The Blue from American Express® offers applicants with a thinner credit profile a rare opportunity to collect valuable Membership Rewards® points.
Compared to other no-annual-fee American Express rewards cards, the Blue from American Express® card doesn't have a lot to offer cardholders with excellent credit. It doesn’t advertise a welcome bonus, nor does it offer a big points program or a 0% APR. But if your credit score is too low to qualify for a more generous card, the Blue from American Express® is worth your attention — especially if you’re a frequent traveler.
For example, this frequently overlooked entry-level rewards card offers cardholders with good to average credit the rare opportunity to collect transferable points with every purchase. Even better: American Express boasts one of the most generous hotel and airline transfer programs around, giving you the chance to squeeze significantly more value from your rewards card than you’ll typically get from an entry-level card.
The rewards program from the Blue from American Express® is simple, especially compared to many points rewards cards.
In most cases, you’ll Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every eligible dollar you spend. You can double your earnings if you use your Blue from American Express® to book travel through Amextravel.com.
The Blue from American Express® doesn’t offer a comparable bonus on other purchases. But if you use your card regularly, you should still be able to collect a fair number of points. Charging $600 a month to your card, for example, will leave you with at least 7,200 points after one year. Depending on how you redeem your points, that’s worth anywhere from $36 to $72 or more in rewards purchases.
The two-point bonus on Amextravel.com purchases can also add up. For example, the American Express travel portal allows you to book flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises. So if you were to spend $1,000 on airfare for two passengers, $300 on three nights of lodging and another $200 on a car rental, you’d collect at least 3,000 points — worth up to $30 or more –– just from that one three-night trip.
What are Membership Rewards points worth?
Membership Rewards points are some of the best rewards currencies available, shining in both flexibility and value. However, not all redemption options are worth the same — we found a range between 0.5 cent to 2.2 cents (Note: To get the full value from your points, you'll need to pool your points with a premium Amex card, like the American Express® Green Card. Otherwise, points earned with the Blue from American Express® card are worth 1 cent at most.)
Membership Rewards are an exceptionally valuable and flexible rewards currency, with a huge variety of redemption options, including gift cards, travel and statement credits for everyday purchases.
You can expect more spending power, though, when you use your points to book travel. For example, Membership Rewards points are worth 1 cent each if you book airfare through the American Express travel portal.
You won’t get nearly as big a return on merchandise or gift cards. You can expect points redeemed for non-travel related purchases to be valued around 0.5 cent to 1 cent each. Unfortunately, cash back (i.e., statement credits) also has a low redemption value of 0.6 cent per point. In short, if you don't intend to redeem your points for flights, the Blue from American Express® card is probably not the most rewarding entry-level card.
Membership Rewards points are even more valuable if you transfer your points to other travel loyalty programs. Point values vary widely, depending on the American Express travel partner.
In general, though, ValuePenguin has found that transferred Membership Rewards points tend to be worth 2.2. cents each, on average. The Blue from American Express® card does not allow you to transfer points — you must own a premium Membership Rewards card, such as the American Express® Gold Card or American Express® Green Card to transfer points. However, you could potentially start collecting points with the Blue from American Express® Card and then open one of these premium cards once your credit improves to transfer all the points you've collected.
|Transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs||Depends on program (around 2.2 cents on average)|
|Book flights through the Amex Travel portal||1 cent|
|Book hotels through the Amex Travel portal||0.7 cent|
|Redeem for gift cards||0.5-1 cent|
|Shop with points||0.5 cent|
|Pay with your points at checkout||0.7-1 cent|
|Cover your card charges and receive a statement credit||0.6 cent|
What credit score do you need to apply for the Blue from American Express® card?
Blue from American Express® is an entry-level card for borrowers new to Membership Rewards, so it’s not as difficult to qualify for as other American Express cards. But this isn’t a card for applicants with poor credit scores: You’ll need a credit score of at least 700 to qualify. If you're worried about your approval odds, you can visit the Amex site to see if you prequalify.
The Blue from American Express® card also offers a modest number of perks, including some benefits that are exclusive to American Express. Some of the most notable benefits Blue from American Express® cardholders can access include:
When you pay the full balance for a car rental with your Blue from American Express® card and decline the car rental company’s optional insurance coverage, you’ll automatically qualify for up to $50,000 in car rental loss and damage insurance for up to 30 days. That should be more than enough to cover any damages you incur if you stick to renting a standard vehicle. Note, the coverage is secondary and kicks in after other insurance policies.
Once you become an American Express member, you’ll also get access to presale concert and event tickets, including virtual experiences from leading performing arts centers and other venues. For example, some of the events American Express advertised at press time included:
- Interactive virtual cooking demonstrations led by celebrated chefs
- A virtual performance of King Lear put on by the renowned Stratford Festival
- A virtual Rock of Ages performance
- A virtual performance celebrating The Temptations
If you do need to carry a balance and the Blue from American Express® ’s variable APR makes you nervous, you may be able to pay for some purchases with monthly installments and a fixed fee of up to 1.33% per purchase. Your purchase will need to be at least $100 or more, though, to qualify.
How does the Blue from American Express® card compare to other cards?
Comparing the Blue from American Express® card to most no-annual-fee American Express rewards cards is like comparing apples to oranges. This card is best for people who don’t have perfect credit and so don’t usually qualify for the most generous cards from American Express. But if you can get a hold of a higher-tier card, such as the The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express or the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, you’ll typically be better off.
Here’s a closer look at some other cards you might consider.
Blue from American Express® vs. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
If you’re purely interested in getting the most rewards per dollar spent, then you’ll almost certainly get more value from the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express — assuming you can qualify for it. Unlike the Blue from American Express® card, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers a generous welcome bonus and a significant amount of bonus cash for U.S. supermarket, department store and U.S. gas station purchases (in the form of statement credits). For example, you could earn up to $180 just from spending $500 a month on groceries. If you spent the same amount of money buying groceries with the Blue from American Express® , you’d earn just 6,000 Membership Rewards points. That, in turn, would be worth just $30 to $60 or so in value, depending on how you redeem your points.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express may not be for you, though, if you’re a frequent traveler who's trying to collect points that you can use with one or more American Express travel partners. In that case, the Blue from American Express® may be a better fit for you. Or, if you can qualify for it, the American Everyday card or another American Express points card may be a better choice.
For rates and fees of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
Blue from American Express® vs. the American Express® Green Card
Similar to the Blue from American Express® card, the American Express® Green Card is another humble legacy card that’s been around for years, but doesn’t get as much attention as other American Express cards. But unlike the Blue from American Express® card, the recently revamped American Express® Green Card charges a hefty $150 annual fee.
The American Express® Green Card also differs from the Blue from American Express® card with its comparatively lucrative rewards program. For example, it offers a hearty welcome bonus and generous rewards bonuses on restaurant meals (including takeout and delivery), travel and transit purchases. If you eat out often enough or purchase a lot of travel or public transit fare, you’ll rack up enough points with the American Express® Green Card to justify the annual fee.
Blue from American Express® vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Deciding between the Blue from American Express® card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card largely comes down to whether you can qualify for the Venture card and whether you want to pay an annual fee.
Like other higher tier rewards cards, the marquee Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card trumps the Blue from American Express® card in multiple ways. For example, it offers an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus and lets you earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. It also makes redeeming miles for travel easy by letting you charge any qualifying travel purchase you like and then "erase" it from your statement with a credit. Another benefit for travelers: It doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.
But, as mentioned, in addition to being harder to qualify for, it charges a hefty $95 annual fee. Also, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card's point transfer program is not as robust as Membership Rewards. If you hold on to your points until you can upgrade to a better card, you may be able to get more value from the Blue from American Express® card.
Is Blue from American Express® worth it?
Overall, the Blue from American Express® card is a modest but solid option for cardholders who don’t yet have a high enough credit score to qualify for a more lucrative point rewards or travel card. It’s an especially good pick for consumers who want access to the Membership Rewards program from American Express and for frequent travelers who are enrolled in an airline or hotel loyalty program that partners with American Express. There are multiple airlines and hotel groups to choose from, but some of the domestic Amex travel partners include:
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Choice Hotels
Cardholders with higher scores are better off choosing a more lucrative American Express card, though, such as the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express or even the American Express® Green Card.
Similarly, cardholders who don’t plan to travel may also want to look at other cards. The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, offers a higher redemption value for everyday purchases. Capital One also offers more robust options for cardholders who want to use their cards abroad or just want a simpler way to redeem points for travel.
Is Blue from American Express® a good card?
For an entry-level card that’s accessible to a wider range of borrowers, the Blue from American Express® card is an unusually strong contender. It doesn’t offer a ton of rewards points, but the Membership Rewards points that it does offer are uniquely valuable — particularly for cardholders who are enrolled in partner airline and hotel loyalty programs. The Blue from American Express® card’s terms are pricey, though, so look elsewhere if you have excellent credit or plan to carry a balance.
Does Blue from American Express® charge foreign transaction fees?
Yes, it charges a 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. That’s lower than some cards charge. But this is still not a great card to use on foreign transactions since even the fee can quickly add up. Cards without foreign transaction fees, by contrast, are relatively plentiful — even for cardholders with lower scores. So if you plan to make a lot of foreign purchases, you’re better off using a different entry-level card. For example, Capital One offers a number of cards for borrowers with good or fair credit and none of them charge a foreign transaction fee.
Is Blue from American Express® a credit card or a charge card?
Blue from American Express® is a credit card with some unique features. Unlike a charge card, the Blue from American Express® allows you to carry over a balance instead of paying off your charges in full each month. However, unlike the typical credit card, this card has no preset spending limit (meaning your spending limit is flexible, and depends on factors such as your purchase, payment and credit history) and allows you to carry a balance for some purchases, but not others. Note that you’ll pay a hefty price for carrying a balance, since the Blue from American Express® charges a high APR.
How do you apply for the Blue from American Express®?
The simplest way to apply for the Blue from American Express® card is to visit the Blue from American Express® card’s application page on AmericanExpress.com and fill out an online application. You can also call customer service and ask for assistance with applying for a card.
Is it hard to get a Blue from American Express® card?
The Blue from American Express® card is easier to qualify for than other, more generous no-annual-fee American Express cards, such as the The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. But don’t expect to sail through your application if your credit score is still reeling from serious delinquencies or if you have a lot of other debt crowding your monthly income. You’ll need a credit score of at least 700 to qualify for the Blue from American Express® card.
Is the Blue from American Express® made of metal?
No. American Express generally reserves higher-end metal for premium rewards cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express .
What is the credit limit for the Blue from American Express®?
Your credit limit for the Blue from American Express® card will depend on your credit history and the answers you provide in your application. For example, American Express may consider your credit score, your total household income and other information you provide. But since this is an entry-level card for borrowers that are considered to be a higher risk than cardholders with excellent credit, your credit limit will likely be modest.
The information related to Blue from American Express® and American Express® Green Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.