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The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express review: A sturdy middle ground for small businesses and startups

This card works well for business owners whose spending budgets aren’t too high just yet.

 /  11 min
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Snapshot

4.1

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

Bottom line

Small business and mid-size startup owners may find a nice pairing of affordability and perks with this business card. You’ll want to keep your budget in check to avoid hitting a spending cap on your reward earnings, but you can get a lot out of this card as you establish your business.

Best for business perks with no annual fee
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

15,000 Membership Rewards® points

Intro offer

Info

$300

Offer valuation

Info

1X - 2X

Rewards Rate

Info

No annual fee

Annual fee

18.49% - 26.49% Variable

Regular APR

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express Overview

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express can be an ideal card for small-business owners with an annual budget in this range. It has good features like no annual fee and a decent rewards rate on up to $50,000 in purchases per year. However, it may also stand out as a great choice for startup owners who don’t have predictable budgets yet.

As your business develops, the Blue Business Plus pairs especially well with other American Express cards as a flat-rate business rewards card, so it can remain a key partner in your rewards strategy well into the future.
  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 2X points on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points thereafter  
    • 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com 
    • 1X points on all other purchases
    • Rewards value: 2.0 cents

    Expert Appraisal: Typical 
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first 3 months of membership.

    Expert Appraisal: Typical

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • No annual fee 
    • 2.7 foreign transaction fees 
    • 0 percent intro purchase APR for 12 months 
    • 18.49 percent to 26.49 percent variable

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis 

  • Congrats
    Other cardholder perks
    • Expanded Buying Power gives cardholders a higher credit limit
    • Card has a quick and easy online application process in as little as 30 seconds 
    • Free employee cards with customizable spending limits 
    • Account manager feature to monitor finances

    Expert Appraisal: Good 
    See our expert analysis

Amex Blue Business Plus Card pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    There’s no annual fee to eat into reward earnings

  • Checkmark

    It has an intro APR on purchases that is on-par with other business credit cards

  • Checkmark

    The Expanded Buying Power feature may allow you to spend a limited amount beyond your regular credit limit

Cons

  • The 2X bonus category on general business purchases has a $50,000 spending cap, then the rewards rate drops to 1X points

  • No intro APR on balance transfers, so it may not be an ideal option for managing high-interest debt on your other cards

  • There is a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee for purchases from international merchants

Why you might want the American Express Blue Business Plus

The American Express Blue Business Plus card has features that allow for flexible budgets and timelines, giving cardholders a grace period that’s rare among no-annual-fee business cards. If you plan ahead, you could get the upper hand in balancing your venture's finances while growing for the future. 

Credit limit: Expanded Buying Power lives by its name 

If you need to make a large purchase worth more than your credit limit, you can do it with Expanded Buying Power. Based on your creditworthiness, American Express may allow you to go over your credit limit to cover business expenses like equipment and inventory, but it’s not unlimited.

Instead, it adjusts with your card use, payment history, credit record, financial resources known to American Express and more to accommodate the purchase. This flexibility can be especially handy for business owners who may worry that their credit limit won’t completely cover everything they need to purchase with the card in a month. However, be aware that you must pay off the over-limit portion at the end of each billing period as part of your minimum payment.

You can find out how much you may exceed your credit limit by using the “Check Spending Power” tool in your American Express account. 

Rates and fees: A rare intro APR offer for business cards 

This is a standout feature on the Blue Business Plus because several popular business cards don’t have intro APR offers. The Amex Blue Business Plus has a combination that will appeal to many business owners, especially those just starting out: No annual fee and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, enabling you to finance large business expenses for one year without paying interest. This intro offer is especially worthwhile for new cardholders who need to finance large purchases in their first year with the card. 

After the intro period, your regular APR will be 18.49 percent to 26.49 percent (variable), depending on your creditworthiness. If you spend over your limit, the Expanded Buying Power feature means you won’t face an over-limit fee but be aware that other fees and rates could apply to your balance.

Perks: Decent for a no-annual-fee card

Like many business credit cards, the Blue Business Cash lets you request free employee cards, which come with alerts and spending summaries so you can track their purchases with the company cards. If you travel somewhat regularly, you’ll be happy to know this card comes with secondary car rental loss and damage insurance and a Global Assist Hotline. The hotline can help you if you need a solution for emergencies such as a lost passport or missing luggage. Amex also offers translation services and emergency legal and medical referrals if you travel more than 100 miles from your home.

Why you might not want the American Blue Business Plus

While this card is a great choice for startups, freelancers, and contractors, it may not be the best for larger, more established companies. Between drawbacks like low redemption value for points and spending caps that limit rewards earnings, those with more expensive business needs won’t see this card’s worth.

Rewards rate: Low redemption value outside of travel 

Each reward point could be worth between 0.5 and 2.0 cents, depending on your redemption option.  

Paying with points and redeeming them for merchandise, gift cards (value varies by merchant, but up to a 1:1 value), or statement credits are the worst ways to use your points since you’ll only get 0.5 cents to 0.7 cents per point in most cases. If you’re in a pinch and need to use points, you can reserve prepaid hotel rooms, cars, cruises and planned vacations. However, this will only net 0.7 cents per point.

If you want a fair value for your points, you should redeem them for air travel through the Amex Travel portal. The best way to maximize your points is to use them for travel, especially for transfers to a partner airline or hotel. Bankrate’s latest valuation estimates that finding the right American Express transfer partner can bump each point to around 2.0 cents on average. You’ll want to plan your redemption with your chosen transfer partner ahead of time since it is the best way to squeeze more value out of your credit card rewards.

Rewards: Spending cap only suits small businesses 

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card by American Express earns points on eligible everyday purchases with the flexible American Express Membership Rewards program. You’ll earn 2X points on up to $50,000 in purchases each year and 1X points after that as well as unlimited 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through the American Express Travel portal.

This card can offer solid value to small-business owners because it is one of the few cards with no annual fee that offers rewards at a generous flat rate. However, companies with higher budgets or with a preference for higher rewards rates may find this card restricting. If your company’s annual budget goes over $50,000, the rewards on this card can be limited. This is especially true when considering the most you can earn is 2 points per dollar, and the highest redemptions are for travel.

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

Here’s Bankrate credit cards writer Ryan Flanigan uses The Blue Business Plus Credit Card to keep his Membership Rewards points from expiring.

This card is the best way to ensure your Amex points never expire. With no annual fee, there’s no reason to get rid of it, which lets you keep the Membership Rewards points you earn on high-annual-fee cards. I put my high initial credit line and intro APR offer to use to finance needed expenses and get good value from Amex offers. With a solid flat 2X earning rate, this card is always a good choice for any purchase, especially for things that won’t get bonus earning rates with other cards.

—  Ryan Flanigan, Writer, Credit Cards

How the Blue Business Plus compares with other business credit cards

The Blue Business Plus credit card is ideal for small business owners looking for a card with a simple rewards structure, no annual fee and an intro APR period. This card would not be a good fit for business owners operating large companies — at least not as a primary business card.

Image of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

No annual fee

Intro offer

15,000 Membership Rewards® points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 2X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Spark Cash Plus
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$150

Intro offer

$1,200 cash back
Info

Rewards rate

2% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

No annual fee

Intro offer

$250 statement credit
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the Blue Business Plus Credit Card

The best pairing for the Blue Business Plus will depend on your unique business needs. The best way to take advantage of the card’s flat rate is to pair it with another card that matches your spending. This could be another business card or even a travel card that picks up the slack for the Amex Blue Business Plus.

Who is the Blue Business Plus Credit Card right for?

Bankrate’s take — Is the Blue Business Plus Credit Card worth it?

This is a great card to add to your arsenal if you’re a small-business owner who wants to rack up rewards without worrying about rewards categories. It has an interest-free period, no annual fee and expanded buying power that can give you the capital you need to grow your business. You can also squeeze fantastic long-term value out of the Blue Business Plus because it pairs nicely with premium Amex cards.

However, if you’re a big spender, there may be better options than getting a Blue Business Plus Credit Card. Although you can switch to another card when you hit the rewards cap, you may want to avoid the hassle of dealing with multiple credit cards.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash card, please click here.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
India Davis
Editor, Credit Cards

India Davis is an editor specializing in credit cards and updates. She believes in putting the reader first and carrying out a brand’s voice to its fullest potential. She has lived and worked in three different countries and hopes to explore more of the world post-pandemic.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.