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Score rare welcome bonuses on Amex's no-annual-fee business cards

July 22, 2021
5 min read
American Express Blue Business Plus American Express Blue Business Cash_2021_CCSL_1
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These days, it seems like every card on the block has a new offer to entice applicants. While we've seen bonuses in the 100,000-point range (or greater), those cards tend to come with hefty annual fees that may be a major detractor if you're looking for one for the long haul.

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If you're a small-business owner or even have a side hustle such as driving for Uber or walking dogs, paying an annual fee is likely out of the question when you're trying to save on costs. Fortunately, these brand-new welcome offers from American Express are on two of its business-oriented, no-annual-fee cards: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (see rates and fees) and the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card (see rates and fees).

Historically, these cards offered low or even no welcome bonuses -- so this is quite a good deal if you've been thinking about applying for either card.

Both cards have similar earning rates, so you'll have to decide if you want to earn Membership Rewards points for travel (and a wide array of other redemption options) or cash back. In this post, we'll go over these cards' elevated welcome bonuses and evaluate what they're worth.

Application link: Amex Blue Business Plus
Application link: Amex Blue Business Cash

Amex Business Plus available with 15,000 bonus points

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. That's worth $300, according to TPG's latest valuations.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees).

Earning rate: Earn 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent on purchases each calendar year and 1 point per dollar on purchases afterward.

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Amex Blue Business Cash available with a $250 statement credit

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn $250 cash back via statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees).

Earning rate: Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.

Amex Blue Business Plus vs. Amex Blue Business Cash

Both cards have a 2% rewards rate on the first $50,000 of purchases each calendar year. So, if you can't decide which product is better for you, the first step is to evaluate your personal and business needs.

The Amex Blue Business Plus earns points through the Membership Rewards program. This means you have the potential to stretch out the value of your welcome bonus (and any points you earn thereafter), as you can select from a library of redemption options. You'll get the most value from your points by transferring them to Amex's 20-plus airline and hotel loyalty partners, although that may require much more effort than redeeming for pure cash-back rewards.

If you're a cardholder of another Membership Rewards-earning card -- such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card -- you can pool any points you earn from your new Blue Business Plus. This is quite alluring if you've been eyeing that business-class award ticket and need to top off your balance of Membership Rewards points with this new welcome offer.

Related: Best Amex cards of 2021

On the other hand, the Amex Blue Business Cash is meant for those who are looking for simplicity. You'll earn cash back which is automatically credited to your account as a statement credit, helping you reduce your overall operational costs. The only downside is that the Blue Business Plus' offer is worth about $50 more according to TPG's valuations, but this isn't too drastic of a difference if you'd rather just earn cash-back rewards.

What other benefits and perks are there?

You can't go wrong with either card under your belt, thanks to Amex's complimentary travel and shopping protections. On both cards, you'll enjoy the following:

Both cards come with expense management tools and free employee cards upon request.

Bottom line

Both of these cards come with an excellent 2% rewards rate on the first $50,000 spent each calendar year. For small businesses that spend well under this threshold annually, either of these cards is an excellent option to maximize all of your purchases without keeping up with confusing and nominal bonus categories.

Both of these welcome bonuses are an additional incentive to apply. These cards typically don't have welcome offers, so why not apply when you can get an extra few hundred bucks of value?

Application link: Amex Blue Business Plus with a 15,000-point offer.
Application link: Amex Blue Business Cash with a $250 statement credit offer.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Cash, click here.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.