American Express boosts rewards on Blue for Business: 10X at restaurants and more

Business credit card imageMore shots fired from American Express as we head into the holidays.

The issuer (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) has already enhanced its Platinum and Business Platinum cards’ rewards programs. It hiked the sign-up bonus on its SimplyCash Plus card. It threw in Amazon as a temporary bonus category on its Blue Cash cards. And it tacked on bonus points for purchases at small-business through the end of 2016.

Now, American Express has upgraded a card that, frankly, needed a little more rewards pizzazz: Its Blue for Business credit card.

What’s changing?

In October 2016, American Express announced the following enhancements to Blue for Business for new cardmembers:

  • Limited Time Offer: 10X points at U.S. restaurants for the first six months, on up to $2,000 in purchases. Offer expires 02/01/2017.
  • 2X points on all qualifying purchases on the first $50,000 for the first year. That’s an additional 1 point per dollar spent on purchases.

Other important details about the card include:

  • 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after making your first purchase on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get a 30% annual points bonus based on the past year’s purchases on your Blue for Business Card.
  • 0.0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 11.49%, 15.49% or 19.49%, based on your creditworthiness
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms & Conditions Apply
  • See rates & fees

Do the changes make the card more compelling?

We’ve long considered the Blue for Business card the least glamorous of AmEx’s business lineup, a good fit for business owners who want to avoid annual fees and are comfortable with a modest return on spending. There were no exciting bonus categories and no luxury travel perks — but a nice, predictable 30 percent annual bonus.

The new enhancements, however, may add significantly to the card’s value for you.

If you maximize the 10X points on U.S. restaurants, you’ll be earning a total of 20,000 Membership Rewards points. Since you already earned 1X point per dollar, you can consider that an extra 18,000 MR points in six months. It’s an easy category to maximize, too. No need to shop at specific types of stores or stick to a specific chain. Just use your card at restaurants for six months, or until you hit $2,000 in spending.

It’s also worth noting that 10X is, comparatively, a much-larger-than-normal return on restaurant spending.

Getting 2X points on the first $50k in spending in Year 1 is also a potentially lucrative benefit. Since the Blue for Business card traditionally has not offered bonus categories, it works as a catch-all card for business owners who don’t hit common business-card spending categories (like advertising, electronics and office supplies). Dropping a lot of money on beauty supplies for your make-up artist business? Get 2x back on it for a year.

The bottom line:
If you’re trying to avoid annual fees and appreciate simplicity, the Blue for Business is certainly more compelling that it was before.

If you’re looking for a business card to match a more jet-setting lifestyle (with enhancements like lounge access and reimbursement for TSA PreCheck) (and are willing to pay an annual fee), consider the Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN.

 
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