The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
- Both the American Express® Green Card and American Express® Gold Card offer lucrative rewards in the form of versatile Amex Membership Rewards points.
- The Amex Green Card comes with a lower annual fee and slightly lower rewards rates than the Gold Card, though with two travel perks that can make jetsetting feel like a luxury: $189 Clear Plus credits and $100 LoungeBuddy credits.
- The Amex Gold Card charges a pricier annual fee but with stronger rewards rates than the Green Card in key everyday categories like groceries, restaurants and travel.
- Both cards offer welcome offers — and with Amex's once-per-lifetime rule, you just might want to sign up for both and earn the bonus on each one.
While American Express has quite a few rewards cards to choose from, they might not all offer the type of rewards you want to earn. Some Amex cards offer simple cash back that can be redeemed for statement credits, and others offer points in the valuable and versatile Amex Membership Rewards program.
If you’re looking for cards that offer Membership Rewards, the American Express® Green Card* and American Express® Gold Card may be on your radar. Here’s how these cards stack up in terms of their rewards and perks.
|Feature||American Express Green Card||American Express Gold Card|
|Welcome bonus||40,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of card membership||60,000 points after spending $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of card membership|
|Rewards rate||3X points on travel (including flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals and travel purchases booked through third-party websites and through American Express Travel); 3X points on transit (including including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses and subways); 3X points at restaurants worldwide; 1X points on all other purchases||4X points on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.; 4X points for Uber Eats purchases; 4X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points; 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel; 1X points on all other purchases|
American Express Green Card vs. Amex Gold highlights
When comparing these two rewards credit cards, it helps to look at how they stack up in several important categories. With that in mind, we compare the two Amex cards based on their welcome offers, ongoing rewards, annual fees and more.
Welcome bonus winner: Amex Gold Card
The Amex Gold Card offers a much more lucrative welcome offer than that of the American Express Green Card. With just $6,000 in spending within six months of account opening, customers can earn 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, worth up to $1,200.
However, it’s important to note that for the Amex Gold welcome bonus, you have to spend twice as much as you would for the Amex Green Card in the same six-month period to earn only 20,000 more points. For some, that monthly spending gap might not be worth the additional points.
Rewards rate winner: Amex Gold Card
The Amex Gold Card also offers a slightly better rewards rate in several everyday categories. Where Amex Green Card rewards cap out at 3X points, the Amex Gold Card offers 4X points on up to $25,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1X points), 4X points at restaurants worldwide (including delivery and takeout in the U.S.) and on Uber Eats orders, 3X points on flights booked with airlines or through the Amex travel portal and 1X points on all other purchases.
Because of the 4X points for both restaurant and U.S. supermarket spending, the Amex Gold Card rewards rate makes it a great option for foodies, whether they dine out often, make a lot of meals at home or both.
Annual Fee winner: American Express Green Card
The Amex Green Card wins in this category due to its $150 annual fee. That makes it a more affordable option than the Amex Gold Card, which can set you back $250 each year.
Cardholder perks: American Express Green Card
Finally, the American Express Green Card comes with more benefits overall. Cardholders receive a $189 credit toward Clear Plus membership and a $100 LoungeBuddy credit, which can make travel feel luxurious.
The Amex Gold Card comes with up to $120 in Uber Cash and up to $120 in dining credits, but both of these credits are given out in monthly increments of $10. Credits do not roll over, either, so it’s easy to let them expire. The $100 experience credit for hotels in their Hotel Collection is also a nice perk, but it’s not always easy to meet the eligibility requirements needed to take advantage of it.
When it comes to other perks, both cards offer various shopping and entertainment benefits, car rental loss and damage insurance, access to a Global Assist Hotline, purchase protections and extended warranties.
Which card earns the most?
The amount you’ll earn in rewards depends on the categories you spend the most in, but it also depends on which credit card you pick. The spending example below shows how much you could earn with either of these cards.
For the sake of an example, let’s say you have a family of four with two adults under the age of 50 and two kids — ages 9 and 11. Your average food spending might be $1,352.50 per month — or $16,230 per year — based on USDA estimates.
From there, let’s imagine you spend $300 each month — or $3,600 a year — dining out, $3,000 each year on airfare and $2,000 each year on hotels and other travel. You also spend $12,000 a year on miscellaneous purchases made with your card.
With the Amex Green Card, you could earn a total of 54,030 Amex Membership Rewards points per year:
- 16,230 points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets
- 10,800 points at restaurants
- 9,000 points on flights
- 6,000 points on hotels and other travel
- 12,000 points on other purchases
With the Amex Gold Card, you would earn a total of 102,320 Amex Membership Rewards points per year:
- 64,920 points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets
- 14,400 points at restaurants
- 9,000 points on flights
- 2,000 points on hotels and other travel
- 12,000 points on other purchases
Why should you get the Amex Green Card?
When does it make sense to get the Amex Green Card? If you travel often or just prefer the card’s bonus categories over the Amex Gold bonus categories, it would make sense to choose the Amex Green Card. The annual fee being less expensive at $150 might also factor into your decision.
In addition to travel-related perks like a $189 CLEARPlus credit, a $100 LoungeBuddy credit, trip delay insurance and baggage insurance, cardholders can enjoy speciality shopping perks, too. You can take advantage of Amex Offers and get special deals from merchants, as well as a free membership to ShopRunner.
Purchase-related benefits include purchase protection against damage or theft and extended warranties on eligible items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
The Amex Green Card earns points in the American Express Membership Rewards program. These points can be used for gift cards, merchandise or travel through AmexTravel.com. You can also transfer your points to a broad range of airline and hotel partners including the Delta SkyMiles program and Hilton Honors.
Consumers need good or excellent credit to qualify for the American Express Green Card. While Amex considers their approval process proprietary information, your approval odds will increase if your credit score is 700 or higher.
Why should you get the Amex Gold Card?
When should you get the Amex Gold Card? If you spend a lot of money on dining and groceries at U.S. supermarkets, this card is definitely worth it.
Just like the Amex Green Card, the Amex Gold Card also comes with perks like Amex Offers and ShopRunner access. But the Amex Gold also lets you take advantage of American Express Experiences, which provides exclusive access to certain ticket presales, and American Express Preferred Access, which gives you access to premium seats for select cultural and sporting events based on availability.
Other Amex Gold benefits you’ll receive include purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.
The Amex Gold Card also earns American Express Membership Rewards points. These points are worth about 2 cents each when redeemed with travel partners, so they’re more valuable than many other types of rewards.
Similar to the Amex Green Card, consumers need good or excellent credit to qualify for the Amex Gold.
The bottom line
Which of these American Express credit cards will leave you ahead? That really depends on the annual fee you’re comfortable with, the perks you want and the categories you spend the most in. Those who value the extra points from U.S. supermarkets and dining might find more value in the Amex Gold Card, while those who travel often and want CLEAR Plus and LoungeBuddy credits might be better off with the Amex Green Card.
If you’re not sure which to choose, Amex’s once-per-lifetime rule says you can choose both cards and earn the welcome offer on each one.
*Information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Bankrate. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.