The Blue BusinessSM Plus Credit Card from American Express is a popular small business credit card with a fairly standard rewards program and no annual fee. Like many other Amex business credit cards, the rewards program is based on Membership Rewards, a proprietary portal that allows you to redeem for a wide range of merchandise and cash equivalents.
Blue Business Plus is meant for business owners with good to excellent credit. It competes with a number of other popular small business credit cards, including Capital One Spark Miles for Business. Blue Business Plus also competes with American Express’s color-coded business charge card family, which includes the Plum Card, Business Green Rewards, Business Gold Rewards, and the Business Platinum Card.
Membership Rewards and Redemption
Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. The 2X rate applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, and 1 point per dollar thereafter.
You can redeem accumulated Membership Rewards points for general merchandise, travel, transportation (including Uber rides), gift cards, statement credits, and other items at Amex’s Membership Rewards portal. Point values vary by redemption method, with merchandise generally worth $0.01 per point and statement credits worth $0.006 per point.
There is a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, regular APR applies, based on your creditworthiness and other factors – see rates and fees.
Blue Business Plus has no annual fee or fees for additional employee cards. Foreign transactions cost 2.7%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments cost up to $38 each.
OPEN Savings Benefit
Blue Business Plus cardholders can earn additional Membership Rewards points or discounts with partner merchants participating in Amex’s OPEN Savings program, including FedEx and Hertz. When you spend with OPEN Savings merchants, you earn your choice of 2 additional Membership Rewards points (on top of normal earnings) per $1, or a straight 5% discount credited to your monthly billing statement. A full list of participating merchants is available at opensavings.com.
Spend Above Your Credit Limit
Unlike American Express OPEN’s charge cards, Blue Business Plus has a spending limit. However, cardholders can spend above their credit limits without first applying for a higher limit, provided they pay off the amount spent above the limit in full by their statement due date. Above-limit spending is not unlimited – according to American Express, it “adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.”
Additional Business Benefits
Blue Business Plus comes with a nice lineup of business-friendly benefits, including digital receipt storage, expense tagging and tracking, and the ability to designate an employee as your account manager and dispute resolution point person.
Blue Business Plus also has a host of perks not explicitly geared toward business customers. The most noteworthy include one-year extended warranties on all items with original warranties of five years or less, return protection for all returns rejected within 90 days of original purchase, 24/7 roadside assistance, and baggage insurance worth up to $1,250 for carry-on luggage.
This card requires good to excellent credit.
- No Annual Fee. Blue Business Plus doesn’t have an annual fee. That’s a nice contrast to other popular small business cards.
- Long Introductory APR Period. Blue Business Plus’s 0% APR introductory period lasts for 15 months from account opening and applies to both purchases and balance transfers. That’s much more generous than many fellow competing business cards, and in line with top low APR consumer credit cards such as Chase Slate.
- OPEN Savings Benefit Offers Discounts With Popular Merchants. Blue Business Plus’ OPEN Savings Benefit offers 5% discounts or 2 bonus Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases made with partner merchants, including Hertz, 1-800-Flowers.com, and other big-name companies that you’d probably spend money with anyway. This perk is a nice addition to an already robust rewards program.
- Good for Business Owners Without Stellar Credit. Although Blue Business Plus requires good to excellent credit, it’s not the most exclusive card out there. If you don’t have major blemishes on your credit record, there’s a good chance you’re going to be approved for this card. That’s certainly not the case for more exclusive American Express business credit products, such as Business Gold Rewards and Business Platinum.
- Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. Blue Business Plus comes with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not ideal for business owners who frequently travel abroad. If you’re looking for a piece of plastic that doesn’t penalize you for setting foot in other countries, try one of the Capital One Spark cards.
- Points Accumulate Slowly. Blue Business Plus earns just 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent after the first $50,000 in purchases each year. That’s a slower rate of accumulation than some direct competitors, including Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card and SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express – both of which offer up to 5% cash back on select purchases.
- No Sign-up Bonus. Blue Business Plus has no sign-up bonus. That’s a big downside relative to completing cards such as Chase Ink Business Cash and Chase Ink Business Preferred, whose sign-up bonuses are worth hundreds when fully exploited.
- Point Values Can Be Low. Come redemption time, Membership Rewards points’ values vary based on what they’re being redeemed for. Merchandise redemptions are usually worth $0.01 per point, but cash equivalents can be worth much less – $0.005 or $0.006, in some cases. By contrast, the Capital One Spark family’s miles or cash back points are always worth $0.01 apiece, while Chase Ink Business Preferred‘s points can be worth as much as $0.0125 at redemption or even more when points are transferred to travel partners. If you’re looking for a generous business loyalty program, look to that card.
American Express has a somewhat deserved reputation as an issuer of gold-plated and platinum-plated cards with luxurious fringe benefits, impeccable service, and generous loyalty features. Many of the company’s high-end credit and charge cards live up to this image – but not all of them.
The Blue BusinessSM Plus Credit Card from American Express is a middle-of-the-road rewards card that doesn’t require massive revenues or an off-the-charts credit score – a true business credit card for the rest of us. Blue Business Plus’ broad appeal does come with some drawbacks, including a so-so rewards system, but there are worse cards out there. If you don’t qualify for a more generous American Express card at the moment, it’s not a bad place to start.