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New Amex Cards Scrimp On Gas Rewards

American Express says its new Blue Cash credit card system will simplify the rewards system for consumers. But there is one big change that’s not so complicated: it’s cutting the cash-back for gas purchases.

The current non-fee Blue Cash card offered 1% cash-back on “everyday purchases” or 5% when you spend $6,500 on your card. Everyday purchases include those made at supermarkets, drugstores – and gas stations.

American Express is rolling out two new Blue Cash credit cards. Those on the existing Blue Cash card won’t be forced to migrate to either of the new cards, but American Express will stop marketing the old card.

The “Preferred Card” has a $75-a-year fee and gives a more modest 3% cash-back at gas stations and department stores. On the upside, the new fee-paying card offers a whopping 6% at grocery stores and 1% cash-back on everything else.

With the Blue Cash “Everyday Card,” which like its predecessor doesn’t charge an annual fee, consumers only get 2% cash-back at gas stations and department stores, 3% cash-back at grocery stores and 1% on everything else.

In their favor: with both cards you start earning on the first dollar and there are no spending limits. You may refer an unlimited amount of friends and earn $75 for each approved referral on the Preferred Card and $25 on the Everyday.

The average family spends $3,753 annually on groceries, $1,725 on apparel and $1,986 on gas and oil, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Amex says this means an Everyday or Preferred Card could earn $187 to $337 cash-back each year.

An Amex spokesman says gas prices are an “emotional” topic right now, but tells Pay Dirt, “When one looks at where consumers are spending the most, it’s important to point out that it’s groceries over gas.”

Do you think the new cards give a better deal?

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    • regarding muatul funds:the muatul fund industry has almost nothing to do with investment.it’s all marketing. with a few (and fewer all the time) notable exceptions, the managers are mostly hacks.they long ago figured out that it’s cheaper to just start a zillion funds, throw them at the wall, see what performs, then market the hell out of it before it is exposed as luck not skill than to actually try to consistently make money through acumen and diligence.the guys who really knew how to make money all went to the hedge fund structure as, if you generate serious returns, it pays you far more and with far fewer regulatory headaches and costs and the ability to makes sensible investments instead of being largely banned from most asset classes and short selling.i have no idea why any sensible investor would want to run a muatul fund other than making a living by working 10 hours a week and mostly being a closet indexer.

    • The bank will decide how the paymnets are applied to your account. In virtually all cases, they apply the paymnets first to any unpaid amounts and fees, then to the interest due for the current period, then to the balance with the lowest interest rate. From that point, if there is enough $$$ left from the payment, it is applied to the balance with the next highest interest rate and works up the chain from there.When you take a cash advance it will attract a higher interest rate than purchases in most cases. That balance will remain there with its higher interest rate untill the entire purchase balance has been paid in full. If you always carry a balance, you’ll pay for that cash advance virtually forever.Dirty little secret of the credit card industry. If you don’t like it and only a banker would contact your elected representatives and demand a law requiring apportionment of credit card paymnets.

    • Geez, I guess it would depend on where you were in the world! I’m in Thailand, so I would go to the nesreat Amex branch and ask them to do a cash advance.If there are no Amex offices near you, you should try going to a bank or money exchange service.

    • What about the 5% discount the current Blue Cash cards give for drugstore purchases? For people who buy expensive prescriptions from drugstores that can really add up too!

    • The American Express True Earnings Card (Costco Credit Card) offers 3% back on gas for the first $3,000 worth of fill-ups.

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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