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.
Why you can trust Bankrate
At Bankrate, we have a mission to demystify the credit cards industry — regardless or where you are in your journey — and make it one you can navigate with confidence. Our team is full of a diverse range of experts from credit card pros to data analysts and, most importantly, people who shop for credit cards just like you. With this combination of expertise and perspectives, we keep close tabs on the credit card industry year-round to:
- Meet you wherever you are in your credit card journey to guide your information search and help you understand your options.
- Consistently provide up-to-date, reliable market information so you\'re well-equipped to make confident decisions.
- Reduce industry jargon so you get the clearest form of information possible, so you can make the right decision for you.
At Bankrate, we focus on the points consumers care about most: rewards, welcome offers and bonuses, APR, and overall customer experience. Any issuers discussed on our site are vetted based on the value they provide to consumers at each of these levels. At each step of the way, we fact-check ourselves to prioritize accuracy so we can continue to be here for your every next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions.
We value your trust. Our mission is to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information, and we have editorial standards in place to ensure that happens. Our editors and reporters thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate. We maintain a firewall between our advertisers and our editorial team. Our editorial team does not receive direct compensation from our advertisers.
Bankrate’s editorial team writes on behalf of YOU – the reader. Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make smart personal finance decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. So, whether you’re reading an article or a review, you can trust that you’re getting credible and dependable information.
How We Make Money
You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers.
We’re transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.
Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express Overview
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a high rewards rate on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, which makes it ideal for small business owners that have big startup expenses or that don’t have a specialized budget just 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.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- The 2X bonus category only earns rewards on the first $50,000 in purchases
- No intro APR on balance transfers, so it’s not an ideal option for managing other high interest debt
- There is a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee if you plan to use your card abroad on business travel
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 2X points on up to $50,000 in purchases per year (unlimited 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com), 1X points after that
- Welcome offer: 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership
- Annual fee: None
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent APR for 12 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 16.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable
Current welcome offer
Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership. Other no annual fee business credit cards we’ve seen have offered anywhere from $200 to $750 in welcome bonus value.
The Blue Business Plus by American Express falls within the flexible American Express Membership Rewards program, allowing you to earn points on all of your everyday purchases. This Blue Business Plus card can offer solid value to small-business owners, as it is one of the few cards with no annual fee that offers rewards at this rate. Plus, the opportunity to earn 2X points on up to $50,000 in purchases per year resets every year, so the chance to earn relatively lucrative rewards is not limited to new cardholders. With such benefits, this card could earn a permanent place in your wallet.
How you earn
You’ll get 2X points on up to $50,000 in purchases each year and 1X points after that. If you’re often behind the wheel of a rental car, you’ll also earn unlimited 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through the American Express Travel portal.
There are no spending categories to keep track of, making it easy to rack up rewards without having to spend strategically.
How to redeem
American Express has a variety of redemption options, including travel through its portal, merchandise and gift cards. You can also transfer your points to over a dozen hotel and airline partners or use your rewards to cover your card charges, like a statement credit.
Online shoppers can use Pay with Points at checkout with select merchants and prepaid rental cars booked through Amex Travel as well.
How much are points worth?
Depending on which redemption option you choose, each reward point could be worth between 0.5 cents and 2 cents.
The best way to maximize your points is to use them for travel, especially when you transfer to a partner airline or hotel. The Points Guy’s latest valuation estimates that finding the right American Express transfer partner can bump each point to up to 2 cents apiece, but redeeming for air travel through the Amex portal will only get you 1 cent per point. Reserving prepaid hotels, cars, cruises and planned vacations will only net 0.7 cents per point.
Paying with points and redeeming them for merchandise, gift cards (value varies by merchant, but up to a 1:1 value) or statement credits will get you the least bang for your buck since you’ll only get 0.5 cents to 0.7 cents per point in most cases.
Other cardholder perks
In addition to rewards, this card has perks that can help you manage your business spending, including expanding your buying power and providing you with employee cards. Here’s a rundown of the main benefits you’ll get as a Blue Business Plus cardholder.
Fast application process
This card has a quick and easy online application process. In fact, you could get your American Express Blue Business Plus approval in as little as 30 seconds.
Expanded buying power
If you need to make a large purchase higher than your Amex Blue Business Plus credit limit, you can 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. It adjusts with your card use, payment history, credit record, financial resources known to American Express, and more. Also, you must pay off the over-limit portion at the end of each billing statement as part of your minimum statement.
The Blue Business Plus allows you to get additional cards for your employees and set custom limits on their spending.
The account manager feature allows you to give a trusted assistant access to your accounts so they can monitor your finances for you.
This card also comes with purchase protection to protect your covered purchases from theft or accidental damage for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
If you travel, you’ll be happy to find out this card comes with secondary car rental loss and damage insurance as well as a Global Assist Hotline. The hotline can help you if you find a solution for emergencies such as a lost passport or missing luggage.
Rates and fees
Most notably, the Amex Blue Business Plus has no annual fee and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening, enabling you to finance large business expenses for one year without paying interest. This intro APR offer is worthwhile — especially for a purchase-focused card — since several popular business cards don’t offer zero-interest periods.
After the intro period is over, your regular APR will be between 16.99 percent and 24.99 percent (variable), depending on your creditworthiness. If you spend over your limit, the Expanded Buying Power feature means you won’t face an overlimit fee, but there are a few other rates and fees to be aware of if you have difficulty paying off your balance.
A returned payment or two or more late payments in one year will subject you to a 29.99 percent penalty APR. This penalty APR lasts for at least 12 billing cycles and could cause you to rack up high-interest debt. The Blue Business Plus Credit Card also has a $39 late and returned payment fee and a 2.7 percent fee on foreign transactions.
How the Blue Business Plus compares with other business credit cards
The Blue Business Plus credit card is ideal for small business owners who are looking for a card with a simple rewards structure, no annual fee and an intro APR period. The downside is that this would not be a good fit for larger companies spending more than $50,000 a year (at least not as their primary business card). If your spending is high, pairing this card with another one or utilizing another business card completely may allow you to maximize more reward earnings.
American Express Blue Business Plus Card vs. Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus offers unlimited 2 percent cash back without a rewards cap like the Blue Business Plus, so big spenders may earn more with the Spark Cash Plus card. The catch is that it has a $150 annual fee, but it’s relatively easy to recoup through rewards spending or the $200 annual bonus if you spend at least $200,000 each year. That translates to about $625 spent per month in order to make up the cost of the $150 fee with rewards alone. Fortunately, the Spark Cash Plus is a true charge card without a set spending limit, giving you the chance to earn piles of cash back if your business has a lot of big expenses to often cover.
Businesses that don’t have expansive budgets and won’t blow through the $50,000 annual spending cap may be better off with the Blue Business Plus card. Since the Spark Cash Plus is a charge card, it may be more difficult to build up credit with the requirement to pay off balances in full each billing cycle. As a result, the Blue Business Plus is the better option for building your business credit over time, while the Spark Cash Plus is ideal for more established business ventures.
American Express Blue Business Plus Card vs. American Express Blue Business Cash Card
If you like the perks of the Blue Business Plus card, you should consider the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card. You’ll earn 2 percent cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases per year, and 1 percent after that. Just like the Blue Business Plus, it has a nearly identical rewards system, no annual fee, Expanded Buying Power, an intro interest-free period of 12 months on purchases and the same reasonable 16.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable APR afterward. The Blue Business Plus Card could give more value to small businesses wanting to earn points that can be redeemed for travel, though those looking for cash back may be more satisfied with the American Express Blue Business Cash Card. It’s also important to note that while travel purchases are the most lucrative redemption option for these cards, you will have to pay a foreign transaction fee for any purchases made abroad with both cards.
Best cards to pair with the Blue Business Plus Credit Card
Hands down, the best pairing for the Blue Business Plus consists of the other two cards in the Amex Trifecta: The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card. This trio is the definitive combination for earning maximum Membership Rewards points across your spending. While the Amex Platinum rewards your travel purchases, the Amex Gold rakes in boosted rewards on everyday expenses like dining and groceries at U.S. supermarkets.
If your rewards strategy isn’t that ambitious, like other flat-rate cards, the Blue Business Plus partners especially well with some of the best rewards credit cards that offer higher rates on your biggest bonus categories. Another American Express business card like the American Express® Business Gold Card could be a fantastic tool since it earns 4X points on up to $150,000 across two of your business’ biggest eligible categories each billing cycle.
Bankrate’s take: Is the Blue Business Plus Credit Card worth it?
If you’re a big spender, getting a Blue Business Plus Credit Card may not be the best card for you. You’ll only earn 2X points on the first $50,000 you spend each year (except for rental cars booked through Amex Travel), and your rewards rate will drop down to 1X points after that. Although you can switch to another card when you hit the rewards cap, you may not want the hassle of dealing with multiple credit cards.
But if you’re a small-business owner who wants to rack up rewards without worrying about categories, this is a great card to add to your arsenal. It has an interest-free period, no annual fee and expanded buying power that will give you the capital you need to grow your business. You can also squeeze out fantastic long-term value since the Blue Business Plus has the potential to pair nicely with other premium Amex cards once you’ve upgraded your business’ suite of 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.