One responsibility a small business owner always takes seriously is paying the bills.
With The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, you can stay on top of your monthly expenses while earning Membership Reward points good toward flights, hotels, and hundreds of other redemptions.
Plus, you always have the option of paying your credit card bill over time (with interest) instead of all at once.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- All Purchases
- Travel (General)
- Annual Fee
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction Fees2.7% of each transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars
- Typical UsersBusiness Owners, Food Lovers, The Average Spender
- Customer Service Number
- Login Link
- PartnersThe card provides access to standard partners of the American Express Membership Rewards program.
- Interest Rates
- 0% on Purchases for 15 months
- Ongoing APR: 12.49% - 20.49% Variable
- Late fees ?
- 29.99% Variable
- Balance Transfers
- 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months
- Ongoing APR: 12.49% - 20.49% Variable
- Cash Forwarding
The Ideal Cardholder
Sign-Up Bonus and Earning Categories
The card comes with a long list of opportunities to rack up the Membership Rewards points! See the card summary table above for the current sign-up bonus offers.
Also, you now earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. The 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
You will also always earn 2x points for purchases you make directly through the American Express Travel site, Uber, and American Express OPEN partners even after the $50,000 limit is reached.
All this with no annual fee!
Bonus Membership Rewards Points, Annual Bonus, and More Benefits
Speaking of Membership Rewards, this card sometimes comes with a sign-up bonus (see the summary table above for current details).
It’s a nice bonus that encourages you to put all your expenses on this business credit card rather than using multiple cards.
Planning on making a large purchase for the office? You can take advantage of the intro APR offer; see the card summary table for details.
Also, don’t forget that you’ll earn 2x points when you use Uber as part of a benefit that comes with all Membership Rewards cards.
Card Benefits for Small Businesses
American Express OPEN cards like The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express offer a suite of tools designed to make life easier for small business owners, starting with online statements.
Get free employee cards (up to 99 of them!) and stay on top of charges by signing up for text and email account alerts. Use Account Manager to set credit line limits and review statements for your employee cards.
Other tools include Receipt Match, which helps you add receipts to transactions simply by taking a picture. Your year-end summary can help review your spending for the year, and OPEN Forum gets your business questions answered by experts in the field.
Plus, get 2 additional points per $1 on spending with select partners such as HP.com, Hertz, and FedEx. If the points don’t interest you, you can choose an automatic 5% discount instead!
Other American Express Perks
American Express credit cards are very popular due to the insurances and shoppers’ protections that are included with membership.
For example, if you spend a lot of time on the road, insurances such as premium roadside and car rental coverage can be a real lifesaver. If you fly often, travel accident insurance and baggage insurance can be just as valuable.
Finally, you can count on purchase protection to cover items bought with the card if they are damaged or stolen.
And add up to 1 year to your manufacturer’s original warranty with the extended warranty program.
Drawbacks of The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
There is also a 2.7% foreign transaction fee. These fees can add up quickly if you travel internationally on a regular basis.
In that case, you may be better off with one of a business credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.
Another caveat? Your points are good for Membership Rewards only. If you would rather earn cash-back to reinvest in your business, you might prefer the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express.
Comparison to Other American Express OPEN Cards
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN has more earning power than the Blue business card but comes with a hefty $175 per year annual fee.
It earns 3x points in 1 of 5 business-related categories, and 2 points per $1 in the remaining 4 categories (up to $100,000). Other purchases earn 1 point per $1.
If you use The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, you must pay your balance in full each month.
Another option is the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. It is much less powerful than The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, but it does have a lower annual fee of $95 that is waived the first year.
Basically, The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN earns 1 point for purchases except when booking travel through the American Express Travel website (which earns 2x the points).
Payment is also due in full each month.
Final Thoughts on the Card
If you want a card for your business without an annual fee that has the potential to earn miles quickly, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express may be your best shot.
After all, you might even get a sign-up bonus and APR offer, and the ability to earn lots of extra Membership Rewards points. When you have a complimentary card, remember these points are able to be used with travel partners!
Great Card If
- You will put all (or most) of your business spending on the card
- You prefer not to pay an annual fee
- You want the flexibility to make payments over time (with interest)
Don't Get If
- You don’t have an Amex card that participates in the Membership Rewards transfer program (allowing you to pool points for travel benefits)
- You and your employees travel internationally on a frequent basis and will incur the 2.7% foreign transaction fee
U.P. Pro Tips
Whether dining with clients or eating meals with your employees, using The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is a terrific way to add reward points to your Membership Rewards balance!
You’ll want to use the card for as many expenses as possible anyway to take advantage of the 2x points on all purchases up to $50,000.
How To Use The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express provides plenty of opportunities to accrue points. Here are some tips to ensure you earn all the Amex points available.
Tip #1: Make sure you earn your sign-up bonus (when available) Membership Rewards points. You can’t get simpler than that!
Tip #2: Use the new 2x points on the first $50,000 for all purchases! Anything you need to buy will earn 2x Membership Rewards points.
Tip #3: Get cards for your employees; they’re free and there’s no annual fee associated with them. You’ll get the Membership Rewards points for their spending at no additional cost.
Tip #4: Use the OPEN Savings benefit that comes with business card. Select 5% savings or 2x points when you make a purchase from any OPEN Savings partner.
Featured partners include FedEx, HP.com, Hertz, and 1-800Flowers. Find a full list of participating partners here.
Tip #5: Book all travel through the American Express Travel site. You’ll earn 2 points per $1 instead of 1.
Best Way To Redeem Points
Because The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is part of the Membership Rewards program, you have several redemption options.
Let’s look at some of the Membership Rewards redemption options from lowest to highest per-point value.
Lower Value Options
Option #1: Gift cards and tickets ($0.005-$0.01/point)
Choose from the following gift card categories: Dining, Entertainment, Retail, Air & Lodging, Car & Rail, Experience, and Theme Park. You can also purchase American Express gift cards in different denominations.
The point value here depends on the merchant and gift card amount. For example, purchase a $10 Bath & Body Works gift card for 1,000 points (a value of $0.01 per point).
Here’s another example:
A child’s ticket to Legoland California requires 8,900 points. Since a child’s ticket costs about $84 at the Legoland website, the value is $.009 per point, which is not so great.
Ticket purchases from Ticketmaster, Telecharge.com, and AXS are valued at $0.005 per point.
Option 2: Shop through Amex ($0.005/point)
Make purchases with your Membership Rewards points when you shop through the American Express shopping mall. You also have the option of mixing points and cash to pay for a purchase.
Option 3: Points for statement credit ($0.006/point)
While you have the option to apply points as statement credit, the value is low at $0.006 per point. If your preference is statement credit, you can get better value from a cash-back credit card.
Option 4: Shop Amazon.com and BestBuy.com ($0.007/point)
Pay for your Amazon.com and BestBuy.com purchases directly with your Membership points. Click on “More Ways to Use Points” at the top of the page when logged into the portal.
Option 5: Hotel stays booked through the portal ($0.007/point)
Book a hotel room through the Membership Rewards portal and pay with your points. The value of $0.007 per point only pertains to travel rewards other than flights.
Higher Value Options
Option 1: Select gift cards ($0.01/point)
While gift cards vary in point value, certain gift cards are worth up to $0.01 per point, such as the Bath & Body Works gift card mentioned above.
Option 2: Donate points ($0.01/point)
Donate to one of the many charities in the Membership Rewards program and your first 500,000 points will be valued at $0.01/point. The minimum amount you can donate is 1,000 points.
Option 3: Flights booked through Amex Travel Rewards ($0.01/point)
Unlike hotel rewards, flights booked through American Express Travel Rewards have a value of $0.01 per point. However, be prepared to pay a service fee unless you have The Platinum Card® from American Express (which waives fees automatically).
Option 4: Uber and Plenti ($0.01/point)
Book a ride with Uber using your points for a value of $0.01/point. The same is true of the Plenti program, another rewards program with partners such as Rite Aid, Hulu, Macy’s, and more.
If the Plenti program appeals to you, you may want to consider applying for The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, which is a great no-annual-fee card. It earns 3x points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants and 1x points on other purchases.
Option 5: Transfer to loyalty partners ($0.01-$0.02/point)
Transfer points to more than 20 airline and hotel partners (plus access all 3 major alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star). This is typically the redemption with the highest value because you can multiply value with the loyalty programs.
Again, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express does not participate in this program. But if you have an American Express card that does (the majority do), you can pool the points together and make a transfer.
For instance, you could easily add another no annual fee card like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express to your portfolio.
Note, you will be charged a fee of $0.0006 per point transferred up to a maximum of $99.
American Express Membership Rewards airline and hotel partners:
Airline partners: Club Premier Aero Mexico, MilleMiglia Club Alitalia, British Airways Executive Club, Asia Miles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Air Canada Aeroplan, Hawaiian Airlines, Emirates Skywards, Iberia Plus, KrisFlyer, Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Virgin America Elevate, Etihad Guest
The card has no annual fee, so you begin reaping benefits right from the get-go. To get the most from the card as a small business owner, though, you need a plan of attack.
Let’s look at the cost and benefits of the card first:
|Annual Fee||2x Category||1x Category|
|$0||2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.||All other purchases|
If the $0 annual fee and high points potential interest you, let’s see how you might be able to benefit. We’ll use the business spending of a fictitious small business with less than $150,000 in annual expenses as an example, shown in the table below:
|Shipping||$4,000||Travel expenses related to above||$2,000|
|Cell phone||$2,400||Legal fees||$10,000|
|Internet||$1,800||Web expenses (including dev)||$12,100|
|Cable||$ –||Other transportation||$500|
|Gas station||$5,200||Accounting fees||$10,000|
Based on the figures above, the business will put $135,800 a year on the card. Using the new earnings rate of 2x points on the first $50,000 (and 1x points thereafter), we can quickly see the amount of points you could earn from this example.
|Category*||Total Spend||Total Points|
*2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Based on these calculations, the business earns 185,800 points the first year. That equals a basic value of $1,858 at $0.01 per point. If redeemed for travel it would be worth up to $3,716 in airfare if redeemed at $0.02 per point.
Not bad for a credit card with no annual fee!
Final Thoughts on Card Math
The Blue business card can be quite valuable for small business owners who take advantage of the bonus points.
When you consider the potential for earning so many points, it’s difficult to find fault with this card! The new earnings rate is 2x points on the first $50k, then 1x points thereafter, and you also get 2x points for Uber, Amex Travel, and OPEN partners.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
No matter which credit card you use, it’s always important to read the terms and conditions.
You can’t earn points for cash advances, balance transfers, or transactions related to gambling like lottery tickets and other types of betting.
Other Unique Features of This Card
As we mentioned earlier, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express comes with a number of perks and insurances.
Travel accident insurance – Up to $100,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage while traveling on a common carrier.
Premium roadside assistance – Call to get help changing a flat, jump-starting a battery, or getting a tow (up to 10 miles).
Car rental loss and damage insurance – Reserve and pay for a rental car with the card and decline the collision damage waiver to get covered if the vehicle is stolen or damaged.
Baggage insurance plan – Whether traveling by plane, train, ship, or bus, get covered for eligible lost, stolen, or damaged baggage.
Global Assist Hotline – Get access to emergency services (medical, financial, legal) 24/7 when you’re more than 100 miles from home.
Additional benefits with the card from American Express OPEN target small business owners.
Receipt Match – Add receipts, notes, and tags to purchase transactions from your desktop or mobile device.
Account alerts – Set up account alerts to notify you when your bill is due and to keep track of employee spending.
OPEN Savings – Receive 2 additional points per $1 or a 5% discount when you purchase from participating OPEN partners.
Dispute resolution – Don’t worry about fraudulent transactions or incorrect charges when you use the card. American Express pledges to work with you to solve the problem right away.
Online statements – Keep track of your account online from anywhere. Find transactions, prepare reports or invoices, and set up a budget.
Mobile and tablet apps – Access your account on the go via your mobile phone and tablet.
OPEN Forum – Get advice from business experts and fellow professionals through the articles and other information available to you as a member of OPEN Forum.
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Woman Presenting in Business Meeting: ASDF MEDIA/Shutterstock
Person Shopping Online: Kite_rin/Shutterstock
Stacking Quarters: Singkham/Shutterstock
If you are a small business owner who travels frequently, the business card can be quite valuable, especially since there is no annual fee associated with the card.
It earns 2x points for all purchases (2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter), and also specifically for Uber, Amex Travel, and OPEN partners.
There is no annual fee for the card.
Your Membership Rewards points won't expire unless you cancel all your American Express Membership Rewards cards.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN earns more points in 5 categories: airfare, U.S. shipping, select U.S. computer services, select U.S. advertising, and U.S. gas stations.
Earn 3x points in 1 of the categories and 2x points in the remaining 4.
You won't be charged foreign transaction fees with this card, and the annual fee of $175 is waived the first year.
Log in to your account on the American Express website.