Review: Amex Blue Business Plus Credit Card

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Last week I reviewed The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, which I consider to be the most well rounded premium Amex business card. In this post I wanted to look at The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, which was just introduced a few months ago, in May.

I was shocked when Amex introduced this card, as it’s the single most lucrative card out there for non-bonused business spend, which I wasn’t expecting from a no annual fee card. So let’s take a closer look at the benefits:

Blue Business Plus Card annual fee

The card has no annual fee. You can also add authorized users to the card at no extra cost. You can’t beat the combination of a card having no annual fee and also being incredibly rewarding for spend.

Blue Business Plus Card return on spend

The Blue Business Plus Card has a very simple rewards structure. The card offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year, and then 1x points per dollar spent thereafter.

I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s like a return of 3.4% on the first $50,000 spent on the card annually, which is a fantastic return.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the single most lucrative card for non-bonused spend, whether we’re talking about personal or business cards. Based on my valuation of points, this is the only card that offers a return of over 3% on non-bonused spend.

Of course the catch is that you’re limited to earning those points on the first $50,000 spent annually. For some that’s not much of a restriction, while for others it’s severely limiting.

I should also mention that this card earns Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to Amex airline and hotel partners. There aren’t many no annual fee cards that are enrolled in the “full” Membership Rewards program, so that in and of itself is a reason to keep this card. You can read more about the Membership Rewards transfer partners here.

Blue Business Plus Card approval odds

While the Business Gold Rewards Card is a charge card, the Blue Business Plus Card is a credit card. Amex typically limits most consumers to having five credit cards, so that’s the major limitation with being approved.

For those with excellent credit, I find Amex business cards to be incredibly easy to be approved for. Anecdotally most people I’ve heard from have reported instant approvals on this card, so it really shouldn’t be very tough to be approved for, even if you haven’t gotten many business cards in the past.

Furthermore, since this is an Amex card, keep in mind that:

Blue Business Plus Card best complement

As I mentioned when I reviewed the Business Gold Rewards Card, I tend to think that the best business card complement to the Blue Business Plus Card is the Business Gold Rewards Card. While the Blue Business Plus Card offers a great return on the first $50,000 of non-bonused spend, the Business Gold Rewards Card offers bonus points in the following five categories:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

You can choose one category in which you want to earn 3x points, and then you earn 2x points in the remaining four categories. The bonus points apply to the first $100,000 spent annually in each of the five categories, so that’s potentially a lot of bonus points.

You’ll be able to pool the Membership Rewards points earned on both cards, so I’d recommend using the Blue Business Plus Card for the first $50,000 of non-bonused spend each year, and put the balance of the spend on the Business Gold Rewards Card.

Blue Business Plus Card best substitute

There’s not really a direct competitor to the Blue Business Plus Card. In terms of offering a great reward on everyday, non-bonused spend, I think the closest substitute would be something like the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, which offers a flat 2% cash back on all purchases.

The card has a low $59 annual fee (waived the first year), and offers a sign-up bonus of $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That sign-up bonus covers the annual fee for many years.

Another great business card for non-bonused spend is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, which offers one Starpoint per dollar spent. I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so that’s a great return on spend as well. The card has a $95 annual fee which is waived for the first year.

So while personally I think the return is better on the first $50,000 of spend for the Blue Business Plus Card, both of these cards are also rewarding for non-bonused spend.

Bottom line

The Blue Business Plus Card offers the single best return on non-bonused spend of any card, be it personal or business. Earning 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually for a no annual fee card is simply incredible.

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Comments

  1. @Ben, I actually applied within a week it it was launched and got approved for this card (06/05) and then the welcome bonus was pulled out (06/22). I have to raise a request to Amex backend team to get my 20K bonus MRs and its almost 2 months and I am still fighting for it. Everytime they comeback and say there was never a welcome bonus on this card. I luckily have taken a snapshot of the advertisement and hopefully will get the bonus.

  2. I have the older version of the amex business blue card. Its gives me 2 pts per every dollar and a bonus at the end of the membership year. Once I get that bonus I will likely just PC this card over to a business plus unless there is at least a 20k signup offer for a new card.

  3. This is a peripheral question, but I got an SPG Amex business card for their bonus recently, after having had their personal card for many years. Is there any reason to keep both and pay two annual fees?

  4. @Lucky- I signed up for this card when you first promoted it. I got my 20k and it’s been a fixture in my wallet ever since.

    Regarding the SPG Business card… would it be wise to apply for it now as he future of this card is up in the air with the Marriott merger? I suppose I’ll ask the same about the Chase Marriott cars. Thanks!

  5. @ Grant — Yes, I’d definitely recommend getting an SPG Amex Card sooner rather than later. We don’t know what the credit card portfolio will look like for the combined program, but there will almost certainly be fewer options. So I’d certainly pick up the card soon, if I were you. The same is true of the Marriott Card, though since it’s issued by Chase keep in mind that it’s subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule.

  6. Thanks, @Lucky.

    One follow up: back when the Marriott had the 100k promo I was at 5/24. Now I’m not but it’s back at 80k. Do I go with the bird in hand, or do you see he 100k coming back soon?

  7. For the regular joe/family who won’t be spending $50k+ in business expenses, an often forgotten option to collect MR points is the Amex Everyday Preferred card. You get 4.5p for groceries(first $6k), 3p for gas and 1.5p for every other category if you include the 50% bonus. Meeting the 30transaction for 50% bonus is easy and the $95 annual fee is easily reached by just regular use. Unless you just eat out or don’t drive, it’s a good option.

  8. I’d suggest that the best complement to the Blue Business Plus card by far is the Amex Business Platinum, due to its 35% rebate when paying with points. It provides flexibility when award tickets aren’t available or when earning status.

  9. @Lucky I have to go with Ivan X …. I combine my Platinum and Blue Plus …… 5X MR on airfare and 2X on everything else. Simple to remember, awesome return across the board. And the 35% rebate on pay for points is really nice for leisure travel using my MR points.

  10. I don’t use an AMEX MR-earning card yet, so I don’t feel knowledgeable enough to make the SPG vs MR comparison on my own. But we are pounding our SPG cards for Marriott Travel Packages, and are working on our 3rd this year; we don’t redeem SPG or Marriott points for anything else at the moment.

    If 90K SPG points gives me a Travel Package, can I get equivalent value from 140K MR points (same non-bonus spend on SPG AMEX and AMEX Blue Business)?

  11. @Vet&Banked Can you take us through yor math?

    MR transfer to SPG at 3:1. You earn 2 per dollar on Blue Business Plus, but only up to $50,000. You earn 1.5 per dollar with a Business Platinum, but only on charges of $5000 and up. (And 5X on airfare booked at AmexTravel.com). Business Gold Rewards offers 2 per dollar in a few categories and 3 per dollar in one that you choose yearly. Everyday Preferred gets you at least 1.5 points per dollar if you put 30 charges on it a month, but it’s not a business card (not that anything stops you for using it for business).

    So there’s really no version of MR spending, except 5X for airlines, that ends up being worth it, if you plan to convert them to SPG points, as compared with the same spending on an SPG card.

    As for finding something equivalent rather than converting to SPG: If your intent is to use the miles, and the 7 free nights, I don’t think there’s any equivalent of the same spending that will get you that via MR.

    But if you’re throwing away the certificate and just doing it for the miles, and you’re getting packages for an airline that MR transfers to (e.g. Delta), you’re likely getting 120,000 miles for 90,000 SPG, or 1.33 miles per SPG point. If the MR transfer ratio is 1:1 for that airline, and you can get at least 1.5X on your MR spending, then you might be able to spend slightly less for the equivalent number of miles.

    However, if you are able to exchange your 7 night certificate for 15,000 miles, which I’ve read that you can, you are getting 1.6 miles per SPG point, so you’d want your MR spending to be better than that, which is tough to do after the first 50,000 per year have been spent on the Blue Business Plus. So, again, if you aren’t throwing away the certificate, I don’t think you can easily get the equivalent of the same spending with MR.

    I happen I have been writing a lot about this exact thing recently on my own blog, if you want to check that out: ivanx.nyc

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