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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.
Early last week I wrote about the no annual fee Blue for Business Amex Card, which is offering an increased sign-up bonus through July 29, 2016, as follows:
- 10,000 Membership Rewards points after making your first purchase on the card within your first three months of Card Membership
- For a limited time, an additional 10,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of Card Membership
So that’s a total of 20,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within six months. While that might not sound like a huge sign-up bonus, it’s actually pretty substantial for a no annual fee card. Furthermore, in general American Express cards don’t offer huge sign-up bonuses nowadays. This is the highest publicly available sign-up bonus I’ve seen on the card, for what it’s worth.
What makes the Blue for Business Card compelling?
What makes this card so compelling is the return it offers on everyday spend, in particular for a no annual fee card.
Specifically, 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
In other words, you earn 1.3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent with the card. That’s an incredible return for everyday, non-bonused spend on any card, let alone a no annual fee card.
The Blue for Business Card “catch”
The catch is that this card accrues “basic” Membership Rewards points. These are Membership Rewards points which can’t be transferred to Membership Rewards airline partners, like Air Canada Aeroplan, Delta SkyMiles, Singapore KrisFlyer, etc.
I value Membership Rewards points at 1.8 cents each precisely because of the ability to transfer them to airline partners. That does slightly limit the value of these points, at least on the surface.
How do you maximize the return on the Blue for Business?
It’s quite simple. As long as you have another American Express card which accrues “premium” Membership Rewards points, you can pool those points together, and transfer them all at the “premium” level.
This means having any card which accrues “premium” Membership Rewards points, like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express, etc., would make you eligible to convert the “basic” Membership Rewards points to airline partners.
For example, if you’re looking for a personal card, perhaps the most compelling is the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which is one of the two cards I use most for my everyday spend.
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has a $95 annual fee and offers the following return on spend, which is just about unrivaled by any other card, in my opinion:
- 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x)
- 2x points at US gas stations
- 1x points on other purchases
- Use your card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits
But there’s even a no annual fee version of the card — The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card — which accrues “premium” Membership Rewards points. It’s the only no annual fee card which does that, actually. It offers the following return on everyday spend:
- 2x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x)
- 1x points on other purchases
- Use your card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits
But as long as you have either of those cards (or any other card which accrues “premium” Membership Rewards points) and link them to the Blue for Business Amex Card, you can transfer them all to the airline partners at the standard conversion rates.
Transfer Membership Rewards points to Singapore Airlines for travel in Suites Class
While there are niche business cards which offer great category bonuses, like The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN or Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, if maximized properly I don’t think there’s a business card which offers a higher return on everyday, non-bonused spend than this. Essentially earning 1.3 Membership Rewards points per dollar is a great return, in particular if you can convert those points into “premium” Membership Rewards points in conjunction with another Amex card.