be used less frequently, but will still come in handy when it’s least expected.

Best of all, there’s no annual fee for the first year of card membership, giving you time to test drive the card’s earning rates and benefits before you commit to paying the ongoing $95 annual fee. It is possible to downgrade after one year to the Blue Cash Everyday® Card if you find it more suitable.

Rates and Fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
0% Intro APR on Purchases
yes
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
yes
Annual Statement Credits
yes
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Return Protection
yes
No Fees for Authorized Users
yes
Amex Offers
yes
Free Checked Bags
no
Airport Lounge Access
no
Priority Boarding
no
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
no
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
Trip Protections
no
No Foreign Transaction Fees
no
Concierge Services
no
Free Access to Credit Score
no
Annual Fee
$0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
APR on purchases
-
APR on balance transfers
-
Ongoing APR
21.99%-28.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
2x Airfare

On United flights only; otherwise earn 1X

2x Dining Out / Food Delivery
2x Hotels
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.012
Bonus Offer

Earn 60,000 United MileagePlus Miles after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of opening an account, plus Annual Fee waived for the first year. Offer ends March 13, 2024.  

Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.05) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The United Explorer is one of the best credit cards out there for occasional United flyers. That’s because you’ll get useful perks, such as free first checked bags, priority boarding privileges, a 25% food and beverage discount on board United operated flights, and even get a taste of airport lounge access with two anniversary United Club passes. Plus. the annual fee is waived the first year, then just $95 thereafter.

Consider this scenario: Even if you only fly United a couple of times per year, the Explorer Card is worth it for the free checked bag benefit alone. Keep in mind, this applies to the primary card holder and one companion on the same reservation, as long as you use the card to pay for your ticket. At $35 for one checked bag, and $140 for a round-trip flight for two people, it’s easy to get value that exceeds the card’s annual fee.

In addition to the sign-up bonus earned after account opening, the United Explorer card earns a decent 2X miles on United Airlines purchases, 2X miles on dining, including eligible delivery services, 2X miles on hotel stays when booked with the hotel and 1x miles on all other purchases. Also, the card helps to fast track your United elite status goals with 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 you spend on purchases (up to 1,000 PQPs in a calendar year). These PQPs can be applied toward your Premier status qualification — up to the Premier 1K level.

And don’t forget the ability to earn PQPs towards elite status from spend. You’ll earn 25 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $500 you spend on purchases – up to 1,000 PQPs per year.

If you’re in need of extra miles besides flying on United flights, keep in mind that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the United Mileage Plus program at a 1:1 ratio to help you top up your miles balance.

While the United Explorer card is a fantastic option for the occasional United flyer, those that travel more often with the airline might want to consider other options, including United’s other, more premium, credit cards.

In more simple terms, the Explorer card fits the “occasional United flyer” once or twice per year mold, while the $250-per-year United Quest fits the “semi-frequent United flyer.” Then, there’s the United Club Infinite Card for the “frequent United flyer.” If you’re looking for a United Club membership and need more than just two one-time passes, you’ll probably be better off with the United Club Infinite Card, which comes with a full United Club membership but also charges the highest annual fee of the United cards at $525.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
0% Intro APR on Purchases
no
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
no
Annual Statement Credits
no
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
Return Protection
no
No Fees for Authorized Users
no
Amex Offers
no
Free Checked Bags
yes
Airport Lounge Access
yes
Priority Boarding
yes
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Trip Protections
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Concierge Services
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes

Learn more about these cards today

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