Why the Amex Blue Business Plus Card is so underappreciated
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Like their personal counterparts, small business credit cards run the gamut from perks-heavy premium products to modest no-annual-fee cards, and can be powerful tools in your wallet, whether you’re hoping to rack up cash back or rewards toward travel on your work-related spending.
While some business credit cards get a lot of attention thanks to sky-high introductory bonuses or value-added benefits that can offset hefty annual fees, it’s also worth considering some of the more underrated cards available, especially if you’re simply interested in getting a solid rate of return on your business purchases.
Enter The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It might not have the most lucrative welcome offer out there, but nor does it charge an annual fee (see rates and fees). And while you won’t be accruing 5x or 10x points per dollar on certain expenditures, you can count on a solid 2x earning rate on up to $50,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 1x) — a ceiling that should suffice for most small businesses, as well as other folks like freelancers, sole proprietors, or even just those with a side hustle.
The Amex Blue Business Plus is one of the most underappreciated business credit cards out there. But it shouldn’t be.
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Basics of the Amex Blue Business Plus
First, a rundown of the details on the Amex Blue Business Plus.
Current welcome offer
Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership; plus 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then 13.24-19.24% variable (see rates and fees).
$0 (see rates and fees)
This card earns 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent on purchases each calendar year (then 1x)
- Cardmembers can take advantage of Amex’s Expanded Buying Power feature, which allows you to exceed your card’s preset spending limit without being declined or hit with over-limit fees and penalties
- Add up to 99 additional users (see rates and fees)
- Car rental loss and damage protection
- Purchase protection of up to $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account per year
- Extended warranty protection of up to an additional year on items purchased in the U.S. with warranties of five years or less
- 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
Pros of the Amex Blue Business Plus
The Amex Blue Business Plus has a lot of things going for it. First, there’s no annual fee to worry about, so you can carry it year after year without wondering if you derive enough value from its benefits to justify keeping it.
Second, you can earn 2x Amex Membership Rewards points with no bonus categories to memorize — equivalent to getting 4% back on your spending according to the latest TPG valuations — on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year. That makes racking up rewards effortless. Plus, when it comes time to redeem them, there are tons of options, including transferring them to Amex’s airline frequent-flyer program partners, including Delta SkyMiles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and hotel partners including Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.
Finally, this card’s purchase protection is among the most comprehensive out there, with high maximum amounts if you need to make large purchases for your business. Speaking of which, you might also be able to take advantage of its 12-month intro APR on purchases to help pay off over time some large expenses your business might incur (responsibly, of course).
In short, the Amex Blue Business Plus is a great everyday card for business owners who don’t want to overthink their earning strategy but still want all the advantages that earning transferable Amex points confers.
Cons of the Amex Blue Business Plus
With all that said, there are several drawbacks to the Amex Blue Business Plus. To start, its welcome offer is not especially enticing. Consider, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express currently offers 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Sure, that’s five times the spending, but it’s over six times the points as you can earn with the Amex Blue Business Plus.
You also might do better with a card that fields bonus earning categories. For instance, the American Express® Business Gold Card, which earns 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from the following categories (up to $150,000 in combined purchases per calendar year, then 1x on other purchases):
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases of online, TV and radio advertising
- U.S. purchases of computer hardware, software and cloud systems from select technology providers
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
- U.S. shipping purchases
Depending on your typical business expenses, you could be leaving many extra points on the table by settling for the Blue Business Plus card’s lower-earning rates.
You also won’t be enjoying any fancy value-added perks such as statement credits toward various travel expenses, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement, or airport lounge access, in case those types of benefits matter to you.
Should you get the Amex Blue Business Plus?
The Amex Blue Business Plus is a great card for small business owners who wish to avoid an annual fee and don’t want to do a lot of legwork to maximize their earning. Its intro APR terms and excellent purchase protection also make it a good choice for those who might need to make large purchases in the near term.
That said, there are better cards out there for earning Amex Membership Rewards points, such as the Amex Business Platinum and the Amex Business Gold. On the other hand, if you’d get more use out of cash back, you might want to consider the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card instead. It is currently offering $250 cash back via statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. It earns 2% back on up to $50,000 in eligible purchases per calendar year. It doesn’t charge an annual fee either (see rates and fees).
Related: Best small business credit cards
Because of its modest welcome offer and limited benefits, the Amex Blue Business Plus tends to be one of the most underappreciated business credit cards. However, if you can maximize your earnings with it and want to avoid an annual fee, it represents a solid value choice that many small businesses will be able to leverage for a sizable haul of Amex Membership Rewards. That said, there might be better options out there for you if you’re looking for a card with more premium perks and more earning opportunities.
Related: Best credit cards for businesses
Featured photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy. Additional reporting by Eric Rosen
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