How Good are the Soon to Launch Amex Everyday Cards?

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I’ve been in the world of using, writing about, and watching rewards credit cards for a while now.  Not forever, but long enough to have seen several new products launched, and several old products go away.  It is common for a new product to get a flood of marketing to get it going, but I have never seen so much marketing go into cards that aren’t even out yet as I have for the Amex Everyday and Amex Everyday Preferred.  I mean ads featuring Tina Fey running during the Oscars?!  Sometimes good marketing can provide nice smoke and mirrors for a not-so-great product, but I don’t think this is the case here.

I truly think that these cards are awesome for normal people who want to get the most for the money they are spending everyday, especially if what they want in terms of rewards is travel.  These cards are perfect for my parents, my mommy group friends, my cousins, my neighbors, and even me.  I’m not totally normal when it comes to everyday spending and rewards cards, but I’m not terribly far off either.  I like things simple, quick, easy, and rewarding…and I get the feeling a lot of you do as well.

Since marketing buzz only gets you so far, I wanted to do the numbers on how good these cards are for earning Membership Reward points.  For this exercise I want to focus on the Everyday Preferred card that comes with the $95 annual fee instead of the Everyday card that carries no annual fee.  If you are not yet familiar, note that the Everyday version does not carry an annual fee but still earns Membership Reward points that are fully transferable to hotel and airline partners.  That is huge by itself.

Back to the Everyday Preferred card as I like its increased earning potential.  In addition to the reported sign-up bonus of 15,000 Membership Reward points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, it will earn:

  • Earn 3x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year on purchases; 2x on US standalone gas stations; and 1x points on all other purchases.  Terms and limitations apply.
  • Use the Card to make 30 or more purchases in a billing period and earn 50% extra points on all those purchases less returns and credits.

Grocery Expenses:

That means that if your family spends an average of $500 per month at the grocery store ($6,000 per year) that you will earn 18,000 Membership Reward points annually just on groceries.  If you make this card your “go to” card and use it 30 times per month, you will get a 50% bonus on all points earned bringing your yearly grocery total at an average of $500 per month to 27,000 Membership Reward points per year just for groceries.

As a comparison, with the American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card $6,000 annually on groceries would get you 12,000 Membership Reward points at 2x (half as much).  With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you would earn 6% cash back in the form of a statement credit on the first $6,000 annually on groceries for a total of $360.  That isn’t bad at all, and might be a good compliment for those families who spend an average of $1000 each month on groceries, but I personally value 27,000 Membership Reward points over $360.  As long as you get at least 1.33 cents per point in value from your Membership Reward points then 27,000 MR points is potentially worth more than $360.

Gas Expenses:

Some quick internet searches revealed that many American families spend an average of $3,000 per year on gas (though obviously some spend virtually nothing thanks to public transportation, and some have to spend quite a bit more).  If you went with that $3,000 number that breaks down to $250 per month.  At $3,000 per year on gas you would earn 6,000 points per annually for that category at 2x on both the Everyday Preferred and the Premier Rewards Gold card.  However, if you triggered the 50% monthly points bonus on the Everyday Preferred that total jumps to 9,000 points annually on gas.  With the Blue Cash Preferred at 3%, $3,000 in a year comes to $90 back annually.  Again, I would easily take 9,000 Membership Reward points over $90 statement credit since I certainly value my points more than one cent each.

Everyday Spending:

All three of the cards talked about in this post (Amex Premier Reward Gold, Amex Everyday Preferred, and Amex Blue Cash Preferred) earn 1x on most non-bonused spending.  However, the Everyday Preferred will give a 50% bonus if you trigger 30 transactions per month.  That puts the Everyday Preferred ahead of both of those cards at 1.5 Membership Reward points per dollar, and frankly that is better than most other cards out there in terms of non-bonused spending.  A caveat to this is if you are a bigger spender that puts $30,000 per year on your Amex Premier Rewards Gold card since that triggers a 15,000 point bonus and obviously changes the equation some.  Of course, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card carries a $175 annual fee, while the Everyday Preferred card comes with a $95 annual fee, and the Blue Cash Preferred has a $75 annual fee.  Personally I have yet to put 30k per year on that card, so it is a non-factor for my family.

What Does All This Mean:

If you spend an average of $500 per month on groceries and $250 per month on gas, you will earn 24,000 points per year just in those categories on the Everyday Preferred card.  However, if you use that card regularly and rack up 30 transactions a month (not that hard if your life is anything like mine coffee, dry cleaners, grocery store, lunch, and gas all before noon), then you will earn a 50% bonus resulting in 36,000 fully transferable Membership Reward points just on gas and grocery purchases each year.  Everyday spending will only get you to almost free travel quickly if you are taking advantage of bonus categories, and the Everyday cards will provide a great additional tool to do just that. 

I know I’m applying as soon as they come out, so to me they are pretty good.  What do you think?


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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I recently learned that I can buy Amazon gift cards as low as $0.15 a piece… I wonder if I make a few of those transactions, will it be enough to trigger the bonus (in case I’m short a few transactions for that month)

  2. How do you think the one with no annual fee compares to the Amex Starwood with $65? The later has normally been my non travel or dining related card (other is Sapphire Preferred).

  3. The PRG card also has a big benefit of 3X air. Assuming $30K spend and the 15K bonus points make this a better card for a traveler.

  4. We do not hit the 30K in spending each year–potentially we could get close if I put everything on the AMEX, but I like my UR too much to do that.

    However, I’m pretty excited about this card for the category bonuses. I have to start planning on how to hit 30 transactions a month though. Maybe go to the grocery store and gas station multiple times per week?

    @mommypoints: If you have mulitple cards on the account, do you know whether it is 30 transactions for the ACCOUNT or is it per card? I would assume the ACCOUNT.

  5. Sadly the gas bonus is only at standalone gas stations, not places like Costco. I haven’t crunched the numbers but I suspect saving 10-15 cents a gallon outweighs the 3x MR points.

  6. Thirty transactions a month is a big hurdle for me. If you are stopping at Starbucks everyday just to hit that target the Preferred card does not make sense. The main value I see in the everyday card is to keep Membership Rewards points alive without incurring an annual fee.

  7. @Dbest –

    $500 on groceries per month gets you 50 cents savings per gallon of gas around here. It outweighs the Costco savings.

  8. I was grocery shopping yesterday, fuming that this card is not out yet. My $85 spend would have earned me 382 MR points, instead of the 170 I got with my PRG.

    30 swipes a month is almost automatic for me, on grocery spend alone. I drive right by my grocery store daily, and the TJs is right next door in the same parking lot. So I tend to shop almost 15 times a month already. Times 2 with both stores is 30 swipes, without even trying to game the system with multiple swipes per visit. 😉

    I also like to keep my gas tank at least half full, lest there be a power outage that would shut down the pumps when I’m running low. So that’s probably 8 swipes a month on the Preferred in those quarters when Freedom isn’t giving me 5 times UR points on gas.

    Costco isn’t a factor for me since I have a Safeway with a gas station that is as cheap as Costco, that credits as “gas station” on the cc charge. Much closer to home as well.

    I’m applying for the Preferred the day it becomes available…

  9. Is there any good option for an AMEX card when living abroad?
    I currently have the PRG but with foreign transaction fees and wording like ‘US gas stations’ and ‘US grocery stores’, I can’t see using it ever. But I also want to keep my MR points and my first year for PRG just ran up. Should I look to downgrade to one of the EveryDay cards just to hold onto the points and ‘maybe’ earn some in the process?

  10. @DBest – be careful with that…$0.10/gal is only 3% at current gas prices, meaning you are effectively getting the 2 extra MR points at <3 cent cost (vs. a 1 pp$ earning card).

  11. I’d also like to see a valuation of 1 SPG point vs 1.5 MR points. My SPG card is my main “everyday spending” card at the moment, while my CSP is my dining/travel card and I just got an Ink Plus for my business spending. But given the Everyday Preferred’s 50% bonus, I would love to be able to put ALL of my non-bonused spending on it, while reserving my SPG card for hotel stays only, if not cancelling it altogether.

    I know lots of people like to redeem SPG points directly with Starwood, but for me, the fact that I can now earn airline miles (particularly with Singapore and Cathay Pacific) 50% faster through MR than with SPG makes a big difference.

  12. It hasn’t been very long since I picked up the BCP, and I’m kind of on the fence. BCP is great for just straight cash value, and it’s all about how you convert your points to something more worthwhile. If hunting for sweet spots and arranging travel plans around promotion periods are your thing, your MR points could easily be worth 1.5~2 cents per point. If you like to fly business/first class, then you’re reaching 3~5 cents per point territory. But if you rather not deal with all of that, then BCP is probably a better fit for the targeted categories. BCP + BarclayCard Arrival would make a good tag team duo for fixed points

  13. Joe, it’s a hard call. I love the SPG card since SPG points are so valuable, but certainly for the bonused categories this is a better option. I’ll think harder on it in a future post.
    G, I imagine all on the account would count.
    Fishing4Deals, that is a huge plus for the no-fee card especially. I don’t seek out to have 30 transactions a month, but I easily have way way more all-in as a family.
    Dave, indeed. 😉
    Robert Hanson, sounds like a plan. My dad is at the grocery store everyday too. Maybe I need to offer to buy his daily banana or other piece of produce he picks up. 😉
    Corey, yeah the foreign transactions on fees would be no bueno oversears, but the no-fee version is a great way to at least keep them safe.
    Mike, will do that post for sure.
    ed, I agree with everything you said.

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