You don’t need to be a global elite headed off to several different countries each year in order to be able to benefit from a travel credit card. Unfortunately, travel cards can sometimes be so expensive or hard to get that you could be forgiven for thinking they just weren’t meant for you. We’ve created this AmEx Blue Sky credit card review to tell you about one great option you have to easily earn plenty of travel rewards with no associated annual fee.
Choose this free travel credit card to get 1.25% back in rewards on every purchase you make.
|You Are Interested If||You’d like to have a travel credit card that you don’t need to pay anything for and that will still provide a sizable number of reward points.|
|Brief Description||The American Express Blue Sky credit card is a free travel card with the highest reward rates available in that price category.|
|Main Requirements||There are no stated requirements beyond age and Canadian residency, but as this is an entry-level card, it’s safe to say that it is probably fairly easy to get.|
|Provider||Also American Express.|
|Card Type||The AmEx Blue Sky card is a travel card first and foremost.|
Fees and Interest
|Purchase Interest Rate||The usual 19.99% interest rates you’d expect to apply here.|
|Cash Advance||Getting some money in advance of your next paycheck will cost you 22.99% of that balance each year.|
|Balance Transfer||Balance transfers are not available for this card.|
|Income Requirements||As stated, there are no guidelines for income levels for this card.|
|Household Income Requirements||This card does not consider household incomes when determining eligibility.|
|Annual Fee||This is a free card, so no annual fee is levied.|
|Welcome Bonus||If you spend at least $500 in the first 3 months when you get your card, you’ll receive 10,000 Blue Sky points to start off with.|
|How To Earn Points||The base reward rate here is 1.25%. This card offers no special bonus categories, so you’ll get the same reward percentage applied to your purchase no matter what you’ve bought.|
|Benefits||This card comes with a little bit of travel insurance and membership in the fun American Express Invites system, but more importantly, it allows you to participate in a referral system for more points (keep reading our AmEx Blue Sky credit card review to learn more).|
About AmEx Blue Sky Credit Card
Let’s begin this AmEx Blue Sky credit card review by looking at the basic terms that apply to this card. The interest rates on purchases made with this card are pretty predictable: you’ll be paying 19.99% on the usual purchases you would be making and a slightly higher-than-average 22.99% to get a cash advance. Any prospective applicants should know that keeping on top of things is even more important with this card than most. American Express specifically includes a caveat stating that interest rates may rise to 23.99% or even 26.99% if you miss multiple months’ worth of payments, so make sure you never fall behind on your credit card bills if you choose this card; it’ll become a massive problem much sooner than you think.
Putting those interest rates aside, however, the more exciting things about the American Express (AmEx) Blue Sky Credit Card is the reward points it can bring you. Every time you make any purchase with your card, you’ll receive 1.25% of your full purchase amount in Blue Sky points (or 125 points for every $1000 spent, a figure which many will easily reach in a single month of spending). This is noteworthy for currently holding the title of the best overall reward rate for a no-fee credit card in Canada, regardless of whether you’re looking at cash back, travel or typical rewards cards. It doesn’t surpass the competition by much (most others offer about 1%), but that difference is nice to see and shows that American Express cares arguably about their lower-level customers as much as their premium ones. Over one year with the $1000-a-month spending rate mentioned above, a cardholder could accrue 1,500 reward points, the equivalent of a $15 credit.
One big drawback to this card that we want to make clear in this AmEx Blue Sky credit card review is that unlike some other travel cards, you don’t have the option of using these points for anything other than travel expenses. While Blue Sky does have a separate rewards system for other things, these points are not eligible for use there. However, the nice part of this is that American Express is relatively flexible when it comes to defining a travel expense. Canadians make an estimated 12.8 million overseas trips each year, and if you’re going to make one of them, you can use your points to pay for things like your flights or hotel bookings. If you’re more of a domestic voyager, you might opt for a train ticket or car rental instead.
Each 100 points is worth about $1 in rewards, and you can apply your points to any travel purchase regardless of where you are making it. This is a nice concession on American Express’ part, as many providers will force you to use your points only on trips and packages found within their catalogue. The only restriction is that you have to have made the relevant purchase with this credit card in order to use your points on it. You can even apply your points retroactively to any travel item that appears on your credit card statement for up to 12 months after you made that purchase. While you probably won’t often have occasion to do this, it’s nice to know that you could if you ever needed to. You must use at least 5,000 points ($50 in credit) each time you want to use your points, though, so keep that in mind.
This card’s benefits are not extensive, but as long as we’re doing an AmEx Blue Sky credit card review, they’re worth going over briefly all the same. It comes with $100,000 in travel accident insurance coverage and access to the provider’s travel network system to help you out anytime you need it. This may not cover very much in the grand scheme of things, but a little bit to help out is better than nothing. More interestingly, though, having the card also lets you participate in a fairly lucrative referral program. Referring a friend who then goes on to be an approved cardholder will net you an additional 5,000 reward points every time you do it. This is obviously not the easiest thing to do in perpetuity, but if you can pull it off once or twice, it could provide a nice bonus to top up your points for the year.
As we’ve already covered in this AmEx Blue Sky credit card review, this is a fairly good card. Good reward rates for this tier and the lack of any kind of an annual fee are the things about this card which deserve the most attention. Both make it a card worth having in spite of a few noteworthy potential issues.
The most glaring is the fact that these points an be used for travel and nothing else, but you would presumably be looking for a true rewards card if you had absolutely no interest in traveling anyway. The very limited travel insurance is also a bit of an oddity even among free travel cards, and while it’s not the end of the world by any means, it does hurt this card’s appeal somewhat. Still, there is some coverage available to help give you peace of mind when you’re away from home.
About American Express
It may seem a bit ironic given their name, but American Express actually has a strong foothold in the Canadian credit card industry. Unlike many credit card companies, they function as both a provider and a network, handing out credit cards to Canadians without the help of a bank or other financial institution to back them up. They have been in business in one form or another since the 1850s, and have been focused on providing high-end elite credit products since the 1980s. Their reputation for luxury is how you know you’ll be getting a great product, even with free options like this.
What We Think
Over the course of researching for this AmEx Blue Sky credit card review, we have developed a very positive view of it. This card is a great option for people seeking a low-risk option to try out travel cards. You won’t have to pay anything to get it, you’ll be sure to get at least some points out of it, and you’ll be able to use those reward points more flexibly than some reward systems allow you to do. If you enjoy the experience of using it, you can always look into getting a better version a little further down the line; for the time being, this card will probably serve your purposes just fine.