In a world where frequent flier miles are more costly to redeem and reward points come with unwanted restrictions, the American Express Blue Sky is a breathe of fresh air coming into the reward credit card scene. The rewards work differently from other programs. This is the scoop on this card.
How the rewards work? – Like most reward credit cards, you earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend on the card. But it how you use and redeem the points that differ from other cards. While other cards require to redeem points with them and you subject yourself to the items available in their program, the American Express Blue allows you to book your travel with anyone. This gives you the freedom to choose the best deals for yourself. You can submit your receipts and spending to Amex and they will give you a statement credit. The use of 7,000 points gets you a $100 statement credit (more than the usual 1% rebate).
Advantages of this system – The advantages of this system is that
- You can book your own schedule
- You can get the best deals (online or off line
- There are non of the restrictions that are imposed by reward programs
Up to 20% Off in Hertz Rental – If you use your card at Hertz Rental, you could potentially get up to 20% off your price.
Free breakfast and $100 coupons – Card members can get free breakfast at participating JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts worldwide. This offer is effective from 10/31/08-10/31/09 on weekend stays Thursday-Monday with a Friday or Saturday night stay requirement. You must book through Marriott.com or through calling Marriott directly at 877-MARRIOTT. Rate will include a complimentary breakfast in the restaurant for up to two adults. You will also receive one $100 Bonus Bucks at JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts or $100 Savvy Savings coupon at Renaissance Hotels & Resorts valid for six months from date of issuance on a future consecutive two-night paid stay.
Other Competitors – There are a couple of other cards that is quite similar to the Blue Sky that you might want to check them out as well.
Discover card has the Discover Miles Card and the Discover Escape Card. The Discover Miles Card, like the Blue Sky has no annual fee. it works the same way in that you can book your own travel arrangements and use the points you earn. The Discover Escape Card has an annual fee of $60, but allows you to earn double miles when you use your card for travel items.
Essentially, all these cards work the same way.
Is this card worth getting? – There are many type of reward credit cards. The most traditional way to is to get a frequent flier credit card (ie airline credit cards). Folks who are members of multiple programs often get cards with Membership Rewards or the Starwood Credit Card. If you fall into this category and are savvy on how you use and redeem your miles, you are probably better off staying put with these cards.
There is another class of people that are not really frequent travelers and but would like to earn points and occasionally use them for travel rewards. But what they find is that a typical reward program imposes restrictions like having to book 21 days in advance, having to stay a saturday night. Even if they allow you to choose your schedule and flights, you are still subject to the availability to their network. For these folks, the American Express Blue Sky (or for that matter the Discover Miles Card and the Discover Escape Card) offers an alternative. It gives you more flexibility in choosing the best deals for yourself. If you fall into this category, then you should consider the Blue Sky.