AmEx Blue Business Plus Review: Outstanding Rewards, No Annual Fee

Earn double points on purchases up to an annual cap, snag a generous intro APR offer and gain some credit limit flexibility.
Sep 29, 2022

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Our Take

4.8

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

This small-business card is ideal for those looking for high flat-rate rewards, introductory 0% APR and no annual fee. It comes with caps on bonus rewards, though, so it could be less valuable for big spenders.

Jump to: Full Review
American Express The Blue for Business® Credit Card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.24%-24.24% 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

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
American Express® Blue Business Cash Card
NerdWallet rating 
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 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$295

Regular APR

16.24%-24.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.24%-25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

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

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express offers excellent flat-rate rewards for an annual fee of $0. For those with small businesses or side hustles who prefer American Express Membership Rewards points over cash back, it's a great option. You'll earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year and 1 point per dollar spent after that. There’s also a solid introductory 0% APR period.

The spending cap on rewards can impact its overall value, though. Businesses with expenses that far exceed $50,000 a year might be better off with a different card.

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.

Card type: Small business.

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 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year and 1 point per dollar spent on spending above $50,000. Terms apply.

NerdWallet values Membership Rewards points between 0.5 cent and 1 cent each, depending on how you redeem. They can be redeemed for things like travel, gift cards and statement credits. Points can also be transferred to other airline and hotel loyalty programs. Potentially, if you're able to transfer rewards and take advantage of a good redemption opportunity, you could get more than 1 cent out of each point.

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).

  • Asia Miles (1:1 ratio).

  • Avianca (1:1 ratio).

  • British Airways (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).

  • 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: Introductory 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24%-24.24% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%.

Other benefits: 

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

  • Give a trusted individual access to manage your card account when you're unavailable by designating an account manager.

  • Employee cards at no cost (you can add up to 99 employee cards on your account).

  • Terms apply.

Benefits of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

No annual fee

Other American Express small business cards that earn Membership Rewards points charge an annual fee, which can make sense for anyone who would use all the high-end perks a premium card offers. But if your preference is value at a modest price, a $0 annual fee is hard to beat. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express racks up rewards on your purchases while reducing a business expense.

Simple, generous rewards rate

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. Among small-business cards, few cards offer a rate this high for no annual fee. And it isn’t just for new cardmembers — the opportunity to earn double points resets each year. That could earn this card a spot in your wallet for the long term.

Intro APR offer

Managing a small business or side hustle can come with some hefty bills, so you may need extra time to pay down a credit card balance. 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 16.24%-24.24% Variable APR. Terms apply. It’s rare to find such a lengthy 0% APR offer on a small-business card.

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.

Drawbacks and alternatives

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 2 miles per dollar on all purchases with no annual cap on earnings, plus comes with asuperb sign-up bonus.  It does charge an annual fee, but high spenders can offset it with their rewards earnings.

Redeeming for cash back isn't as lucrative

Membership Rewards points are worth half a cent to one cent a piece, 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, but the main difference is you earn cash back that’s automatically credited to your statement instead of Membership Rewards points. The annual fee is $0 (see rates and fees). You’ll pay an introductory 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24%-24.24% Variable APR.

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 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.

You can visit NerdWallet's list of the best credit cards to see how these products compare.

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 0% 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.

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

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 guanrantee 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.