Blue Sky Preferred from American Express Credit Card Review
Travel rewards cards can be a handy way to earn free flights or hotel stays but they’re not all the same. With some cards, you have to maneuver a complicated rewards structure in order to earn points or miles towards travel.
The Blue Sky from American Express® Card relieves some of the pressure of earning travel rewards. This card offers 1 point for every eligible dollar you spend, with no limit on the number of points you can pile up. Every 7,500 points you receive is enough to get a $100 statement credit towards travel purchases.
While many American Express cards are charge cards, this one gives you the flexibility to carry a balance from month to month. There’s no annual fee and the card’s appeal is enhanced by exclusive travel, shopping and entertainment benefits.
If you’re looking for a new travel rewards credit card that keeps things simple, our review of the Blue Sky from American Express® Card is a must-read.
Easy to Earn, Easy to Redeem Rewards
With some travel credit cards, rewards are tiered so you earn more rewards on some purchases than others. The Blue Sky from American Express® Card, by comparison, offers a flat rewards rate that’s not a hassle to understand. Every eligible dollar you spend with the card earns 1 reward point.
That means you can use the card for more than just travel to add to your points total. For example, if you spend $500 a month on groceries and $500 a month on gas, that’s 1,000 points you’d earn on top of whatever you charge for travel expenses.
With no cap on the number of points earned, you can scoop up as many travel rewards as you like, based on how often you spend.
Is there a one-time introductory points bonus?
The nice thing about signing up for a new travel rewards card is that many of them come with a one-time points bonus for opening an account. Generally, you have to meet a minimum spending requirement to qualify for the bonus.
The Blue Sky from American Express® Card, unfortunately, doesn’t offer an introductory bonus. If you’re hoping to score several thousand points right off the bat, you’ll need to consider a different travel rewards card for that.
How do you redeem points earned with the card?
Earning points with this card is straightforward and so is redeeming them. This card does not participate in the Membership Rewards program. When you earn 7,500 points, you can receive a $100 statement credit that you can apply to travel purchases. Your points work out to be worth roughly 1.33 cents apiece. That’s a pretty decent rewards rate for travel.
Aside from travel rewards, you’ve got a few other options for putting your points to good use. For example, you can redeem them for:
- Gift cards to popular stores and restaurants
- Merchandise from the Blue Sky® Rewards Catalog
- Cash back as a statement credit
Your points value varies based on what you’re redeeming them for. If you’re redeeming for cash back rewards, for instance, 3,500 points will get you a $25 statement credit. That makes them worth roughly 0.72 cents each.
To get a $50 cash back statement credit, on the other hand, you’d need 6,500 points. In that scenario, your points value increases to 0.77 cents apiece. Crunching the numbers can help you determine which redemption option gives you more bang for your buck.
Without a doubt, the best way to redeem your points is travel statement credit. The benefit is that you can shop for the cheapest travel deals on your own. Then, use the points to wipe out that purchase.
Blue SkyⓇ Travel, Shopping and Dining Benefits
Some travel cards come tricked out with lots of bells and whistles like free checked bags or annual airline fee credits. You won’t get those extras with the Blue Sky from American Express® Card but there are some added features and protections you may like.
When your travel plans go awry, the Blue Sky from American Express® Card has you covered. As a member, you’ll enjoy:
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Access to the Global Assist hotline
- Roadside Assistance
- Travel accident insurance
All of these are included at no charge, although third-party provider fees may apply. If you call the Roadside Assistance hotline, for example, because you need a tow to a garage, you’d have to pay the towing company’s fee.
Your card offers a convenient way to pay when you shop and it can give you some added peace of mind. If credit card security is a concern, you can breathe a little easier. The Blue Sky from American Express® Card is a chip-and-signature card (not a chip and pin card) which means you have an added layer of security protection at the checkout.
Besides that, you also get:
- Extended warranty protection
- Return protection
- Purchase protection
- Free 2-day shipping at selected merchants through ShopRunner
If you want to enjoy a night out on the town, be sure to take your card along. You can get exclusive access to ticket presales and special events, including Broadway shows, concerts and sporting events. With Amex Offers, you can score discounts on entertainment, dining and shopping.
Does this card offer free credit score access?
Your credit score is an important part of your financial picture. A good credit score can make getting approved for new credit easier. It also works in your favor if you’re angling for a lower interest rate on what you borrow. As an American Express card member, you’ll have access to your Experian FICO score each for free.
Credit Score Ranges and Quality
|Credit Score Ranges||Credit Quality||Effect on Ability to Obtain Loans|
|300-559||Very Bad||Extremely difficult to obtain traditional loans and line of credit. Advised to use secured credit cards and loans to help rebuild credit.|
|560-649||Bad||May be able to qualify for some loans and lines of credit, but the interest rates are likely to be high.|
|650-699||Average/Fair||Eligible for many traditional loans, but the interest rates and terms may not be the best.|
|700-749||Good||Valuable benefits come in the form of loans and lines of credit with comprehensive perks and low interest rates.|
|750-850||Excellent||Qualify easily for most loans and lines of credit with low interest rates and favorable terms.|
What’s the Cost?
Credit card fees can quickly eat up the rewards you’re earning so it pays to know what they are.
As mentioned already, the Blue Sky from American Express® Card has no annual fee. The fee for balance transfers and cash advances is the same: $5 or 3% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater. There is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% so just keep that in mind if you’re planning a trip outside the U.S.
There’s no introductory 0% APR for purchases or balance transfers. The regular variable APR range is competitive and your individual rate is based on your creditworthiness.
Tip: Learn how your credit score is calculated to get a better idea of what kind of APR you’re likely to qualify for.
Is This The Best American Express Travel Rewards Card?
American Express offers a lengthy list of travel rewards cards and one may be a better fit than another, based on your spending style. Check out what these three alternatives to the Blue Sky from American Express® Card bring to the table.
Gold Card from American Express
The Gold Card from American Express steps up the rewards rate. With this card, you earn two Membership RewardsⓇ per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline. This card also offers two points per dollar when you book at least two consecutive nights at participating hotels. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.
There’s no foreign transaction fee and a $0 annual fee the first year. After that, the fee increases to $160. There are no interest charges, however, because this is a charge card. That means if you’re considering it, you’d need to be sure you could pay your balance in full each month.
The fee is a bit high but it may not be difficult to earn back in points for frequent travelers. One potential snag may be the lack of an introductory points bonus, which could be a dealbreaker for certain rewards seekers.
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is suited for frequent flyers. This card offers three points per dollar on airfare booked directly through the airline. Purchases made at U.S. gas stations, department stores and supermarkets earn two points per dollar. Again, all other purchases earn one point per dollar.
The annual fee with this card is a bit higher. After paying a $0 annual fee the first year, the fee increases to $195. Part of that is offset, however, by the $100 annual airline fee statement credit that’s available to eligible members.
This card is really ideal for someone who flies the friendly skies on a regular basis. If you only travel occasionally, we’d recommend sticking with the Blue Sky from American Express® Card.
Platinum CardⓇ from American Express
The Platinum CardⓇ from American Express could be a good fit for someone who spends a lot of time jet-setting and likes to travel in style. Members earn five points per dollar on flights booked directly through the airline or through American Express Travel. That rewards rate is hard to beat.
When you book other travel purchases through the American Express travel website, you’ll earn two points per dollar. For all other purchases, the rewards rate is one point per dollar. New members have an opportunity to land a large introductory points bonus when they hit the minimum spending requirement.
The Platinum CardⓇ from American Express offers premium benefits like complimentary lounge access, a $200 annual airline fee credit, a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ fee credit, Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status Enrollment and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status. All of that’s complimentary for being a member but there is a $450 annual membership fee that you have to factor in.
Credit Card: American Express Travel Cards
|American Express Blue Sky||Earn rewards points for travel statement credit|
|American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card||Earn bonus rewards points on airlines, dining, gas, and groceries. Get a $100 airline credit.|
|American Express Platinum Card||Get access to premium travel perks including unlimited access to 900+ airport lounges, elite status with hotel loyalty programs, and more.|
Designed for Simple Travelers
If you prefer a no-muss, no-fuss way to earn travel rewards, the Blue Sky from American Express® Card delivers. Travelers who are seeking a large introductory bonus or lots of travel extras may be disappointed, however. Bottom line, we’d suggest this card if you want a good all-around rewards card for both travel and everyday purchases. However, your main rewards redemption choice should be travel statement credit.