AMEX Gold Card vs AMEX Blue Cash Preferred Calculator

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!

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.

Credit Card Currency

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.

AMEX Gold Card

  • 4x Restaurant
    • Purchases are for restaurants worldwide.
  • 4x U.S. Supermarket
    • Note that these purchases are for the U.S. only; International supermarket purchases will earn you the non-category rate.
    • Annual spend cap of $25,000 per year; Earns at non-category rate once cap is hit
      • Why a limit so high? Because gift cards can be picked up from grocery stores. Earning 4x on gift cards is a great way to expand this category to others (i.e. getting a $100 AutoZone gift card is equal to earning 4x on Autozone purchases).
  • 3x Airfare
    • Can be booked direct or through the American Express Travel Portal.
  • 1x Non-Category

Blue Cash Preferred

  • 6% U.S. Supermarkets
    • Spend cap of $6,000 per calendar year.
    • Additional spend after cap has been reached will earn at the non-category rate (1%).
  • 6% U.S. Streaming Services
  • 3% U.S. Gas Station
  • 3% Transit
    • Includes taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more.
  • 1% Non-Category

Perks & Benefits

The AMEX Gold Card comes with a bunch of annual benefits which includes $120 in dining credits and $100 in airline incidental credits. While both credits can be a little 'restrictive', they can still provide great value when used.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card does not offer any annual benefits. You'll receive the basic benefits that most American Express credit cards come with.

AMEX Gold Card

  • Annual $100 Airline Incidental Credit
    • Applies to your chosen airline that you pick upon receiving the card and every January thereafter.
    • Can be used with the following airlines:
      • Alaska Airlines
      • American Airlines
      • Delta Airlines
      • Frontier Airlines
      • Hawaiian Airlines
      • JetBlue Airways
      • Spirit Airlines
      • Southwest Airlines
      • United Airlines
    • Incidental charges are credited back to your account in the form of a statement credit.
    • Baggage fees, lounge fees, and in-flight purchases count as incidental charges; Can also be triggered by some seat costs (such as paying for an Exit seat).
    • Chosen airline does not have to be the same airline you picked on other cards that feature this benefit.
  • Annual $120 Dining Credit
    • Credit is broken up into $15 per month.
    • Credits do not roll over; Use it or lose it.
    • Only applies to the following restaurants:
      • GrubHub
      • Seamless
      • The Cheesecake Factory
      • Ruth's Chris Steak House
      • Shake Shack
      • Boxed
  • The Hotel Collection
    • When staying 2+ consecutive nights, you will receive:
      • $100 USD hotel credit towards hotel amenities such as dining, drinks, and spa.
      • Room upgrade at check-in.
  • The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group
  • ShopRunner Membership
  • No Preset Spending Limit (NPSL)
  • AMEX Benefits
    • American Express Experiences
    • American Express Presale(s)
    • American Express Seating
    • AMEX Offers
  • Insurance and Purchase Protections

Blue Cash Preferred

Sign Up Bonus (SUB)

The sign up bonus for the AMEX Gold Card hovers around 40,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months of having the card. This has an easy cash value of $400, 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 which gives your points extremely high value consider this would normal cost you thousands of dollars.

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.

AMEX Gold Sign Up Bonus
Bonus 40,000 Points
Spend Requirement
Within First 3 Months
Est. Value $400+
Blue Cash Preferred Sign Up Bonus
Bonus $200-$250
Spend Requirement
Within First 3 Months
Value $200-$250


The annual fee for the AMEX Gold Card is $250 annually. If you're able to use the full $220 in annual credits and bring down the annual fee to $30, this card is easily worth it. If you're not able to use all the credits, it will depend on how much you spend and how much value you can squeeze out of Membership Rewards Points. You can add authorized users to the card for free to help you build points faster and the card has no foreign transaction fee which makes it a superb card for international dining spend.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card has an annual fee of $95. Looking at the supermarket category alone, you'll need to run at least $265 per month in spend through this category to make the card better than the no-annual fee Blue Cash Everyday Card. The Blue Cash Preferred has no authorized user fee, but it does have a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

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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 across both cards. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of both cards based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees. Do note that you can only compare the cards covered on this page side-by-side. If you want to compare against other cards, you'll need to go to the card's specific page.

All category spend entered in the primary card's column will carry over to all credit card pages on the site so you don't have to re-enter the same information over again.

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