American Express has rolled out the new Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. This card is unique in that it offers double Membership Rewards points on all purchases with no annual fee. Therefore, if you can redeem for more than 1 cent per point of value, this card has the potential to beat a flat 2% cash back card. Here are the highlights:
- Limited-time offer: Earn 20,000 extra Membership Rewards® points after you spend at least $3,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 2X Membership Points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. 1X Points on purchases thereafter.
- 0.0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. After that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 11.99%, 15.99% or 19.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
- No annual fee
Note the usual language regarding the sign-up bonus. This is a new card so nobody should have this card already, but you can only get the sign-up bonus once so try to apply during a limited-time offer.
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.
Better than 2% cash back? Membership Rewards points can be converted to the following airline miles (there are more, this is just a selection):
- Delta SkyMiles
- Hawaiian Airlines
- ANA Mileage Club (partner of United Airlines)
- Air Canada (partner of United Airlines)
- British Airways (partner of American Airlines)
- FlyingBlue (Air France/KLM)
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin America
If you value any of these miles at more than 1 cent per mile, then you would be getting more value than a 2% cash back card. For example, this card can earn the equivalent of 2 Delta miles per dollar spent.
Unfortunately, there are many redemption options for Membership Rewards points that are worse than 1 cent per point value. Here are a few examples:
- Shop with Membership Rewards Points (~0.5 cents per point)
- Shop with Points at Amazon.com (~0.7 cents per point)
- Use points at BestBuy.com (~0.7 cents per point)
- Gift Cards (varies from 0.5 up to 1 cent per point max)
If you don’t expect to get at least 1 cent per mile value, then you should stick with a 2% cash back card. If it’s close, then I would probably lean towards simplicity. Consider the following:
- Citi Double Cash Review
- Fidelity Rewards Visa Credit Card Review (must have Fidelity account)
- BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card Review (must have BofA or Merrill Edge account with $50k+ assets)
- USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Card Review (must be USAA member and $1,000 monthly direct deposit)
Business credit card eligibility. Many people aren’t aware that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. Any individual can be a small business. Perhaps you sell items on eBay, Craiglist, or Etsy. Maybe you do some graphic design, web design, freelancing and/or consulting. If you received a 1099-MISC tax form and filled out a Schedule C, that means you have business income, you pay self-employment taxes, and you’re a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.
This card will require you to personally guarantee that you’ll pay them back what you charge on the card, which means they’ll check your personal credit score like any other consumer card. However, as the card is a business card, American Express won’t have it show up on your personal credit report, so it won’t change things like your credit limits, average account age, or credit utilization ratio.
Bottom line. The new Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a unique card that will be very attractive for a certain subset of travelers who know how to maximize their frequent flier miles. If you don’t know how to do this, I would stick with a 2% flat cash back card. Finally, linking this card also allows you keep Membership Rewards points earned from other AmEx cards active while having no annual fee (even if you no longer have the other cards anymore) .
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