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Recently American Express introduced The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, which in my opinion is the most lucrative credit card to be introduced in 2017. The card has no annual fee and offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually. That makes this the single best card for non-bonused spend.
Previously I thought the single most rewarding Amex business card was The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, so in this post I figured I’d compare the two.
Amex Blue Business Plus Card basics
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card has no annual fee and offers double Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent on the card each calendar year. After that you earn one Membership Rewards point per dollar spent. So this is a card that’s most useful for the first $50,000 spent each calendar year.
This is also one of the few no annual fee cards that accrues “full” Membership Rewards points, rather than the ones accrued by some other cards that can’t be transferred to Amex’s hotel or airline partners.
Amex Business Gold Rewards Card basics
The Business Gold Rewards Card has a $175 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. The card offers a huge sign-up bonus, of 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months.
While the Blue Business Plus Card offers a great return on the first $50,000 of non-bonused spend annually, the Business Gold Rewards Card has some great bonus categories. It offers triple points in 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
Then you earn double points in the remaining four categories, and one point per dollar spent on other purchases. The bonus points apply to the first $100,000 spent annually in each of the five categories, so that’s potentially a lot of bonus points!
So… which is better?
As I’ve said before, I’m sort of amazed by how generous the Blue Business Plus Credit Card. This is insanely lucrative for a no annual fee card, and I imagine a small business with less than $50,000 of annual spend will come out ahead with that card, given that it offers double points on all purchases.
However, the math will probably work out differently for bigger businesses that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on their credit cads. The Business Gold Rewards Card offers bonus points in five categories, and on that card the cap is $100,000 of spend annually in each category, so you’ll potentially be earning bonus points on up to $500,000 of spend.
However, if you’re a business that finds yourself in that position, you’re really best off going with both cards. You can use the Blue Business Plus Card for the first $50,000 of non-bonused spend annually, and then you can max out the bonus categories on the Business Gold Rewards Card.
Getting approved for either of these cards should be pretty easy
Generally getting approved for Amex Business Cards is quite easy, even for smaller businesses, provided you have good credit. As a general rule of thumb Amex business card applications don’t count towards Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning that applying for these cards doesn’t count against you for the purposes of being approved for Chase cards in the future.
For that matter, Amex business applications generally don’t show a credit pull on your personal credit score, so there’s virtually no downside to applying.
While both the Blue Business Plus Credit Card and Business Gold Rewards Card have straightforward application processes, one benefit of the Business Gold Rewards Card is that it’s a charge card and not credit card. Typically Amex limits you to having five credit cards at any given point, and applying for a charge card doesn’t count towards that limit.
Given how rewarding the Business Gold Rewards Card is, that it has a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, and that it doesn’t even count as a credit card towards Amex’s limit, this is a card that will likely interest many.
To me, the Blue Business Plus Credit Card and Business Gold Rewards Card are complements and not substitutes. For a small business that doesn’t spend more than $50,000 or so per year, I do think the Blue Business Plus is tough to beat.
However, for a bigger business the Business Gold Rewards Card can make a lot of sense, for the higher cap on the bonus categories. If that describes your situation, then you’re still better off with both cards, so you can get the double points on non-bonused spend with the Blue Business Plus Card, and take advantage of the bonus categories on the Business Gold Rewards Card (not to mention that the card has a 50,000 point sign-up bonus).