Is the American Express Green Card worth the $150 annual fee?
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The American Express® Green Card is a great travel card, with solid travel and transit-related rewards, a newly-heightened welcome bonus and plenty of other benefits. However, the card does come with a $150 annual fee.
As with any card that comes with an annual fee, it’s a good idea to consider whether you’ll be able to earn back or exceed the fee through a combination of rewards, bonuses and other perks. While the American Express Green Card is a good choice for some, whether it’s right for you depends on your budget, expenses and how you plan to use the card.
When the Amex Green Card is worth the annual fee
When it comes to cards that charge an annual fee, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth by taking advantage of all the benefits that a card has to offer. Although the Amex Green Card may not have the luxurious perks that come with some other top American Express cards, there’s still plenty to like about this card. Some of the perks that more than make up for the annual fee include the welcome bonus, Clear membership credit, LoungeBuddy credit and more.
Now, the card comes with a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in your first six months (or approximately $500 in spending per month). Further, new cardmembers can earn 20 percent back (up to $200 back total) on eligible travel and transit purchases made during the first six months of card membership, delivered in the form of a statement credit.
While the exact value of Amex points varies depending on how you choose to redeem them, each point is typically worth between 0.7 cents and 1 cent, which means that the 60,000-point welcome bonus alone is generally worth $420 to $600 (or enough to cover more than two years’ worth of annual fees for the card).
According to Bankrate’s latest points valuations, though, Membership Rewards points can be worth up to 2.1 cents apiece when transferred to high-value American Express airline and hotel partners — effectively making the bonus worth up to $1,260. And when you factor in the up to $200 back you can earn on eligible travel and transit purchases during the first six months, that’s up to $1,460 in first-year value.
Clear membership credit
The Amex Green Card comes with up to $189 in statement credits for Clear membership when you purchase a membership with your card. This membership allows you to quickly and easily get through security at airports and stadiums.
The card also comes with up to a $100 credit for LoungeBuddy, which can be a tempting perk for frequent travelers. Access to airport lounges can make the flying experience a little more pleasant and can give you space to relax and unwind while waiting for your flight.
One of the most lucrative features of the Amex Green Card is its flexible rewards structure. The card earns 3X points in an expanded travel category (flights, hotels, transit, taxis, rideshare services, rental cars and tours), 3X points at restaurants worldwide and 1X points on all other purchases.
While your earnings will depend on how much you spend in these categories, if you spend at least $5,000 in combined purchases on travel, transit and dining per year, you’ll cover the cost of the annual fee.
The Amex Green Card also comes with several different types of travel insurance, including trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance. These perks can help to ensure that you’re covered in case something goes wrong while you’re traveling.
When the Amex Green Card is not worth the annual fee
While the Amex Green Card is a great travel card with some attractive perks, it’s not the best fit for everyone.
You don’t travel frequently
The perks and benefits of this card are definitely geared toward the frequent traveler. If you don’t travel much, you may be better off with a general rewards credit card like a flat-rate cash back card or a card that rewards spending in other areas, like grocery stores and gas stations.
You’re looking for a more premium card
There’s a lot to like about the Amex Green Card, but consumers who aren’t afraid of high annual fees should also consider other luxury travel cards. If you’re confident you can take advantage of enough card benefits to justify a higher fee, you may want to consider premium travel cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
For instance, The Platinum Card from American Express comes with a hefty annual fee of $695, but it also features incredible perks like a 150,000-point welcome bonus (after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months), up to $200 in hotel credits (terms apply), up to $200 in airline fee credits, up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per year) and much, much more.
The bottom line
The American Express Green Card is a solid travel credit card with some attractive features, including rewards on numerous types of travel purchases and some travel-related statement credits. While the card does come with a $150 annual fee, it’s relatively easy to get much more than $150 in value from this card.
Although this card is a great fit for those who travel regularly and are in the market for a lucrative and dependable travel card, it’s not the best fit for those who don’t travel often or are looking for an even more premium card.