Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
Recently, American Express introduced a new credit card for small business owners called Blue Business Plus. It replaced the previous version of this card that was just called Blue for Business. While these two cards look nearly identical, and function much the same, there are several key differences. Here’s the scoop on what’s changed for current cardholders and those considering adding the Blue Business Plus to their wallet.
Here’s What Changed
The old Blue for Business card offered one point per dollar spent on all purchases, with a 30% bonus on your points earned at the end of each cardholder year. Recently, many new applicants to the Blue for Business received an offer that included 10x points on up to $2,000 spent on dining within six months of account opening, and 2x points on up to $50,000 spent during the account’s first year.
However, the old Blue for Business card offered points that were in a lower tier of the Membership Rewards program. These points are worth about a cent each towards gift cards, merchandise and reservations booked through the American Express travel site. But if the primary account holder also held another American Express card that was part of the Membership Rewards program, then the points could be transferred to miles with 17 different frequent flyer programs — a nice perk for travelers who like to shop around for flights. When these points are transferred to miles and used for expensive last-minute flights, or reservations in business or first class, then it’s often possible to receive far more than one cent in value per point redeemed. There was no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
The new Blue Business Plus card doesn’t have the 30% annual bonus, but it offers 2x points on up to $50,000 spent each calendar year, and one point per dollar spent thereafter. The points earned are fully part of the Membership Rewards program, and all cardholders are able to transfer their points to frequent flyer miles.
The Blue Business Plus card also includes an introductory financing offer. New accounts receive 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Just like the old Blue for Business card, there’s no annual fee for the Blue Business Plus, but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
What Should You Do?
If you don’t have the previous version of this card, then you can simply evaluate this product by itself. It is the only business credit card from a major issuer that offers 2x points on all purchases (up to $50,000 per calendar year), where the points can be transferred to airline miles. It is also the only business card that offers airline miles and has no annual fee. Finally, it has an extremely competitive promotional financing offer for a small business credit card.
But if you do have the previous version of this card, then you may have the option to request a product change to the new version. When you receive a product change, you will keep the same account number, but the terms will change to that of the new card. However, you will not receive any sign-up bonus or promotional financing offer that might be available to new account holders.
If you are planning on using your card to spend less than approximately $154,000 in a calendar year, then you will earn more rewards from the new card than the old one. And, if you aren’t currently able to transfer your Membership Rewards points to frequent flyer miles, then changing your account to this new card will enable this ability.
However, if you have the old card, then you might want to wait until you receive the 30% annual points bonus on your account anniversary before making the product change. And since these two cards are considered to be separate products, you always have the option of applying for the new card while keeping the old one.
The Bottom Line
American Express has been taking steps to make its reward cards more competitive, and the new Blue Business Plus card is proof of that effort. By understanding how this new card differs from its predecessor, you can make the best decision for the needs of your business.
Like any credit card offer, always read the full terms and conditions before applying and know where your credit stands. Applying for a card you have little to no chance of getting approved for creates an inquiry on your credit report, lowers your credit score slightly and may make it more difficult to get another card you want. You can check your full business credit score profile for free on Nav.