AMEX Gold Card vs AMEX Blue Cash Preferred Calculator 2019

AMEX Gold Card vs AMEX Blue Cash Preferred

Side by side comparison of the AMEX Gold Card and AMEX Blue Cash Preferred. Calculate total rewards earned based on your monthly/yearly spend and compare!

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When it comes to earning the biggest return on groceries with American Express, your options come down to two cards: The AMEX Blue Cash Preferred and The AMEX Gold Card. Both cards offer a fantastic return on grocery, but the true question comes down to which card is better? The answer heavily depends on how you plan on redeeming your rewards and how much spend you plan on running through these cards.

Cash Back and Membership Rewards Points

You have several options when redeeming cash back earned with American Express. You can redeem your earnings in the form of a statement credit, for gift cards, or to purchase merchandise. To redeem AMEX cash back, you must have at least $25 in rewards dollars to be able to redeem rewards.

Membership Rewards Points are easily worth 1 cents each, but can be worth more when transferred to their travel partners. Outside of transferring points, they can also be used for a wide variety of other redemptions including airfare, hotels, cruises, retail, statement credits, gift cards, and more.

Bonus Categories

The AMEX Gold Card features three bonus categories which are U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and airfare purchased directly from the airline. The U.S. supermarkets category has a max spend of $25,000 per year in purchases. After that max is hit, you will only earn 1x Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent on supermarket purchases. The other categories on this card have no cap.

The AMEX Blue Cash Preferred features four bonus categories which are U.S. supermarkets, streaming, U.S. gas station, and transit purchases. The U.S. supermarkets category has a max spend of $6,000 per year in purchases. After that max is hit, you will only earn 1% cash back for the remainder of the year.

For this comparison, I will primarily focus on the shared supermarket category. These calculations also take into account that you can use the full $120 dining credit and $100 airline travel credit the AMEX Gold offers.


Supermarket Earnings
AMEX Gold Blue Cash Preferred
4x Membership Rewards Points 6% Cash Back

The AMEX Gold Card earns 4 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent on the first $25,000 in supermarket purchases made during the year. After you hit that cap, you will earn 1 Membership Rewards Point per $1 spent for the remainder of the year. This is an easy return of 4% or higher.

The AMEX Blue Cash Preferred card earns 6% cash back per $1 spent on the first $6,000 in supermarket purchases made during the calendar year. After you hit that spend, you will earn 1% cash back in the grocery category for the remainder of the year.

Redeeming Membership Rewards With AMEX

If you plan on redeeming your Membership Rewards Points through American Express (as in not transferring them to partners), you will get a maximum value of 1 cent per point for most redemptions. This would mean you would earn a 4% return using the AMEX Gold and a 6% return with the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred when making supermarket purchases. This puts the Blue Cash Preferred ahead of the Gold Card unless you spend heavy in grocery.

If you spend more than $7,920 per year ($660 per month) in grocery, the AMEX Gold Card will be the better option if you're redeeming Membership Rewards Points at their easy value of 1 cent each. This is because after you pass $6,000 in spend during the calendar year, the Blue Cash Preferred will go from earning 6% down to 1% cash back for the remainder of the year while the AMEX Gold will still earning 4x points up until you reach $25,000 in spend for the year.

That brings up another point: you can use these cards to pick up gift cards from grocery stores and still earn big. Picking up a $100 Staples or Old Navy gift card would still net you an excellent return of 6% cash back or 4x Membership Rewards Points using these cards. This is worth considering if you're trying to pick up cash back or points. Of course, the $25,000 yearly cap on the AMEX Gold Card will take you a lot farther than the $6,000 cap on the Blue Cash Preferred.

Transferring Membership Rewards To Partners

When earning transferable rewards points, the best value will usually come from airline partners and that's the case with Membership Rewards Points. Membership Rewards Points can be transferred to almost 20 different airline frequent programs giving you a good chance at redeeming for a high value. If you plan on redeeming rewards for airline tickets, the AMEX Gold Card will generally be the better option. You can easily get a good value of 1.2 cents to 1.4 cents transferring Membership Rewards Points with little to no research. If you put in the time, you can find redemptions for 2 cents or higher. Generally, the best values will come from first/business class or international travel. For example, a roundtrip flight from Detroit to London on Delta Airlines will cost you a pretty penny.

Those same flights also go for a range of 50,000 to 74,000 Skymiles.

The lowest point value for the days listed is 1.53 cents per point and that's for the $1,320 trip costing only 74,000 Skymiles plus $186 in taxes/fees leaving Thursday the 11th and returning the Tuesday the 23rd. The highest point value is a whopping 6.59 cents per point on the two days that $3,486 flights only cost 50,000 points plus $191 in taxes/fees. If you're earning 4 points per $1 spent with the AMEX Gold, you're looking at a return between 6.13% and 26.36% cents per $1 spent which is a lot more than the 6% the Blue Cash Preferred can earn you.

AMEX Gold's Remaining Categories

Gold Card Categories
Restaurant 4x Membership Rewards Points
Airfare 3x Membership Rewards Points

In addition to earning 4x Membership Rewards Points on supermarket, the AMEX Gold also earns 4x on restaurant purchases and 3x on airfare. The highest amount of cash back you can earn on these purchases is 1.5% cash back with the AMEX Cash Magnet Card. The AMEX Gold Card wins by a land slide when it comes to these two categories even if you redeem the points with AMEX at 1 cent per point.

The AMEX Gold Card, along with the other 9 Membership Rewards Points earning cards, all earn an additional point for purchases made on the American Express Travel portal as well. AMEX's cash back cards will not give you any bonus for these purchases.

Blue Cash Preferred Remaining Categories

Blue Cash Preferred Categories
Streaming 6% Cash Back
U.S. Gas Station 3% Cash Back
Transit 3% Cash Back

The Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% cash back on streaming and 3% cash back on both transit and U.S. gas station purchases. The AMEX Gold Card doesn't feature any of these categories, so you will only be earning 1 point per $1 spent. While the Gold Card is not a good choice, there are a few other Membership Rewards cards that feature the gas station category. You can earn 4x with the AMEX Business Gold, up to 3x points with the Everyday Preferred, and 2x points with the Blue Business Plus Card.

Perks and Benefits

AMEX Gold Benefits

The AMEX Gold Card features monthly and annual benefits that can give the card some really good value. This consists of the $120 Annual Dining Credit and the $100 Airline Credit.

The $120 dining credit featured on the AMEX Gold is split up monthly. Cardholders will receive $10 in credits every month towards the following restaurants:

  • Grubhub
  • Seamless
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House
  • Shake Shack

Any credits not used during the month will not roll over. The statement credit will applied to the account within a few days. Any spending over the credit will be charged the card as usual.

AMEX Gold Card members will also receive a $100 airline credit annually. Members will need to choose which airline they would like this credit to apply to. Qualifying airlines include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

After you apply and select your airline, you are able to change your airline once per year in the month of January. Any airline incidentals made with the selected airline will be deducted from the $100 credit over the course of the year. Credits do not roll over to the following year. Incidentals are considered to be purchases such as bag fees, food purchases, seat upgrades and other purchases made with the selected airline that is not part of the original airfare purchase. While technically not considered as incidentals by AMEX, you can also trigger the credit purchasing two $50 Delta Gift Cards (from desktop site) or Southwest gift cards.

Blue Cash Preferred

There are no special perks or benefits specific to the Blue Cash Preferred Card.

Sign Up Bonus

The sign up bonus for the AMEX Gold Card hovers around 40,000 to 50,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months of having the card. This has an easy cash value of $400 to $500, but can be transferred to partners for more value. For example, you can use less than half for a one-way trip to London from Detroit on Virgin Atlantic.

Open availability for one-way flights from Detroit to London.

The sign up bonus for the Blue Cash Preferred Card hovers around $200 to $250 after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months of having this card. You can sometimes get the $250 bonus if you use incognito/private browsing when signing up for the card. Obviously, the sign up bonus requires less spend, but generally has less value than the sign up bonus of the AMEX Gold.

Credit Card Fees

Fees At A Glance - -
Annual Fee - -
Authorized User Fee - -
Foreign Transaction Fee - -

Annual Fee

The annual fee for the AMEX Gold Card is $250 annually. If you're able to use all $225 in credits, you're looking at a net fee of only $25. Of course, if you don't normally eat at the places that take the $125 in annual credits, you'd end up spending more money than you normally would. Not including the dining credits, you're looking at a net fee of $150 which can still worth it if you plan on running heavy grocery (or restaurant) spend through the card.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card has an annual fee of $95. You will need to run at least $3,180 in spend per year ($265 per month) for this card to be better than the no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday Card.

Authorized User Fee

There is no fee for adding authorized users to the AMEX Gold Card or AMEX Blue Cash Preferred Card. Adding additional family and friends can help build up points and cash back faster. Since both of these cards feature common everyday categories, I recommend adding users if you can.

Foreign Transaction Fee

The foreign transaction fee for the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred Card is 2.7% while the AMEX Gold Card's is 0%. While you will not get penalized using the AMEX Gold Card overseas, it's categories are strictly tied to U.S. restaurants and supermarkets meaning you will earn no more than 1 point shopping in these categories outside of the United States. Both cards are not ideal for international travel. For restaurants you should consider the Barclays Uber Card. As for grocery, a flat rate 1.5% earning card with no foreign transaction fee like the Quicksilver would be the best choice.

Rewards and Card Value Calculator

You can use this rewards calculator to calculate how many points, miles, or cash back you can earn based on your spend per category for both cards. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of the cards based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees.

All category spend entered in the first column will carry over to all credit card pages on the site. This means you don't have to re-enter the same information over again. You can use the Copy functions under the Options menu within the Categories & Bonuses section.

Credit Card
This calculator will calculate the cash value of the selected credit card(s) based on spend, benefits, and fees. You can compare this card against any another rewards card side-by-side by clicking on the Compare A Card button.
Currency Worth
This is the cash value of points and miles used in these calculations. You can click on the amount to change the value or you can select View Rewards As to calculate your rewards when transferred to partners.
View Rewards As...
0 Cent(s)
View Rewards As...
This section allows you to view your rewards as if you transferred them to a partner. Select a transfer partner below and the calculator will alter the calculator to reflect the transfer ratio and the reward currency of the receiving program. This only applies to the currency of the selected card. Not all programs have transfer partners. I also do not have the cash value of points and miles for all transfer partners.
Edit Value
Enter the cash value of these rewards in cents per point/mile. You can enter the value as X.XX cents or 0.0XXX cents. The maximum value allowed is 15 cents ($0.15) and the minimal value is 0.1 cents ($0.001).
Loyalty/Rewards Programs
Covers hotel loyalty status, status with bank rewards programs, and few others. These are added automatically based on card selection, but can be manually added as well.
/ Loyalty Programs
Add/Remove Loyalty Programs
Select which loyalty programs you want to include in the calculations. You will be able to select your status with the program and it will calculate additional points/bonuses based on what you enter in the calculator.
Loyalty Programs
Other Bonuses
All card card specific bonuses will be listed here. These are added automatically based on the selected card(s).
Categories Spending
Enter how much you spend in each category listed. You can click on the amount to edit the value. You can use +/- Categories to add and remove categories from the list and Options to copy spend between columns and clear all spend.
/ Categories
Add/Remove Categories
Select which categories you want to appear in this calculator. You can search categories by typing in a keyword below. De-selecting categories will remove them from this calculator. Categories are changed once you hit 'Update'.
Currently Selected:
Deselect All
Clear Spend
This will clear the spend in all of the categories in both columns. This will also clear all saved values.
Copy Spend
Copy Right will take the spend from the left column and copy it to the right column. Copy Left will take the spend from the right column and copy it to the left column. The spend amount ($) and unit of time (month, day, quarter) will be copied over.
Reward Bonuses
This section holds sign up bonuses, loyalty bonuses, and bonus bonuses. Most bonuses here will be listed automatically based on certain criteria. You can click 'Extra Bonus' if you wish to enter your own bonus amount.
Extra Bonus
Any additional bonuses you wish to add such as a sign up bonus or point bonus for adding authorized users
Total Earnings
Sum of all rewards above this line.
Cash Value of Earnings
Based off of currency worth.
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Calculator Continues Below
Monetary Bonuses/Perks
This is a list of cash perks and bonuses associated with the selected card(s). Some perks will be listed here automatically. You can click on 'Perk Bonus' if you want to add additional value for the card.
Perk Bonus
Enter how much you value any unmentioned perks this card offers.
Annual Fees
This section contains the annual fee and authorized user fee (if applicable) to hold on to the listed card(s).
Edit Fees
Edit the annual fee and authorized user fee of the Card (if applicable).
Annual Fee: -
Auth Fee: -
Grand Total
The total estimated value you can get out of this card and the amount of return for your spend.
Total Card Value
The value of the card when everything is taken into account.
Total Return
The percent you are earning per dollar spent on this card.

Page Last Updated: 2019-03-11

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About These Calculators: These calculators are provided to help you estimate the value of points, miles, and cash back you can earn with various rewards programs and using reward earning credit cards. These calculators are meant to provide an estimate of rewards earned and are not meant to reflect the exact amount of points you may receive. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of any credit card before you apply as benefit and perk changes may not be reflected immediately on this website.

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