When American Express first launched this credit card, it was ground breaking in more than few ways. To understand why this was the case, we have to go back to the old days of how reward cards worked.
In the old days, you earned reward points with a card. Once you have accumulated 25,000 points, you can redeem them for airline tickets. But they came with a few restrictions like having to book them three weeks in advance and having to stay over the weekends. There were also black out dates to contend with.
With these restrictions, using points for travel (especially airline tickets) became a really hassle for cardholders. And in time, it would spurn a whole range of cards that addressed this issue. But this card was the first that started it the trend.
The Blue Sky from American Express was the first card to change all this. The way it works is as follows:
No Blackout Dates, Any Airline and Agent
- Like other rewards cards, you earn one point for every dollar that you spend on the card. But you have all the flexibility to use the points for travel. You could book your travel with anyone (online sites, off line travel agents or with airlines, hotels, car rentals directly). You can use points to get a statement credit. You need 7,500 points to get $100 in statement credit. Mathematically, the points are worth 1.33% vs 1% for other cards.
Discounts from Blue Merchants
- This card is part of the "Blue" family of cards and card members can get discounts with various merchant partners.
Redeem for other things
- Aside from being able to use points for travel, you could also redeem points for American Express Gift Cards and cash back as well. We'll look into this in greater details later to see if it is a better use of the points you have earned.