Amex credit card showdown: Blue Business Cash vs. Blue Business Plus
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Those who can’t easily recoup high annual fees on certain Amex business cards via their premium benefits, or who can’t easily take advantage of rotating bonus spending categories, should take a look at two of the most underrated cards for everyday spending in the Amex lineup: The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.
While these two cards are very similar, including their names, there are some significant differences between them to be aware of. Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to decide between the Amex Blue Business Cash card and the Amex Blue Business Plus card.
First, let’s compare their welcome offers.
With the American Express Blue Business Cash, you can earn up to a total of $250 cash back via statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership.
The Blue Business Plus card offers 15,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after cardholders spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
Based on current TPG points valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each, so the Blue Business Plus bonus is like earning $300 in rewards. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to 19 airlines and two hotel partners for a better value. Compared to other Amex cards, these welcome offers may not seem like a lot. However, these cards have historically had even lower – or even nonexistent – welcome offers.
Related: Guide to Amex transfer partners
Currently, both cards also have a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months from date of account opening. After that, it will be a variable rate of 13.24%-19.24% based on different factors (see rates & fees – Amex Blue Cash; see rates & fees – Blue Business Plus).
Winner: Blue Business Plus. This will depend on whether you simply want cash back or if you’re more interested in the travel options that earning Membership Rewards points opens up. Our money is on the points, though, since there are plenty of other credit cards that offer better cash-back intro bonuses with lower spending requirements than the Blue Business Cash.
The two cards have similar earning structures.
The Blue Business Plus earns 2x points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year and 1x points on other purchases after that.
The Blue Business Cash earns 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% on other purchases.
Neither card has other bonus categories, so they’re an easy way to earn rewards without much effort.
Winner: Tie. Again, this will come down to whether you prefer cash back or Amex points.
Related: Best cash-back cards
The cash back rewards you earn with the Blue Business Cash automatically appear as a statement credit on your bill each month. While that simple formula might be attractive to some, it also means your rewards options are very limited.
On the other hand, the Blue Business Plus card earns Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be redeemed in many different ways. In general, you should get the most value by transferring them to one of the American Express hotel or airline partners.
If you choose not to redeem Membership Rewards points for travel, you can also cash them in for gift cards, to cover charges on your billing statement, shopping with them directly on Amazon or through the Membership Rewards online mall, donating to charity, or using Pay With Points at checkout with various merchants. However, none of these options will yield a great value for your points (one cent apiece or less), so you want to avoid them.
Winner: Blue Business Plus. You can’t beat the versatility of Amex Membership Rewards points over basic cash back.
Related: Best Business Card of 2021
While neither card is a premium option, they’re not completely bereft of benefits, either.
Both cards are among the few that offer Amex’s Expanded Buying Power feature. This allows you to exceed your card’s preset spending limit without being declined or hit with over-limit fees and penalties. Purchases that exceed your credit limit are even able to earn rewards as usual as long as you continue to pay at least your minimum balance.
Both cards also field other benefits, such as car rental loss and damage protection, purchase protection of up to $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account per year, and extended warranty protection of up to an additional year on items purchased in the U.S. with warranties of five years or less.
Both the Blue Business Cash and Blue Business Plus come with access to Amex’s Global Assist Hotline, which provides cardholders with 24-hour emergency assistance when you travel more than 100 miles away from home.
Finally, business owners can take advantage of expense management tools such as QuickBooks and Vendor Pay by Bill.com, which help businesses automate the way they send invoices and pay bills.
There are only two main differences between the Blue Business Plus and the Blue Business Cash cards: Their welcome offers and their rewards. If you’re trying to decide between them, think about whether you would prefer to earn cash back or Amex Membership Rewards points and the travel options they open up.
In particular, the Amex Blue Business Plus can be paired with other cards that earn Membership Rewards points, such as the American Express® Business Gold Card, to earn more points on categories where you spend the most.
For its part, the Amex Blue Business Cash is much more rigid in that you can only redeem its rewards as cash back. That might be well worth it for some since you’ll be able to lower your monthly bill with a statement credit that’s automatically added to your account. It’s pretty much a foolproof way to save.
These are both solid options for everyday spending. However, if you’re looking for a little more flexibility and greater redemption potential, the Blue Business Plus is probably the better option.
Official application link: American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Official application link: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Featured photo by John Gribben.
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