American Express Green Card Credit Card Overview
“Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.”
In the past, I’ve talked a lot about American Express cards such as the Platinum and Gold cards. However, there’s a third option in this line-up that isn’t as discussed these days: The American Express Green Card. Ironically, once you see the card, you may realize that it’s actually what you envision when you think about what an iconic Amex looks like. What’s more, the Green card has plenty of perks and rewards that allow it stand on its own or enhance other Amex set-ups.
So what exactly does the American Express Green card have to offer? Let’s take a closer look at this option.
What You Need to Know About the American Express Green Card
First off, the Amex Green Card has an annual fee of $150. While any annual fee may be a dealbreaker for some, this puts the card in the approximate realm of the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture card — both of which have annual fees of $95. Of course, with the Green being at the bottom of the line-up, this fee is also well below the Gold Card’s $250 annual fee and the Platinum Card’s $695 annual fee.
Like with other Amex cards, this annual fee is also offset by some perks and rewards, which we’ll get into next.
The American Express Green Card earns Amex Membership Rewards points. These points can then be transferred to long list of partner travel brands, redeemed via Amex Travel, used for statement credits, and more. However, each of these options assigns a different value to points. In short, those looking to turn their points into straightup cash will see lower valuations whereas those willing to transfer to partner programs can often see the most benefit.
As for how Green Cardholders can earn rewards, here are the main multipliers:
- 3x on travel
- 3x on transit
- 3x at restaurants
- 1x on all other purchases.
Going through each of these, the travel and transit categories are fairly broad — which is a good thing for consumers. According to Amex, cardholders will be able to earn 3x points on travel purchases such as flights, hotels, cruises, vacation rentals, and even travel purchases on third party travel websites. Meanwhile, transit purchases include trains, buses, ferries, subways, tolls, rideshare services, parking, and more. As for the dining category, the 3x applies to restaurants worldwide as well as takeout and delivery in the United States.
Overall, this combination of categories should make it easy for Green cardholders to rack up Membership Rewards points.
Benefits and perks
As I mentioned in regards to the Green Card’s annual fee, that amount can be offset by some useful credits and benefits.
Headline the Green card’s perks is an annual credit of up to $189 for CLEAR. For those unfamiliar, CLEAR is a biometric membership service that can help expedite the airport security screening process by confirming your identify and escorting you to the actual screening line. In other words, CLEAR can help get you passed the ticket check portion of the TSA checkpoint line whereas TSA Precheck offers a less invasive screening process. In turn, the turn services can be used together for an even smoother experience.
Not only will this $189 credit cover the entire price of an annual membership for one person but also exceeds the Green card’s $150 annual fee. Therefore, assuming you can make use of a CLEAR membership, this is almost a no-brainer.
The other valuable benefit is that cardholders can earn up to $100 in statement credits per year toward LoungeBuddy purchases. LoungeBuddy is a platform that allows travelers to purchase a la carte access to a selection of airport lounges. While not every lounge will be an option, hopefully this credit will allow cardholders to find somewhere to relax, grab a bite, and prepare for their next adventure.
Some other benefits that the Amex Green card provides are Trip Delay Insurance, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, a Baggage Insurance Plan, and more. Plus, the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. For all of these reasons, the card could be perfect for travelers of all stripes.
For those who may be on the fence about the Amex Green Card, American Express also offers a lucrative welcome bonus. As of this writing (in August 2023), the card is just coming off of its best-ever welcome offer but does still have a decent bonus.
Currently, new cardholders can earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending at least $3,000 in purchases on the card within their first six months.
Green vs. Platinum: Comparing and combining
When talking about the Amex Green card, it’s impossible not to at least mention its “big brother” — The Platinum Card. Given some of the overlap that exists between the product, it’s easy to think of the Green Card purely as an intro version of the more-powerful (and more expansive) Plat. However, I’d argue that the two can actually be used in tandem to some degree.
Although the Platinum card also features a $189 CLEAR credit, much stronger airport lounge access, and a bevy of credits that can more than make up for the steep $695 annual fee, there’s one area in which the Green may just best the Plat: rewards categories. That’s because the Platinum card’s 5x categories are far more limited as the flights category is restricted to flights booked directly with the airline or via Amex Travel and the hotel categories only includes those booked with Amex Travel. In contrast, the Green Card’s generous travel and transit categories give cardholders far more options. Thus, I’d argue that it may make sense for some travelers to use the Platinum card to book some elements of their trip while tapping the Green card for the rest.
Final Thoughts on the Amex Green Card
In many ways, the American Express Green Card is an underrated gem in Amex’s line-up. With a reasonable annual fee that can also be offset by statement credit benefits for CLEAR and LoungeBuddy, wide-ranging and useful rewards categories, and other perks, the Green card is a well-rounded option. Furthermore, although it can be a great way to get started in the Amex ecosystem and see what travel rewards cards are all about, it can also be used alongside other cards such as the Platinum despite some overlapping perks.
Whether you’re looking to get started with Amex or heighten your Membership Rewards points set-up, the American Express Green Card could well be right for you.
“Fioney has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fioney.com and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.” (Note: advertising relationships do not have any influence on editorial content. Advertising compensation allows Fioney.com to provide quality content for free. All editorial opinions are those of the individual author and/or Fioney staff.)