Reviews Blue from American Express card review
Blue from American Express card review

Blue from American Express card review

Published: May 9, 2017
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Ratings Policy
No Annual Fee Rating:
2.4 rating
2.4 rating
2.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Even for a no-annual-fee card, the Blue from American Express card offers a very unimpressive rewards scheme, though rewards card newbies may find it a good entry point into American Express cards.

Rewards Rate

  • 1:1 general purchases
  • Terms apply

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$189

APR
15.99-20.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No expiration dates
  • No blackout dates
  • Earn double points on Uber rides and travel purchases made through American Express Travel
  • Use points for all or part of flights, hotels, vacations or cruises
  • Redeem points for merchandise, gift cards or statement credits
  • More than 500 different brands
  • Redeem points with linked account on Amazon and Live Nation

Cons

  • Cannot transfer points to American Express travel partners

Other Notable Features: Destination Family, ShopRunner membership, Entertainment Access (event and ticket presales), membership experiences, lowest hotel rates guarantee, personalized travel service, auto purchasing program, roadside assistance hotline, global assist hotline, dispute resolution, car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, return protection, year-end summary

Rewards Rating:
2.4 rating
2.4 rating
2.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.6
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

If you’re looking for a no-frills rewards credit card with brand-name recognition, the Blue from American Express card could be an easy way to get your feet wet.

Rewards Rate

  • 1:1 general purchases
  • Terms apply

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$189

APR
15.99-20.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No expiration dates
  • No blackout dates
  • Earn double points on Uber rides and travel purchases made through American Express Travel
  • Use points for all or part of flights, hotels, vacations or cruises
  • Redeem points for merchandise, gift cards or statement credits
  • More than 500 different brands
  • Redeem points with linked account on Amazon and Live Nation

Cons

  • Cannot transfer points to American Express travel partners

Other Notable Features: Destination Family, ShopRunner membership, Entertainment Access (event and ticket presales), membership experiences, lowest hotel rates guarantee, personalized travel service, auto purchasing program, roadside assistance hotline, global assist hotline, dispute resolution, car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, return protection, year-end summary

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The Blue from American Express card isn’t entirely without merit. With perks like no annual fee, an easy-to-navigate redemption policy (with plenty of ways to cash in points), free ShopRunner membership and a myriad of travel benefits, it’s a respectable pick if you’re in the market for a starter Amex card or trying to build your credit score. But if you’re looking to capitalize on a big sign-up bonus, take advantage of bonus rewards categories or have the option to transfer points to potentially increase their value, you’re better off checking out an alternative no-annual-fee card with a far better earning scheme.

Unimpressive rewards
At 1:1 for general purchases, the Blue card offers the bare minimum rewards, with no bonus categories like gas or groceries giving you the opportunity to earn additional points beyond the base rate. Though the card’s simplicity saves you from keeping track of rotating bonus categories, most cardholders probably wouldn’t mind putting in extra effort to accrue points faster.

A high APR for some
The Blue from American Express card’s lowest APR of 15.99 percent is right in line with the national average APR for rewards credit cards, which is currently at 15.87 percent. However, you could be saddled with an APR as high as 20.99 percent if you have less-than-excellent credit.

With an even steeper APR for cash advances, a 2.7 foreign transaction fee and hefty charges for late or returned payments, you could easily find yourself in over your head if you don’t use your credit line wisely. In other words, try to use the Blue card only for what you’d usually buy or pay for with cash.

Nonexistent sign-up bonus
Though no-fee rewards cards aren’t typically known for substantial sign-up bonuses, the Blue card’s lack of any bonus whatsoever puts it toward the bottom of the barrel. Other American Express credit cards, such as the Blue Cash EveryDay card, offer some kind of sign-up bonus while still saving you the added cost of an annual fee. Considering the card’s flat rewards structure, it will likely take average spenders quite some time to earn a useful amount of points.

Flexible redemption options
Redeeming points for flights, hotels, vacations, cruises, merchandise, gift cards or statement credits is easy with American Express’ Membership Rewards program. All you need to do is log in to your regular Amex account, from which you can navigate to the awards portal through the menu in the top left corner or by clicking on the links in the “Membership Rewards” box.

One tip: Refrain from using points to purchase event tickets, take a statement credit or buy merchandise at Amex’s Membership Rewards online shopping mall. These options can cut your point values by up to 50 percent.

Reasons to get it:

  • You’re a beginner when it comes to rewards points and want a basic, uncomplicated credit card to help you get started.
  • You’re searching for an American Express card with a lower barrier to entry.
  • You’re looking for a card that comes with travel benefits such as roadside assistance, car rental insurance and travel accident protection.
  • You prefer a variety of options when it comes to redeeming rewards.
  • You’d rather not have to keep track of rotating bonus categories.
  • You don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month.

How to use it:

  • Use the card to pay for all Uber rides and earn 2x bonus points.
  • Keep your account open until you’ve redeemed all rewards.
  • Leave the card at home while traveling internationally, as you’ll incur a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee on every purchase.
  • Pay your balance in full every month to avoid paying above-average interest.

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