Recently, American Express launched the so-called “Blue for Business Credit Card,” which is aimed at business owners who don’t want to pay to use their credit card.
That said, there is NO annual fee attached to Blue for Business, similar to the company’s other Blue credit cards, such as the popular Blue Cash Everyday credit card.
The lack of an annual fee is certainly a plus, given the fact that most business credit cards require you to pay at least $95, but is it enough to separate it from the crowd?
10,000 Membership Rewards Points Out of the Gate
Another frill offered by Blue for Business is the 10,000 Membership Rewards awarded after your first purchase.
The 10,000 points can be redeemed for a $50 gift card, or for a wide range of merchandise, dining, travel, and more.
Additionally, you earn 1x point for every dollar spent on purchases, 2x points for every dollar spent with American Express Travel, and up to 10x points when you spend at membershiprewards.com/earn.
Unfortunately, that means there are no bonus point categories for common business needs, such as gas, office supplies, dining, etc. That in itself is a bit strange for a so-called “business credit card.”
This means the bonus structure is pretty weak overall compared to other business cards, and even standard cash back credit cards.
Relationship Bonus Points Help
However, that’s not the end of the story. American Express will give you a so-called “Relationship Bonus” annually, based on the prior year’s spend, with no caps, spending thresholds, or category restrictions.
The first year, you get a 10% points bonus on your cardmember anniversary. So if you spend $2,500 a month, you’ll earn 30,000 points, plus an additional 3,000.
That’s kind of weak, but if you spend $25,000 a month on the card, it turns into a bonus of 30,000 points.
And on your second year card anniversary, you get a 20% point bonus. So using our second example from above, you would get 60,000 bonus points. That equates to $300 if used to purchase gift cards.
But wait, it gets better! For your third year anniversary, and every year after that, you get a 30% annual points bonus. Using our same example, you’d earn 90,000 in bonus points annually, which is a $450 gift card value.
So that’s where it starts to get exciting. Unfortunately, that’s three years from now, and credit card terms do change from time to time.
In other words, there’s no guarantee that bonus structure will be around in the future, and it may only last for a certain period of time.
Additionally, you’ve got to spend some serious money on the card to accrue any decent amount of points.
There Are Better Alternatives
If your are a business owner, you may be better served going with a credit card that offers a higher upfront bonus, such as the Ink from Chase credit card.
Two of the Ink credit cards (there are 3 varieties) offer up to 25,000 initial bonus points, which are good for $250 cash if you spend just $5,000 in the first three months.
Both have no annual fee, and offer bonus multiples for things like office supplies, cell phone service, Internet, and so forth.
So you’re actually getting rewarded for making business expenses with the card, unlike the Blue for Business credit card, which seems to fall a bit short in the business department.
There’s also Ink Bold, which offers up to $500 in initial bonuses ($625 if used for travel).
The only good thing I can say about the new Blue for Business is that it comes with the high level of customer service you can only get from American Express.
That’s pretty valuable, but you can get it with the Blue Cash Everyday card as well, which also offers better rewards without an annual fee.
This card seems to be a pretty straightforward pass…