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

July 22, 2021
5 min read
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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.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
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.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.