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Amex updates Blue Cash credit cards with bigger cash-back bonus offers, opportunity to earn up to $824 after 1 year

American Express is increasing the welcome offer for the Blue Cash Everyday Card and Blue Cash Preferred Card for a limited time.

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New cardholders of both the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can now earn bigger welcome offers when they sign up — with the opportunity to earn up to an estimated $824 (including cash back) in their first year of card membership.

With the Blue Cash Everyday Card, users earn a $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 in purchases on their new card within the first three months.

Customers of the Blue Cash Preferred Card can now earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases on their new card within the first six months (compared to three). The card has also updated its annual fee, waiving it for the first year: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95.

Both of these upgraded offers on the Blue Cash Preferred Card are for a limited time only through December 10, 2020.

For the millions of Americans who are are still sheltering in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, these two credit cards can come in handy. Both have ranked on CNBC Select's best-of lists including for grocery shopping, gas and streaming services.

Here's how much cash back you can earn with each card.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

This card offers a competitive 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). You also earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

CNBC Select crunched the numbers based on data from location intelligence firm Esri, the average American can earn an estimated $547 in the first year of card membership (if you earn the welcome bonus) and $1,935 over five years.

Using a sample annual spending budget of $22,126, the budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953).

Here's a breakdown of how much cash back you can earn in each category, annually:

  • Groceries: $155
  • Gas: $44
  • Dining out: $37
  • Travel: $22
  • Utilities: $49
  • General purchases: $40
  • Total: $347

Based on the annual spending budget from Esri, the average American can earn an estimated $547 in the first year of card membership (if you earn the welcome bonus) and $1,935 over five years. This assumes that cardholders are redeeming cash back for a typical value of 1 cent each. Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value, and you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Read CNBC Select's Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express review: no annual fee credit card with strong grocery rewards

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

This card offers the highest cash-back rate at U.S. supermarkets at 6% (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). You also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit and 1% cash back on other purchases.

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

With the Blue Cash Preferred Card, the average American can earn an estimated $824 in the first year of card membership, assuming they earn the welcome bonus, and $2,542 over five years, net the $95 annual fee. That's based on American spending data from the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.

The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953).

Here's a breakdown of how much cash back you can earn in each category, annually:

  • Groceries: $310
  • Gas: $67
  • Dining out: $37
  • Travel: $22
  • Utilities: $49
  • General purchases: $40
  • Total: $524

Based on the annual spending budget from Esri, the average American can earn an estimated $824 in the first year of card membership, assuming you earn the welcome bonus, and $2,542 over five years, net the $95 annual fee. This assumes that cardholders are redeeming cash back for a typical value of 1 cent per Blue Cash Reward Dollar. Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value, and you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Read CNBC Select's Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express review: Maximize cash back on groceries and streaming services

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.