Increased Sign-Up Bonus On Most Rewarding No Annual Fee Business Card

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Update: This offer for The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express is expired. Learn more about the best available offer here.

Update: This offer for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is expired, but there’s currently an opportunity to earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Learn more about the special offer here.


Link: The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express

American Express has just announced an increased sign-up bonus on The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express, which is valid through April 20, 2016. This isn’t a card I’ve put much thought into in the past, though I think it might just offer the best return on everyday spend of any business credit card… and it has no annual fee!

Card sign-up bonus

The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points after making your first purchase on the card within your first three months of card membership, which is the standard sign-up bonus.

Beyond that, the limited time sign-up bonus is offering an additional 10,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership.

In other words, the total sign-up bonus is 20,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within six months.

That’s not a huge sign-up bonus, though in general American Express doesn’t offer huge sign-up bonuses nowadays, at least when compared to the likes of Chase and Citi. So I would guess that this is as good of a publicly available sign-up bonus as we’ll see.

No annual fee card

The card has no annual fee. Not the first year. Not any year. Typically a card with no annual fee translates to watered down points earnings, though that’s not the case here.

The card’s return on everyday spend

The card offers the following structure for earning points:

  • 2x Membership Rewards points for each dollar of eligible purchases made when you book on the American Express Travel website
  • 1x Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
  • A 30% annual points bonus on your past year’s purchases on your Blue for Business Card

Here are the terms & conditions on that 30% annual bonus:

You will receive a relationship bonus in the form of Membership Rewards® points for eligible purchases made using your Blue for Business® Credit Card. The number of Membership Rewards points you receive will equal 30% of eligible purchases charged to your Card account during an anniversary year. The relationship bonus will be posted to your Membership Rewards account no later than thirty days after the anniversary of your Card account occurs. Your account must be in good standing to receive your relationship bonus each anniversary year. An anniversary year is 12 billing periods in a row, beginning with the one in which the anniversary of your Card account occurs. Eligible purchases are purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents. Additional terms and restrictions apply.

As you can see, the 30% bonus posts to your account no later than 30 days after the account anniversary of your card (so the bonus is based on your cardmember year and not the calendar year).

Singapore-Suites-1
Redeem Membership Rewards points for travel in Singapore Suites Class

Crunching the numbers on this card

I value AmEx Membership Rewards points at 1.8 cents each. For all intents and purposes you’re earning 1.3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the card. These are Membership Rewards points you can transfer to airline and hotel transfer partners as long as you have another Amex card enrolled in the “full” Membership Rewards program (ie, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American ExpressThe Platinum Card® from American Express, etc.)

Crunching the numbers, that means your return on the card is 2.34% per dollar spent on everyday purchases. Which is amazing for a no annual fee business card.

Lufthansa-First-Class-747 - 1
Transfer Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan for travel in Lufthansa first class

To compare that to some of the other best business cards out there (both those with annual fees, as well as those without):

  • The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers one Starpoint per dollar spent; I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, making the return on this card ~2.2% ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95)
  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN offers 3x points on one category of your choice from the following: Airfare purchased directly from airlines; U.S. purchases for advertising in select media; U.S. purchases at gas stations; U.S. purchases for shipping; U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers; 2x points on the 4 remaining categories. 1x points on other purchases; fantastic option for those who spend a lot on business cards, though different than a no annual fee card ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175)
  • The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers bonus points on gas stations, dining, office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services; that being said, each point is only worth one cent each, unless combined with a card which accrues “premium” Ultimate Rewards points; I value the return on this card at 1% for everyday spend, and higher for spend in bonus categories ($0 annual fee)
  • The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card offers similar bonus categories to the Ink Cash Card, except the points it accrues are “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to airline partners; I value those points at ~1.6 cents each, making the return on the card anywhere from ~1.6% to ~8% ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95)

Bottom line

I’m not sure why I hadn’t looked more into The Blue for Business Card in the past.

If you spend a ton on your business credit card in consistent categories, you’re best off with something like the The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.

However, earning a return of ~2.34% is impressive (especially on a business card, as they’re generally not quite as rewarding as personal cards). If you’re looking for a new business credit card, I’d highly recommend considering  The Blue for Business Card. I doubt we’ll see a higher publicly available sign-up bonus on the card than this anytime soon.

I’m seriously considering applying for this card, as I don’t have a business credit card with a return this good. With no annual fee, there’s very little downside, to boot!


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Comments

  1. @Mason – you’re partially correct. If one has *only* this Blue for Business card and no other higher-benefit MR card, the MR points are NOT transferable. Only if one has a MR-earning card that allows transfers, then the MR points earned on this Blue card can be transferred.

    Ben’s post doesn’t mention this fact.

  2. Ben, Would the “Blue for Business” card be an “easy to get approved” opportunity for someone who does not own/operate a sole proprietorship business (e.g. I would never attempt to apply for a Chase Ink card) but would like to ease in to establishing a “business credit card” credit history despite working for a multinational corporation? Background: I maintain three AMEX cards including Platinum with a 35 year spotless payment history and 800+ FICO. Many thanks.

  3. @Lucky.

    I real wish you would included the limitations on The Business Gold Rewards Amex card. It’s a great card for up to 100 K per bonus category, after that not so much.

    Terms and limitations apply.‡ 3X and 2X apply to first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter.

    You may select the category in which to earn 3X points within the first two months of becoming a Card Member. Thereafter, you can change your selection only once during the annual selection period which runs from December 1st to January 31st each year. You can only change your category once annually.

  4. @No Name – Thanks. I’ll have to wait a bit till I get rid of one of the credit cards in case a better offer shows up.

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