Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
We give The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express 5 out of 5 Stars. It has no annual fee, and a very simple rewards structure.
Why We Like It
- Simple rewards program: 2X points for every purchase
- Versatile redemption options
- 0% intro APR offer
- No annual fee
- Useful benefits
Why It Could Be Better
- $50,000 annual spending limit at the 2X rate
- Limited rewards
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express provides a simple way for business owners to earn American Express Membership Rewards points. There are no bonus reward categories to keep track of. And with no annual fee, you can potentially take advantage of this offer completely for free.
You’ll have some flexibility in paying your bill, which could be helpful for managing your business’ cash flow. There are some other benefits and features that could prove useful for running your company too.
We’ll walk through the very simple rewards structure of this card and how it compares with other business credit cards. By the end, you should be able to understand this card and how you could use it to help fund your business.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- The 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 per year on specific categories.
- Keep an eye on your spending: You can use this card for your first $50,000 of expenses every year, when you’ll earn 2X points per dollar. After that, use a different business reward credit card to earn more points or cash back. If you spend a lot more than $50,000 every year, you may be better off with a different card entirely.
- Use this card if you have any large payments planned: Since it has a 0% introductory APR on purchases, you could use this card to finance large business purchases. You’ll have 12 months from date of account opening to pay them off before the the regular 13.24% – 19.24% Variable purchase APR kicks in.
- Take advantage of the employee cards: You can get up to 99 employee cards for free, and set individual spending limits. Use them to manage spending and earn rewards more quickly.
- Transfer points and redeem through loyalty programs: There are many different redemption options, offering 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. This gives you a way to earn more rewards more quickly.
- Use your expanded buying power, if you need to: You can spend a certain amount over your credit limit every billing period. Be sure to pay this back in full by the due date, along with your minimum payment for that period.
You can effectively earn a cash back equivalent from 1%–2.5% on purchases, or more. The amount you get will depend on how much you spend on the card per year, and how you redeem points.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
The rewards program is simple but pretty valuable, considering there’s no annual fee and you can earn on everyday business purchases.
You’ll be earning Membership Rewards points with this card, which can be redeemed in a few different ways.
Your basic options are:
- Normal redemption methods (flights, hotel reservations, gift cards, point of sale): up to 2% cash back equivalent
- In the form of a statement credit: 1.2% cash back equivalent on the first $50,000 spent per year, 0.6% after that
- Point transfer to frequent traveler program: highly variable cash back, equal to over 2.5% in some cases
Cashing in points for statement credits will only get you 0.6 cents per point, so we don’t recommend that. The other methods can provide up to 1 cent per point, with the exception of point transfers.
A point transfer may provide the equivalent of up to 2.5% cash back or more, but this will depend on the details of how and when you use the transferred points. We recommend always going for 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 them is the equivalent of 2% cash back. This isn’t bad, though it’s potentially not 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 simple option.
When redeeming for travel expenses you’ll have several options, but the most valuable is for airline flights. The main way is to redeem through American Express Travel, though there are a couple other travel services you can use as well. You’ll be able to 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 frequent traveler programs, foreign and domestic. Quite a few big airlines and hotel chains are included, along with the Plenti program. We’ll go over the basics of point transfers, and then provide two real-world examples: one showing a good deal, and one showing a poor deal.
Most transfers are at a 1:1 rate, though some are different. And there are also limited-time offers and special deals occasionally. There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to US airlines, with no charge for any other transfers. And different programs will allow you to transfer points in different increments, like 500 points at a time or 1,000 points at a time.
Here are some examples, along with their transfer rates and a point conversion example. 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 there are many factors that influence the price of flights and hotel rooms, including time of year, demand, availability, and special events. Airlines and hotel chains offer special deals and packages pretty frequently, as well. All of this will affect the value you get from your points.
While the following is an actual real-world example, the point transfer values you find for your flights and rooms may differ from what we show here.
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Good Value — JetBlue TrueBlue Points
Imagine, for example, that you want to take a one-way JetBlue flight from Denver, Colorado, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
For a pair of connecting flights on Tuesday, January 23rd, you would pay $286. And according to JetBlue, those same flights would take 19,600 TrueBlue points, plus $5.60 in taxes and fees. That means your points are worth almost 1.5 cents each in this case.
So, if you wanted to use Membership Rewards points for that flight, how much would you need to spend? And how much cash back would you be earning?
Since the current conversion rate for TrueBlue points is 1:.8, you’ll need to transfer 24,500 Membership Points to get 19,600 TrueBlue points. In addition, that transfer will have a fee of $14.70, because each point costs $0.0006 to transfer.
So, you would need to spend $12,250 to earn those 24,500 points. You’ll then be able to convert them to 19,600 TrueBlue points, and use them for the flights.
In total, you will need to spend $12,270.30 when you add in the extra fees from the transfer and from JetBlue. That will earn you a flight worth $286.
So for this particular set of flights, you’ll end up getting the equivalent of 2.33% cash back. That’s a bit better than the maximum of 2% back you’ll get through the normal redemption methods.
- Expanded buying power: You can spend a certain amount over your credit limit each billing period. This amount will be determined by your credit history, financial history, use of the card, and other factors. The amount you spend over your credit limit will need to be paid back in full along with your minimum payment for that period. If you don’t pay it back in full, then the high penalty APR will be applied to your entire account balance going forward.
- Employee cards: You can get up to 99 employee cards for free. Individual spending limits can be set for the cards. Take note that there are certain purchases where the spending limit won’t apply, like restaurant tips and extended hotel stays.
- Account manager: Designate a trusted Account Manager to manage your Blue Business Plus account. Must be at least 18 years old.
- American Express business app: A tool to help manage your spending throughout the year. Allows you to add receipts and notes to transactions, making tax time easier.
- 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 merchants that changes now and then.
- Entertainment Access: This benefit, also called Membership Experiences, provides pre-sale tickets to a variety of sports, music, and cultural events, as well as access to certain exclusive experiences. You’ll be able to search by interest, artist, event, or venue.
- Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed: If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference. You must submit your claim before the check-in date, and be sure to check your card details because some restrictions apply.
- Global Assist Hotline: If you run into any issues while traveling, whether it be travel, legal, medical, or otherwise, 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 comes with a warranty of five years or less, you’ll get an extra year of coverage.
- Purchase Protection: New eligible purchases are covered against damage and theft for 90 days.
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
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 Cash Plus 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 Cash Select, but that only earns unlimited 1.5% cash back.
So, if you spend over $50,000 per year you may be able to earn more with one of those cards. But it’s clear that the Blue Business Plus rewards program is competitive for not having an annual fee.
The Bottom Line
We hear from a number of business owners who could benefit from The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. They’re spending a lot of money through their businesses, perhaps on a debit card or by check, and realize they could be earning points with a credit card. They don’t want to think much about spending categories, and may not even have a good idea of how much they’ll spend over the course of the year.
This can make it hard to weigh an annual fee against reward earning potential. 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 since it has no annual fee and doesn’t require thinking ahead about spending categories. If you’re not earning some form of rewards on business expenses now, there’s no good reason not to get this card. Start putting business expenses on it, and pay it in full each month. That will let you earn rewards at no cost at all and without accruing interest.
This rewards program is nice because it’s so simple, if you want it to be. You can just redeem for one of the 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.
However, you may be able to earn more if you go with a different card with specific bonus categories, that rewards you more depending on where you spend. Some cards will let you earn more when you pay for office supplies, internet and phone services, shipping, or other business expenses, for example. Check out our comparison of the Blue Business Plus to the mid-range Business Gold Card from American Express in the alternatives below.
Even if you have other business credit cards, you may find a good way to fit this card into your rewards-maximization strategy. Since it has no annual fee, there’s no cost for simply having the card.
How Do I Apply for the Blue Business Plus Credit Card?
You’ll need to be an authorized officer of your company, responsible for managing finances, to apply for the Blue Business Plus Credit Card.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Blue Business Plus?
It’s recommended that you have good credit before applying for this Amex card.
To qualify for good credit, you would need to have credit scores within the ranges of 670–739 for FICO and 700–749 for VantageScore.
However, credit card issuers will look at other factors too when considering your creditworthiness. Credit card companies take a look at income, and your source of income, when making the decision, so even if your scores are lower than what’s recommended, you might still be approved.
That also means even if your scores are higher, you could still be denied.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Business identifying information: Business name, company DBA name (if applicable), business name on card, industry type, company structure, years in business, number of employees
- Business address and contact information: Business address, business phone number
- Business financial information: Annual business revenue, estimated monthly costs, federal tax I.D
- Personal identifying information: Name, date of birth, role in company, Social Security number
- Address and contact information: Email, address, phone number
- Personal financial information: Total 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, there’s also the potentially useful expanded buying power. It allows you to spend beyond your credit limit without repercussion, though your buying power isn’t unlimited, and you’ll have to pay back any amount spent above your limit as part of your next minimum payment.
There’s also an introductory APR offer for purchases, 0% for 12 months from date of account opening, before jumping to the regular 13.24% – 19.24% Variable.
Does the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express have an annual fee?
No, there’s no annual fee attached, 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
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 also be more limited with the Ink Cash card. You’ll get cash back, and that’s basically all it is. You can redeem it in a few different ways, but 5% back is no greater than 5% back, no matter how you redeem it (unless you have certain other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards). However, you can redeem your cash back as a statement credit for the 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. That means a good strategy could be to actually get them both and use them in combination. Use the Ink Cash whenever you’ll earn 5% or 2% cash back. And use the Blue Business Plus for every other purchase. This will help you earn more rewards and it splits up your spending between the cards, which can be good for your credit.
Capital One Spark Cash Plus
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a pretty similar offer to the Blue Business Plus card.
These cards earn at the same rate, but you won’t be limited to the first $50,000 you spend like you would be with the Blue Business Plus. But, you’ll have fewer options for redeeming your rewards: It will just be cash back. You won’t be able to transfer it to any frequent traveler programs. If that was never an important point for you, this could be a better offer.
The Spark Cash does come with an annual fee: $150. You’ll need to balance that against the potential cash back rewards you can earn.
The Spark Cash comes with some extra benefits and perks, and many of them are pretty similar to what you’ll 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.