Business Green Rewards Card from American Express review
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The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express Overview
The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express positions cardholders at a strange crossroads — the rewards and benefits are too skimpy for its $95 annual fee, but it’s also the most cost-effective American Express card for small businesses.
With this in mind, you’ll probably experience greater value with another Amex business card, even counting no annual fee options. If your travel expenses call for the purchasing power of a card, the Green Rewards might be a good call. Still, all-around better features could make ponying up for the next-level American Express® Business Gold Card a better investment.
What are the pros and cons?
- The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express is a charge card and not a traditional credit card, so you’ll have to pay your balance in full each month.
- You’ll only earn “bonus rewards” on travel purchases made through AmexTravel.com, which may not benefit you if you don’t use this portal.
- You won’t qualify for many cardholder benefits since this charge card is fairly “bare bones.” The main benefits you will receive include free employee cards, a baggage insurance plan and car rental loss insurance.
A deeper look at the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 2X points on American Express Travel purchases; 1X points on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 15,000 points after spending $3,000 within first three months
- Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: (see rates and fees)
Current welcome offer
You can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 within your first three months as a new cardholder.
American Express’s rewards points calculator values this offer differently according to what you redeem for. Your best deal would be using your intro bonus for $150 of airfare, but the point value dwindles for most other options.
This bonus is a decent offer for business travelers, but the spending requirement is a bit steep for the payout compared to other Amex cards. For instance, the Business Gold card earns a Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
The American Express Business Green Card earns Membership Rewards points, which can be redeemed for a wide range of rewards including airfare bookings. Amex points don’t expire for the life of your account, so there’s no pressure if your business has reduced travel.
Your Business Green card earns 2 points per dollar on purchases through AmexTravel.com and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
This is a pretty stripped-down rewards structure for a premium rewards credit card, especially since it only rewards travel booked through the American Express travel portal. By comparison, other American Express credit cards might provide better opportunities depending on your business’ spending.
Booking travel through Amex is the generally favored redemption choice value-wise, but you have plenty of choices if the timing for air travel isn’t right:
- Book or upgrade travel (including flights, hotels and vacations)
- Transfer to partner travel loyalty programs
- Pay with points at select online retailer checkouts (including Amazon.com, PayPal and Staples) and on rental car bookings through Amex Travel
- Gift cards
- Merchandise purchases through americanexpress.com
- Charitable donations
Other cardholder perks
For a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), the Business Green card doesn’t carry much in the way of premium benefits, although the features provided are helpful. In fact, it offers mostly the same benefits as the no annual fee The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express except for an additional baggage insurance perk.
Travel and purchase protections
Most of these benefits are standard American Express card shopping protections and travel insurance, but they might be able to save your business money if you’re dealing with troublesome merchants and travel hiccups.
Pay Over Time
American Express recently announced that they were adding the popular Pay Over Time and Pay It Plan It features to its cards, extending more payback options to cardholders. Although business cards don’t have Pay It Plan It, Pay Over Time will allow you to add eligible purchases to a separate balance that you can revolve with interest.
This is especially helpful for business owners that might need a little breathing room to settle sudden expenses.
Amex Offers is available on every American Express card, but it can be especially helpful for expanding the Business Green card’s reward opportunities. This special deal program offers limited-time promotions that you can activate in order to earn bonus Membership Rewards points or cash back on participating retailer purchases.
Amex Offers aren’t cash cows, but these extra helpings can add up if you maximize the reward limits.
How much are points worth?
Your points are worth the most by far when you shift them to American Express transfer partners. The Points Guy values the average Membership Rewards point at 2 cents per point when you use them strategically. Unfortunately, your mileage will vary by redeeming with American Express:
|Redemption option||Point value|
|Travel bookings and upgrades||0.7 cents to 1 cent|
|Transfer partners||Up to 2 cents|
|“Pay with points” retailers||0.5 cents to 1 cent|
|Gift cards||Up to 1 cent|
|Merchandise purchases||0.5 cents|
|Charitable donations||5 percent donation charge|
Rates and fees
The Amex Business Green Rewards card usually has a $95 annual fee, but it’s currently waived for your first year. This kind of offer is increasingly rare, and it gives you plenty of time to decide whether you need to upgrade or downgrade in case you aren’t making the most of your card for the price tag.
Your balance must be paid off every month, there is no traditional APR. There is an ongoing APR (See terms) in case you use the Pay Over Time feature, however.
In addition, although the Business Green card is a travel rewards card, there is a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee.
How the American Express Business Green Card compares to other business cards
The Amex Business Green Rewards card is American Express’s straightforward structure is a bit lean considering the equivalent (or better) benefits and rewards the issuer’s no annual fee business credit cards carry.
Depending on how your business expenses and annual fee budget lean, these other credit cards might be worthwhile alternatives to the Business Green card:
Business Green Rewards Card from vs. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
In fact, the Blue Business Plus card also provides 2X points, but on all purchases up to $50,000 per year (then 1X points), for no annual fee. If its annual bonus category cap is too low, however, fronting the Business Gold card’s heftier annual fee could be worth the much more valuable rewards and benefits.
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express vs. American Express® Business Gold Card
Going by the 1 cent per point redemption value for amextravel.com flights, spending $396 per month in your 2X points category with Business Green will make up for the annual fee. Meanwhile you’ll need to spend $615 in your 4X bonus categories per month with Business Gold to break even on the $295 annual fee.
Before you decide, remember that the Business Gold card earns 4X points (up to $150,000 per year in combined 4X category purchases (in two of the available six categories, then 1X points) across more diverse categories — including airfare through other airlines, advertising and technology — and comes with ongoing benefits that can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Best cards to pair with the American Express Business Green Card
Splurging for an additional, pricey American Express card would likely defeat the Business Green card’s cost effectiveness, so we recommend pairing it with one of the traditional Amex business credit cards. With another $95 or no annual fee card, you can shore up the Business Green card’s scope of bonus categories.
The aforementioned Blue Business Plus card’s 2X points on all purchases (up to $50,000 annually, then 1X points) can cover anything outside your Business Green travel category—even your business’ bills. The key perk here is the “Expanded Buying Power” feature, which essentially lets you use it to spend beyond your credit limit and earn rewards on qualifying purchases. That extra padding isn’t unlimited, though, since it’s determined by your creditworthiness and other factors.
If you’re considering the Business Gold card for the breadth of bonus categories but the annual fee is unappetizing, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase offers similar rewards on everyday business categories at a $95 annual fee. Granted, these categories earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points instead of 4X points with Amex, but The Points Guy rates Ultimate Rewards points value at an identical 2 cents apiece.
Plus, the Ink Business Preferred doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and there’s a 25 percent boost in rewards value when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Bankrate’s Take—Is the American Express Business Green Card worth it?
Ultimately, the American Express Business Green Rewards Card is a bit pricey for the rewards rate and benefits you get at $95 each year. Other premium American Express cards easily outclass it if you’re willing to fork over the steeper annual fee.
However, if you’re set on American Express and your small business relies on frequent travel and buying power, then the Business Green card is a fine choice. But for the record, we recommend coupling it with another Amex card for broader reward opportunities.
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 Business Green Rewards Card from American Express has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.