Blue from American Express Review: Earn Rewards With No Annual Fee [2020]

The Blue from American Express could be an ideal beginner’s travel credit card, but there are better options for more advanced cardholders.
Last updated Sep 18, 2020 | By Ben Walker

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The best travel credit cards typically have an annual fee, whereas the best no annual fee credit cards aren’t usually designed for travel. With the Blue from American Express, you get an excellent opportunity to receive the best of both worlds: a $0 annual fee on a card meant for travelers.

Because there’s no annual fee with the Blue from American Express, you can take full advantage of benefits like credit card rental car insurance and purchase protection. This Blue from American Express review will help you learn more about this card and whether it’s the right fit for you.

Great Card for Getting Started with Amex

Blue from American Express

Blue from American Express

Blue from American Express

Benefits

  • Earn 1X points on all eligible purchases
  • Earn 2X points when booking through AmexTravel.com
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • No welcome bonus
  • Has foreign transaction fee

In this Blue from American Express review

Who should get the Blue from American Express?

Travel credit cards offer amazing benefits and rewards for those who like to travel. Even just looking at American Express credit cards, you get a wide variety of cards to choose from depending on your spending and travel habits. If you’re a traveler looking to get your first travel credit card, you might consider the Blue from American Express.

This card has a $0 annual fee, which is ideal for newcomers to the points and miles hobby. This helps you focus on earning rewards for a future trip instead of stressing about an annual cost. Because you can earn 2X points on eligible purchases through AmexTravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases, it’s easy to rack up rewards on everyday purchases and travel bookings.

You’re likely to be approved for the Blue from American Express if you have a good to excellent credit score. This means you would need at least a 670 score to qualify, though American Express has the final say on its card applications, and other credit card application rules may also apply.

If you’re looking for premium travel benefits, though, there are better cards out there, especially within the American Express card lineup. The Platinum Card from American Express is widely seen as one of the best available travel credit cards. It has a $550 annual fee, but its perks can quickly offset this cost. You get luxury benefits like Priority Pass and Amex Centurion Lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit, and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Card issuer American Express
Annual fee $0
Welcome offer None
Reward rate Earn 2X points on eligible purchases through AmexTravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee 2.7%

Blue from American Express benefits and perks

  • Rewards earning potential: Earn 2X points on eligible purchases through AmexTravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee: There is a $0 annual fee, so you get to earn more rewards without having to offset an annual cost.
  • Membership Rewards program: With this card, you earn Amex Membership Rewards points. Membership Rewards can be used to book travel, buy gift cards, cover charges on your card, and more. Membership Rewards have no expiration date.
  • Rental car insurance: Receive credit card rental car insurance when you decline the rental collision damage waiver and pay for your entire eligible car rental with your Blue from American Express card. This insurance will cover theft and damage to the vehicle.
  • Purchase protection: Eligible purchases made with your Blue from American Express card are covered for up to 90 days from the date of purchase. You’ll get coverage up to $1,000 per covered purchase and up to $50,000 total per card account.

Drawbacks to this card

  • No welcome offer: There is no welcome offer when you qualify for the Blue from American Express, which is uncommon for travel rewards credit cards.
  • No premium benefits: As a low-tier travel card, the Blue from American Express doesn’t offer many benefits. That means you won’t get any premium travel perks like an annual travel credit or airport lounge access.
  • No transfer partners: Most American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points can transfer them to the numerous Amex transfer partners. Unfortunately, the Blue from American Express doesn’t get this benefit, even though it earns Membership Rewards points. There is a way around that: If you have another Amex card that earns Membership Rewards points and is eligible for transfer partners, your points from both cards will automatically pool together and you can transfer them to the Amex transfer partners.

Earning and redeeming American Express Membership Rewards

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your point can add up with the Blue from American Express card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent per point.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $385

Year two earnings: $385

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

The best way to earn travel rewards with the Blue from American Express is by using it to book travel on AmexTravel.com and through everyday purchases. You can earn 2X points on eligible purchases through AmexTravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases.

Categories Rewards rate
Eligible purchases through AmexTravel.com 2X
All other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

The Blue from American Express earns Membership Rewards points on every purchase, which is a quick way to build up your points total for reward redemptions. Travel redemptions are the obvious top choice when it comes to using your rewards, but you can find value with other types of redemptions as well.

If you use the Amex Rewards Points Calculator, you can see the cash value of your points when you redeem them for different things. For example, 10,000 Membership Rewards points earned with this card would get you $50 worth of airfare or hotels through AmexTravel.com:

Blue from American Express Review

However, the same 10,000 points could also get you $100 worth of gift cards at certain stores:

Blue from American Express Review

Depending on how you’re looking to use your points, you may get different values out of them. Make sure to look around in your American Express online account to see the best redemption method for you.

Blue from American Express FAQs

Is the American Express Blue Card good?

The American Express Blue Card is good for anyone who wants to get started with travel credit cards but doesn’t want to worry about an annual fee. Because it has a $0 annual fee, you can earn valuable Membership Rewards points without having to offset a yearly cost. Even better, you can redeem Membership Rewards points for future travel, gift cards, and to cover purchases.

Do you have to pay American Express Blue in full every month?

Because the American Express Blue is a credit card and not a charge card, you don’t have to pay the balance in full every month. Instead, there is a minimum payment due each month and any unpaid balance is subject to credit card interest.

The minimum payment on your Amex Blue will be the greater of these two options:

  1. Any interest charged on the statement plus 1% of the new balance
  2. $35

What credit score do you need for American Express Blue?

To qualify for the American Express Blue, you’ll likely need a good or excellent credit score. Good credit scores start at 670, and excellent credit is 800 and above. American Express makes the final decision for all Amex credit card approvals.


Other cards to consider

The Blue from American Express provides a great starting point for travelers seeking their first travel credit card. However, it may not offer the most bang for your buck in travel redemptions when compared to other credit cards.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Citi Double Cash are typically considered two of the best cashback credit cards available. If you pair them with the correct cards, though, they can also offer heaps of value in travel rewards.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. New cardholders also get 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year). This makes it the perfect choice for earning valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points on everyday purchases like groceries and gas. And if you pair it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer Chase Freedom Unlimited points to a Sapphire card.

Transferring your points to a Sapphire card is hugely beneficial because rewards redemptions booked through the Chase travel portal are worth 25% more on the Sapphire Preferred and 50% more on the Sapphire Reserve. If you want your travel rewards to go further, consider pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a Chase Sapphire card.

The benefits are slightly different with the Citi Double Cash. The Double Cash earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. You can then convert your cashback rewards into valuable Citi ThankYou Points and redeem them for travel. By itself, the Citi Double Cash is a solid option for travel rewards. If you pair it with the Citi Premier and/or Citi Prestige, you can boost your rewards and benefits even more.

You won’t necessarily receive a higher travel redemption rate with these cards, but you can benefit from their added perks and earning potential. You can use their separate rewards categories to earn an overall higher amount of points than you could with the Double Cash alone. Even better, the Citi Prestige has premium benefits like airport lounge access, up to $250 annual travel credit, and access to more than 10 airline and hotel Citi transfer partners.

Great Card for Getting Started with Amex

Blue from American Express

Blue from American Express

Blue from American Express

Special Offer

Earn 2X points when booking through AmexTravel.com

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • 5% cash back grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12k)
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
Citi Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash Card
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee