If you’re looking for a rewards card without an annual fee, consider the Blue from American Express credit card. This card offers membership bonus points, travel incentives, and shopping benefits. While you’ll need a good-to-excellent credit score to get approved, it’s not limited to just Americans. Newcomers to the U.S. can use their international credit history to apply.
Read more to determine if the Blue from American Express is the right card for you.
Blue from American Express fees
Unlike with the Cash Magnet Credit Card, the Blue from American Express credit card does not offer an intro APR. You must pay the regular APR from the first month of card ownership.
American Express charges a variable APR for purchases and balance transfers that are requested within 60 days of account opening. If you choose to transfer your balance, there’s a transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5)—whichever is greater.
Cash advances have a variable rate APR of 26.24%, along with a 5% (minimum $10) fee for each cash withdrawal. Foreign transactions come with a 2.7% fee, which makes the Blue from American Express card less attractive than other card options to cardholders who frequently travel outside the U.S.
AmericanExpress Blue Rewards Card benefits
Earn membership points
The American Express Blue Rewards Credit Card has a very straightforward rewards system: 1x bonus point for each eligible dollar spent on the card.
You’ll earn a reward on all purchases whether you are spending money at a grocery store, supermarket, gas station, restaurant, airport or online.
Membership points are redeemable in several different ways such as statement credits, airline tickets, hotel bookings, online retailer purchases, gift cards, and more. There is no expiration date on bonus points, and Amex does not have a limit on how many points you can earn per year.
The Blue from American Express card provides a significant advantage to travelers who arrange their trips through AmexTravel.com by providing 2x bonus points on those purchases covering airline tickets, prepaid hotel stays, vacation or cruise packages, and much more.
As a cardholder, you’ll also receive access to the American Express Global Assist Hotline, an emergency service that kicks in when you travel at least 100 miles from home.
Members may contact the hotline 24/7 to receive assistance related to financial, legal, medical, or other travel accidents.
Individuals who frequently rent cars when they travel outside their home city will benefit significantly from the Blue from American Express card because Amex provides car rental loss and damage insurance to every cardholder.
The Amex rental car insurance policy covers collision damage and loss, which means that card holders can decline the collision damage coverage offered by the rental company. Car rental insurance is available in every country except Australia, New Zealand and Italy.
Shopping and entertainment perks
Every Blue card holder receives complimentary access to the Shoprunner shipping service. Shoprunner partners with more than 100 retailers to offer free two-day shipping for online purchases.
Amex Blue card holders can shop at retailers such as Hugo Boss, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Tommy Hilfiger and select complimentary two-day shipping on every purchase.
Being an Amex card holder also provides value when buying tickets to events in major U.S. cities. American Express partners with sites such as Ticketmaster to provide Amex cardholder with exclusive access to pre-sales tickets for sports games, concerts, theater performances, and other special events before they go on sale to the public.
Individuals can also spend knowing they are protected against any fraudulent charges. When card holders notice an unusual charge on their credit card statement, they can contact American Express to have the matter resolved as soon as possible. The purchase protection means Amex does not charge a deductible or penalize card members for unauthorized charges.
One major con, however: several popular Amex shopping perks, such as the extended warranty, return protection, and Pay It Plan It service, are not available on the Blue rewards credit card.
What is the American Express Membership Rewards program?
The American Express Membership Rewards program is designed to provide card holders with ample opportunities to redeem the bonus points they earn on their credit cards.
While the company does not necessarily disclose the exact dollar-to-points ration, experts estimate that an Amex bonus point has a value of anywhere from 0.5 cents to 1 cent, depending on how it is redeemed.
American Express card holders may redeem their membership rewards points by paying through the following methods:
- Pay with points at checkout
- Redeem for gift cards
- Cover your card charges
- Book or upgrade travel
- Transfer points
- Go shopping
You can use membership rewards points to pay for purchases at online retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Saks Fifth Avenue, and more. Gift cards are available for a wide range of companies.
Travel must be booked through AmexTravel.com, but you can transfer points to participating loyalty programs. Amex partners with frequent flyer and loyalty programs from around the world, such as Aeroclub, Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Delta SkyMiles, Etihad Guest, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Is the Blue from American Express card your ideal rewards credit card?
The Blue from American Express credit card rewards program is simple to understand: one membership point for each dollar on eligible purchases and two points on any purchases made on AmexTravel.com
Amex offers many opportunities to redeem its bonus points, which can be used towards purchases, statement credits, airline tickets and hotel bookings. They can also be withdrawn for use on eligible frequent flyer programs.
The value of Amex points is anywhere from 0.5 cents to 1 cent per bonus point. It means an individual who spends $1,000 on the Blue card would have a cash back rewards rate of 0.5% to 1% on everyday spending. The rewards rate goes up if you spend money at AmexTravel.com, as these bonus points are doubled for any purchases on the site.
That being said, while the Blue card may be simple, it offers few special or appealing rewards. Given the value of American Express Membership Rewards points, the cash back rating of the Blue rewards card is anywhere from 0.5% to 1% cash back. While the double points offer on AmexTravel.com could make the card appealing to frequent travelers, the lack of other travel perks and 2.7% foreign transaction fees mean that it is not even the best Amex travel card on offer.
Why the Blue from American Express card might not be right for you
The bottom line is that the Blue from American Express is an entry-level credit card with a straightforward rewards system. Card holders earn 1x bonus points for each purchase, along with 2x bonus points on spending at AmexTravel.com. But if benefits are your main aim, explore other options.
Other card companies—including American Express—offer credit cards with low to no annual fees, generous cash back rewards and other appealing perks to frequent shoppers and travelers.
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