American Express Blue Credit Card
Blue from American Express is one of only two Amex cards with no annual fee that earns Membership Rewards points. These points can be redeemed for a wide variety of rewards, such as gift cards, hotel rooms and airline tickets. If you have another Membership Rewards card that has an annual fee and you don’t have any upcoming travel plans, you should consider getting the Blue card instead. That way you can keep your points from expiring and you’ll avoid the added cost of an annual fee.
Unlike other Membership Rewards cards, the Blue card does not allow you to transfer points to hotel and airline partners. Therefore, while the Blue card can keep you from forfeiting your points, you will not be able to use them for the most valuable redemptions. In this sense, the Blue card is more like a cash back card than a travel rewards card.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the American Express® Blue offers and the value of the AMEX Membership Rewards® points you earn.
Unfortunately, the Blue card does not have a sign-up bonus or any type of spending bonus.
The great thing about Membership Rewards is that they never expire. As long as you keep at least one Membership Rewards earning card open, you can keep your point alive indefinitely.
What is the value of the Membership Rewards® Points?
Membership Rewards can be redeemed through the American Express travel site or by transferring to partners. Keep in mind that the Blue card does not allow transfers to partners, but points can be combined with other Membership Rewards cards that do have this benefit. If you use points to buy travel via AmexTravel.com, you can generally expect to receive around 1 cent per point. If you have another Membership Rewards card that allows you to transfer to partners, you’re points can be worth a lot more. The chart below reflects the potential value of transferred points.
FIRST YEAR REWARDS
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles or points. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile or point you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket by the number of miles or points the award flight costs. That amount is multiplied by the number of miles or points earned per dollar spent on everyday purchases to account for cards that earn more than one mile per dollar spent.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem Membership Rewards Points
The best way to get the best value out of your Membership Rewards with the Blue card is to redeem for travel, gift cards or donate them to charity. These options return a value at or near one cent per point. If you have another Membership Rewards card that allows transfers to partners, you could get even more value by taking advantage of redemptions made directly from airline frequent flyer programs.
Amex also allows redemptions for statement credits and merchandise, but at rates far below 1 cent per point, it’s best to avoid these options.
Atlanta–CharlotteEconomy classMiles price47,000points+$0 feeDollars price$235
Charlotte–HoustonEconomy classMiles price50,600points+$0 feeDollars price$253
Orlando–DallasEconomy classMiles price61,400points+$0 feeDollars price$307
Houston–FrankfurtEconomy classMiles price355,400points+$0 feeDollars price$1,777
Los Angeles–CairoEconomy classMiles price223,200points+$0 feeDollars price$1,116
Houston–BejingEconomy classMiles price194,800points+$0 feeDollars price$974
Dallas–ChicagoBusiness classMiles price112,800points+$0 feeDollars price$564
Dallas–BaltimoreBusiness classMiles price141,400points+$0 feeDollars price$707
Baltimore–Fort MayersBusiness classMiles price145,400points+$0 feeDollars price$727
Washington–PortoBusiness classMiles price100,820points+$0 feeDollars price$889
Los Angeles–Tel AvivBusiness classMiles price880,600points+$0 feeDollars price$4,403
Atlanta–MadridBusiness classMiles price808,800points+$0 feeDollars price$4,044
Other ways you can redeem points
Hotel Stays3 partners3 part.
You can book hotel stays at virtually any hotel through the Amex Travel website. If you have another Membership Rewards card that allows transfers, you can transfer your points to three hotel loyalty programs: Choice Privleges, Hilton Honors and SPG.
Car Rental4 partners4 part.
You can use your Membership Rewards points to purchase certificates that can be used to rent cars from Amex’s partners. You’ll get a cent per point.
Gift Cards64 partners64 part.
Points can be redeemed for a wide variety of gift cards, including many restaurants.
Uber Rides1 partners1 partners
You can use Membership Rewards to pay in-app for Uber rides.
Points can be redeemed for cash back in the form of a statement credit, but only at a rate of 0.6 cents per point.
Everyday Earnings with Amex Blue Credit card
The Blue card earns a flat rate of 1 point per dollar on all spending. The only exception to this is booking travel through AmexTravel.com, which earns 2 points per dollar.
- Car Rental
- Brand earn
- All Other Purchases
Like most no-annual fee cards, the Blue card does not offer any special travel benefits.
Foreign Transaction Fee:
You’ll be charged a 2.7% fee to use your card outside of the U.S.
Earn Elite Status Fast
The Blue card does not offer any shortcuts to elite status via qualifying miles, stays or spending requirement waivers.
Fees: the cost of Having Amex Blue Credit card
Since the Blue card does have an annual fee, there is no spending requirement to cover the costs. This makes the card easy to keep even if you find yourself not spending much on the card.
- Annual Fee
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $38
Blue from American Express® is a no-fee card. You do not have to earn a certain amount of rewards in order to cover the cost since it’s free. It’s still good to know roughly how much you’ll be earning, though. We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of Blue from American Express®
The Blue card from American Express is a no-annual fee card that earns valuable Membership Rewards points. It is a good card to hold to keep your points alive, especially if you don’t have any travel plans in the near future.
- Earn a Valuable Rewards Currency: It is possible to get excellent value from Membership Rewards points by transferring to airline partners. While you would need to pair this card with another to have that ability, you can earn points with the Blue card and combine later.
- Double Points on Travel Bookings: Book travel through AmexTravel.com and get 2 points per dollar.
- No Annual Fee: There is no out-of- pocket cost to carry this card. That means all the rewards you earn are essentially free. How can you beat that?
- Amex Offers: Save lots of money by spending at specific merchants with exclusive offers from Amex.
- Points Never Expire: As long as you keep your account open, your points will never expire and you don’t have to pay any fees to keep them alive.
Should You Get Blue from American Express®?
The Blue card from American Express is good for people looking for a free way to begin accruing Membership Rewards. Since the card has no annual fee, it can be held indefinitely for no cost. This card may appeal to people who are just beginning to get into the travel rewards hobby. It may take a while to accrue enough points for a dream vacation and some people may not want to carry cards with annual fees while they save up points and miles.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- While issuers don’t publish the exact scores required to be approved for specific credit cards, we can use other people’s experiences as well as advertising from the issuers to determine the target market. You can be approved for the Blue card from American Express with a below average FICO score in the range of 630 to 690. If you are on the low end of this range, most cards with better rewards will not be attainable.
- Yes, Blue from American Express is free. This is one of only two cards that earn Membership Rewards that doesn’t charge an annual fee.
- American Express publishes a catalog that displays options to redeem your Membership Rewards for merchandise. Redeeming points via this option is generally a terrible idea. The prices are extremely inflated and result in getting very poor value for your points, generally around 0.5 cents per point.
Compare American Express Credit Cards
Other American Express Credit Cards
American Express offers a wide variety of cards, including another Membership Rewards card that has no annual fee. For those willing to pay annual fees, the benefits are significantly better.
|American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card||American Express® Green Card||Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card|
|Sign-up bonus||25,000 points||0 points||0 points||15,000 points|
|Annual Fee||$0 for the first year, then $195||$0||$0 first year, then $95||$95|
|APR On Purchases||N/A||16.49% to 21.49% Variable±||N/A||14.24% to 24.24% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$434||$120||$434||$434|
The Amex Everyday card has no annual fee and earns Membership Rewards. In addition, it has two additional ways to earn extra points. The card earns 2X at grocery stores for up to $6,000 in spending per year. You also earn 20 percent bonus points in any billing period in which you make at least 20 transactions. Unlike the Blue card, the Everyday card comes with the ability to transfer points to hotel and airline partners. It is the only no-annual fee card of any major transferable points program that has this ability.
The American Express Green card is the lowest card in Amex’s lineup of charge cards. The difference between a charge card and credit card is that you must pay your balance in full each month with a charge card and there is no predefined spending limit. The Green card has no sign-up bonus and no bonus categories for extra points earning, yet it carries an annual fee of $95 after the first year. This is a poor value proposition and there are definitely better cards for travelers to consider.
Compare Membership Rewards Cards to Other Cards
All of cards below earn points which can be redeemed directly for travel at a fixed rate. None of them offer the ability to transfer points to partners, although in the case of the Amex and Citi cards the points can be combined with those earned on other cards that offer transfers.
As you can see, there are other no-annual fee cards on the market that offer better benefits than the Blue card from Amex. The Citi ThankYou Preferred card offers a 15,000 points sign-up bonus and gets 2X points on dining and entertainment. Points can be combined with other Citi ThankYou cards that offer transfers to partners.
The Discover it Miles card also has no annual fee, but it does not come with a sign-up bonus. However, the earning rate is excellent at 3 percent cash back on all spending during the first year, and 1.5 percent thereafter.
The Venture Rewards card from Capital One carries an annual fee of $59 after the first year, but also has a relatively large sign-up bonus at 40,000 points. The card earns a flat 2X points on all spending, but points are not transferable to any partners.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the by the Blue from American Express®, it's worth taking a closer look at the card's terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with the Amex card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.49% to 21.49% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 25 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- The length of your warranty can be matched for up to one additional year when you use your American Express®Card for eligible purchases that come with an original U.S. manufacturer's warranty of five years or less. Coverage is up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.
- Purchase Protection:
- When you use your Card for eligible purchases, it's nice to know that theft and accidental damage are covered for up to 90 days and $1,000 per occurrence. There’s a maximum of $50,000 per calendar year.
- Return Protection:
- If you attempt to return an eligible item purchased with your Card within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won't take it back, Return Protection may provide a refund. Limited to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. Purchases must be made in the U.S. and its territories.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.49% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
Amex offers a variety of security features, such as chip cards, account alerts and mobile banking. You are never liable for fraudulent charges.
- Account Alerts:
- Set up alerts to be notified by email or text for fraud alerts, large purchases, irregular activity, card not present transactions and more.
- Banking on the Go:
- Amex offers a mobile app with a great deal of functionality.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
- Credit Score Monitoring:
- Amex offers free FICO scores and can help you understand the factors affecting your score.
Amex offers mobile apps for both Android and Apple. These allow you to see activity and statements, make payments and contact customer service. The app also allows you to:
- See your available credit
- Receive travel notifications
- Check your Amex offers for available discounts while you are shopping
Additional Cardholder Benefits
American Express cards offer some unique card benefits relative to Visa and MasterCard, especially Amex Offers that can result in a ton of savings over time.
American Express Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Amex Offers are opportunities to get discounts or extra points for making purchases from select merchants. These offers are always changing, so check your card for new opportunities.
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance:
- Coverage for theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
- Roadside Assistance Hotline:
- Call for emergency services like towing, changing flat tires or jumping a dead battery.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- Receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.
- Global Assist Hotline:
- Legal and medical referrals, and other travel and emergency assistance is available any time of day when you travel more than 100 miles from home.