American Express® Blue Credit Card Review

Milana Vrachar's picture
Amex Blue Fact

The Amex Blue credit card is an average Membership Rewards credit card, offering only 1x point per $1 on purchases, in addition to the usual Amex benefits and features. While we think this credit card is not worth a hard pull, someone might actually enjoy having a flat-rate rewards card that carries no annual fees.

OverviewAmex Blue
Rewards

• Earn 1x Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
• Earn 2x Membership Rewards points at amextravel.com

Service & Benefits
• Amex App.
• Year-End Summary.
• Entertainment Access.
• ShopRunner.

Security & Protection
• Roadside Assistance Hotline.
• Global Assist Hotline.
• Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance.
• Travel Accident Insurance.
• Return Protection.
• Purchase Protection.
• Extended Warranty.
• Fraud Protection.

Fees
• No annual fee.
• Purchase APR: 15.99, 18.99 or 20.99%.
• Balance transfer APR: 15.99, 18.99 or 20.99%.
• Cash advance APR: 25.99%.
• Balance transfer transaction fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
• Cash advance transaction fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
• Foreign transaction fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
• Penalty fees:
     - Late payment: Up to $38.
     - Returned payment: Up to $38.
     - Penalty APR: 29.99%.
     - No over-the-credit-limit fee.

What We Like
No annual or over-the-credit-limit fee
At least something is good about this credit card: you will not have to pay an annual fee, and in the unlucky event that you go over your credit limit, you will not incur the respective fee.

Double points through Amex Travel
When you purchase flight tickets or book a hotel room through the Amex Travel website, you will earn 2x Membership Rewards points per $1.

ShopRunner
American Express card members can enjoy two-day free shipping and free returns when they shop with ShopRunner, offering access to hundreds of online retail stores, and thousands of brands. You can shop from the comfort of your home or while on the go thanks to tablet and mobile apps, designed especially for ShopRunner members, available for download through https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shoprunner/id573010638the App Store.

What We Like Less
Mediocre earning opportunities

Indeed, once you’ve collected enough points redeemable for great rewards, you will enjoy being part of the program, but since card members will earn no more than 1x point on their purchases, earning a decent amount of Membership Rewards points will be quite a task, requiring a lot of time and money.

No signup bonus
Without a welcome offer, the Amex Blue seems even worse. Even though there are many flat-rate rewards cards out there, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, almost all of them come with decent one-time offers that are supposed to attract customers and entice them to spend money, while giving them something in return at the same time.

Foreign transaction fees
If you’re a regular customer, looking to earn some points for rewards, such as merchandise or gift cards, then you won’t mind the presence of FX fees on this credit card. Nonetheless, Membership Rewards is primarily a travel rewards program, and it is somewhat unacceptable for such a Membership Rewards credit card to carry foreign transaction fees. It’s a huge no-no.

Whom is this card good for?
• People who’ve just joined Membership Rewards and are looking for an entry-level credit card.
• People who don’t plan to redeem points for travel rewards.
Who should not get this card?
• People who want to make the most out of their purchases and earn much more points should definitely consider another Membership Rewards card from the lot.

Which card should I get if I don’t like this one?
1. Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
If you want a no-annual-fee card that can help you earn Membership Rewards points on your daily purchases, then get the Amex EveryDay! Not only does this card offers 2x points on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets, and 2x points at amextravel.com, but it also comes with 10,000 bonus points worth $100 in travel redemptions after you spend $1,000 within the first three months! Additionally, if you use your card 20 times or more within a month, you will receive 20% bonus points on those purchases!

Since adding authorized users won’t cost you a penny, you can share your account with your family members, and earn points on their purchases as well. However, you shouldn’t forget that you’re the one who has to pay for all the charges additional card members make. On the brighter side, with great fraud protection American Express offers, you will never be held responsible for any fraudulent charges, so you can shop with confidence. Travel and purchase protection coverage is also included, together with other perks, such as ShopRunner, annual account report, and the Amex Mobile app.

2. Venture From Capital One
The Venture card is very easy to use, and what card members also love is Capital One’s excellent customer service. Rewards-wise, the Venture offers unlimited 2x miles on all your purchases, and 40,000 bonus points after $3,000 spent within the first three months. Each mile is worth one cent, so you will always know how much you need to earn to redeem a particular reward. Since miles never expire, you will have plenty of time to collect them, and redeem at any time. Not only does the Venture come with extraordinary Capital One and Visa Signature benefits, but it also has a low annual fee of $59, which is waived for the first year!

The Venture is a great alternative to the Amex Blue, for many reasons. First, the former has a great signup bonus and a better earning scheme. Second, it does not charge any foreign transaction fees. Third, it’s a Visa Signature, which means you can use at more locations than Amex cards. Fourth, Capital One offers more credit and account management tools, so you’ll be able to monitor your credit card spending whenever you want.

3. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card
People who get the FlexPerks Amex will enjoy many perks, such as a $25 airline allowance per reward ticket, free Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide, and a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit. New card members will earn 30,000 points after they spend $2,000 within the first four months (up to a $600 airline ticket), in addition to 3x points at restaurants, 2x points at gas stations and airlines, and 1x point on all other purchases.

Amex provides cardholders with outstanding Amex CONNECT travel benefits, but other valuable perks are included as well, such as National Car Rental discounts, Global Dining Program membership, no FX fees, and full travel and purchase protection. Even though this card comes with a $85 fee, if you travel often and spend most of your money on dining out and flight tickets, then you shouldn’t even look at the cost, since the benefits offered on this card (Wi-Fi, air allowance, application reimbursement) are worth at least three times more. Not to mention how easy it is to earn points, and use your card, especially with all that travel and purchase coverage. On the other hand, if you’re not interested in travel, you should check out the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, which offers up to 5% cash back.

Bottom Line
Even though the Amex Blue might seem like a good credit card in some part of the Universe, we strongly believe it’s not worth your time, simply because there are much better credit card offers. American Express has other decent Membership Rewards cards that are worth considering. With excellent credit score, you can get any rewards card you want, so, please stay away from the Amex Blue.

The Amex Blue credit card is an average Membership Rewards credit card, offering only 1x point per $1 on purchases, in addition to the usual Amex benefits and features. While we think this credit card is not worth a hard pull, someone might actually enjoy having a flat-rate rewards card that carries no annual fees.

OverviewAmex Blue