AmEx Blue Business Plus: A Valuable But Flawed Business Travel Card

Earn double points on purchases up to an annual cap, snag a generous intro APR offer and gain some credit limit flexibility.
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Written by Sara Rathner
Senior Writer/Spokesperson
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Edited by Ryan Lane
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
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Co-written by Kelsey Sheehy
Senior Writer

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Our Take

4.4

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

This no-annual-fee small-business card is ideal if you're looking for high flat-rate rewards to redeem for travel. It comes with caps on bonus rewards, though, so it could be less valuable for big spenders.

Jump to: Full review
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
18.49%-26.49% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • High rewards rate

  • Intro APR period

  • Transfer partners

Cons

  • Spending caps on bonus rewards

  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: For cash back
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
NerdWallet rating 
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Cash back with automatic redemption

This card is a near twin of the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express except that you earn cash back instead of points. Specifically, you get 2% back on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, and 1% after that. Terms apply. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

18.49%-26.49% Variable APR

Rates & fees

Regular APR

21.24%-26.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening

Intro APR

N/A

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Full Review

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a solid business credit card. But you’ll get the greatest value using its rewards for travel — and as a travel business credit card, the American Express Blue for Business Plus has some obvious flaws.

The positives: You’ll get up to 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent and a long intro APR period for no annual fee. Points are most valuable when redeemed for travel, and if you spend $50,000 on the card in a year, you’ll net 100,000 Membership Rewards points. Assuming 1 cent per point, that’s $1,000 in travel — potentially more if you leverage travel partners. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

The aforementioned flaws: The card cuts off its highest rewards when you hit that $50,000 in annual spending (you’ll get 1 point per dollar after that). And the Blue Business Plus lacks any real travel benefits — think travel credits, discounts, status or lounge access — while also charging a foreign transaction fee (2.7%) for international purchases.

Whether or not those might not be deal breakers depends on how much your business spends — many businesses will hit that $50,000 cap in a matter of months — and whether you travel abroad or purchase inventory overseas.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is best for small-business owners who:

  • Expect to spend less than $50,000 annually on their business credit card.

  • Need an intro APR period to finance startup costs or larger purchases.

  • Prefer the simplicity of a flat rewards rate. 

  • Want to earn travel rewards vs. cash back.

If your business spends more than $50,000 annually, consider this alternative:

  • Capital One Spark Miles for Business: You’ll earn the same 2 points per $1 on all spending, but there’s no annual cap to contend with. This card does have an annual fee ($0 intro for the first year, then $95), but it also has a much larger welcome offer: Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. (See rates and fees.)

If you want to earn cash back rather than travel points, consider this alternative:

  • Wells Fargo Signify Business Cash℠ Card: This card takes the biggest benefits of the AmEx Blue Business cards offer and does them better. You get 2% cash back on all purchases (no caps), a lengthy intro APR period and a competitive welcome offer: Earn a $500 cash rewards bonus when you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. And there is no annual fee.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Key features

To view rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, see this page.

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome offer: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Rewards: Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. Terms Apply.

NerdWallet values Membership Rewards points between 0.6 cent and 1 cent each, depending on redemption use. They can be redeemed for travel, gift cards and statement credits, among other things. Points can also be transferred to other airline and hotel loyalty programs. If you transfer rewards and take advantage of a good redemption opportunity, you could get 2.8 cents out of each point, per NerdWallet's valuation.

Airlines

  • Aer Lingus (1:1 ratio).

  • AeroMexico (1:1.6 ratio).

  • Air Canada. (1:1 ratio).

  • Air France/KLM (1:1 ratio).

  • ANA (1:1 ratio).

  • Avianca (1:1 ratio).

  • British Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Cathay Pacific (1:1 ratio)

  • Delta Air Lines (1:1 ratio).

  • Emirates (1:1 ratio).

  • Etihad Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Hawaiian Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Iberia Plus (1:1 ratio).

  • JetBlue Airways (2.5:2 ratio).

  • Qantas (1:1 ratio).

  • Qatar Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Singapore Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Virgin Atlantic Airways (1:1 ratio).

Hotels

  • Choice Hotels (1:1 ratio).

  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts (1:2 ratio).

  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts (1:1 ratio).

For details on transfer ratios, see AmEx's website.

APR: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 18.49%-26.49% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%.

Other benefits:

  • Power to spend above your limit, to a point, with Expanded Buying Power.

  • Secondary rental car coverage in the U.S. and abroad if you pay for the vehicle with your Blue Business Plus Card from American Express and decline the collision damage waiver at the rental counter. 

  • Terms and conditions apply.

Why you might want The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Simple, generous rewards rate (to a point)

If you prefer travel points generally, and AmEx Membership Rewards specifically, the Blue Business Plus checks those boxes. You'll earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on up to $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, and 1 point back thereafter. Terms apply.

No annual fee

Other American Express small-business cards that earn Membership Rewards points charge steep annual fees. Paying those costs can make sense if you'll use all the high-end perks those premium cards offer. But if your preference is value at a modest price, a $0 annual fee is hard to beat for a travel business credit card.

Intro APR offer

Managing a small business or side hustle can mean big expenses that don’t always jive with your expected cash flow. You can finance those purchases interest free with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. You'll get an intro 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 18.49%-26.49% Variable APR. Terms apply.

No annual fee

Almost all business travel cards come with an annual fee of $95 or higher. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express bucks that trend. You can earn AmEx Membership Rewards points, which are most valuable when redeemed for travel, without paying a steep annual fee. While you’ll forgo other travel perks, like credits or airport lounge access, you do get a long intro APR period — something rarely offered with travel cards.

Credit limit wiggle room

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express gives you the power to spend above your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power. The extra amount you can charge isn't the same for all cardholders. It varies based on factors including your card use, payment and credit history and the financial information you provided when you applied for the card. This additional credit limit can go up or down for you based on these factors over time.

Why you might want a different card

Lower rewards rate after spending $50,000 each year

With The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, your double-points-earning potential ends once you hit $50,000 in spending in a calendar year. That's a decent return, but if you spend a good deal more than that per year, you can do better.

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business earns 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases with no annual cap on earnings, plus it comes with a superb sign-up bonus. It does charge an annual fee ($0 intro for the first year, then $95), but high spenders can offset it with their rewards earnings.

Redeeming for cash back isn't as lucrative

Membership Rewards points vary depending on what you redeem them for. Booking travel or buying gift cards toward some travel expenses will get you a value of one cent per point, but statement credits are worth only 0.6 cents per point.

If cash back is your preferred way to redeem rewards, consider The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card. It functions almost identically to The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, except it earns cash back instead of points.

Another outstanding option is the Wells Fargo Signify Business Card, which earns 2% back (no annual cap), offers a long intro APR period and has no annual fee.

Puny welcome offer

One of the great benefits of using a business credit card for expenses is earning rewards for your everyday spending. While the Blue Business Plus delivers on points for purchases, it falls way short on the welcome offer: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

That’s equivalent to roughly $150 if you redeemed those points for travel via the AmEx portal. But other travel and cash back cards, including those with no annual fee, boast bonuses worth three times that (or more).

The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, for example, has no annual fee and a stellar welcome offer: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. It also earns 1.5% on all purchases, with no caps.

On the travel side, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has one of the best welcome offers around: Earn 120k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 cash back or $1,500 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠. The Ink Business Preferred has a $95 annual fee.

Foreign transaction fees and limited acceptance abroad

Using points earned on this card to book travel is a valuable option. But the card isn't ideal to use on international trips.

American Express cards aren't accepted as widely as other cards overseas, and a 2.7% foreign transaction fee makes any purchase abroad more expensive. If you travel internationally for business, look into business travel cards with no foreign transaction fee, such as the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card, which has a $0 annual fee, no spending caps and a bonus for new cardmembers.

Is The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express right for you?

If you want a $0-annual-fee small-business card with outstanding flat-rate rewards, a good intro APR offer and some room to spend more when needed, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great choice. World travelers, big spenders and fans of cash back may want to explore other options.

View rates and fees of Capital One Spark Miles for Business.

View rates and fees rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.

View rates and fees of The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card.

The information related to Wells Fargo Signify Business Cash℠ Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Insurance Benefit: Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Apply now

on American Express' website

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.
Frequently asked questions

This card earns 2 American Express Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in spending per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar afterward. Terms apply.

The defining difference is in the rewards they earn: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns Membership Rewards points, while The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card earns cash back. Otherwise, the cards earn rewards at comparable rates and have comparable APRs. Both have a $0 annual fee.

Although American Express's business cards were once primarily charge cards — meaning they required you to pay your balance in full each month and didn't have a preset spending limit — The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a traditional credit card that has a credit limit and allows you to carry a balance.

However, it does offer you the flexibility to spend beyond your set credit limit. The amount you can spend above the limit adjusts based on your card use, payment and credit history, financial information and other factors. Any amount spent above your limit must be paid in full at the end of the billing cycle; it's included in your minimum payment. Purchases up to your credit limit can be paid off over time. Terms apply.

To qualify for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, you'll need good to excellent credit. That's generally defined as a score of 690 or better. Credit scores alone don't guarantee approval, though. Issuers also look at your income, debts and other factors.

In general, you don’t have to operate a formal, registered business, like a corporation, partnership or LLC, to qualify for business credit cards, but you do need to be in business for yourself. Sole proprietors, contractors, freelancers and gig workers can also qualify.