Link: Apply now for the American Express® Green Card
The American Express® Green Card (review) currently has its best-ever welcome offer, and on top of that is an all-around lucrative card.
The card offers a couple of credits as perks, so in this post, I wanted to take a look at the benefits that this card offers with LoungeBuddy, which could score you airport lounge access.
Basics of the Amex Green Card
The Amex Green Card has a $150 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and potentially offers quite a bit of value.
This is the ideal time to pick up the card, given that it has a best-ever welcome offer, as follows:
- Earn 60,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 within the first six months
- Earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during your first six months, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit
Beyond the excellent bonus, this is one of the best cards for earning Amex Membership Rewards points. It’s incredibly rewarding for spending, as it offers 3x points on dining, travel, and transit, all with no caps and no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees). In terms of the rewards structure, this is Amex’s competitor to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review), as that card also offers 3x points on dining and travel.
On top of that, the Amex Green Card offers significant annual credits. You can receive up to $100 in LoungeBuddy credits annually, and can also receive up to $189 in CLEAR Plus credits annually. I think the CLEAR Plus credits are pretty self-explanatory, given that CLEAR can save you time at airport security. (Enrollment required)
But what about the LoungeBuddy credits? I wanted to take a closer look at that in this post…
How the Amex Green Card LoungeBuddy credits work
The Amex Green Card offers a $100 LoungeBuddy credit annually, whereby you can use the LoungeBuddy website or app to purchase access to lounges, and receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year.
For those not familiar with LoungeBuddy, it’s a company that Amex purchased several years back, which is a resource for airport lounge access. The LoungeBuddy website and app show you up-to-date information on virtually all lounges that are available at airports, including opening times, access requirements, and more. In some cases, LoungeBuddy is able to directly sell you access to those lounges, while in other cases it’s not.
Here are the basic terms to be aware of when it comes to using the Amex Green Card $100 LoungeBuddy credit benefit:
- 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
Best uses of Amex Green Card LoungeBuddy credits
It goes without saying that airport lounges have been increasingly monetized over the years, with programs like Priority Pass. For those of you not familiar with Priority Pass, it’s the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,300 lounges around the world.
You’ll find that there’s quite a bit of overlap between Priority Pass lounges and those you can buy lounge access through with LoungeBuddy. Therefore I think it makes sense to break up this advice 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.
There are quite a few premium credit cards offering Priority Pass memberships, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review), the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review), The Platinum Card® from American Express (review), and more. (Enrollment required)
Best LoungeBuddy uses without Priority Pass
If you don’t have a Priority Pass membership, it should be pretty easy to take advantage of this LoungeBuddy credit. 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.
Best LoungeBuddy uses with Priority Pass
There’s a lot of overlap between Priority Pass lounges and lounges you can purchase access to with LoungeBuddy. It goes without saying that it’s not worth using a credit when you already get access to something for free.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas for using your LoungeBuddy credit if you already have a Priority Pass membership:
- You can always use your LoungeBuddy credit to buy lounge access for friends and family members who don’t have a Priority Pass membership, even if you’re not traveling with them
- You can buy access to quite a few Lufthansa Lounges through LoungeBuddy; this even includes the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge Frankfurt, which you can’t otherwise receive access to with any credit cards
- You can buy access to some Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in the United States, which might not partner with Priority Pass, but do partner with Plaza Premium
The truth is that in the past there used to be some great niche uses of LoungeBuddy credits, but those are largely not available anymore. For example, you used to be able to book a room at the Dubai International Airport Hotel using LoungeBuddy credits, and also used to be able to buy access to the incredible Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong. Unfortunately those options are no longer available.
That being said, I’m sure I’m missing some creative options, so if anyone notices any, please let me know!
How to buy lounge access with LoungeBuddy
How do you actually go about using your $100 LoungeBuddy credit with the Amex Green Card to buy lounge access? I wanted to walk through the process of how that works. You can either visit the LoungeBuddy website or app. I’ll use the website for the below example.
First, you’ll want to select the airport you want to look at lounge options for. Let’s use New York JFK, as an example.
On the next page you’ll see all the lounges at the airport, though for the purposes of using your credit, you’ll want to filter it using the “Book Online” option, which would show you the lounges where you can purchase access.
Once you select a lounge, you’ll be asked to choose the date and time you’d like to visit. You can only book up to two months in advance. 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.
The Amex Green Card is an incredibly lucrative card. It currently has a best-ever bonus, and is one of the best cards for earning Membership Rewards points.
The card has a reasonable $150 annual fee to begin with, and then offers up to $189 in CLEAR credits and up to $100 in LoungeBuddy credits annually.
If you have a Priority Pass membership, odds are that you won’t value the LoungeBuddy credit at anywhere close to face value. However, there are still ways to get use from this, either for some lounges that don’t participate in Priority Pass, or by buying lounge access for friends and family.
If you have this card, there’s no reason to waste this credit!
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).
Haven’t had a need/chance to use but have hoped overnight at HKG Oh well
I’ll explore the options just to use it.
Member since 83
The biggest issue I have is that LoungeBuddy used to be the tripadvisor of lounges - it was primarily a review and information resource. The database still has lots of lounges, only a small fraction of which you'll be able to access using the $100 credit.
Priority Pass, for its shortcomings on the west coast, at least makes it easy to see what you have access to (which is nothing in LAX, but at least you don't have to poke around 10 lounges to figure that out.)
FWIW, if you use LoungeBuddy to purchase access to a Plaza Premium Lounge, you won't earn Smart Traveller points. Learned that the hard way when trying to keep the points active. :-\
There is no Android app, shows how serious this business is.
Owned by Amex. Their target audience looks down on green-colored text messages.
They used to have an Android app before Amex bought them, I still have it installed and it actually still works, but you haven't been able to download it for years.
I too enjoyed the lounge reviews (and reviewing some of them).
Both times I’ve tried booking with the Lounge Buddy app it crashed or wouldn’t take my Amex Green CC info. Really frustrating.
Maybe it’s a signal problem at DFW, but the last two times I tried to use the Lounge Buddy App to purchase time at Minute Suites it crashed. Have never been able to use the benefit properly.
Ben nailed it.
If you’ve got the AMEX Platinum, the Loungebuddy credit is effectively useless except for buying access for someone else who isn’t with you.