Full Review of Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
Decent rewards on up to $50,000 in annual purchases
Spend over your credit limit
0% introductory offer for purchases
No bonus offer
Spending capped on 2-points-per-dollar rewards
Lacks travel benefits
- Decent Rewards On Up to $50,000 in Annual Purchases: This card has appeal for business owners seeking a card offering relatively lucrative rewards—of Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent—on all purchases. When used for travel booked through Amex, Investopedia estimates the average value of those points at 1 cent each when redeemed for travel through Amextravel.com. Points redemption values can be higher in certain instances as determined by various Membership Rewards airline and hotel transfer partners. Competing cards may not offer as much value, or limit their highest rewards to certain categories, or both.
- Spend Over Your Credit Limit: This card offers some wiggle room to make purchases above your credit limit when you need to do so. No penalty or enrollment is required, and you still earn Membership Rewards points on spending over your limit. The amount you can spend above your credit limit depends on your payment history, credit record, financial resources, and more. But as with any other card charges, you need to pay off in full the purchases over your limit by the end of the billing cycle or you will pay interest on them.
- 0% Introductory Offer for Purchases: A 12-month 0% APR introductory period starts immediately for purchases. Such an offer covering new purchases isn’t that common with business cards that lack an annual fee, and provides a useful cash-flow break and interest-saving move for a business. After the 0% APR period expires, there’s another plus: the ongoing purchase APR that kicks in—of 13.24% - 19.24%, based on creditworthiness—is lower than for many other business cards.
- No Bonus Offer: It’s not unprecedented for a business card to offer no bonus in cash or points, especially if it doesn’t impose an annual fee. Still, it’s a comparative disappointment. Numerous other cards from Chase, Bank of America, and other issuers dangle bonuses worth between $300 and $500 if you spend $3,000 to $4,500 in the first three months of owning the card.
- Spending Cap on 2 Points Per Dollar Rewards: The best, 2 points-per-dollar rewards rate on this card is reasonably generous, but it only applies to the first $50,000 in business purchases. That limit may not hinder solo entrepreneurs or businesses with only one or two other employees, but larger enterprises may want to look at other cards.
- Lacks Travel Benefits: Save for a few features—secondary car rental insurance, a global assist hotline, and a lack of foreign transaction fees—this card is light on travel-related benefits. While that's not entirely unusual for a no-annual-fee business card, it's still worthy of note for business owners who travel frequently.
This Card is Best For
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Blue Business Plus card is best suited to small businesses that spend in a broad range of categories, and in varying amounts from month to month. The former priority aligns well with this card’s single rewards rate, albeit to an annual limit, and the latter one to its flexible credit limit, which increases to accommodate higher spending, albeit only for a single billing cycle without triggering interest charges.
The card has special appeal for businesses who plan a lot of spending soon, for which a break on paying would be particularly useful, or that is carrying a debt on another high-interest card. Not only does the Blue Business Plus have a 12-month 0% APR introductory period but its ongoing APR is comparatively low once the offer expires.
This is also for a card for those willing to take rewards in the former of Amex Membership Rewards points, rather than as simpler cash-back. And to redeem those points for travel bought through American Express and its loyalty program partners, since those are the most lucrative redemption options for this card.
Rewards Earning Details
With this card, you earn 2 points per dollar spent on all eligible business purchases up to $50,000 each calendar year. All other purchases after the $50,000 spending cap is met earn 1 point per dollar.
We currently value each Membership Rewards point at 1.19 cents.
Rewards Redemption Details
American Express offers several ways to redeem the Membership Rewards points you earn with this card. According to both Amex and our own calculations, points are worth 1 cent each to book travel through American Express. You can also purchase gift cards, with points worth up to a cent apiece, depending on the vendor whose card you select.
Most other options yield less value, as a rule. You can use points, typically at value of 0.7 cents apiece, at the checkouts of Amazon, BestBuy, and others or you can use them, at 0.6 cents each, to erase charges from your account statement.
Membership Rewards points can be transferred to the loyalty programs of any of Amex's airline and hotel partners. The list includes popular programs like Delta SkyMiles, Virgin Atlantic Flyingclub, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and more.
Transfers may come with a fee of $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99. That's an unusual levy among card issuers. However, American Express may offer you the option to redeem points to cover that cost. And despite this expense, transferring points can be a worthwhile option that earns you greater value.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
To make the most of the Blue Business Plus card, use it for all of your business-related expenses, which earn 2 points per dollar spent.
Reaching the annual $50,000 spending cap for 2-points-per-dollar rewards will earn you 100,000 Membership Rewards points, which we value at $1,000 when used to buy travel from Amex. If your budget permits you to reach that cap, you can continue to use the card for other expenses, but you'll only earn 1 point per dollar spent on those purchases.
If you can, take advantage of the 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months. Doing so could help you finance a major purchase during the first year of card membership.
Finally, give out additional cards to your employees in order to boost your rewards balance even further. There's no charge for these additional cards, which is not always the case with business cards.
Because this card allows you to earn 2 points per dollar rewards on every purchase you make, let's assume you charge a wide variety of expenses totaling $24,000 per year. Perhaps those costs include a mix of office supplies, advertising, insurance premiums, equipment, vehicle costs, and professional membership association fees. In total, you'd earn 48,000 Membership Rewards points during a calendar year worth $480, if used to book travel through Amex.
You can amplify your rewards earnings by taking advantage of free supplemental employee cards. But with more people using the card, you may need to be especially mindful of exceeding the $50,000 annual limit for the 2-points-per-dollar earning rate.
For example, let's assume you have three employees. Combined, you and they spend a total of $4,000 per month on the expenses noted above plus additional expenses like meals and professional development. Total: $48,000.
Let's say you also each travel twice per quarter, spending $350 for each round-trip domestic flight ticket and $1,200 total per quarter on hotel stays. The travel expenses would add $7,600 to your annual spending, bringing it to a total of $55,600.
At 2 points per dollar spent, you’d earn 100,000 points on the first $50,000 of that spending, worth $1000 when used to buy travel from Amex. Beyond that total, your earnings drop to 1 point per dollar on the remaining amount. In this case, then, the $5,600 in excess of $50,000 would earn 5,600 additional points for a grand total of 105,600 points, worth $1,056.
Blue Business Plus Card's Outstanding Benefits
- Make business purchases over your credit limit
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Global assist hotline
- Free additional employee cards
- Designate an account manager to manager the account
- Relationship care service for small business support
American Express ranked second of nine issuers scored in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Study, ranking just below Discover.
The Amex customer service department can be reached 24/7 by phone at
800-528-4800. Customers also have the option to log into their account and live chat with a representative. Amex is also active on social media. Questions and comments can be sent to @AskAmex on Twitter.
American Express offers a host of security features that are standard in the industry. Those include a monitoring system that detects fraudulent activity and alerts you in the case that unusual activity is detected.
Amex also provides security services like pre-purchase verification and personal security keys to safeguard your information and protect your account. For both card members and non-card members, American Express provides MyCredit Guide, a service that offers a free credit score and report.
The Blue Business Plus credit card from American Express is well suited to small businesses who want a card with a simple rewards structure, the ability to spend more when needed, and a one-year option for 0% APR on news purchases. But it’s not a great fit for larger businesses with expenditures above $50,000, or at least not as a sole business card.
Indeed, pairing the Blue Business Plus card with another American Express business card could help you make the most of rewards, provided your spending is high. For example, the American Express Business Gold charges an annual fee of $295 a year but earns 4 points per dollar—double the rate of the Blue Business Plus—spent on the two categories where you spend the most each month (On on to $150,000 in combined purchases each year, then 1 point). You could use it for spending on categories like restaurants and advertising and potentially use the Blue Business Plus card for everything else.