Blue Business Plus card review: Double up your everyday spending for no annual fee

May 22, 2020

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post that is regularly updated with new information.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is the best no-annual-fee (see rates and fees) Amex small-business rewards card. It features 2x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each year (then 1x). Membership Rewards points are exceptionally valuable because they transfer to 19 airline and three hotel partners. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

With at least 14 business rewards credit cards, including several cobranded ones, it’s safe to say that there is an American Express business card with the right benefits and perks for your operation. The Blue Business Plus is an underrated credit card but it is the single most rewarding Amex business credit card for everyday spending. In addition to a simple rewards-earning structure, the card offers some valuable benefits for small businesses and it doesn’t have an annual fee (see rates and fees).

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

While you may have heard about business cards that are stacked with valuable perks and spending bonuses, such as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Business Gold Card, the Blue Business Plus is a perfect complement to these cards. Not only does this card have no annual fee (see rates and fees), but you’ll be able to earn twice as many Amex points for purchases that don’t fall into one of the other cards’ bonus categories. You get 2x points on first $50,000 spent on purchases per year, then 1x points.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

First, it’s important to understand that this is a business card, so not everyone can apply. However, you don’t need to have an actual brick-and-mortar shop to be eligible. You may qualify for a business credit card just by selling items on the side online or freelancing.

Related reading: 10 businesses you can easily start to get a business credit card

American Express created this card specifically for small businesses, such as sole proprietorships and start-ups with limited revenue, that it felt could benefit from an introductory interest rate and expanded buying power (more on the card’s perks later).

Related reading: Best business credit cards

Photo by Rawpixel/Unsplash
Freelancers and businesses that are just starting out can benefit from the Blue Business Plus. Photo by Rawpixel / Unsplash.

The Blue Business Plus is also great for those close to or above Chase’s 5/24 rule, since applying for it doesn’t add to your count. American Express has its own rules and your application for the Blue Business Plus may be denied if you already have four Amex cards.

Related reading: Amex is implementing stricter limits on how many of its cards you can have

Welcome offer

The only bummer with the card is that it doesn’t currently come with a welcome offer. In the past, we’ve seen a welcome offer of 10,000 Membership Rewards points on the card, but that’s not big enough to be worth waiting for. We don’t know when or even if that bonus will return. The card doesn’t carry an annual fee, so the low/nonexistent bonus isn’t much of a surprise.

Benefits and perks

Despite being a no-annual-fee card, the Blue Business Plus offers several benefits that could be highly valuable for small businesses:

  • Expanded buying power. This benefit is allows you to spend beyond your credit limit to help pay for larger purchases. This additional spending must be paid in full by your due date; the amount up to your credit limit can be carried from month to month. Note that this does not mean that American Express will grant you unlimited spending power — the amount adjusts based on a variety of factors, including your use of the card, payment history and credit history.
  • 0% Introductory APR (see rates and fees). You shouldn’t be focused on earning points and miles if you can’t pay off your credit card on time and in full every month, but the Blue Business Plus charges no interest on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, you’ll pay a variable APR of 13.24% – 19.24% (see rates and fees) based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • Employee cards (see rates and fees). American Express allows you to get up to 99 employee cards, making it easy to rack up rewards through your employees’ per diem spending.

The card also carries Amex’s stable of insurance protections, such as extended warranties, purchase protection, baggage insurance and secondary car rental insurance.

Related reading: Amex waiving interest, late fees on accounts requesting COVID-19 relief

How to earn points

Earning points on the Blue Business Plus is straightforward. You earn 2x Amex points on the first $50,000 spend on the card annually (then 1x). There are no bonus categories to keep track of, which is great, but that also means you may be forgoing bigger rewards on certain purchases if you don’t get another card to complement it.

The 2x on all spending is the best earning rate for everyday purchases for a business card — equal to a 4% return based on our valuations. If your business books a lot of flights, you’ll want to consider pairing the Blue Business Plus with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express to earn 5x points, a return of 10%, on flights purchased through Amex. However, note that the Business Platinum card comes with a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Likewise, if you spend a lot on office supplies or internet services, you’ll want the Ink Business Cash Credit Card to earn 5% cash back, or a return of 10% (when paired with an Ultimate Rewards-earning card) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases (then 1%) at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.

Since the Blue Business Plus’ 2x points bonus only applies to the first $50,000 spent each year, you’ll want to use a card such as the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, which earns 2x miles on all purchases with no cap, for expenses beyond $50,000. The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

How to redeem points

The Membership Rewards points you’ll earn with the Blue Business Plus are the same as those you earn with cards like the Business Platinum Card and can be transferred to 22 travel partners — 19 airlines and three hotels.

If you max out the card’s annual cap and earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points, you’ll have enough points for redemptions like four round-trip economy flights to Hawaii, a round-trip business-class ticket to Japan or a round-trip business-class ticket to Europe.

Related reading: A complementary business card to help fund a post-pandemic vacation

Though you’ll generally get the most value from your Amex points by transferring them to a travel partner, you can also redeem points for cash back, Amazon purchases, Uber rides, gift cards and more. Alternatively, you can use points to book travel directly through Amex, but if that’s the type of redemption you’re after, you’ll want to pair the Blue Business Plus with the Business Gold Card or the Business Platinum Card to get a 25-35% rebate on airfare booked with points.

Which cards compete with the Blue Business Plus Card?

There are many small-business credit cards on the market. The closest card to the Blue Business Plus is the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. The card earns 1.5% cash back, or a return of 3% when paired with a card earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points, on all purchases and also offers a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (then a variable rate of 13.24% – 19.24% applies). This card doesn’t carry an annual fee and offers a generous $500 (or 50,000-point) welcome bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

The other obvious competitor is the Capital One Spark Miles for Business. Like the Blue Business Plus, it earns 2x on all purchases, although there are some differences. The card doesn’t have a cap for the 2x earnings, but it carries a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and the miles can be redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece — or you can transfer Capital One miles to 15 airline partners, although the transfer ratio isn’t as good (2:1.5 or 2:1). There’s also the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, which is similar but earns straight cash back. The information for the Capital One Spark Cash for Business has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

If you’re the owner of a small business and want to earn lucrative Membership Rewards points on your everyday business spending, you’ll want to consider the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It’s a bummer that the card doesn’t currently have a welcome bonus, but its industry-leading return of 4% (TPG’s valuation) on the first $50,000 spent each year, then 1x thereafter makes up for it.

Depending on the types of purchases your business makes, it might make sense for you to pair this card with another business card which offers bonus categories. You could partner it with the American Express® Business Gold Card, which earns 4x Amex points on the two categories in which you spend the most each month (on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1x) — all with an annual fee of $295 (see rates and fees).

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.