American Express Green Card Review (2021)

American Express Green Card Review (2021)

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In this post I wanted to take an in-depth look at the Amex Green Card, which is underrated and often overlooked. In my opinion is a great card for anyone looking to earn travel rewards in the long run.

American Express Green Card Basics For October 2021

The Amex Green Card has a reasonable annual fee, offers statements credits that can potentially more than offset the annual fee, and offers 3x points in categories that many will spend a lot in.

Combine that with the value of Membership Rewards points, and the other great cards out there you can complement that with, and this is a card that should interest many. So let’s take a closer look at the details.

Amex Green Card $150 Annual Fee

Let’s start off with what most people would consider to be the negative of the card. The Amex Green Card has a $150 annual fee. That might sound a bit on the steep side, but I think the benefits more than outweigh it.

Amex Green Card Welcome Bonus

The Amex Green Card’s welcome bonus varies depending on which link you apply through. For example, when I open this refer a friend link, I see a bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points, which is definitely among the higher offers I’ve seen on the card. Others may see a different offer, so you’ll want to see what you’re eligible for.

Earning Points With The Amex Green Card

This is where the Amex Green Card gets really awesome, as it’s one of the best cards for earning Amex points. The Amex Green Card offers 3x Membership Rewards points in some lucrative categories. I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me 3x points categories equate to a 5.1% return on spending, which is excellent.

Earn 3x Points On Dining

The Amex Green Card offers 3x points at restaurants globally with no limits. Generally speaking, the restaurants category doesn’t just include sit-down dining establishments, but you’ll often find that fast food establishments, cafes, and even takeout and delivery, code as restaurants as well.

It all comes down to how the merchant categorizes themselves. For example, a restaurant located inside another establishment (like inside a hotel) often won’t code as dining, so that’s something to be aware of.

Furthermore, expect that bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, and convenience stores, won’t code as restaurants. This is one of the better cards out there for dining purchases.

Earn 3x points on dining purchases globally

Earn 3x Points On Travel (Including Transit)

The Amex Green Card offers 3x points on travel purchases (including transit) globally with no limits.

You can expect this to include all kinds of travel purchases, including airfare, hotels, cruises, car rentals, campgrounds, trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, tours, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, subways, and third-party travel sites.

As you can see, this includes many purchases you might make in your day-to-day life without actually “traveling,” like ridesharing, as well as bus, train, and subway tickets.

Earn 3x points on travel purchases globally

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Amex Green Card has no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), so this is a great card to use for purchases abroad. That’s especially true when you consider how many foreign purchases are often in the travel and dining category. I’d say that’s a majority of what I spend money on when traveling.

Earn 3x points on dining and hotels with the Amex Green Card

Redeeming Points With The Amex Green Card

The best way to redeem your Amex Green Card points is to transfer them to one of the Membership Rewards airline or hotel partners. Points can be transferred to the following 20 partners, including 17 airline partners and three hotel partners:

Airline Partners
Hotel Partners
Aer Lingus AerClub
Choice Privileges
Aeromexico Club Premier
Hilton Honors
Air Canada Aeroplan
Marriott Bonvoy
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
ANA Mileage Club
Avianca LifeMiles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Delta SkyMiles
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners

The reason this represents such a good deal is because you can get outsized value towards international first and business class travel. These tickets are often super expensive if paying cash, while they can be a good deal on points. On top of that Amex often has transfer bonuses, which can stretch your points even further.

Redeem your Amex points for Lufthansa first class

American Express Green Card Benefits

The Amex Green Card has some benefits that potentially more than offset the annual fee on the card. This includes two $100 annual credits that many may find useful.

Amex Green Card Annual $100 CLEAR Credit

Historically so many credit cards have offered TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry fee credits, though it’s great to see some cards increasingly offering CLEAR credits instead.

The Green from Amex offers up to $100 per calendar year in CLEAR statement credits. What’s also awesome is that this is annual, and not once every four to five years, like the TSA Pre-Check credit would usually be.

Just use your card when you pay for your CLEAR membership, and you’ll automatically receive statement credits within two to four weeks of when your card is charged.

Ordinarily, a CLEAR membership costs $179 per year, but just for being a member (even without status) of Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus, that cost is reduced to $119 per year. If you have Delta Medallion or United Premier status, or select co-branded credit cards, it’s even lower than that.

Realistically no one should be paying more than $119 per year for CLEAR, and that $100 credit would bring down your out of pocket to $19 per year, which is awesome.

Save on a CLEAR membership with the Amex Green Card

Amex Green Card Annual $100 LoungeBuddy Credits

In 2019 Amex acquired LoungeBuddy, and this is the first card to add a LoungeBuddy credit as a benefit.

The Green from Amex offers up to $100 per calendar year in LoungeBuddy statement credits when you buy lounge access and charge it to your card.

LoungeBuddy lets you instantly buy access to hundreds of lounges around the world. Now, in fairness, there is quite some overlap between LoungeBuddy’s lounges and those belonging to Priority Pass, so this may not be all that useful to everyone.

However, LoungeBuddy does also have some unique partner lounges that don’t belong to Priority Pass.

Statement credits with this should post within two to four weeks.

Buy access to all kinds of lounges with LoungeBuddy

Amex Offers

One of the great features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which offers savings or bonus points on purchases with all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so that you can get these offers on multiple cards.

Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can access these offers by logging into your account and scrolling down to the bottom of your account summary page.

Is The Amex Green Card Worth It?

The Amex Green Card has a unique place in Amex’s card portfolio, thanks to the very broad bonus categories. The card offers 3x points on dining and travel, has a fairly reasonable $150 annual fee to begin with, and that gets even better when you consider the $200 in credits you can take advantage of annually.

If you’re someone who finds Amex points to be valuable and you spend a lot on dining and travel (which are major categories), then I think this card is a no brainer. Let’s just look at a few other things to consider when deciding if this card makes sense.

Quick Card Comparison: Amex Green Vs. Amex Gold

There’s also the American Express® Gold Card, so how do the two cards compare? The Gold Card:

  • Has a $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Earns 4x points at restaurants, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 of spending per calendar year), and 3x points on airfare
  • The card offers significant credits, including up to a $120 annual dining credit, up to a $120 annual Uber credit (as of 2021), and up to $100 annual airline fee credit (this last credit ends on December 31, 2021)

You can learn more about the Amex Gold Card here.

Personally I think the Amex Green Card is better for those who don’t shop a lot at supermarkets, while the Amex Gold Card is better for those who spend a lot at supermarkets.

See this post for a more in-depth comparison between the Amex Gold Card and Amex Green Card.

Quick Card Comparison: Amex Green Vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is another incredibly popular card that earns bonus points on dining and travel. How do the two cards compare? The Sapphire Preferred:

  • Has a $95 annual fee
  • Has a welcome bonus of 60,000 points
  • Earns 3x points on dining, online groceries, and streaming services, and 2x points on travel (which isn’t as good, since the Amex Green earns 3x points on both, and on a per point basis I value the currencies equally)
  • Offers super travel protection, including car rental coverage (which the Amex Green doesn’t)
  • Offers a $50 annual hotel credit valid through Chase Travel, compared to the Amex Green’s $100 CLEAR credit and $100 LoungeBuddy credit
  • Offers more flexible ways to redeem your points, including the “Pay Yourself Back” feature

You can learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred here.

Individually I think the Amex Green might be superior to the Sapphire Preferred in terms of maximizing points. The catch is that I think the Sapphire Preferred is a better “hub” card, given the value you can create by having Chase Ultimate Rewards cards.

Quick Card Comparison: Amex Green Vs. Citi Premier

The Citi Premier® Card is another comparable mid-range card that is a competitor to this card. How do the cards compare? The Citi Premier:

  • Has a $95 annual fee
  • Has a superior welcome bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of card membership
  • Earns 3x points on dining, groceries, gas, air travel, and hotels, making this the mid-range card with the best bonus categories

You can learn more about the Citi Premier Card here.

Personally, I think the Citi Premier has the best bonus categories of any mid-range card, and the overall portfolio of Citi ThankYou cards has also been improving considerably.

Complement: Amex Blue Business Plus

If I were to get the Amex Green Card and complement it with one other Amex card, I’d recommend The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which offers 2x points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year (1x after $50,000).

It’s a pretty unbeatable combination to earn 2x points on everyday business spending and 3x points on personal dining and travel spending.

Bottom Line

The Amex Green Card is one of my favorite mid-range American Express cards. The $150 annual fee card offers 3x points on dining, travel, and transit, and offers up to $200 in annual credits ($100 with CLEAR and $100 with LoungeBuddy).

This is a fantastic card that’s often overlooked, and I’d say it’s Amex’s closest true competitor to the likes of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Citi Premier® Card.

If you want to learn more about the Amex Green Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees).

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  1. jjmpdx

    I’ve liked my Green Card. But now that my Platinum card pays my Clear membership, the Green Card’s on the chopping block.

  2. Anthony

    Amex Green earning 3x on travel and dining is pretty good. However, many will probably pair this with an Amex Platinum. The addition of the CLEAR credit to the Amex Platinum makes the Amex Green Clear credit less appealing. So for me this card is $150 out of pocket. Earnings are good, but that may make Amex Gold a better companion to Amex Platinum (as Amex Gold credits are worth more)

  3. Jerry

    What I love most about the Green Card is hotel spend outside of the USA. Since Amex doesn't allow DCC I can get 3X and not have to worry about the hotel trying to screw me in the conversion.

  4. TM

    I picked up the AmEx Green card this year on a 45K MR bonus to round out my AmEx card strategy and have been happy so far. For my premium AmEx card I have a Delta Reserve, which since most of my travel is domestic work trips on Delta and I am Platinum medallion, I enjoy the combination of lounge access (largely the same as the Platinum Amex) and the annual companion certificate. My wife...

    I picked up the AmEx Green card this year on a 45K MR bonus to round out my AmEx card strategy and have been happy so far. For my premium AmEx card I have a Delta Reserve, which since most of my travel is domestic work trips on Delta and I am Platinum medallion, I enjoy the combination of lounge access (largely the same as the Platinum Amex) and the annual companion certificate. My wife an I also use the Everyday Preferred card for or gas and groceries and top it up to 30 transactions/month to get the 50% bonus.

    Adding the Green card allows us to really leverage MR point earning now that all of our travel and dining can get bonus points. We don't spend enough on CCs to really be able to diversify across multiple programs, so it's nice to be able to focus on one main program with a nice selection of partners. The CLEAR credit is a nice benefit as well that I wouldn't use otherwise.

  5. Tennen

    @Lucky, when did CLEAR change their prices for UA/DL? When I signed up (5? years ago), it was $0 for top elites, $79 for elites/select CCs, and $99 for no status members. IIRC, they didn't raise the prices as long as you kept your membership active, so Amex Green should fully cover their fees.

  6. Bill n DC

    I’m enjoying my AmEx Green Card, along with my EveryDay Preferred card.

    Just like my First AmEx Card in 1983!

    I put 30+ transactions a month on the EvD card through monthly donations :-)
    then use Green card for 3x categories
    Although currently EvD card I get 4.5 points for groceries, spending approximately $300 a week on groceries - those big blueberries will run you up ;-)
    I also have...

    I’m enjoying my AmEx Green Card, along with my EveryDay Preferred card.

    Just like my First AmEx Card in 1983!

    I put 30+ transactions a month on the EvD card through monthly donations :-)
    then use Green card for 3x categories
    Although currently EvD card I get 4.5 points for groceries, spending approximately $300 a week on groceries - those big blueberries will run you up ;-)
    I also have the Citi Premiere when AmEx not accepted. 3rd card in my wallet is Chase Ink.
    Still over Chase 5/24 by picking up signup bonuses on a variety of cards. Just got Jet Blue cards to cover nonstop DCA - SJU January trip :-)

    Time to get hubby a Citi Premier for the 80,000 sign up bonus.

  7. Nick

    Meanwhile here I am in the UK earning 1 X MR on everything but airfares booked through AMEX at 2 X MR. Sigh. Maybe one day

Featured Comments Load all 7 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jerry

What I love most about the Green Card is hotel spend outside of the USA. Since Amex doesn't allow DCC I can get 3X and not have to worry about the hotel trying to screw me in the conversion.

Bill n DC

I’m enjoying my AmEx Green Card, along with my EveryDay Preferred card. Just like my First AmEx Card in 1983! I put 30+ transactions a month on the EvD card through monthly donations :-) then use Green card for 3x categories Although currently EvD card I get 4.5 points for groceries, spending approximately $300 a week on groceries - those big blueberries will run you up ;-) I also have the Citi Premiere when AmEx not accepted. 3rd card in my wallet is Chase Ink. Still over Chase 5/24 by picking up signup bonuses on a variety of cards. Just got Jet Blue cards to cover nonstop DCA - SJU January trip :-) Time to get hubby a Citi Premier for the 80,000 sign up bonus.

jjmpdx

I’ve liked my Green Card. But now that my Platinum card pays my Clear membership, the Green Card’s on the chopping block.

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