Full Review of American Express Blue Business Cash
Earn 2% rewards
Flexible credit limit
0% introductory offer
No welcome cash or points offer
Restrictive redemption options
- 2% Rewards: This card keeps it simple, with 2% rewards on your first $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1%. Some competing cards on the market offer higher rewards, but typically only in certain categories. For example, the Chase Ink Business Cash card pays 5% cash back, but only on office supplies and telecom expenses.
- Flexible Credit Limit: This card provides the flexibility to spend above your credit limit without a penalty or the need to enroll in advance. That's a useful feature if your expenses vary from month-to-month or an occasional unexpected purchase forces you over the card's credit limit. However, the overspending comes with a few caveats. As it does with your spending limit, Amex will assess how much you’re permitted to overspend based on your payment history, credit record, financial resources, and other factors. And you can’t carry the overspending for long on your card; the portion that’s above your credit limit is due in full each month as part of your minimum payment. But as long as you pay your balance in full by the due date, you'll incur no interest charges.
- 0% APR Introductory Period: It's not unusual for a business card to provide a 0% APR introductory period, and 12 months is a fairly typical length of time for this kind of offer. Still, this is a welcome and noteworthy feature. The introductory period is available for both purchases and for balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account membership. Just note that balance transfers carry a fee on this card of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater.
- No Bonus Offer: Small-business cards, even those with no annual fee, often come with some kind of one-time offer in cash or points, but not this one. For example, both the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited, Chase cards with no annual fees, offer $500 in cash back if you spend $3,000 within your first three months of owning the card. The lack of any such offer puts the Amex Blue Business Cash at a disadvantage over many other cards in the same category.
- Restrictive Redemption Options: This card's straightforward and generous rewards structure comes at a slight price: You can receive rewards only as an automatic statement credit on your card account. While you can use those funds to cover further purchases on the card, there's no way to turn your rewards into cash to cover obligations you can’t charge to a card. That may suit if you or your business want to pool points earned from multiple Amex cards, for example. Otherwise, you may find a card that rewards you in cash back is a better fit.
This Card is Best For
Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
With its generous rewards and ability to exceed its credit limit, the American Express Blue Business Cash best fits small business owners whose card spending ranges across many categories and occasionally spikes up in certain months. It’s also for those who prefer receiving rewards as Amex points, perhaps so they can be combined with those earned with other Amex cards.
Further, the Amex Blue Business Cash is most lucrative for business owners that will charge no more than $50,000 a year to the card, since that’s the spending limit for its 2% rewards, after which the rate drops in half to 1%. If you reach the annual $50,000 spending cap, those 2% cash-rewards would earn you $1,000 in statement credits—which is a fine return, especially for a card with no annual fee.
It's also a card for those with little time to navigate and optimize complex rewards programs.
There’s a single rewards rate and one redemption option, which all but eliminates the need to make decisions about making the most of the card.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year. All other purchases after that earn 1%. That means you’ll earn $2 for every $100 you spend on this card up to the spending cap. Rewards come in the form of an automatic statement credit.
If you do not pay the minimum due by the due date or if your account is closed before the credit is issued, you will not receive a statement credit for your rewards.
Rewards Redemption Details
The straightforward redemption process of this card can be a big advantage for business owners who don't want to worry about, or don't have time for, figuring out redemption programs.
As long as you keep your account in good standing, any cash back you've earned comes in the form of an automatic statement credit to your account by the second billing cycle after your purchase. You don't need to navigate reward redemption options or even log in to an account to receive your earnings.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
With its generous reward of 2% on eligible purchases, it makes sense to make the most of the Amex Blue Business Cash by using it for all of your business expenses, including travel, hotels, office, marketing, insurance, and more.
The closer you get to the card's $50,000 annual spending cap on those 2% earnings, the more you’ll make, naturally. If you indeed reach that spending total, you’ll earn $1,000 in rewards. You can then continue to use the card for further expenses, although you may want to look to another card in your wallet that earns more, given the paltry 1% you earn on purchases in excess of $50,000 a year.
In addition, if you have any employees, consider opening additional card accounts for them. Since there's no charge for supplementary accounts, they provide a quick and easy way to boost the proportion of spending that goes onto the card account—and thus your annual rewards.
Let's say you're a business owner who uses this card for a range of expenses that total $2,000 per month. Those monthly costs might include web development, gas for vehicles, office supplies, marketing expenses, and insurance premiums. Within a calendar year, you'd earn $480 in automatic statement credits on this card.
Leveraging free additional employee cards to earn more rewards on travel and entertainment expenses can increase rewards exponentially on this card.
Let's say that you have three employees and you and they together spend $3,500 per month on the expenses noted above, plus others such as staff training and professional development. In addition, you and your employees travel once per quarter, spending $364 on each round-trip domestic flight, the average set out by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Then let’s add a further $1,000 per quarter of spending on entertainment. In total, you would earn more than $1,000 a year on this card.
American Express Blue Business Cash Outstanding Benefits
- Ability to spend past your credit limit
- Account Manager designation, to manage the card account
- Additional employee cards at no annual fee
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Extended warranties
- Purchase protection for accidental damage or theft
In J.D. Power's 2019 customer satisfaction survey, American Express earned a score of 838, just below top-ranked Discover.
Cardholders can reach a customer service agent 24/7 by phone at 800-528-4800. Customers can also log into their account and live chat with a representative. Questions and comments can be tweeted to @AskAmex on Twitter.
The security features of American Express cards are in line with industry standards. Cards come with features like pre-purchase verification, account monitoring, and alerts for irregular activity. It also offers free next-day shipping for lost or stolen cards.
Fees To Watch Out For
Those who frequently travel internationally for business should be aware of this card's foreign transaction fee, which is 2.7% of each transaction made outside the U.S. And although there's a 0% introductory period for purchases and balance transfers, there's a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, which can add a significant cost to this benefit. This card's other fees are in line with industry standards.
Excellent flat-rate rewards make the American Express Blue Business Cash a beneficial card for small businesses with diverse charges that seek a straightforward payment solution.
However, the Amex points you earn with the card can be used only to offset card charges. If you're seeking flexibility in redeeming rewards, and want to stick with American Express, consider the Amex Blue Business Plus credit card. It’s nearly identical to the Blue Business Cash card, including providing 2 points per dollar spent on business purchases up to $50,000 per year, but its rewards can be redeemed in a variety of ways, including as cash back.
If you're willing to trade some simplicity for increased earnings, you might pair the American Express Blue Business Cash with another card that offers higher points rewards on the categories where you spend the most. Two Chase cards come to mind. The Chase Ink Business Cash card pays 5% cash back on office supplies and telecom expenses, and the Chase Ink Business Preferred card offers 3 points per dollar spent on travel, shipping, telecom services, and advertising costs on social media sites and search engines. (Chase points are valued comparably to Amex ones in many valuations.)
By splitting charges among two or more cards, such a pairing would also help larger small businesses keep spending on the American Express Blue Business Cash below the card's $50,000 annual limit for earning 2% rewards.
Alternatively, bigger enterprises could simply opt for a card that provides a lower cash-back rate with no spending cap. The Spark Cash Select card from Capital One, for example, pays an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Conversely, if you're a solo entrepreneur simply looking for a card that will help you segregate business expenses, you might get more value out of a consumer rewards card.