Double the cash back with no annual fee: Review of the American Express Blue Business Cash Card
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card overview
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card makes it easy for business owners to track expenses and earn 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in eligible purchases every calendar year. Once you pass that threshold, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. Cash back is credited to your statement automatically. Best of all, enjoy this earning power with no annual fee (see rates and fees). Amex Blue Business Cash also offers a handful of travel and shopping benefits, plus cards for up to 99 authorized users at no additional cost (see rates and fees). Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Whether you’re a small-business owner or CFO of a major corporation, having a separate business card makes sense to help track expenses – whether it’s your own or those of employees. If you’re going to carry a business credit card, you may as well earn rewards that you can use down the road.
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With no annual fee, the Amex Blue Business Cash card is great for small-business owners on a budget. The simple rewards system, with no rotating categories to track, makes it a great card for everyday business use.
Let’s look at the other benefits Amex Blue Business Cash provides for business owners looking for a simple, straightforward cash-back rewards card.
Who is this card for?
American Express is a trusted name in credit cards and the brand has certain prestige, making it a go-to for many business owners. If you’re looking for your first business credit card and don’t travel a lot for business, you’ll like the simple rewards structure of the Blue Business Cash Card, with its $0 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Welcome bonus: $250 cash-back rewards
The Amex Blue Business Cash Card traditionally doesn’t come with a welcome bonus — unsurprising for a no-annual-fee card. However, Amex has an elevated offer for this card: Earn $250 cash back via statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. This is an easy way for business owners to add some cash to their wallet at a doable spending threshold.
There’s also an added opportunity of a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months from the date of account opening (see rates and fees), then 13.24 to 19.24% variable applies (see rates and fees). This introductory offer can help you finance any large purchases you may have upon account opening.
Main benefits and perks
If you’re familiar with the following American Express cards – the American Express® Green Card, the American Express® Gold Card, and The Platinum Card® from American Express, as well as their business versions – you know those cards have no preset spending limit because they are not conventional credit cards, so the amount you can spend adapts based on factors such as your purchase, payment and credit history.
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
However, Amex Blue Cash is a conventional credit card with a unique perk that makes it similar to the better-known Amex charge cards. The Expanded Buying Power feature on the card allows you to exceed your spending limit with no over-limit fees or penalties. You can even earn cash-back rewards on purchases that exceed your credit limit. You just have to pay your minimum payment, which would include any purchases charged over your limit. Since TPG always recommends paying your balance in full to avoid interest charges, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Another caveat: Exceeding your credit limit could reduce your credit score, since your credit utilization ratio factors heavily into your credit score.
The Expanded Buying Power feature is especially helpful if you have additional cardmembers on your account. If two employees make a large purchase at the same time that brings the card over its limit, they can avoid the embarrassment of having the card declined and you’ll avoid those pesky over-the-limit fees.
Other benefits to the Amex Blue card include secondary car rental loss and damage insurance when you rent a vehicle with your card, up to one year extended warranty protection on purchases (for manufacturer warranties of five years or less) and 90 days of purchase protection against theft or damage.
The card also delivers concierge-level service through the Global Assist feature when you travel more than 100 miles from home. Global Assist includes 24/7 emergency assistance and coordination services for medical, legal, or passport referrals. Amex can also help with missing luggage and emergency cash wires. Cardmembers must pay the charges for third-party services.
How to earn rewards
To earn points, simply use your Amex Blue card to make in-store or online purchases or to pay bills. It’s that easy. You’ll earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases you make each calendar year, and 1% after that.
How to redeem rewards
Your cash back appears as a monthly statement credit. That way, you’re effectively reducing your businesses operating expenses thanks to cash-back rewards appearing on your account.
Which cards compete with the Amex Blue Business Cash?
The Ink Business Cash Credit Card from Chase also has no annual fee and offers heftier rewards in certain categories – notably, 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office-supply stores and on internet, phone and cable service each account anniversary year. But if you don’t spend a lot in these areas, or you’re a new business owner who isn’t sure where you’ll be spending money yet, the Blue Business Cash offers simple yet solid rewards.
Related: Ink Business Cash credit card review
If you’d prefer to earn travel rewards instead of cash back, take a look at The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. Like its counterpart, Blue Cash, you’ll earn 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases in a calendar year; then 1x on other purchases. The points are valued at an average of 2 cents each, based on TPG’s most recent valuations, making them double the value of cash. By redeeming points strategically through American Express transfer partners, you can maximize their value up to 7 or 8 cents or more. This card also has no annual fee (see rates and fees) and offers 15,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership — worth slightly more at $300 (based on TPG’s valuations).
Big spenders might prefer a more robust card like the American Express® Business Gold Card, which offers a welcome bonus of 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening. The Business Gold card carries a hefty annual fee of $295 a year (see rates and fees), but bigger business owners will like the 4x points on business-friendly categories where the business spends the most in two select categories each billing cycle, up to the first $150,000 spent in those categories per calendar year (then 1x). Finally, consider the American Express Business Gold’s generous welcome bonus that gives you a jump start on your rewards.
Little-known facts about Amex Blue Business Cash
As credit cards go, Amex Blue Cash isn’t very complex. But there are a few things you may not know about the card.
Amex Blue Cash is one of 12 business credit cards in the Amex family
When it comes to business cards, Amex seems to have something for everyone. Business owners can select one of the three traditional Amex charge cards (Green, Gold or Platinum), The Plum Card® from American Express, a charge card that offers an early-pay discount, or any one of eight business credit cards, ranging from travel rewards credit cards to the Lowe’s Business Rewards card, which may be a good fit for those in the real estate, building or home improvement industries.
Add up to 99 employees free of charge
While some business credit cards charge a fee for adding authorized users, the Amex Blue Cash does not (see rates and fees). You can add up to 99 users.
Use the card to track business spending
Not only does Amex allow you up to 99 authorized users at no charge, but you can set up spending limits and track their purchases through alerts via the American Express Business app. You can also use the app to compile receipts and even add notes to purchases. Set spending limits and purchase alerts on employee cards to protect your business and stay aware of who’s buying what.
American Express Blue Business Cash Card is a relatively new addition to the Amex line
Released in the summer of 2019, the Amex Blue Business Cash card is designed to help small-business owners manage and track their spending while earning cash back. Noticing that 65% of cardholders reported using their personal cards for business spending, Amex sought to give small-business owners a solid business card option without a hefty annual fee.
The Blue Business Plus card, released at the same time, ranks as one of the best business credit cards for small businesses. Blue Plus might offer more valuable rewards, but for many small business owners, nothing beats getting cash back each month.
No doubt, the Amex Blue Business Cash is lacking in a number of areas. The 2% cash-back rewards are moderate, at best, and can’t compete with Chase Ink Business Cash or the Amex Business Gold card. But the 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months from the date of account opening, 13.24% – 19.24% variable thereafter and lack of an annual fee may entice small-business owners looking for an easy way to manage business expenses and finance large purchases. For business owners just learning how to leverage rewards and manage a small business at the same time, Blue Business Cash could be a solid starter card. If you want more robust rewards and benefits, and think you’ll max out your 2% rewards threshold quickly, you may want to consider one of our best business credit cards of 2021, instead.
Application link: American Express Blue Business Cash Card with a $250 cash-back welcome offer.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
Featured photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.
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