American Express® Green Card review: In the same league as Gold and Platinum?

A solid first rewards card for occasional travelers.

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Snapshot

3.9

Bankrate rating
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Bottom line

The Amex Green is a good choice if you travel occasionally, but not enough to warrant paying a high annual fee for a luxury travel card. If you’re after premium perks like unlimited airport lounge access, however, another travel card will likely be a better fit.

American Express Image

American Express® Green Card

Rewards rate

1X–3X

Annual fee

$150

Intro offer

45,000 points

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

American Express® Green Card Overview

The American Express® Green Card offers an interesting rewards structure for applicants who want to earn more points on dining and travel, as well as some important credits that can make the $150 annual fee easier to justify.

Additionally, this card, which once required you to pay off your balance every month, now boasts payment and purchase flexibility that allows you to pay in full each month or carry a balance with interest on eligible purchases. The Amex Green Card also comes with a surprising number of consumer protections and benefits that can protect cardholders when they travel or make large purchases.

The best part is, the Amex Green Card lets you rack up valuable points in the American Express Membership Rewards program, which is known for its flexibility and valuable transfer partners.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • This card offers a good point-earning structure in popular categories like travel and dining
  • Cardmembers can get a $100 credit for CLEAR membership and LoungeBuddy
  • Users can earn a generous welcome bonus (45,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 on purchases within six months of account opening)
  • This card does not charge foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • The annual fee of $150 is not waived the first year
  • Charges a relatively high annual fee compared to similar rewards cards
  • CLEAR membership credit only covers part of the benefit’s fee

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Earn 3X Membership Rewards points in an expanded travel category (flights, hotels, transit, taxis, ride-share services, rental cars and tours), 3X points at restaurants worldwide, and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 45,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 on purchases within six months of account opening
  • Annual fee: $150
  • Purchase intro APR: None
  • Balance transfer intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: See Rates & Fees

Current welcome offer

The Amex Green Card is currently offering new cardholders the chance to earn a generous welcome bonus on top of the rewards you earn with your regular spending. As a cardmember, you can earn 45,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 on your card within six months of account opening.

The value of 45,000 Membership Rewards points will vary based on how you redeem them. If you use Membership Rewards points at checkout with several vendors, including Amazon, Best Buy, Grubhub and more, these points could be worth up to $315. On the other hand, if redeemed for gift cards or through American Express Travel, these points may carry a value of up to $450. And if you take advantage of Amex’s travel partners, you could squeeze an average of 2 cents in value out of each point, according to The Points Guy’s latest valuations, making this bonus worth up to $900.

Rewards rate

This card lets you rack up bonus American Express Membership Rewards points in an expanded travel category and on dining worldwide. However, there’s a lot to understand about this card’s earning structure and potential redemption options, including those for travel.

Earning rewards

Cardmembers can earn unlimited 3X Membership Rewards points for travel purchases on both third-party websites and through the American Express Travel portal, 3X points at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery limited to U.S. restaurants), 3X points on transit and 1X points on all other purchases.

Redeeming rewards

American Express Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back, merchandise, gift cards and travel through the Amex Travel portal. Cardholders can use points at checkout with select merchants and for prepaid rental cars booked through Amex Travel. You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel transfer partners like Hilton Honors, Delta SkyMiles, Air France / Flying Blue and more.

How much are the rewards worth?

American Express Membership Rewards are some of the most valuable points you can earn, holding a 2-cent-per-point redemption value on average according to The Points Guy’s latest valuations.

When it comes to rewards programs, the Amex Membership Rewards program can be flexible because cardholders have plenty of options to choose from, but there are redemption options that are more rewarding than others. You’ll typically want to use points on options that give you a point value of at least 1 cent apiece. This means that flights booked with American Express Travel, gift cards and transferring to certain partnering hotels and airlines are where you’ll want to focus your point redemptions.

Other cardholder perks

The Amex Green Card has quite a few important benefits consumers can utilize whether they travel or not. The key perks this card offers can help protect new purchases you make with your card or even save you money if something goes wrong with your travel plans.

Travel perks

The Amex Green Card offers you a $100 credit toward a CLEAR membership each year, which can help you get through security lines faster at participating airports and other venues.

Unfortunately, CLEAR membership costs $179 annually, so you’ll need to spend an additional $79 if you want to take advantage of this offer. While it’s generous of the Amex Green to cover more than half the cost of the membership for cardholders, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers up to $189 credit needed to cover the cost. And while that card has a hefty $695 annual fee, it also includes a host of other perks like access to The Global Lounge Collection®, a $200 hotel credit and a $240 digital entertainment credit among others.

You will also get a $100 credit to use toward LoungeBuddy, which you can use to purchase lounge access in hundreds of airports around the globe. Lounge access through LoungeBuddy starts as low as $25 and is sold as a single entry pass, so you’ll need to book lounge access and pay in advance each time.

A $100 credit for lounge access is a bit underwhelming compared to the Global Lounge Collection offered on the Platinum Card, but since these cards are in entirely different price ranges it’s a reasonable perk for the Green Card. If you see yourself spending more money on lounge access than is offered with the LoungeBuddy credit, you should weigh that excess spending against the Platinum Card’s annual fee. Determining how much the Global Lounge Collection would save you each year would be a great place to start in comparing both cards’ viability for your situation.

Travel protections

This card also comes with travel protections, including secondary auto rental coverage and access to a Global Assist hotline. You’ll also get a baggage insurance plan that can reimburse you up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage lost by a common carrier. Finally, you’ll get trip delay insurance worth up to $300 per trip, which can be useful if your trip is delayed by more than 12 hours for a covered reason.

Purchase benefits

Cardholders also receive purchase protection against damage or theft, which is good for up to $1,000 per occurrence and up to $50,000 per cardmember each calendar year. Plus, Amex offers extended warranties for eligible items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Rates and Fees

The Amex Green Card comes with a $150 annual fee. Other fees to be aware of include a cash advance fee of 5 percent (minimum $10), plus a 26.74 percent cash advance APR if you choose to use your card to get cash out, a late payment fee up to $40 and a returned payment fee up to $40. Using the Pay Over Time alternative payment option poses a 17.49 percent to 24.49 percent Pay Over Time APR.

Fortunately for frequent flyers who see the Amex Green Card as an ideal travel card, this card does not have foreign transaction fees.

Bankrate expert experience

In place of other American Express cards that may seem to carry more value with higher annual fees, the American Express Green Card can be a strategic option that compliments your lifestyle and travel capabilities.

As Stephanie Zito, Bankrate’s Travel Rewards Expert Contributor, puts it:

“The traditional American Express Green Card may not be the most exciting card in the Amex portfolio, but it definitely has its place. For example, during the pandemic I downgraded my American Express Platinum because I wasn’t using the travel benefits, and keeping the Green Card open gave me a good place to park my Membership Rewards points — while paying a much lower annual fee and still taking advantage of a good 3X earning rate at restaurants, travel and transit.”

— Stephanie Zito, Bankrate contributor

How the American Express Green Card compares to other travel rewards cards

While the Amex Green is a solid mid-tier card for occasional travelers, it may not be the best fit based on your spending habits. Whether you’re looking for an American Express credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points or a general travel rewards card, there are both more and less expensive alternatives to consider. Here’s a quick look at some of our favorites.

American Express Image

American Express® Green Card

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3.9

Annual fee

$150

Intro offer

45,000 points

Rewards rate

1X–3X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
American Express Image

American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee

$250

Intro offer

60,000 points

Rewards rate

3X–4X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Capital One Image

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

75,000 miles

Rewards rate

2X–5X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

American Express Green Card vs. American Express Gold Card

While you’ll pay a higher annual fee for the American Express® Gold Card, you’ll also enjoy higher rewards rates, a higher welcome bonus and — depending on your priorities — potentially a more valuable set of credits and benefits, including up to $120 in dining credits and up to $120 in Uber Cash each year.

Along with offering 4 points per dollar on dining (beating the Amex Green) and 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (matching the Amex Green), the Amex Gold earns 4X points at U.S. supermarkets. Since groceries make up such a big portion of the average person’s monthly budget, this could seriously speed up your rewards earning. On the downside for frequent travelers, the Amex Gold card is missing the CLEAR membership credit and lounge access perks offered on the Amex Green via LoungeBuddy.

American Express Green Card vs. Capital One Venture

If you’re hoping to earn travel rewards but don’t want the headache of tracking bonus categories or juggling multiple cards to maximize your rewards — or if a $150 annual fee sounds a bit too high — the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a terrific alternative to the Amex Green card.

The Venture costs only $95 to keep in your wallet and comes with a flat rewards rate of 2X miles on all eligible purchases. That means that regardless of whether you spend a ton on travel or stick more to everyday spending, you could slowly but surely build up a balance of rewards. The card also offers a bit more value on redemptions than the Amex Green card since your points are worth the same amount whether you redeem for travel through the Capital One Travel portal or use them to cover outside travel purchases.

Best cards to pair with the Amex Green Card

If you’re considering the Amex Green Card but want more than one card, it could be smart to pair it with another Membership Rewards card that earns in spending categories not covered by the Green card. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express would be a good option since you could earn 2X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending each year, but you don’t have to pay an annual fee.

If you have a business, you could also pair this card with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which lets you earn Membership Rewards points on business purchases without an annual fee. You should compare all American Express Membership Rewards cards to see which one might work best and which card — or combination of cards — will cover all of your spending categories.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Amex Green Card worth it?

Although, the Amex Green Card has a $150 annual fee, the 45,000-point welcome bonus could be worth up $900 if you transfer your rewards to select airline partners and book flights. You’ll also qualify for up to $200 in credits annually when you combine the CLEAR membership credit and LoungeBuddy credit, which together can make up for the fee the first year.

Considering you can earn 3X Membership Rewards points in popular categories on top of that, this card could easily be worth it. Just make sure you can use the cardholder benefits available to you, and if not, you may want to consider an American Express credit card with different benefits or no annual fee.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

All information about the American Express® Green Card and Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by Bankrate.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions