Blue Sky from American Express
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Blue Sky from American Express is an entry-level card that requires a pro-level credit rating. If you’re someone who has excellent credit, you might want to keep looking as this card offers average rewards with no sign-up bonus or extra travel perks like free checked bags.
With so many travel rewards cards angling for customers with excellent credit, the Blue Sky from American Express card falls behind the pack. Cardholders will earn just 1 point per every dollar spent, which is valued at 1.33%.
Although there’s no annual fee and members will have access to the American Express Membership Rewards benefits — which includes car rental and purchase protection — frequent travelers likely will find it lacking.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, in contrast, offers 2x the points on all purchases, 5% of your miles back upon redemption, waives the first year’s $89 annual fee, and comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days. This kind of robust package is not unusual for cards that require top-notch credit scores.
This card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but it does come with a unique ongoing spending bonus. For every 7,500 points you earn, you’ll receive a $100 statement credit that can be applied toward an eligible travel purchase, like airfare, hotel stays and car rentals. You have six billing cycles after your travel charges appear on your bill to redeem points.
Who should get this card
People who want a low-maintenance travel rewards card might find their match in the Blue Sky from American Express. Since there’s no annual fee you don’t have to worry about maximizing points to get value. This is one of those cards that can stay in your wallet without costing you a dime.
Moreover, this is a good choice for people who want access to American Express Membership Rewards benefits without the expensive annual fees.
Fees and APR
- This card charges no annual fee.
- The variable APR is between 18.24% and 23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
- You’ll pay a 26.24% APR cash advance fee.
- Late payments and returned checks are assessed a 29.99% variable penalty APR.
- The balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- The foreign transaction fee is 2.7% for purchases made outside the U.S.
- See Rates & Fees.
Extras, perks and using points
The card also includes American Express’ travel protections like roadside assistance, auto insurance and global emergency help.
You will earn a $100 statement credit toward travel purchases made with the card for every 7,500 points you earn.
One advantage is that you can redeem your points in many ways. You can choose to get cash back or make travel, car rental, gift card purchases and more.
How this card compares
Frequent travelers, or those who tend to spend at least four nights away at a time, stand to benefit the most from the perks and rewards the Citi Prestige Card offers. If you don’t travel much by air, you’ll miss out on most of the benefits.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles. You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise. This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.
Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.