About Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Blue Business Plus Card from American Express is a business credit card with intro offers on rewards points and interest rates the first year of owning the card.
Of American Express’ 12 business cards offered at the time of publishing, the Blue Business Plus is one of the more basic cards with limited rewards-earning potential.
Other cards like the Business Gold from OPEN and the Gold Delta SkyMiles for Business have more lucrative rewards programs.
Despite the Blue Business Plus’ lack of an extensive rewards program, the card does have some solid business benefits for small business owners.
We’re going to examine exactly what those benefits are by doing an in-depth study of each of the following aspects of the Blue Business Plus:
- Short-term benefits
- Long-term benefits
- Rates and fees
- Expert and consumer reviews
Throughout our review, we’ll not only break down the Blue Business Plus’ best features but we’ll also compare it to other business credit cards we’ve analyzed.
The American Express Blue Business Plus’ Short-Term Benefits
Almost every credit card you sign up for will have some sort of short-term rewards to entice consumers to sign up.
Most of the time, these rewards come in one of two forms: bonus points up front or a points boost the first year. In some cases, like the Hyatt Visa, you’ll get free hotel nights in lieu of points.
The Blue Business Preferred has none of these bonuses; it only has one up-front perk.
Introductory 0% APR
Most business credit cards won’t give you an introductory interest rate perk, but the Blue Business Preferred breaks that trend.
You’ll get 0% APR on all purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, which means anything you buy or any balances you transfer won’t have an interest rate for the first 15 months you own this card.
Once those 15 months are over, your APR kicks in. Exactly which APR you get is based on your credit scores, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The American Express Blue Business Plus’ Long-Term Benefits
If the AmEx’s Blue Business Plus’ short-term benefits are loss leaders, it’s the long-term benefits that are meant to encourage you to use the card for years to come.
American Express is hoping they’ll earn some interest payments from you, but that’s something we’ll get to later in this review.
For now, we’re going to take a look at the Business Plus’ main long-term benefits: yearly 2x points bonus, business tools, over-limit allowances and purchase/travel protections.
Yearly 2x Points Bonus
At the time of publishing, the Blue Business Plus was offering double points on the first $50,000 in purchases you make every year.
When you hit $50,000 in spending in one calendar year, your double bonus goes down to a 1x bonus.
In terms of day-to-day life, those points bonuses mean that, almost any time you use your Blue Business Plus to make a purchase, American Express will give you rewards points based on whichever rate is in effect: 1x or 2x.
Those points are what are known as Membership Rewards points and can be used in the American Express Membership Rewards shopping portal, where you can redeem your points for gift cards, merchandise and travel.
You can also transfer your membership rewards points to airline and hotel partners. Here’s a list of partners do 1:1 points transfers:
- Air Canada
- Air France/KLM
- All Nippon
- Virgin Atlantic
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton HHonors (1:1.5)
Now, let’s assume you hit the spending limit your first year and you rack up a nice 100,000 points. How far will they get you in the air?
According to our research of the best airline rewards cards, 100,000 points doesn’t give you all that great of a value when you book a rewards seat with Delta.
A November one-way flight from Los Angeles to New York could cost you 60,000 points on Delta, while one-way flights with American Airlines and United were 25,000.
Granted, the points value of a rewards flight will change depending on where/when you’ll fly, but a quick look at our research shows that other airlines give you better value for your rewards points.
The American Express Blue Business Plus comes with a small suite of business tools. AmEx’s ReceiptMatch app allows you to take photos of receipts from your business purchases, upload them to the app and then add notes to the purchase.
You can also integrate all of these receipt transactions into QuickBooks.
“ReceiptMatch and Connect to QuickBooks are two business tools that were created to work together,” American Express wrote. “If you are enrolled in ReceiptMatch and downloaded the ReceiptMatch app to your mobile device, after enrolling in Connect to QuickBooks, the ReceiptMatch app will include additional screens that will enable you to start labeling your Business Card transactions with your QuickBooks categories from your mobile device.”
Unlike the American Express Business Gold from OPEN, the Blue Business Plus is a credit card and not a charge card.
What that means is that you’re allowed to carry a balance on the card without accruing any penalties aside from APR.
The Business Gold, on the other hand, is a charge card, which means you’ll face an interest rate and a penalty fee anytime you don’t pay off your balance in full every month.
One of the beauties of the AmEx Blue Business Preferred is that American Express will allow you to spend beyond your credit limit.
This perk comes in handy during the busy season when you need to bulk up on inventory, hire new staff or just bring on a few freelancers for a short-term project.
Just remember, though, how much you can actually overspend depends on several factors.
“The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited,” American Express said in the fine print for the Blue Business Plus. “It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.”
Shopping & Travel Protection
Every credit card offers an often-unknown suite of shopping and travel benefits and the American Express Blue Business Plus is no different.
Eligible purchases you make with your card will be covered by one of the following protections:
If something you purchase with your card is stolen or accidentally damaged within 90 days of the purchase date, you could be eligible for a full or partial reimbursement of the item’s value.
This benefit has its restrictions, though, some of which include what they will and won’t reimburse. For example, motorized vehicles and live animals are often excluded from this protection.
Car Rental Insurance
When you use your AmEx Blue Business Plus to pay for a car rental, you’ll get complimentary collision damage waiver insurance.
Keep in mind, though, you’ll only get this benefit for cars you rent in the United States.
When you book travel with your AmEx Blue Business Plus, you may be eligible for reimbursements should your luggage be delayed.
According to the Blue Business Plus’ fine print, this benefit applies to tickets you purchase for plane, train ship and bus journeys and will cover up to $1,250 of carry-on baggage and up to $500 per checked bag per trip.
The annual cap on payouts is $10,000.
One of the unique features of these types of benefits packages is the extended warranty perk. If you use your Business Plus to purchase certain items with manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less, AmEx will extend the warranty one more year.
You’ll be limited to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
The American Express Blue Business Plus’ Rates and Fees
The rates and fees for this card are pretty straightforward:
- Purchase APR: 11.99%, 15.99% or 19.99%, depending on your credit
- Penalty APR: 29.99%
- Annual fee: $0
- Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
- Late payment fee: Up to $38
- Returned payment fee: $38
- Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%
We see a few important things here.
First, the Blue Business Plus’ low-end APR is very competitive.
According to our research, the Blue Business Plus’ 11.99% APR is tied with the Wells Fargo Business Platinum for the lowest APR of all the major business credit cards we reviewed.
Second, don’t forget about the penalty APR, which kicks in if you make two late payments in a 12-month period, you don’t make at least the minimum payment on your bill or you have a returned payment.
Should this APR kick in, you’ll pay 29.99% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. At that point, American Express will re-evaluate your account and may remove the penalty APR.
Expert and User Reviews of Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
American Express’ latest business card has already gathered up reviews from many personal finance sites, some of which we’ll highlight here.
CreditDonkey’s Rebecca Lake noted that the Blue Business Plus is good for business owners who want to pay back purchases over time and who want to earn points “without having to juggle specific spending categories.”
“If you want the ability to earn rewards without having to jump through an endless number of hoops,” Lake wrote, “this is one card you’ll want to seriously consider.”
WalletHub’s John Kiernan gave the Blue Business Plus 2.9 stars out of 5, saying the card’s strength was its absence of an annual fee.
More than 400 reviewers left ratings for the card, with more than 60% giving the card 4 or 5 stars and 13% giving the card 1 or 2 stars.
Million Mile Secrets
MMS’ review of the Blue Business Plus was pretty positive, with the website concluding that “this is a worthwhile offer, especially because you’ll earn 2x AmEx Membership Rewards points on all purchases up to $50,000 per year.”
ValuePenguin’s Robert Harrow had high praise for this card, giving it a 90% and deeming the Blue Business Plus, “an excellent business credit card for businesses spending less than $50,000 on their card per year.”
Our Closing Thoughts on the American Express Blue Business Plus Card
Based on our research, we believe the Blue Business Plus has some distinct strengths and weaknesses and is designed for a specific type of business owner.
Pros of the Blue Business Plus
We believe the strengths of this card are its 0%, 15-month APR on purchases and balance transfers as well as the ability to earn double point son the first $50,000 you spend each year.
Cons of the Blue Business Plus
In our opinion, the 2x rewards rate on the first $50K you spend is nice, but certainly not among the best in the industry.
For example, the Chase Ink Business Cash gives you 5x and 2x bonuses that have a $50K per-category cap, meaning you can potentially get 350,000 rewards points between those categories.
We also think the card’s 2.7% foreign transaction fee could be a problem for business owners who travel abroad.
Who is the Blue Business Plus Good For?
We believe the ideal candidate for this card is someone who carries a balance (low APR), won’t use this card abroad (foreign transaction fee) and who is loyal to the AmEx brand but doesn’t want to pay the high annual fee for the AmEx Business Gold from OPEN ($175).
The Final Word: A Basic Business Credit Card
The American Express Blue Business Plus offers basic rewards and a low APR that make it a sensible choice for someone who doesn’t want to get caught up in multi-category rewards and a litany of fees.
If you want to do more research, read our Best Business Rewards Credit Card of 2017 to see what other options are out there.
The American Express SimplyCash Plus may be a good option for you because it has bigger rewards points bonuses and doesn’t have an annual fee.