Best Uses Of Amex Green $100 LoungeBuddy Credit

Filed Under: American Express
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The American Express® Green Card was recently refreshed, and I now consider it to be one of the most rewarding cards out there for those looking to maximize points.

In this post I wanted to take a look at one of the benefits of the card that I initially assumed wouldn’t be worth much to me, but the more I dig, the more value I see from it.

Amex Green Card Basics

The Amex Green Card has a $150 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers the following:

  • 3x Membership Rewards points without caps on dining, travel, and transit
  • Up to $200 in annual credits — a $100 LoungeBuddy credit and a $100 CLEAR credit

In many ways, this is an Amex competitor to the uber-popular Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, as that card also offers 3x points on dining and travel.

While the Amex Green as such has a great rewards structure, for me the question comes down to how much of the $150 annual fee I can account for with the up to $200 in credits. The $100 CLEAR credit is great, because I would otherwise spend $100 per year on my CLEAR membership.

But what about the LoungeBuddy credit?

Amex Green Card LoungeBuddy Basics

Before we even talk about the best uses of the LoungeBuddy credit offered with the Amex Green Card, here’s what you need to know regarding the terms for using this:

  • The $100 credit is per calendar year
  • The credit can be used across as many transactions as you’d like, so you don’t need to spend it all at once
  • The credit applies on purchases directly through the LoungeBuddy website or app
  • Purchases by the primary cardmember and additional cardmembers are eligible, though there’s only a total of a $100 credit per account
  • You can buy lounge access for anyone (including friends and family), as long as you pay with your card
  • The statement credit will post within two to four weeks of an eligible purchase

Buy lounge access in Bangkok with your LoungeBuddy credit

Best Uses Of Amex Green LoungeBuddy Credit

I think it makes sense to break this advice up into two groups — there are the best uses for those with a Priority Pass membership, and the best uses for those without a Priority Pass membership.

For those of you not familiar with Priority Pass, it’s the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, and they have over 1,300 lounges around the world.

You get a membership for this with several premium credit cards, the most popular of which are probably The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review). Personally I have four Priority Pass memberships, so for me, that’s a major consideration.

There’s considerable overlap between LoungeBuddy & Priority Pass lounges

Best LoungeBuddy Uses Without Priority Pass

I think there’s not all that much point in focusing too much on the best LoungeBuddy uses if you don’t have Priority Pass. The best use of a lounge visit is going to be when you’re at an airport with a long layover and want somewhere to kill time.

There’s no point in flying somewhere just so you can use a great contract lounge.

In general, I’d say:

  • Lounges in Asia are going to be better than lounges in the US
  • I’d decide which lounge to visit based on how long your layover is
  • The cost of access can vary greatly, anywhere from $15 to $89 per visit, and the pricing isn’t necessarily reflective of the quality of the lounge
  • Given that the credit has limited validity, I’d always rather use it than “save” it for the future, since you never know when you’ll next have a practical opportunity to use it

The moral of the story is that if you don’t otherwise have a Priority Pass membership then just use it for anywhere you have a long layover, and you should get value out of it.

Even an average lounge will be better than sitting in the terminal

Best LoungeBuddy Uses With Priority Pass

To me, this is the biggest challenge. When I first heard about the Amex Green Card I thought that I’d literally get zero value out of the $100 LoungeBuddy credit, since I have a Priority Pass membership.

There’s a huge amount of overlap between Priority Pass lounges and the lounges that you can buy access to through LoungeBuddy. But the more digging I’ve done, the more I’ve realized that there’s definitely at least some value to be had.

Let’s one again remember that this is a $150 annual fee card, and it offers $200 in annual credits. I value the $100 CLEAR credit more or less at face value, so is there any way I can get at least $50 worth of value from the LoungeBuddy credit, to more or less make this a card that’s not costing me anything out of pocket?

With that in mind, here are some of the best uses of LoungeBuddy credits when you also have a Priority Pass membership, in no particular order:

Buy Access To The Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong

I recently reviewed the Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong, which is probably the best contract lounge I’ve ever been to. It has a la carte dining and complimentary 10-minute massages.

The lounge is accessible with Priority Pass, but there’s a 250 HKD (~32 USD) co-pay. Alternatively, I could have purchased access outright through LoungeBuddy, which would have cost $89 for three hours (it’s more expensive because it’s the full cost of entry, rather than just the co-pay).

Even better, you could buy five hours of access for $99, while Priority Pass access is limited to three hours. So that would be a great way to use up the credit at once.

I recently got the Amex Green Card, so I’m totally kicking myself for not doing that, since the $100 credit for this year expires in a couple of weeks, and I probably won’t be able to use it otherwise.

At a minimum that credit can be used for a Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong visit once per year, which is awesome.

The Plaza Premium First Lounge features a la carte dining

Book A Room At The Dubai International Hotel

The Dubai International Airport Hotel is the airside transit hotel at DXB, and it’s part of LoungeBuddy. For $143 you can book a room for six hours, which is an ideal option if you just have a quick transit.

After factoring in the $100 credit, you’re really just paying $43 out of pocket for that, which is excellent.

Nothing beats a hotel room during a long transit

Buy Lufthansa Lounge Access In The US

The only Lufthansa Business Lounge in the US that belongs to Priority Pass is the one in Detroit, but several more can be booked through LoungeBuddy.

So if you find yourself in a situation where it could be useful, you could buy access to any of the following lounges:

  • Lufthansa Business Lounge Boston for $69
  • Lufthansa Business Lounge Detroit for $39
  • Lufthansa Business Lounge New York for $49
  • Lufthansa Business Lounge Washington for $45

Note that access to some Lufthansa Lounges outside the US can also be purchased through LoungeBuddy, though at least select lounges in Frankfurt and Munich can be visited with an Amex Platinum Card.

But there are still some potentially useful lounge options outside the US through LoungeBuddy. For example, you can buy access to Lufthansa’s Arrivals Lounge in Frankfurt through LoungeBuddy.

Buy Lufthansa Lounge access through LoungeBuddy

Buy Lounge Access For Friends & Family

LoungeBuddy lets you buy lounge access for others, so another great use of the credit could be to just buy access for friends and family, either when they’re not traveling with you, or when you’d otherwise exceed your guesting limits through Priority Pass.

How To Buy Lounge Access With LoungeBuddy

Lastly, I just wanted to look at how the actual process of buying lounge access through LoungeBuddy works.

First, you’d want to select the airport and date you want to purchase lounge access for — you can buy access up to two months in advance.

On the next page you’ll see all the lounge access options at that airport, along with the prices.

You can then select the lounge you want, at which point you’ll be asked to choose the time you’d like to visit. Note that for most lounges you have to cancel at least 24 hours in advance for a full refund, and you can arrive within an hour (in either direction) of your selected time.

Then on the next page you’ll see the different packages available, if there are multiple options. This can include different lengths of stay, for example.

Then you’ll be brought to the payment screen, where you just enter your card info and the name of the person who is visiting. You can buy access for other people, which is potentially a great opportunity.

Bottom Line

The Amex Green Card is, in my opinion, the most well rounded and compelling Amex card for earning Membership Rewards points.

The card has a reasonable $150 annual fee to begin with, and offers 3x points on dining, travel, and transit.

Beyond that, the card offers up to $200 in credits. Initially, I thought I wouldn’t get much value out of the LoungeBuddy credit due to my Priority Pass membership, but after doing some digging I think I’ll at least get some value out of it, even if it’s just for one Plaza Premium First Lounge HKG visit per year.

Are there any other great LoungeBuddy credit uses I’m missing?

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

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Comments
  1. Best use of the $100 Away credit? Buy overpriced luggage just to look like a brainless Instagram follower in an airport! The whole supporting a company that emotionally tortures it’s employees thing is an added bonus!

  2. no such thing as a best use of the loungebuddy credit; more like a best way to mitigate loss. you’re prepaying for something you don’t need.

  3. @Lucky This is a super great and useful article. Thanks.

    I think you meant 10 minute massages, not passages. 10 minute passages are like what you get at Heathrow.

  4. @305 is smart.
    “Away” as a company and an overpriced product is not. Fascinating to read the decline of the CEO.

  5. Thanks for the tips!

    If you buy lounge access with Lounge Buddy in the referenced lounge in HKG, do you get to bring along a guest?

    As for Away, I purchased a garment bag to go inside my suitcase that cost less than the credit. Maybe not completely necessary, but it worked very well on my last trip, and it was free.

  6. @ CJ — The whole benefit of using LoungeBuddy is that you don’t need to be flying any particular airline. 🙂

  7. @ Craig — Pricing with LoungeBuddy is per person, so if you want to bring a guest you’d need to buy access for two people.

  8. Lucky these are niche uses where you’re just trying to blow a credit to “use” it. Likely in these airports you would have access To other lounges. This is really a useless benefit unless you do not have a PP membership. But then why are you on this site?

  9. @Shawn the Priority Pass lounges at JFK are pretty dreadful, so I can actually see getting use out of this (since I already have the card) and never would have known otherwise.

  10. @ Shawn — These are absolutely niche uses, and like I said from the beginning, I think this card could be well worth it even if you get zero value out of this benefit. That being said, getting some value out of a benefit is better than getting no value, no?

  11. The Escape Lounges are no longer with Priority Pass but you can purchase access with Lounge Buddy. There are quite a few of them at some airports that don’t otherwise have many lounges. That’s likely how I’ll use the credit

  12. If purchasing lounge access for others, is the credit ‘used’ based on the purchase date or the date when the lounge is used? Thinking about buying them now for use in 2020 before I lose the calendar year credits.

  13. @Ivan noted. But if you have your family are you going to “suck it up” and whore it up in the wingtips lounge or pay 49 pp for Lufthansa? The wingtips lounge isn’t that bad. Granted not great but passable.

    I hear you but I stand by my statement. The only reason I would pay for a PP is that a lucky said it’s one of the nicest third party ones he’s been it. But would I pay 70-140 for the experience. No.

  14. I am not really seeing the “green need,” don’t get me wrong, I like away, some of their products are decent, but the Amex offsets, clear and lounge buddy are not, and the travel bonus 3MR, (cash out with Schwab at 3.75%) with a limited view of what codes as travel, doesn’t really make me want to drop my CSR. This card missed the mark. I’d have like to seen 4x travel, 2x everything else, with a $50/$50 travel offset every 6 months.. for $150 annual fee, keeping the no foreign ex fee, that would be a keeper.

  15. @Shawn sure — I was thinking while traveling solo. Once others are in the picture, then not so much. Even so, I’d rather have this info than not — the whole premise of the second part of the article was what odd cases you could use the benefit with. That’s interesting stuff, even if there are only a few of them. Obviously the benefit isn’t something I’d assign any value to when assessing the card proposition, but that doesn’t make the benefit entirely useless. Just mostly useless, though possibly useful for a few.

  16. I wish Amex made their credits non-company specific. As a longtime Amex Plat holder, I am eliminating my Plat card. I don’t use the Uber or airline credits. Lyft is infinitely better and Uber is a nightmare how they treat their clients. The airline credits are useless if you have status. CSR is so much easier. The price increase doesn’t justify the cost. I can use CSR and receive travel and car rental insurance without worrying that I didn’t purchase a r/t ticket.

    The same for the Green card. The lounge buddy credit is preposterous. Purchasing a flight ticket without insurance is silly. I recently used the insurance for two different flights. The whole purpose of insurance is to not need it, but to have it in an emergency.

    It is very disappointing that Amex doesn’t understand that it’s clients want ease of use and not monthly restrictions or silly perks.

  17. @ssss I’m pretty sure Amex wants to have perks that sound nice but are hard to get value from, and they think that people who sign up for their classic charge cards specifically want an American Express card. Also, Chase set out to eat Amex’s lunch with CSR, so they had to give away more. I love mine, but I won’t be surprised if the annual fee goes up or the travel credit takes a hit.

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