Blue from American Express® Credit Card review
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Blue from American Express® Credit Card Overview
If you’re looking for an entry-level credit card to start collecting Membership Rewards points, then the Blue from American Express® Credit Card might be right for you. While experienced credit card users are unlikely to be impressed by this card’s low rewards rate and lack of welcome bonus, the Amex Blue comes with no annual fee and just enough benefits to attract those who value simplicity and the Amex brand.
What are the pros and cons?
- No welcome bonus
- Disappointing rewards rate
- Can’t transfer points to travel partners
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 2X points per dollar spent through American Express Travel; 1X points per dollar on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: None
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: None
- Balance transfer intro APR: None
- Regular APR: 24.24 percent variable
One of the biggest drawbacks of this card is its lack of a welcome offer. While there aren’t a ton of no annual fee cards with generous sign-up bonuses, there are a few American Express credit cards with no annual fee that do offer a welcome bonus. Take the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, which comes with 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 within the first three months.
The American Express Membership Rewards program is flexible and relatively straightforward. You can earn unlimited points that won’t expire and redeem them in a number of ways.
Each dollar you spend on the Amex Blue will earn you a point. When you make eligible travel purchases through AmexTravel.com, such as prepaid hotels, prepaid car rentals, flights, flight and hotel packages and cruise reservations, you will get double the points.
While many cards on the market have higher rewards earning potential, this card is great for those who prioritize simplicity. With no rotating categories or spending caps to worry about, you basically use the card as often as you can and your points balance will grow.
You can pay with points at checkout with select partner merchants (like Amazon.com and the Amex Travel rental car booking webpage), exchange points for gift cards, use them to cover your card charges or book/upgrade travel with them. The value of your points differs depending on the redemption option you choose.
Unfortunately, Membership Rewards points from the Amex Blue cannot be transferred to frequent flyer programs.
How much are points worth?
Although The Points Guy values American Express Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, points earned from the Amex Blue are likely to be worth around just 0.5 to 1 cent. You tend to get maximum value by transferring points to frequent flyer programs, but this isn’t an option with this card.
Non-travel redemption options tend to have lower redemption rates for your points. However, a special offer allows select cardholders will be able to redeem reward points at a boosted 1 cent-per-point rate to cover card charges—a 40 percent increase from the standard 0.6 cent redemption value for statement credits. Travel might still be a more valuable use of your rewards, but it’s an offer worth considering if your travel plans are on the backburner for now.
Other cardholder benefits
There are no bells and whistles with Amex Blue, but the few perks that are on offer are undoubtedly handy for most people.
Protection and insurance
- Car rental loss and damage insurance: If you pay for a rental car with your Amex Blue, you can be covered for damage or theft provided you decline the collision damage waiver from the rental company and you’re driving in a covered territory.
- Global assist: When you’re more than 100 miles from home, Amex’s Global Assist hotline can help you access emergency cash in addition to medical, legal, passport or lost luggage assistance.
- Fraud protection: You can use your card with confidence knowing that you won’t be liable for fraudulent charges.
Entertainment and shopping
- Ticket presales: Get exclusive access to presale tickets to see Broadway shows, concerts and sporting events.
- ShopRunner membership: American Express cardholders can get a free membership with ShopRunner, which entitles you to free two-day shipping from participating stores.
Rates and fees
The Amex Blue has no annual fee, but you’ll be charged 2.7 percent on foreign transactions—so best to leave it at home when you’re traveling abroad. You’ve got to watch out for late payment charges, too, as the late payment fee is up to $40 and there’s a variable penalty APR of 29.99 percent.
There are no intro APR periods for either new purchases or balance transfers, either. Consider using this card when you know you can pay your balance off each month because its regular APR is high at 24.24 percent variable.
How the Blue from American Express compares to other $0 annual fee credit cards
Compared to other credit cards with no annual fee, the Amex Blue trails in rewards earning potential. For example, the Amex EveryDay offers 20 percent extra points if you use your card at least 20 times per billing period, as well as 2 points for the first $6,000 spent on U.S. supermarket purchases per year (then 1x).
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® goes even further—you’ll get 5 percent cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft purchases (through March 2022), 3 percent for dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5 percent on everything else.
Best cards to pair with Blue from American Express
To build Membership Rewards points faster, you could pair this card with the Amex EveryDay. That way, you can earn 2 points for up to $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases per year (then 1x), as well as 2 points for travel booked through Amex Travel.
If you spent a lot on gas and groceries, it may even be worth pairing with the Amex® EveryDay Preferred Credit Card. Although it has an annual fee of $95, you’ll get 3X points on up to $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases a year and 2X points at U.S. gas stations.
Bankrate’s Take: Is Blue from American Express Credit Card worth it?
The Amex Blue isn’t the best card for maximizing rewards; it’s really only suited for beginners who want to enjoy the convenience of having a credit card while trying out the Membership Rewards program.
But if you’re serious about earning rewards fast, you’ll probably be better off with other Amex cards.
The information about the Blue from American Express® Credit Card, Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express and the Amex® EveryDay Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.