The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express review

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express review

Updated: December 2, 2021

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Updated: December 2, 2021

Partner Offer: Terms Apply to the offers on this page

Apply now
Ratings Policy
Business Rating:
4.0 rating
4.0 rating
4.0 / 5
Rewards Value4.0
Annual Percentage Rate5.0
Rewards Flexibility4.0
Features4.0
Issuer Customer Experience5.0

In a Nutshell:

Ideal for smaller businesses and frequent fliers, the Blue Business Plus card stands out from the competition by offering a solid 2-point bonus on every purchase (up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar), a flexible credit limit and a transfer program that lets you pool your rewards with other travel loyalty programs (terms apply).

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate
2 points per dollar on every purchase, up to $50,000 per year (1 point per dollar thereafter) (Terms apply)

Excellent

Introductory Bonus
15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Fair

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Excellent

APR
13.24-19.24% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Excellent

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates for travel
  • Can redeem points for gift cards, shopping, travel, entertainment, merchandise, charity
  • Can transfer points to a wide variety of frequent flier programs

Cons

  • Must go through American Express to book rewards-funded travel
  • 2-point rate drops to 1 point per dollar after $50,000 in purchases each year
  • Fee to transfer points to frequent flier programs
  • Small fee for booking airfare through American Express travel site
Excellent

American Express Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2021 customer satisfaction rating: 838 (no issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.3/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.9/5
Excellent

Other Notable Features: Flexible credit limit; free employee cards; individual limits on employee cards; mobile app that helps manage receipts; extra savings on eligible business purchases; flexibility to designate an account manager; mobile payment app; online business forum; baggage insurance; travel accident insurance; purchase protection; extended warranty; car rental insurance; roadside assistance, terms apply

If you run a relatively small business and are looking for a reliable business rewards card to help you cover your expenses and earn a substantial return on your investment, the Blue Business Plus card offers a lot of opportunity.

Offering 2 points per dollar on up to $50,000 worth of purchases (then 1 point per dollar), the card offers one of the most generous flat rewards rates available to business cardholders who don’t typically spend more than $4,000 a month.

While the card’s $50,000 annual spending cap for earning 2 points per dollar may hold back larger businesses, it should leave plenty of room for the average small-business owner to cover their expenses, making the card a solid choice whether used alone or paired with another business card that earns bonus cash back in your biggest spending categories.

Why you might want the Blue Business Plus Credit Card

Along with making earning rewards easy, the Blue Business Plus card also offers a uniquely flexible transfer policy that lets you transfer your Membership Rewards points on a one-to-one basis to a wide variety of frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs. If you or your employees routinely rack up a large number of miles and hotel loyalty points, that perk alone could save you hundreds on rewards-funded travel.

In addition, the Blue Business Plus card advertises business-friendly benefits, including customizable spending limits on employee cards and a flexible credit limit policy that lets you charge over your limit, as long as you repay it with your next statement.

Generous, low-maintenance rewards

A flat rewards rate of 2 points per dollar for every purchase may not sound like much when you compare it to cards that offer 3% to 5% back on certain purchases. But considering that you earn those 2 points on just about every purchase you make, including office supplies, travel, shipping expenses and more, you may be surprised by how much more you can earn with this card than with much of its competition.

For example, if you typically charge around $3,500 a month on a variety of office expenses, you’ll collect roughly $999 worth of rewards by the end of the year (assuming an Amex Membership Rewards point value of approximately 1.19 cents apiece). You don’t have to work hard to earn those rewards either. Every charge you make will substantially add to your collection.

New welcome bonus

With its latest update to the Blue Business Plus credit card, Amex has added a welcome bonus of 15,000 Membership Rewards points for new cardmembers who spend $3,000 in their first three months. Considering the card previously carried no welcome bonus, this is a terrific change.

Given an Amex point value of 1.19 cents apiece, we estimate this bonus is worth around $178, depending on how you redeem your rewards.

While this is far from the most generous bonus you can get on a business credit card, even while paying no annual fee, it’s impressive given the card’s flat 2-point-per-dollar rewards rate (up to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, then one point per dollar).

TipIf a big bonus upfront is one of your top priorities at the moment, consider the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card. It charges no annual fee, carries a flat 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases and currently features a $750 bonus after you spend $7,500 in your first three months.

A good supplement to other high-yield rewards cards

The Blue Business Plus card is also a good card to use as a supplement to cards that earn rewards at a higher rate on certain purchases. For example, if you spend a lot on travel, you could use a frequent flier card to charge your flights and international expenses and then use your Blue Business Plus card for charges that wouldn’t otherwise earn a bonus. Many business cards only offer bonuses on certain types of purchases, such as restaurant spending and travel, limiting your opportunities to earn.

The Blue Business Plus credit card is especially good for pairing with other American Express Membership Rewards cards, such as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Since all your points pool into a common account, you can combine the bonus earnings from your other American Express cards with the Blue Business Plus card’s flat rewards rate to maximize your Membership Rewards points.

Flexible credit limit

The Blue Business Plus credit card also sets itself apart by offering a relatively flexible credit limit, giving business owners more buying power when they need it. The card allows you to spend more than your preset credit limit – without needing to call ahead for permission. Just make sure to pay the extra loan back along with your minimum payment by the end of the month. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a penalty rate for overdue debt. It’s important to note the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to American Express and other factors.

Great for frequent travelers

One of the biggest advantages this card has over many of its competitors is its flexible redemption policy for travelers. American Express has long been a favorite of travel experts because it lets you transfer your Membership Rewards points on a one-to-one basis to a wide variety of airlines and hotels, including Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Air Canada, AeroMexico and Asia Miles.

If you’re a member of one of these programs, you can pool your points and purchase more free trips than you would otherwise.

Tip: You won’t want to use this card for international business trips or foreign purchases, though, since it does charge a foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees).

Why you might want a different card

The Amex Blue Business Plus’ flat rewards rate is low compared to some other business cards (like the Business Platinum Card), and its $50,000 cap (after which you earn 1 point per dollar) is easily met if your business has a lot of expenses.

Amex Membership Rewards are also mostly travel-oriented; using the points to book airfare through American Express Travel or transferring them to American Express’ travel partners is the best redemption method. The points are not ideal for business owners who don’t need to travel too much. If you’d prefer to earn straightforward cash to increase cash flow for the business, consider a cash back business card like the Capital One Spark Cash Plus.

Not for bigger businesses

The Blue Business Plus card isn’t a great pick for bigger businesses with extra-large expenses – especially if you’re going to distribute the same card to a few employees or use it as your company’s only card. American Express limits its 2-point bonus to $50,000 in spending a year, which comes out to roughly $4,167 a month.

That’s a high threshold for an individual cardholder or a very small business with a handful of employees to reach, but if you’re managing a large team with big expenses, you’ll likely spend much more. This card may still be a good choice for using in conjunction with other business cards, but you shouldn’t limit yourself if you can earn more elsewhere.

Fees for using Membership Rewards on travel

Though Amex Membership Rewards are geared towards travel, there are inescapable service fees every time you use them. When transferring your points to U.S.-based airlines or hotel programs, there is fee of 0.06 cents per point. On the bright side, there is no fee for transferring to non-U.S. airlines or hotels, so you could focus your point spending on international travel.

There’s also a $6.99 fee per domestic plane ticket or vacation package through Amex Travel, and a $10.99 per international plane ticket or vacation package purchased through Amex Travel. Both fees are waived if you have the Platinum card, which is great if you plan to use the Blue Business Plus as its supplement. If you’re a bit old school and prefer booking over the phone, Amex will also charge you $39 per airfare or vacation package, but not for a hotel or cruise.

How does the Blue Business Plus Credit card compare to other business cards?

The Amex Blue Business Plus is a fine card for small business owners who want a dependable card that can help them earn a flat rate of rewards on general spending. However, if you prefer cash back or those fees on travel really bother you, here are some alternatives:

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

 

 

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Rewards rate

  • 2% cash back on up to $50,000 per year (1% cash back on all purchases thereafter)
  • Terms apply
Rewards rate

  • 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases (up to $150,000 per year)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Rewards rate

2% cash back on all purchases

Welcome bonus

$250 statement credit if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Welcome bonus

100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months

Welcome bonus

Up to a $1,000 cash bonus – $500 by spending $5,000 within the first three months, plus another $500 bonus after spending a total of $50,000 in the first six months

Annual fee

$150

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$150

Other things to know

  • Cash back redemption is applied as statement credit at the end of each billing cycle
  • Flexible spending limit
  • Car rental insurance
  • Connect to QuickBooks
Other things to know

  • 25% higher point value on Chase Ultimate Rewards portal redemptions
  • Redeem points for cash back or statement at 1 cent per point
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Instant alert on employee purchases
Other things to know

  • This is a charge card, so you must pay off your balance in full each month
  • Includes free employee cards

Amex Blue Business Plus vs. Amex Blue Business Cash

If instead of earning travel rewards, you’d like to get a statement credit or cash back, the Amex Blue Business Cash card may be a better fit than the Blue Business Plus. With a flat 2% cash back rate on up to $50,000 in purchases per year and 1% cash back thereafter, the Blue Business Cash offers the same simple earning strucutre as the Blue Business Plus and lets you redeem for cash back without sacrificing rewards value. The Blue Business Plus credit card, in contrast, earns Membership Rewards points worth just 0.6 cents per point for a statement credit.

Amex Blue Business Plus vs. Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred card offers 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases, on up to $150,000 in spending per year. On general purchases, it earns 1 point per dollar. On its own, the Ink Business Preferred is quite a catch with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in the first three months, worth $1,250 if redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Though the card carries an annual fee of $95, this is easily offset with the bonus offer in your first year and can be covered if you spend heavily in the card’s bonus categories. Ultimate Rewards points are also worth 1.25 cents per point if redeemed at the Ultimate Rewards portal, one of the highest redemption values you can get with a travel card without transferring points.

Amex Blue Business Plus vs. Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Though the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card carries a sizable annual fee, this should be easy to offset via cash back earnings. There’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn and big spenders will also love the card’s unique two-tiered sign-up bonus offer, which can get you a $1,000 cash bonus if you spend $50,000 in your first six months. However, one potential downside is that the Spark Cash Plus is a charge card. This means you won’t be able to carry a balance – you must pay your charges off in full each month. That could be a deal-breaker if you’re hoping for some payment flexibility in your business card.

How to use the Blue Business Plus card

  • Use this card for all or most of your business purchases if you typically limit your spending to around $4,000 a month.
  • Pair this card with other American Express Membership Rewards cards – such as the Business Platinum card – to earn extra points on purchases that don’t fall under other cards’ bonus categories.
  • If your company typically charges more than $4,000 a month, use this card as a supplement for purchases that don’t earn a bigger bonus.
  • If you travel often, but aren’t yet a loyalty member, sign up for a frequent flier or hotel loyalty program that partners with American Express.
  • If you spend above your credit limit, be sure to pay it back in full by the end of the month. Otherwise, you’ll be hit with a penalty.

Is the Blue Business Plus Credit card right for you?

If you’re a small-business owner who spends around $4,000 a month on all expenses, often in unpopular categories like shipping or office supplies, the Amex Blue Business Plus may be the perfect card for you. The Blue Business Plus card’s flexible credit limit and intro APR offer are also nice perks if you need some time to chip away at large business expenses or free up cash flow. However, since its 2-point-per-dollar rewards rate is limited to your first $50,000 in annual spending (1 point per dollar after that), the card may not offer the best value for heavy spenders.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, please click here.

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Partner Offer: Terms Apply to the offers on this page

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