American Express Green Card

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A lackluster card that costs more green than it gives.

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The American Express Green Card is a relatively expensive charge card that requires users to pay their balance in full each month. Except for the American Express Membership Rewards, this card offers few enticing benefits to make it worth the $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

Review

With its pricey fee structure and its sparing points structure, the American Express Green Card card falls short on many counts. Members are obliged to pay off their balance every month or face a $27 fee for the first offense or $38 thereafter. Cardholders earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on Amextravel.com or a very meager 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

For people who want to earn on everyday spending this is not the card for you.

New members will earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 within the first three months. Since the value of points varies depending on what you buy, it’s smart to window shop before spending your points. For example, 25,000 points is valued at $125 if you shop with designated partners. However, if you use the points on Amazon.com, then they’re valued at $175.

One of the main benefits of this card is the flexibility on how you can spend points. You can use them for everything from statement credits, travel and consumer goods to charitable donations.

If you like the idea of using a charge card instead of a traditional credit card, the Platinum Card from American Express is a better choice. Although it’s more expensive, the sign-up bonus and rewards value are significantly better.  

Who should get this card

People who want access to the American Express Membership Rewards program, which includes a suite of benefits like car rental insurance and price protection, might find the annual fee is a nominal price for the rewards value. Additionally, if you want to curb the possibility of racking up credit card debt, then a charge card might help in this scenario.

Advantages
  • You can try the card for free for the first year.
  • Cardholders automatically get American Express Membership Rewards benefits.
  • There is a 25,000 point sign-up bonus if you charge at least $1,000 in your first three months of card ownership.
  • Terms apply.
Disadvantages
  • The rewards are underwhelming, especially considering there’s an annual fee.
  • Cardholders are limited in how they can earn rewards.
  • The monthly balance must be paid in full each billing period.

Fees and APR

  • Annual fee is $95, waived the first year.
  • Because it’s a charge card, you must pay your balance in full every month.
  • If you use the card outside of the U.S., there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fe.
  • Cardholders must pay $30 for up to five additional cards, then $30 for each additional card thereafter.
  • The first late payment is assessed a $27 fee and any subsequent late payments are $38 each.
  • There is a $25 fee to re-open your account.
  • There is a $38 returned check fee.
  • See Rates & Fees.

Extras, perks and using points

Membership Rewards points can be redeemed through American Express Travel for all or a portion of your flight, hotel booked and paid in advance, vacation or cruise booking.

Members get complimentary car rental loss and damage insurance.

Access to the Roadside Assistance Hotline is included with your membership.

The value of points varies depending on what you use them for.

How this card compares

Citi® Double Cash Card
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49% based on your creditworthiness
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
Annual Fee $0*
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 18 months*

When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee.

So why, you might ask, does this card not receive a higher score from Bankrate? There are a couple reasons, but the main thing dragging this card down is this: Because Citi Double Cash offers no sign-up bonus, it struggles to compete with many cards in this category.

Card Details
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

If you’re up for the challenge of tracking bonus rewards categories, Chase Freedom can give you some real cash-back bang for your buck. For travel junkies and road warriors, this card is ideal when paired with an eligible Chase card to reap maximum travel rewards on your spending.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Card Details
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Card Details
  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 13.99%-24.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months

The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is an ideal credit card for families on the go. It offers enhanced rewards at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, allowing you to earn a substantial amount of cash back on food, gas and clothing.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.