Those who can’t easily recoup high annual fees on certain Amex business cards via their premium benefits, or who can’t easily take advantage of rotating bonus spending categories, should take a look at two of the most underrated cards for everyday spending in the Amex lineup: the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.
While these two cards are very similar, including their names, they have some significant differences. And both just launched elevated welcome offers, making now a great time to add one to your wallet.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to decide between the Amex Blue Business Cash card and the Amex Blue Business Plus card.
Blue Business Cash vs. Blue Business Plus comparison
|Category||Blue Business Cash||Blue Business Plus|
|Annual fee||$0 (see rates and fees)||$0 (see rates and fees)|
|Welcome offer||Earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your card in your first 3 months of card membership.||Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership.|
|Earning rates||2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 1% back)||2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year (then 1 point per dollar)|
|Additional cardholder limit||99||99|
|Select travel and shopping protections||Yes||Yes|
Blue Business Cash vs. Blue Business Plus welcome offer
Both cards tend to have low — or even nonexistent — welcome offers. Right now, though, both are offering solid welcome bonuses.
With the Blue Business Cash, you can earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your card in your first 3 months of card membership. With the Blue Business Plus, earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership.
Based on TPG points valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each, so the Blue Business Plus bonus is like earning $300 in rewards. However, if you prefer the flexibility of cash-back rewards, earning $250 back is a solid alternative.
Winner: Blue Business Plus for travel-oriented applicants; Blue Business Cash for anyone else
Blue Business Cash vs. Blue Business Plus benefits
While neither card is a premium option, they’re not completely bereft of perks.
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Both cards are among the few that offer Amex’s Expanded Buying Power feature. This allows you to exceed your card’s preset spending limit without being declined or hit with over-limit fees and penalties. Purchases exceeding your credit limit can even earn rewards as usual if you continue to pay at least your minimum balance.
Both cards also field other benefits, such as car rental loss and damage protection,* purchase protection of up to $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account per year,** and extended warranty protection of up to an additional year on items purchased in the U.S. with warranties of five years or less.**
Both the Blue Business Cash and Blue Business Plus come with access to Amex’s Global Assist Hotline, which provides cardholders with 24-hour emergency assistance when you travel more than 100 miles away from home.^
Business owners can take advantage of expense management tools such as QuickBooks and Vendor Pay by Bill.com, which help businesses automate the way they send invoices and pay bills. And both cards include access to targeted discounts and bonuses through the Amex Offers program.
*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
**Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
^Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Cardmembers are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
Earning rewards with the Blue Business Cash vs. Blue Business Plus
The two cards have similar earning structures.
The Blue Business Plus earns 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year (then 1 point per dollar on other purchases).
The Blue Business Cash earns 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 1% cash back on all other purchases).
Neither card has other bonus categories, so they’re an easy way to earn rewards without much effort.
Winner: Tie; like the welcome bonus, this will come down to whether you prefer cash back or Amex points.
Related: Best cash-back credit cards
Redeeming rewards with the Blue Business Cash vs. Blue Business Plus
The cash-back rewards you earn with the Blue Business Cash automatically appear as a statement credit on your monthly bill. While that simple formula might be attractive to some, it also means your redemption options are very limited.
On the other hand, the Blue Business Plus card earns Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be redeemed in many different ways. In general, you can often get the most value by transferring them to one of American Express’ 21 hotel or airline partners. However, you can also use them directly for flights and hotel reservations through American Express Travel — though these are at a fixed value.
If you choose not to redeem your Blue Business Plus points for travel, you can also cash them in for gift cards to cover charges on your billing statement, shop with them directly on Amazon or through the Membership Rewards online mall, donate to charity, or use Pay with Points at checkout with various merchants. However, none of these options will yield a great value for your points (one cent apiece or less).
Winner: Blue Business Plus. You can’t beat the versatility of Amex Membership Rewards points over basic cash back.
Transferring rewards with the Blue Business Cash vs. Blue Business Plus
The cash back you earn on the Blue Business Cash cannot be turned into Amex points, but earnings on the Blue Business Plus are in the form of points. That means you can transfer them to Amex’s 18 airline and 3 hotel partners for the potential for higher value.
Senior credit cards editor Matt Moffitt has this card and looks out for transfer bonuses to key programs such as British Airways Executive Club and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book business-class tickets to long-haul destinations.
Winner: Blue Business Plus.
Should I get the Blue Business Cash or Blue Business Plus?
The two main differences between the Blue Business Plus and Blue Business Cash cards are their welcome offers and rewards. If you’re trying to decide between them, consider whether you would prefer to earn cash back or Amex Membership Rewards points and the travel options they open up.
The Amex Blue Business Plus can be paired with other cards that earn Membership Rewards points, such as the American Express® Business Gold Card, to earn more points in categories where you spend the most. In fact, you can even combine your rewards from the card with personal Amex products — including The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The Amex Blue Business Cash is much more rigid because you can only redeem its rewards as cash back. That might be well worth it for some since you can lower your monthly bill with a statement credit automatically added to your account. While there’s no way to get outsized value from your rewards, it’s pretty much a foolproof way to save.
These two small-business cards from Amex are solid options for everyday spending, with valuable earnings rates and benefits for no annual fee. The Blue Business Cash is suited to those looking for the easier option with only cash-back. However, if you’re looking for more flexibility and greater redemption potential, the Blue Business Plus is the better option.
And with both cards offering elevated welcome bonuses, now could be a great time to add either one to your small business’ arsenal.