Blue Business Plus card review: Double your everyday spending for no annual fee (and a welcome offer)
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Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express overview
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is the best no-annual-fee (see rates and fees) Amex small-business card. It offers 2 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year (then 1 point per dollar). Membership Rewards points are exceptionally valuable, because they transfer to 20-plus airline and hotel partners. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
* Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Given the overwhelming number of business rewards credit cards available, it’s safe to say that there is a business card with the right benefits and perks for your operation — no matter the size. The Amex Blue Business Plus is an underrated credit card, since it’s actually 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 — all without an annual fee.
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, 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 2 points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 in purchases every year (then 1 point per dollar).
Here’s everything you need to know about this solid business credit card.
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, nor do you need a formalized business. You may qualify for a business credit card just by selling items online or freelancing.
American Express created this card specifically for small businesses, such as sole proprietorships and startups 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: Best business credit cards
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.
However, American Express has its own rules, and your application for the Blue Business Plus may be denied if you already have several Amex cards.
Right now, Amex is offering a welcome bonus with the Blue Business Plus: 15,000 bonus points after $3,000 spent on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
In the past, this card usually didn’t come with a welcome offer, so the 15,000-point bonus is a rarity. Therefore, it’s an especially good time to apply for the Blue Business Plus.
Just remember that American Express has a once-per-lifetime policy for earning welcome bonuses. As a result, if you’ve had this card in the past, you may not be eligible for this offer.
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 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 annual percentage rate (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 the date of account opening. After that, you’ll pay a variable APR of 13.49% to 21.49% (see rates and fees), based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
- Employee cards: American Express allows you to get up to 99 employee cards at no additional cost (see rates and fees), making it easy to rack up rewards through your employees’ spending.
* Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
How to earn points
Earning points on the Blue Business Plus is straightforward — one of the greatest merits of the card. You earn 2 Amex points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent on the card annually (then 1 point per dollar). There are no bonus categories to keep track of, which makes it very easy to manage. This is the best earning rate for everyday purchases on a business card — equal to a 4% return, based on TPG’s valuations.
However, you may be forgoing bigger rewards on certain purchases if you don’t get another card to complement the Blue Business Plus.
For example, if your business requires booking a lot of flights, you may want to consider pairing the Blue Business Plus with The Business Platinum Card from American Express to earn 5 points per dollar spent (a return of 10%) on flights purchased through Amex Travel. However, note that the Business Platinum Card comes with a $695 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.
Finally, since the Blue Business Plus caps your ability to earn 2 points per dollar at the first $50,000 you spend each year, you may want to use a card such as the Capital One Spark Miles for Business, which earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchases (with no cap), for expenses beyond the $50,000 threshold.
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 such as the Business Platinum Card and can be transferred to 18 airline and three hotel partners.
Within your first year of card membership, you could earn a maximum of 115,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. That comes from 15,000 points during the three-month introductory offer period and spending a total of $50,000 on the card in a year (at an earning rate of 2 points per dollar).
From this, you’ll have enough points for a number of valuable redemptions, including four round-trip economy flights to Hawaii, a round-trip business-class ticket to Japan or a round-trip business-class ticket to Europe.
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. However, these tend to offer much lower value for your points.
Alternatively, you can use points to book travel directly through Amex Travel, 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 (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year on the Business Gold and up to 1 million points back per calendar year on the Business Platinum).
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 (based on TPG’s valuations) — on all purchases. It too offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases (then a variable rate of 13.49%-21.49% applies).
This card doesn’t have an annual fee and offers a generous $750 (or 75,000-point) welcome bonus after you spend $7,500 in the first three months of account opening. However, this is a significantly higher spending threshold than the Blue Business Plus offer, and it may not be feasible for smaller businesses.
The other obvious competitor is the Capital One Spark Miles for Business. Like the Blue Business Plus, it earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, although there are some differences. Capital One’s card doesn’t have a spending cap for that earning rate, but it carries a $95 annual fee (waived the first year). When it comes to using the miles, you can redeem them for travel at 1 cent apiece — or you can transfer Capital One miles to 14 airline and three hotel partners.
If you’re the owner of a small business and want to earn lucrative Membership Rewards points on your everyday business spending, you should consider the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. Its industry-leading return of 4% (TPG’s valuation) on the first $50,000 spent each year is fantastic — as is the fact you can earn this many points without paying an annual fee.
Depending on the types of purchases your business makes, it might make sense for you to pair this card with another business card that offers bonus categories. You could partner it with the American Express Business Gold Card, which earns 4 Amex points per dollar spent on the two categories in which you spend the most each month (on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) — all with an annual fee of $295 (see rates and fees).
Application link: Amex Blue Business Plus with a welcome offer of 15,000 bonus points.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
Featured photo by Hero Images/Getty Images.
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