A No-Fee Membership Rewards Card You'll Love: Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

A No-Fee Membership Rewards Card You'll Love: Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

August 18, 2017

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While American Express is well known for their selection of premier travel credit cards, past and present Amex customers seem to have a lot of gripes.

For starters, the card issuer’s top tier travel credit cards – the Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express – come with outrageous annual fees of $550 and $450, respectively. Worse, both cards offer an earning tier of just 1 point per $1 spent outside of special bonus categories.

If you don’t use Amex’s generous travel perks often enough, it’s hard to justify those annual fees unless you earn a ton of points. And even though American Express has historically offered several no-fee travel and rewards credit cards, most don’t let you earn traditional Membership Rewards points you could transfer out to travel partners. Instead, they offer cash-back only.

Fortunately, American Express just came out with a new business card that could change the rewards game of many of their customers. With the new Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express, you can avoid paying an annual fee and earn bonus points for every dollar you spend.

Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Highlights:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on your first $50,000 in spending each year
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards point on all other purchases
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Transfer points to popular American Express loyalty partners

How the Blue Business Credit Card from American Express Works

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card offers few perks but an extremely simple earning structure. Once you sign up for the card, you’ll earn 2x points on your first $50,000 spent in any category. Once you exceed that spending threshold, you’ll earn a flat 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

While you can earn a lot more than 2x points with some American Express cards (e.g. 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels through AmexTravel.com with the Business Platinum card from Amex), most promotions are only for special category spending. With the Blue Business Credit Card from American Express, you'll earn 2x points on your first $50,000 in spending no matter what you buy.

Since the card doesn’t have an annual fee, you won’t have to stress over whether you’re getting enough value out of it, either. On the flip side, the Blue Business Credit Card from American Express doesn’t offer any of the valuable travel perks that other popular American Express travel credit cards do. For example, there’s no lounge access and no access to an annual travel credit of any kind.

The huge game-changer here is the fact that the points earned with this card are still traditional Membership Rewards points regardless of the fact this card doesn’t charge an annual fee. So, not only can you redeem them for various types of travel through AmexTravel.com, but you can transfer them to popular airline and loyalty programs that partner with American Express. This is huge for American Express customers who take advantage of travel partners or plan to in the future.

Options include:

Airlines

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asia Miles
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin America
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotels

  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Starwood Preferred Guest

Where the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express Falls Short

For most of us, it’s truly difficult to fault a rewards credit card that comes with no annual fee. It’s free to use, after all, making any rewards you earn a pretty sweet deal.

Still, there are a few areas where this card really does come up short – especially as a travel credit card. For starters, it comes without any of the popular travel perks many frequent flyers love. If you fly all the time and want access to perks, this card will leave you wanting more.

Second, the public offer on this card doesn’t come with a signup bonus at all. So, even though you won’t have to pay an annual fee, you won’t get a sudden burst of points near the beginning. For a lot of rewards-hungry enthusiasts, the lack of a signup bonus is a real deal-breaker.

Who This Card is Best For:

  • Someone who has a stash of Membership Rewards but is tired of paying annual fees
  • Anyone who is averse to paying annual fees
  • A big spender who wants to earn 2x points on their first $50,000 in credit spending each year

Who This Card Isn’t Good For:

  • Anyone who craves travel perks like airport lounge access or annual travel credits
  • Someone who buys a lot of airfare and may be better off with a card that offers a higher earning rate on travel
  • Someone who doesn’t own a business

Best No-Fee Card to Pair With: American Express Everyday Credit Card

If you’re on the fence about the new Blue Business Plus credit card from American Express or plan to use it as part of a broader point-earning strategy, a smart card pairing could be the no-fee American Express Everyday Credit Card. This card offers a slightly different earning structure that could be complementary to the new Blue Plus business credit card. Plus, you could use it for your personal spending, whereas your Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express should be used for business spending only.

Here are the details:

American Express Everyday Credit Card

Highlights:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points after using your card for $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days
  • Earn 2x points on your first $6,000 in grocery store spending each year
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Make 20 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits

With both cards in your wallet, you could avoid annual fees while maximizing category spending. For example, you could use your American Express Everyday Credit Card for all of your small purchases – or at least until you reach the 20-transaction threshold. You could also use your card for grocery spending to maximize the 2x points category up to $6,000 annually.

In terms of business spending, you could lump it all onto your Blue Business Plus credit card from American Express to take advantage of 2x points on your first $50,000 spent each year. From there, you could pool all of your points into one account for optimal transfers to American Express loyalty partners like Delta Air Lines and Hilton. Best of all, you would never pay an annual fee on either card.

The Bottom Line

While you may be better off with a premier travel credit card if you fly the friendly skies all the time, a no-fee travel credit card could work if you don’t need a ton of perks. The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a new option that could satisfy a segment of travelers who want rewards without an annual fee.

With 2x points on your first $50,000 spent annual and no annual fee, it’s hard to go wrong. The fact that you can transfer points to awesome loyalty partners like Delta, Starwood Preferred Guest, and British Airways is just icing on the cake.