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Review of the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

John Ganotis

John Ganotis | Reviews

Jul 25, 2017 | Updated Oct 05, 2017

Although Smashed media does receive compensation from some card issuers as advertisers, this does not in any way influence our overall judgement of a card. American Express has not endorsed this content in any way.

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The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express provides a simple way for business owners to earn American Express Membership Rewards points without paying an annual fee.

Since it’s a credit card (and not a charge card, like many American Express business cards) you’ll also have some flexibility in paying your bill, which could be helpful for managing your business’ cash flow. We’ll walk through the very simple rewards structure of this card and how this card compares with other business credit cards to help you decide if this is the right card for you.

Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Editors’ Rating
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Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 12.24%, 16.24% or 20.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • No annual fee for each additional Employee Blue Business Plus Credit Card
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Terms & Restrictions Apply

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This card has no annual fee, and a very simple rewards structure. That makes it a great fit for business owners who want to earn rewards without thinking too much about the specific categories where they spend money and don’t want to pay an annual fee.

Since it’s a credit card instead of a charge card, it can also provide some flexibility in paying for business expenses, so that’s another plus. And, there’s a introductory 0% APR period, which can be nice for financing larger business expenses and paying them off over time.

It may be possible to earn more rewards with other cards depending on your business’ spending habits or if you pay an annual fee, but in some cases this card can come out ahead when considering the lack of annual fee and the simplicity of the rewards program.

Keep reading to learn more about the details of this card.

Using this card as part of your credit card strategy

  • This can make a great first business card: you don’t have to weigh an annual fee against rewards and benefits to decide whether the card is worth paying for, and you don’t need to consider how much you’ll spend on specific categories.
  • Since it has a 0% introductory APR, you could use this card to finance large business purchases and pay them off over time before the the regular purchase APR kicks in.
  • To maximize the value of points, transfer points to a partner loyalty program.
  • If you spend over $50,000 on business expenses per year, or mostly spend on certain categories, you may be able to earn more rewards with a different business credit card.
  • You might want to use this as an alternate card for your first $50,000 of expenses that won’t earn you as much in rewards compared to other cards you may have.

The Rewards

With this card, you can effectively earn around 1–2% cash back on purchases depending on much you spend on the card in a year and how you redeem points.

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card earns:

  • 2X points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases per year
  • 1X point per dollar for all purchases after that

There is no introductory bonus for spending a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time with this card, unlike some business cards, but the rewards program is pretty valuable considering there’s on annual fee.

When it comes to redeeming points, cashing in points for statement credit will only get you $0.006 per point, so we don’t recommend that.

For straightforward redemption, you can cash in points for gift cards at $0.01 per point. So, if you spend $50,000 a year you’ll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points, which can be redeemed for $1000 in gift cards, or 2% of the amount you spent, which is how I got the “around 1–2% cash back” figure above. As you spend more about that $50,000 level your effective percentage would go toward the lower end of that range, but it could also go up or down depending on how you redeem the points.

You’ll usually be able to get the highest value for points by transferring Membership Rewards points to a partner’s frequent flyer program or hotel loyalty program. These are the partner programs you can transfer to:

Participating Airline Travel Partners Include:
Delta AeroMexico Air Canada KLM/Air France Alitalia ANA
Asia Miles British Airways El Al Israel Emirates Frontier Hawaiian Airlines
Iberia Plus jetBlue Singapore Airlines Virgin America Virgin Atlantic
Participating Hotel Partners Include:
Choice Privileges Best Western Rewards
Hilton HHonors Starwood Preferred Guest

The Benefits

This card’s benefits are pretty similar to most other American Express business cards, with some features specifically designed to help business owners.

Perks

  • Entertainment Access®

    Exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and card member-only events in your city.

OPEN Business Services

  • OPEN Forum®

    Online community for small business owners to connect with each other.

  • OPEN Savings®

    Extra savings on eligible purchases from participating merchants.

  • ReceiptMatchSM with QuickBooks®

    Track expenses with ReceiptMatch with QuickBooks®.

  • Account Alerts

    Get alerts about account information on your phone.

  • Account Manager

    Ability to give other people permission to manage your account.

Security

  • Dispute Resolution

    Help dealing with fraudulent and incorrect transactions.

Shopping

  • Extended Warranty

    For warranties of 5 years or less, get up to 1 extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Purchase Protection

    Items purchased with your card are protected against accidental damage and theft within 90 days of the purchase.

  • Return Protection

    If a merchant won’t take back an item within 90 days, American Express may refund the purchase price (restrictions apply).

Travel

  • Global Assist® Hotline

    When you travel 100 miles or more from home, provides help with travel accidents like lost passports, the need for a lawyer, sudden illness, and more. You pay for all third-party service costs.

  • Baggage Insurance Plan

    Eligible lost, damaged, or stolen bags are covered up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage & checked bags together and up to $500 for checked baggage only.

  • Travel Accident Insurance

    Up to $100,000 in financial security if accident or death is caused when traveling by Common Carrier plane, train, ship, or bus.

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

    Stolen or damaged vehicles are covered if you use your card to pay and reserve the rental, and you decline the collision damage waiver.

  • Premium Roadside Assistance

    Assistance with services such as towing, changing a flat, or boosting a battery in case of emergency (no cost for the first 4 times per year).

The Costs & Fees

Annual Fee Intro APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Regular APR Regular Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
$0  0% for 15 months 12.24%, 16.24% or 20.24% Variable  12.24%, 16.24% or 20.24% Variable  N/A 2.7%
Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to $38 $38

One aspect that makes this business credit card so appealing is that it doesn’t have an annual fee, but still earns decent rewards. For comparison, the Capital One Spark Cash offers unlimited 2% cash back, but has a $59 annual fee after the first year. Capital One also offers the no-annual-fee Spark Cash Select, but that only earns unlimited 1.5% cash back. So, if you spend over $50,000 per year you may be able to earn more with one of those cards, but it’s clear the Blue Business Plus rewards program is competitive for not having an annual fee. See our review of all three Spark Cash cards here.

Another appealing feature is the introductory 0% APR, which can allow you to make large business purchases and pay them off over time, possibly avoiding interest completely. You’ll want to be careful to not abuse the 0% period by spending more than you can pay off, as paying credit card interest is not fun and will quickly cancel out the value of rewards you’ve earned on your business expenses.

Notice there is a foreign transaction fee on this card, so if you plan to use a card for international purchases frequently this isn’t the card for that.

The Bottom Line

I hear from a number of business owners who know they’re spending a lot of money through their businesses, perhaps on a debit card or by check, and realize they could be earning points with a credit card. They don’t want to think much about categories where they spend, and may not even have a good idea of how much they’ll spend over the course of the year, so it can be hard to weigh an annual fee against reward earning potential. The Blue Business Plus from American Express seems like a good fit for this type of business owner.

This seems like a good starter business card since it has no annual fee and doesn’t require thinking ahead about spending categories. If you’re not earning some form of rewards on business expenses now, there’s not really a reason to not just get this card, start putting business expenses on it, and pay it in full each month.

In the Rewards section above I did some quick math to show how you’ll effectively be earning around 2% cash back if you spend up to $50,000 on this card and redeem for gift cards at $0.01 per point. This rewards program is nice because it’s so simple. However, you may be able to earn more in rewards if you want to consider the categories where you spend most and look for cards that provide higher rewards in those categories.

If you spend over $50,000 per year on business expenses, you may still like this card for its simplicity, but you probably have the potential to earn more rewards on another card that has an annual fee or rewards you for specific categories where you’re spending more. For example, check out our comparison of the Blue Business Plus to the high-end Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express here.

Even if you have other business credit cards, you may find a good way to fit this card into your rewards-maximization strategy. Since it has no annual fee, there’s no cost for simply having the card. If, for example, you have a card that earns 3% cash back on certain categories, but only 1% on all other categories, you could use the Blue Business Plus to effectively earn more on the first $50,000 of those transactions where you’d only earn 1% on your other card.

How do you like your Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express? What are the most valuable features to you? Click here to leave your own review for other visitors, we’d love to hear from you!

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