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American Express 6% Cash Back Q & A

As we convert to our new favorite card, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express [1] to take advantage of the 6% cash back, I discussed many of the ins and outs of this card with readers as we all learn how to maximize our cash back.

We started with an overview of how to get the American Express 6% Cash Back Credit Card & $100 Sign Up Bonus [2] and use it for grocery store purchases, gift cards, and prepaid debit cards.

Since American Express reports cash back one statement behind, we had to wait until we got our second statement to confirm many of our cash back purchases.

American Express 6% Cash Back

Here are some of the questions and answers about the Blue Cash Preferred Card [1] that might be helpful to maximizing the profitability of this card:

Does American Express payout in Membership Reward points or straight cash? – Wayne

Hi Wayne,
The rewards were based in dollars that I could use to purchase gift cards or as cash back. The cash back was available in multiples of $25 which was applied as a statement credit when I redeemed it.

I signed up for the AMEX Blue Credit Card for the groceries cash back. Thanks for the tip. My question is, what qualifies as groceries? I’m assuming it is by the store. What about a place like Walmart, Costco or Target that sells Groceries and regular stuff?

If it is by the store, then I am assuming (and you may have already written about this) that if my grocery store sells gift cards to Amazon, etc. that I can parlay my 6% cash back into non-grocery items that way. – Rory

Hi Rory,
Glad you like the amex card! I too am loving the 6% cash back. We have determined that it is coded by store. I looked at my account, and Costco doesn’t count (it shows up as Wholesale Stores). I haven’t tried it at Walmart or Target yet, but I have a feeling those are also probably not coded as grocery stores.

As far as your grocery store selling gift cards- yes, that’s what I’m doing, Amazon gift cards, restaurant gift cards, and the generic visa gift cards to use everywhere else.

Madison, can you confirm that you have already received the 6% cashback on the purchases where you bought the $500 Visa card at Grocery stores? I’ve only had this now for one statement cycle and in the last statement I did get 6% back on my purchases at Grocery stores but I did not make any purchases of gift cards during that cycle. I’m trying to arrange a very large payment with the $500 Visa cards… I feel like it’s a little risky to be sure I’ll get the cashback from American Express until I actually see the BlueCash gets credited on the purchases of Gift Cards I made at Grocery stores. – Kelly

Hi Kelly,

I just got my second statement in the mail this week, and I can confirm that all $1,286 of my grocery store purchases from my first statement, which included my first 2 $500 gift cards, earned $77 reward dollars, all at 6%!

For the record, both of those purchases included gift cards and groceries in the same transaction.

When I login to my account online to check the recent activity, you can expand the store purchase for more information. When I do that, I see the purchase labeled like this – Category: Merchandise & Supplies – Groceries.

I think the purchase category depends more on the actual store than on what you purchase.

I am looking at the AMEX card that gives 6% back at grocery stores, not that we buy that many groceries, but we do buy other things. I looked at our Safeway yesterday and they had tons of gift cards along with the Visa PrePaid Credit cards in amounts up to $500. I didn’t get much info b/c the small print was folded up on a white piece of paper inside the packet and since I wasn’t buying it, I did not feel I should tear it out. However, it did say on the outside of the packet I could add monies to it once I had used all the monies. That defeats my purpose of getting back 6% each time I buy in $500 increments.

Then I stopped by my bank to see if I could use it as cash and everyone there was uncertain. They thought I might be able to use it at their ATM (not positive, though) and they did not know if I could take out the entire $500 at once. I was thinking if I bought a bunch of these things, it would pay me to use them to pay everything, but I may be dreaming in lala land. Can you please help me? Thanks so much for your time. – Barbara

Hi Barbara,
Your lala land sounds fantastic! I think you might be onto something great here. You’re right, you don’t want to add money to it since you would miss out on the 6% cash back.

My husband and I have been stocking up on the gift cards every time we’re at the grocery store, and we now use them for almost all of our other purchases, but cashing them out at the ATM is another added twist I didn’t think of.

I pulled out the last few cards I bought, and one of them doesn’t look like you can cash it out at the ATM, however, 2 of the other cards do allow ATM withdrawals. One has a small fee for the ATM withdrawal, and the other says ATM withdrawals are free!

If I were you, I’d go ahead and purchase just one and do a trial run at the ATM. If it rejects it, then just spend the $500 on regular purchases. If it accepts it… I think you just found new part time job driving between the grocery store and the ATM every day. I’ve noticed that ATMs have different withdrawal limits. Our local bank (which has free ATM withdrawals) would allow a $500 withdrawal, so you might need to look around in case yours has a lower limit.

Good luck! I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

What other tricks, twists, and tips have you discovered with your American Express 6% Blue Cash [1] card?

More on the Blue Cash Preferred Card