It’s that time again, where we take a hard look at a specific credit card to see if it’s any good.
Today we’ll review the “American Express Blue Sky,” which is Amex’s answer to a no annual fee travel rewards credit card.
What Does Blue Sky Offer?
Well, the main draw of the American Express Blue Sky is the fact that you get a $100 statement credit toward any airline ticket, cruise ticket, hotel stay, or car rental when you accrue 7,500 points.
This makes the travel rewards worth up to 33% more than other comparable travel rewards.
You earn 1 point for every dollar you spend with the Blue Sky card and can book travel anywhere, without jumping through hoops and diluting your miles.
To get your $100 statement credit, so-called “travel reward redemption requests” must be made within 60 days from the date the travel purchase appears on your billing statement.
In other words, you can book your flight/hotel/cruise/car rental on a site like Priceline or Kayak and then get $100 off your credit card statement as opposed to redeeming your miles and being forced to book your travel via the credit card issuer at possibly unfavorable terms and prices.
Not only that, but the Blue Sky points have no expiration date, no limit to how many you can receive, and no seat restrictions or blackout dates.
Nor is there any need for advanced planning, so you can book on the fly. Apologies for the bad pun.
Unfortunately, these aren’t real airline miles because they only offset travel purchases at a special redemption rate. In other words, you can’t fly business or first class for a reasonable amount of miles.
What Are the Extras?
First off, the Amex Blue Sky comes with a welcome bonus of 7,500 points if you spend $1,000 during the first three months of cardmembership.
As noted earlier, that’s good for a $100 statement credit when you book travel using the card.
Assuming travel isn’t your thing, you can redeem the points for cash back or gift cards as well, so you’re not restricted in that sense.
The downside is that the value of the points drops when redeeming them for cash or gift cards, so it’s really best to use the points for travel rewards if and when possible.
If you need to rent a car, you can get up to 20% off at Hertz and a free upgrade when using your Blue Sky credit card for purchase.
You also get Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance at no additional charge, along with up to $100,000 in Travel Accident Insurance coverage.
Hotel rooms booked with the American Express Blue Sky are also guaranteed, meaning no surprises if you arrive late.
And if you stay at a JW Marriott or Renaissance Hotels and Resorts anywhere in the world on a weekend, you also get a free breakfast and $100 off your next stay. Not too shabby.
Let’s Talk Numbers
All in all, the American Express Blue Sky Credit Card is an okay deal if you travel a lot, as your points go a bit further and redemption is a snap.
But there are much better travel rewards cards out there, namely those that allow point transfers to frequent flyer programs, such as Chase Ink, which also comes with 50k bonus points upon sign-up and minimum spend.
If you’re not a frequent flyer, you might be better off with the American Express Blue Cash Everyday credit card, which rewards you with cash for everyday purchases. Or even the old version of the card.