The new Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express was just announced this week, and I think it’s shaping up to be one of the best options for small business owners. I was already thinking of opening a Business Gold Rewards Card. Now I’ve changed my mind and will probably apply for the Blue Business Plus instead.
What makes this card so special? The best feature is that there are no bonus categories. Everything earns two Membership Rewards points per dollar, up to the first $50,000 in purchases. (One point per dollar after that.) This is plenty for most small businesses, especially if you’re covering payroll or inventory through more traditional checking accounts. That only leaves other overhead and incidental expenses to be put on a credit card.
I’ve never focused too seriously on which card I use for my small business expenses because the fact is there aren’t a lot of expenses other than payroll and travel that I have to deal with. There are plenty of personal cards I can use for better travel rewards. Everything else is evenly distributed — I don’t care too much about a bonus in any one category because only a small number of purchases fall in that category, limiting the value of that bonus.
The ability to earn 2X points on everything, regardless of the purchase category, is much more attractive. When I start adding up hosting fees, advertising, a new computer and some other stuff then we get closer to $50,000.
There are other business cards that offer cash back — even 2% — but Membership Rewards are much more valuable. You can transfer them to a variety of airlines and even redeem them directly for travel, usually at a rate above 1 cent each. So getting two Membership Rewards points per dollar is better than getting 2% cash back. I personally value Membership Rewards points at close to 1.5 or 1.7 cents per dollar — equivalent to 3-3.4% on my purchases if I’m getting 2 points per dollar. I could even pay taxes on this card and earn some decent rewards after subtracting the transaction fee.
Right now you can apply for the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express and get 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Even if you’ve had other Amex business cards in the past, this is an entirely new product so you’ll still be eligible for the bonus. Plus, there’s no annual fee on this card, making it even more attractive compared to some other products.
The timing is great for me, since I was planning to get a new business credit card anyway. If you’re currently using a business credit card that has a high annual fee or lackluster rewards, you might want to consider it, too.