The new king of everyday spend: Amex Blue Business Plus

I did not see this coming.  A great new credit card has just been introduced with no fanfare and no press leaks: Amex Blue Business Plus.  Unlike other recently introduced cards, this one is not a premium card.  Far from it.  This one has no annual fee.  And, it’s a business card.  And that’s a good thing.  Read on…

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card: 2X Everywhere

The exciting thing here is the earning structure for this card: 2X Everywhere, up to $50,000 in spend per calendar year.

This single feature has propelled this new card to the top of our Best rewards for everyday spend page.

Transferable points

Unlike the old similarly named Blue for Business card, the Blue Business Plus card earns real Membership Rewards points.  That is, even if this is the only Membership Rewards card you have, you can transfer points to airline miles.  And that’s one of the best uses for Membership Rewards points.

In our resource page “Amex Transfer Partners,” you’ll find recommended transfer partners, other transfer partners (those that might not offer great value), and indirect transfer partners (where you can transfer first to one partner and then to another in order to achieve some goal).

Due to the fact that transferable points make it far easier to cherry pick great awards, Membership Rewards points have a high Reasonable Redemption Value (RRV): 1.82 cents per point at the time of this writing.  That means that you can reasonably expect to get 1.82 cents per point value, or better, when transferring points to miles and using those miles to book high value awards.

Since the Amex Blue Business Plus card earns 2 points per dollar, it is reasonable to expect to get 2 x 1.82 = 3.64 cents per dollar value for all spend, up to $50,000 per year.  That’s excellent.

Pay with points for airfare

Update: This post includes offers that were valid at the time of publication, but have since expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.

If you couple this card with the Business Platinum card, you can get excellent value from your points by paying with points for flights via Amex Travel.  The Business Platinum card offers a pay with points rebate for economy flights with your selected airline or with business or first class flights with any airline.  The new standard rebate is 35% points back, but if you sign up new or upgrade to the card by May 31st, you can continue to get the 50% rebate for another year.

With a 35% rebate, points are worth just over 1.5 cents each (and so the Blue Business Plus card earns about 3 cents value per dollar).  With the expiring 50% rebate, points are worth 2 cents each.  Therefore the Blue Business Plus card earns 4 cents per dollar towards flights when points are used in this way.  That’s awesome.

No Annual Fee

The fact that this card has no annual fee makes it a great option for anyone with a business.  If nothing else, having this card open means that you can cancel other Membership Rewards cards without fear of losing your points.

Are you eligible for a business card?

You must have a business to apply for business cards.  That said, it’s not uncommon for people to have businesses without realizing it.  If you regularly sell items on eBay, for example, then you have a business.  Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship!), handyman services, owning rental property, etc.  In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.  If you want to keep things simple, you can use your own name as the business name and your own social security number as the business Tax ID.  You can optionally create a business tax ID (EIN), instantly and for free, via the IRS website here.

Business card advantages

No 5/24 Pain. Amex business cards are not reported to personal credit bureaus and so they do not affect your 5/24 status.  That is, if you want to sign up for Chase cards in the future, signing up for Amex business cards won’t hurt (except the very small and temporary ding to your credit caused by a hard credit inquiry).

Amex OPEN Savings. Amex small business cards are also automatically part of the Amex OPEN Savings program.  This means that you’ll automatically earn additional rewards or savings when you spend with Amex OPEN partners.  Currently, those include FedEx, Hertz, HP, and 1-800-Flowers.

Better Amex Offers.  As I pointed out in the post “Awesome Amex Offers and how to get them,” a number of the best recent offers have been limited to business cards.  This card, along with any authorized user cards you get, will give you extra chances at getting those great offers.  Plus, some offers are limited to Membership Rewards cards.  Again, this card opens the door to those as well.

Buy Membership Rewards points indirectly and cheaply

There are many options for increasing credit card spend, usually with a small fee, for things that usually can’t be paid by credit card.  By using these methods and earning 2X points, you can essentially buy Membership Rewards points cheaply.  Here are some examples:

  • Pay student loans or fund college savings programs (details here).  Buy a $500 Gift of College gift card with a $5.95 fee.  With this option you can earn 1012 Membership Rewards points for $5.95.  That’s a cost of just over half a cent per point!  $5.95 / 1012 = $0.0059.  Wow!
  • Pay federal taxes (details here).  Pay1040.com lets you pay end of year or quarterly estimated taxes via credit card for a 1.87% fee.  If you pay a $1000 tax bill, for example, you would pay $18.70 in fees, but you would also earn 1018.7 x 2 = 2037 points.  So, paying the fee is like buying points for only 0.9 cents each ($18.70 / 2037).
  • Pay bills (details here).  The Plastiq bill pay service charges 2.5% for payments made via credit card.  If you pay a $1000 bill, for example, you would pay $25 in fees, but you would also earn 1025 x 2 = 2050 points.  So, paying the fee is like buying points for only 1.2 cents each ($25 / 2050).

One small bummer

If you start using this card to pay student loans, taxes, and other bills, I imagine that you may quickly use up the card’s $50K 2X calendar year limit.  I know I will.  My plan is to get my wife to sign up for the card too.  And, maybe my dad… And, my son will be 18 in the fall…

And another

Unfortunately, this is a credit card, not a charge card, so it is subject to Amex’s limit of 4 or 5 credit cards per person.

More info

More details about the card and its current signup bonus can be found here: The Blue Business Plus Credit Card

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Comments

  1. Thank you Greg.

    This does sound awesome – although i have six months of an extra TY point per $ on every purchase on my Prestige card, which I like too.

    My only pause- is , given the one sign up bonus per card rule, whether there might be a higher bonus than 30K MR points coming up or whether this is as good as it gets.

    • Yes, Altitude + Samsung Pay would give you 4.5 cents per dollar value towards travel. But, despite Samsung Pay working “nearly” everywhere, it certainly doesn’t work everywhere. And it can’t work online, for example.

  2. Another plus–AMEX didn’t pull my or my wife’s credit when we applied!

    I did run into 1 snag though. I was able to add my wife’s card to her online account but when I tried to add it to my online account it kept erring out forcing me to make a new online ID. I’ll need to figure out how to combine so I have 1 MR account.

    This kills the ED and EDP cards IMO. I’ll downgrade EDP to ED to save the $95.

  3. Just got the Biz Plat and I’m in fooking love with the Pay With Points 50% rebate. I’ll give an example, nonstop Y transcons roundtrip to DC for next weekend are $500, 40k Skymiles, 40k AA or 25k UA with crappy times. Instead, I paid the $500 with 50000 MR points, of which I’ll get half back. Plus EQM and RDM. If you’re on the fence get both these cards without hesitation!

  4. Greg- I am not certain you are straight on some of the comparisons to the Blue for Business AMEX. It does earn MR points AND I got 110,000 MR points with the original signupback in Feb. I did have to charge $50,000 though to do so.

    • Did I say that the old card didn’t earn MR points? It did (and still does for those who already have it). If that’s the only MR card you have, though, then the points are not transferable to airlines. With the new card, you don’t need a second MR card to make the points more valuable.

  5. Do Amex bus card applications get auto approval at all or do they go into pending status followed by a manual review like most chase bus apps?

  6. Looks like AmEx is getting serious about potentially losing the spg business. For me, I’m definitely not renewing my spg biz (barring a compelling retention offer), and am putting all that spend on this new card. I wonder if cannibalization was the intent? It seems odd after the big sign up bonuses and retention offers they’ve been giving SPG card holders.

  7. Sorry, while is this card is a great no-fee option for maintaining your MR balance, AMEX doesn’t have enough flexibility in their programs to make this attractive enough for everyday spend.

    Cash redemption is terrible, and even with the Biz Platinum advantage, being locked in to a single airline is pretty limiting.

    For me, cash is still king so I’ll stick with my Double Cash for every day spend and max out UR pts on Ink+, Freedom & CSR for flexible, transferable points.

    That said – I enjoy the Blog – nice sales job on the post and I’ll be using your link to apply!

  8. I just applied for the Business Platinum literally yesterday. Do you know if it’ll be too soon to apply for this?

    • I don’t know whether or not you’ll be approved based on your personal circumstances, but it’s definitely possible to be approved. In fact, typically, (if your credit & income supports it) you can get approved for one charge card (like the Business Platinum) and one credit card (also called a “revolver” – like this Blue Business Plus) in the same day. If you do apply for both in the same day, the credit pulls often get combined into a single pull (but YMMV). You obviously can’t go back in time and do that now — but the answer to your question is that it isn’t too soon from a possibility standpoint.

  9. Greg — I’m curious what you think about this analysis. Right now, my go to card for everyday spend is the Amex everyday preferred card, which gets 1.5x for 30 transactions a month (which is never a problem). At first blush, the blue card seems obvious. 2x is better than 1.5x.

    But the problem is that the Everyday gives 4.5x for the first $6,000 in groceries every year and 3x for all gas.

    Let’s say that someone spends $200/month on gas and is always able to hit $6,000 at grocery stores each calendar year. The delta between the blue card and the Everyday for that $8400 in spend is 17,400 points — a significant amount that easily justifies keeping the Everyday despite the $95 annual fee. So, Everyday is theoretically worth keeping even if you also get the blue cash card just to spend on groceries and gas (assuming you have no better card for groceries and gas, which I do not). Here’s the problem though. It’s hard to do 30 transactions just with groceries and gas. Assume you’re not willing to go through the hassle. What is the real difference between these two cards?

    Well, let’s say you put $50,000 on the blue card, of which $6,000 is groceries and $2,400 is gas. Your points are simple. You get 100,000 points. Let’s say you do the same on the Everyday. You end up with 96,600 points. Here’s the math: $6,000 x 4.5 + $2,400 x 2 + 41,600 x 1.5.

    So, blue comes out ahead. You get 3,400 more points and pay no annual fee. But what if you spend more than $50,000 each year? If you spend $60,000 per year on Everyday, you end up with 111,600 points. With blue you end up with 110,000. Depending on how you value the $95 annual fee, the break even point is around $64,000.

    This all assumes that you value just having a single card on top of your wallet for all nonbonus spend, which I really do. I like using my everyday for everything. I would view the blue as a gamechanger if I could do the same. But giving up the grocery and gas bonus is not easy.

    The best option would be getting to $50,000 midyear, and then switching over to everyday and putting everything on it thereafter, but I’m not sure I spend enough to justify that or that I would make $6,000 in groceries if I did that.

    Anyway, very long comment trying to really breakdown the everyday use of this new card.

    • I signed up for the BBP but the reality is I only see myself using it on unbonused services like car maintenance and insurance premiums and not much else.

      I’d much rather use Citi Double Cash for unbonused merchandise because AMEX doesn’t offer price protection and Citi’s extended warranty is 2x as long.

      Gas and groceries are covered by EDP (which I might drop when AF hits)–Costco gives 4%–Freedom and Discover It give 5x on Groceries once a year so that’s 6 months of coverage, rest of the time you can use one of the numerous 3% CB cards on groceries.

  10. I got Amex Biz Plat last October. My business is not extremely profitable…some years not at all (on paper anyway). Any idea if I will I face hurdles in getting approved for this?

  11. Just a few days ago I was approved for the Blue Business Plus card. Today I received a letter from AMEX saying that because I already had a more rewarding AMEX Membership Rewards program (Business Platinum card is the one I already have) and since I have at least one card enrolled in the Membership Rewards FIRST program, this new Blue Business Card is in this program. However, should I cancel all my Membership Rewards First program cards then my Blue Business Plus will only be enrolled in the Membership Rewards program (not the Membership Rewards First program). I am confused as to the difference in the 2 Membership Rewards programs and I thought this card was the same kind of Membership Rewards as the Business Platinum etc. What is the difference in the two programs?

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