Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express
vs. Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card

Updated: June 19, 2024

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Both the Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express and the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card offer enticing cash back rewards and no annual fee in the first year, making them strong contenders for your wallet. But the Blue Cash Preferred edges ahead with its higher cash back rates on supermarket and streaming purchases, which can translate to more savings for frequent shoppers in these categories.

Although the BofA Unlimited Cash’s flat-rate cash back is straightforward and beneficial if you prefer simplicity, the Blue Cash Preferred's bonus categories and introductory offer of a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months provide a compelling case for higher overall value.

Credit Card logo for Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express
Credit Card logo for Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
MoneyGeek Rating
4.2/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
4.2/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    19.24–29.99% variable
    19.24%–29.24% variable
    0% APR Offer
    0% on purchases for 12 months
    0% for 15 billing cycles on purchases
    Intro Offer
    Earn $250
    Earn $200 cash back
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1–6% cash back
    Earn 1.5% cash back
    Balance Transfer Offer
    0% on balance transfers for 12 months
    0% for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers
    Balance Transfer Fee
    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
    3% for the first 60 days, then 4%
    Annual Fee
    $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    29.99% variable
    Up to 29.99% variable APR
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the BofA Unlimited Cash if you value simplicity and flexibility in a credit card. It has no annual fee and a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The $200 welcome bonus and the longer 0% intro APR period for 15 billing cycles can also be particularly appealing if you're planning a large purchase or want to transfer a balance.

You might prefer the Blue Cash Preferred if your spending aligns with its bonus categories. The 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and on select streaming services, along with 3% back at gas stations and on transit, can accumulate significant rewards. While there's a $95 annual fee after the first year, the $250 welcome offer and additional perks like the Disney Bundle Credit can offset this cost if you maximize the card's potential.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating features like APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards and introductory offers will clarify which card is for you. Use this section to discern the subtle yet impactful differences, like BofA Unlimited Cash's broader cash back or Blue Cash Preferred's higher rewards in specific categories.

    discount icon

    Regular APR: BofA Unlimited Cash

    The BofA Unlimited Cash offers a more favorable regular APR range starting at 18.24%, compared with the Blue Cash Preferred, which starts at 19.24%.

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee: BofA Unlimited Cash

    The BofA Unlimited Cash is better for avoiding annual fees, offering a $0 annual fee. The Blue Cash Preferred has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

    lowInterestAPR icon

    Introductory 0% APRs: BofA Unlimited Cash

    The BofA Unlimited Cash offers a longer 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, compared with the Blue Cash Preferred's 12 months. However, the BofA Unlimited Cash has a higher balance transfer fee after the first 60 days.

    coins icon

    Rewards: Blue Cash Preferred

    For rewards, the Blue Cash Preferred outperforms the BofA Unlimited Cash. It offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% at U.S. gas stations and on transit. The BofA Unlimited Cash offers a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: BofA Unlimited Cash

    The BofA Unlimited Cash offers a better welcome bonus, providing $200 cash back after a lower spending requirement of $1,000 in the first 90 days, compared with the Blue Cash Preferred's $250 after spending $3,000 in six months.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score: Tie

    Both the Blue Cash Preferred and the BofA Unlimited Cash require a credit score range of 670 to 850, indicating they are accessible if you have good to excellent credit.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees: Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred edges out slightly due to its lower foreign transaction fee of 2.7% compared with the BofA Unlimited Cash’s 3%. Both cards have up to $40 late fees and similar penalty APRs, but the Blue Cash Preferred's cash advance fee structure could be higher depending on the transaction amount.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction: Blue Cash Preferred

    American Express leads with a higher satisfaction rating of 5.0, compared with Bank of America's rating of 4.5.

    airplane icon

    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    Both cards offer unique perks. The Blue Cash Preferred includes $0 intro plan fees with Plan It® for the first year and a monthly statement credit for the Disney Bundle. The BofA Unlimited Cash provides contactless cards and enhanced rewards for Preferred Rewards members. Choosing depends on which perks align more closely with your spending habits.

Rewards Comparison

The Blue Cash Preferred leads with a robust rewards program, especially if you frequently spend on groceries and streaming services. With 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, it caters to the modern household's needs. It also offers 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, which includes a variety of transportation costs, making it a strong contender for commuters and travelers alike.

The BofA Unlimited Cash, while not as specialized, provides a straightforward 1.5% cash back on all purchases. This simplicity can be appealing if you prefer a no-fuss rewards experience without having to track spending categories. It's most compelling for its uniform reward rate across all spending, which can benefit users with diverse or unpredictable spending patterns.

The table of bonus categories helps you compare the rewards programs of both cards at a glance.

Category
Blue Cash Preferred
BofA Unlimited Cash

U.S. supermarkets

6% for the first $6,000 annually/1% thereafter

1.5%

U.S. streaming subscriptions

6%

1.5%

U.S. gas stations

3%

1.5%

Transit

3%

1.5%

All other purchases

1%

1.5%

Redeeming Rewards

Both the BofA Unlimited Cash and Blue Cash Preferred offer straightforward redemption options. With the BofA Unlimited Cash, you can redeem your cash back directly into a bank or Merrill account, or as a statement credit, without worrying about expiration as long as your account is active.

Similarly, the Blue Cash Preferred allows you to apply cash back to your statement or use it at Amazon.com checkout, also with no expiration date. This flexibility ensures that the rewards you earn can be easily accessed and used according to your preferences.

Methodology

MoneyGeek's ranking process evaluates credit cards like the Blue Cash Preferred and BofA Unlimited Cash for various use cases. This approach ensures that the score reflects the card's performance in the scenario where it provides the most value.

For cash back cards, the primary factors we consider are the effective reward rate and the return on investment for offers. These elements — along with annual fees, introductory purchase rates and issuer satisfaction — contribute to a card's overall score. For a detailed understanding of our process, you can review our ranking methodology.

FAQ: Blue Cash Preferred vs. BofA Unlimited Cash

What are the annual fees for each card?
Which card offers better cash back rewards for grocery shopping?
Are there any introductory offers for new cardholders?
How do the APRs compare between the two cards?
Can I earn cash back on all purchases with both cards?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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