The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express offers business owners a simple way to earn American Express Membership Rewards® points. There are no bonus reward categories to keep track of and no annual fee. And you can potentially take advantage of this offer for free.
You’ll have some flexibility with bill payments, which could help you manage your business’s cash flow. Other benefits and features could also prove useful to help you run your company.
We’ll walk through the rewards structure of this card and how it compares with other business credit cards. By the end, you should understand this card and how you can use it to help fund your business.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- Blue Business® Plus can make a great first business card: You don’t have to weigh an annual fee against rewards and benefits to decide whether the card is worth paying for. And you don’t need to consider how much you’ll spend on specific categories every year.
- Keep an eye on your spending: Use this card for your first $50,000 in annual expenses to earn 2X points per dollar. After $50,000, use a different business reward credit card to earn more points or cash back. If you spend more than $50,000 a year, you may be better off with a different card.
- Use this card if you have any large payments planned: Because it has a 0% introductory APR on purchases, you could use this card to finance a large business purchase(s). You’ll have 12 months from the date you open the account to pay off the balance before the variable purchase APR kicks in.
- Take advantage of employee cards: You can get up to 99 employee cards for free and set individual spending limits. Use them to manage employee spending and earn rewards fast.
- Transfer points and redeem through loyalty programs: There are many redemption options. The options offer different values for your points. Transfer your points to a partner loyalty program to maximize their value.
- Check for special offers: Check out the Amex Offers benefit to find better rewards at a wide variety of merchants to earn rewards faster.
- Take advantage of expanded buying power: You can spend a certain amount over your credit limit every billing period. Pay the extra amount and your minimum payment balance by the due date.
You can earn a cash-back equivalent of 1% – 2.5% on purchases or more. The amount will depend on how much you spend on the card every year and how you redeem points.
The rewards program is simple but pretty valuable, considering there’s no annual fee, and you can earn on everyday business purchases.
The Membership Rewards® points you earn can be redeemed in multiple ways. Your basic options include:
- Normal redemption methods: Up to 2% cash-back equivalent for flights, hotel reservations, gift cards or point of sale
- Statement credit: 1.2% cash-back equivalent on the first $50,000 spent in a year (drops to 0.6% after $50,000)
- Point transfer to frequent traveler program: Highly variable cash back that is over 2.5% in some cases
Cashing in points for statement credits will only earn 0.6 cents per point. The other methods can provide up to 1 cent per point, except for point transfers.
A point transfer may provide up to 2.5% cash back or more, but it will depend on how and when you use the transferred points. We recommend point transfers whenever possible because you can get the best value for your points.
The normal redemption methods are the simplest. The most you can get out of the normal redemption methods is the equivalent of 2% cash back. It isn’t bad, but it may not be as good as a point transfer. But this might be the best option for anyone who can’t make use of a point transfer or just wants a simpler option.
When redeeming for travel expenses, you’ll have several options, but the most valuable is for airline flights. You can redeem through American Express Travel or use other travel services. You can redeem 10,000 points in the following ways:
|Redemption Method||Travel Service||Redemption Value||Point Value (in cents)||Cash-Back Equivalent|
|Find Flights||Amex Travel||$100||1.0||1.0%–2.0%|
|Reserve Prepaid Hotels||Amex Travel||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
|Plan Vacations||Amex Travel||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
|Take Cruises||Amex Travel||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
|Flights and Hotels on Expedia||Expedia||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
Transferring to loyalty programs
Your Membership Rewards® points can be transferred to many different foreign and domestic frequent traveler programs. A few big airlines and hotel chains are included, along with the Plenti program.
Most transfers are at a 1:1 rate, though some aren’t, and there are also limited-time offers and special deals. There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to U.S. airlines, with no charge for other transfers. And different programs will allow you to transfer points in different amounts, like 500 or 1,000 points at a time.
Here are some examples, along with their transfer rates and point conversions. Take note that offers may change.
|Loyalty Program||Type||Transfer Rate||You Give||You Get|
|AeroMexico Club Premier||Airline||1:1.6||1,000||1,600|
|Flying Blue Award Miles||Airline||1:1||1,000||1,000|
|Delta Air Lines||Airline||1:1||1,000||1,000|
|Etihad Guest Miles||Airline||1:1||1,000||1,000|
Let’s go through an example to illustrate the potential value of Membership Rewards® points after you convert them to a frequent traveler program. Keep in mind that many factors influence the price of flights and hotel rooms, including time of year, demand, availability and special events. Airlines and hotel chains also offer special deals and packages pretty frequently. All of this will affect the value you get from your points.
Let’s dive into a real-world scenario.
Good Value: JetBlue TrueBlue Points
Imagine you need to take a one-way JetBlue flight from Denver, Colorado, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to their website, you would pay $286 for a pair of connecting flights. Those flights would cost 19,600 TrueBlue points, plus $5.60 in taxes and fees. In this scenario, each point is worth about 1.5 cents.
Let’s figure out how many Membership Rewards® you’d need to spend for the flights and how much cash back you’d earn.
Since the current conversion rate for TrueBlue points is 1:0.8, you’ll need to transfer 24,500 Membership Points® to get 19,600 TrueBlue points. And the transfer will have a $14.70 fee because each point costs $0.0006 to transfer.
You would need to spend $12,250 to earn those 24,500 points then convert them to 19,600 TrueBlue points and use them for the flights.
In total, you will need to spend $12,270.30 after you add in the transfer and JetBlue fees. And your flights will cost $286.
You’ll wind up with 2.33% cash back on these flights. That’s a bit better than the maximum of 2% back you’ll get through normal redemption methods.
- Expanded buying power: You can spend a certain dollar amount over your credit limit every billing period. The amount will be determined by your credit history, financial history, card usage and other factors. The amount you spend over your credit limit must be paid back in full along with your minimum payment. If you don’t pay it back in full, a penalty APR will be applied to your entire account balance going forward.
- Employee cards: You can get up to 99 employee cards for free. You can set individual spending limits on the cards, but spending limits won’t apply for certain purchases like restaurant tips and extended hotel stays.
- Account manager: Designate a trusted person to act as an account manager for your Blue Business® Plus account.
- American Express business app: The app will help you manage your spending throughout the year. To make tax time easier, you can add receipts and notes to transactions.
- Connect to QuickBooks: Provides an easy way to label and transfer your transaction data into a QuickBooks account.
- Amex Offers: You’ll have access to extra points at a wide variety of revolving merchants.
- Entertainment access: This benefit, also called American Express Experiences, provides presale tickets to sports, music and cultural events and access to certain exclusive experiences.
- Lowest guaranteed hotel rates: If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can get a refund for the difference by submitting your claim before check-in. Be sure to check your card details because some restrictions apply.
- Global assist hotline: If you run into any issues (travel, legal, medical or otherwise) while you’re traveling, your card issuer can help.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance: Decline the rental car provider’s insurance offer and charge the entire amount to your card. Your rental will now be covered against damage and theft.
- Extended warranty: If your new eligible purchase has a 5-year warranty or less, you’ll get an extra year of coverage.
- Purchase protection: New eligible purchases are covered against damage and theft for 90 days.
The Terms and Fees
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
One aspect that makes this business credit card offer so appealing is that it doesn’t have an annual fee but still earns decent rewards. For comparison, the Capital One Spark 2% Cash Plus for Business offers unlimited 2% cash back but has a $150 annual fee after the first year. Capital One also offers the no-annual-fee Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select for Business, but it only earns unlimited 1.5% cash back.
If you spend over $50,000 a year, you may earn more with one of those cards. But the Blue Business® Plus rewards program is competitive because there is no annual fee.
The Bottom Line
Many business owners are spending a lot of money on their businesses, and many of them are spending by debit card or check. But now they recognize they could be earning points with a credit card. They don’t want to think much about spending categories, and they may not know how much they’ll spend over a year.
This can make it hard to weigh an annual fee against potential rewards. But the Blue Business® Plus from American Express seems like a good fit for this type of business owner.
It’s a good starter business card because there is no annual fee and you don’t have to think about spending categories. If you’re not earning rewards on business expenses, there’s no good reason not to get this card. Start putting business expenses on it, and pay it in full each month. When you pay your balance off, you earn rewards at no cost because you’re not accruing interest.
The rewards program is nice because it can be so simple. You can redeem points for one of many gift card options. And if you’re a traveler, you can use those points to book flights through Amex Travel or transfer them to a loyalty program.
You may earn more if you go with a different card with specific bonus categories. Some cards will let you earn more when you pay for office supplies, internet and phone services, shipping or other business expenses. Check out our comparison of the Blue Business® Plus to the mid-range American Express® Business Gold Card below.
Even if you have other business credit cards, you may find a good way to fit this card into your rewards-maximization strategy. Remember, because there is no annual fee, owning the card won’t cost you a thing.
How Do I Apply for the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card?
To apply, you must be an authorized officer of the company who is responsible for managing finances.
What credit scores do I need to qualify for the Blue Business® Plus?
You need good credit scores to qualify for this Amex card. Typically, your credit scores should range between 670 – 739 for FICO® and 700 – 749 for VantageScore®.
But your scores aren’t the only factors card issuers take into account. Even if your scores are lower or higher, credit card companies will also review your income and source(s) of income to decide whether to approve you for the card.
Qualifications and requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Provide business identifying information (business name, company DBA name, business name on card, industry type, company structure, years in business and number of employees)
- Provide business address and contact information (including company phone number)
- Provide business financial information (annual business revenue, estimated monthly costs and federal tax I.D)
- Provide personal identifying information (name, date of birth, professional title, Social Security number)
- Provide address and contact information (email, address and personal phone number)
- Provide personal financial information (annual income)
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express?
While there are some shopping and travel protections attached, you can also take advantage of expanded buying power. You can spend above your credit limit without repercussions. But your expanded buying power isn’t unlimited. You pay back any amount spent over your limit along with your next minimum payment.
There’s also an introductory 0% APR offer for purchases. You’ll have 12 months from the date you open the account to pay off the balance before the variable purchase APR kicks in.
Does the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express have an annual fee?
No, there’s no annual fee. But there is a foreign transaction fee to keep an eye on if you plan on traveling.
Alternatives to the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card From American Express
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is a popular business card with no annual fee.
You’ll earn cash back at a higher rate than you can with the Blue Business® Plus in specific 5% and 2% cash-back categories, but those bonus rates only apply to the first $25,000 you spend in those categories.
Your redemption options will be more limited with the Ink Business Cash® card. You’ll get cash back, but that’s pretty much all you get. You can redeem your cash back as a statement credit for its full value, which you can’t do with the Blue Business® Plus. This will make it easier to get the best value for your rewards.
These cards provide rewards for very different purchases. It might make sense to use them both. Use the Ink Business Cash® whenever you’ll earn 5% or 2% cash back. And use the Blue Business® Plus for other purchases. This will help you earn more rewards, and it splits up your spending between the cards, which could help your credit.
Capital One Spark 2% Cash Plus for Business
The Capital One Spark 2% Cash Plus for Business is a pretty similar offer to the Blue Business® Plus card.
Both cards earn at the same rate. With Capital One Spark 2% Cash Plus for Business, you’re not limited to high rewards on the first $50,000 you spend, but you’ll have fewer options to redeem your rewards. You’ll only receive cash back. You won’t be able to transfer it to any frequent traveler programs. If those features never interested you, this could be a better offer.
The Capital One Spark 2% Cash Plus for Business does come with a $150 annual fee. You’ll need to balance that against the potential cash back rewards you earn.
The Capital One Spark 2% Cash Plus for Business comes with some extra benefits and perks, and many of them are pretty similar to what you’d get with the Amex card. But the Blue Business® Plus includes the Amex Offers service, which the Spark card can’t match. It also includes access to the Amex set of business benefits, which seems more comprehensive than the business benefits you’ll get from Capital One.
American Express® Business Gold Card
The American Express® Business Gold Card, with a $295 annual fee, is more expensive than the other cards. It offers 4X Membership Rewards® points in the two categories your business spends the most in every month.
This card is quite flexible, providing points for purchases you make the most, even if that shifts from month to month. Where most cards have fixed bonus categories, the Business Gold adjusts to match your business spending.
You’ll earn Membership Rewards® points with Business Gold, so all the Blue Business® Plus redemption options apply Business Gold. If you find a good point transfer deal, your points could be worth upwards of 2 cents each, which is the cash-back equivalent of 8% when you spend in the 4X bonus categories.
The main differences between these cards are the annual fees and rewards. If you have business expenses that cover a wide variety of categories, it may be useful to have both cards. You can use the Business Gold for spending in the categories that earn 4X points and the Blue Business® Plus card to earn 2X points for all your other purchases.
United℠ Business Card
The United℠ Business Card caters to a specific audience. It’s a business-oriented travel rewards card meant to be used with United Airlines.
You’ll earn miles at a decent rate (2X) for tickets from United and other business expenses. You’ll need to redeem your miles for United-related purchases to get the best value.
The value of your miles will depend on how you redeem them, but you can usually expect to get around 1.5 cents per mile when redeeming for flights. That means you’ll earn the equivalent of around 3% cash back when making purchases in 2X bonus reward categories.
This card has other valuable benefits like priority boarding for cardholders and their companions on the same flight. You and your companion’s first checked bag will be free. And you’ll receive two United Club one-time passes per year. You can use these passes for access to United Club airport lounges, where you’ll find several comfortable services available (some complimentary and some for a fee).
The United Club℠ Business Card is the high-end version of this card and has a $450 annual fee. It has a different reward structure, a United Club membership and offers a variety of luxury benefits.