American Express Green Card: Premium Benefits and Features for Frequent Travelers

American Express Green Card: Premium Benefits and Features for Frequent Travelers

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The American Express® Green Card was revamped by the issuer in October 2019 with new benefits and features to suit consumers with a traveling lifestyle. The card was originally introduced 50 years ago, and remained largely unchanged until its relaunch. The updated charge card is much more competitive than previous, with benefits like travel insurance, broad spending categories and annual fee credits for CLEAR membership.

One unique part of the American Express® Green Card is the physical card itself. While nearly all credit cards are made of plastic or metal, this card is made from reclaimed plastic from beaches and islands. So you can know that you are helping conserve the ocean, while earning great credit card rewards simultaneously. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

American Express® Green Card: Benefits for frequent travelers, without the large annual fee

The American Express® Green Card is a charge card that comes with great benefits and features for travelers. With the potential to earn heaps of American Express Membership Rewards® and valuable travel credits, this card can deliver exceptional value for consumers on the go.

American Express® Green Card benefit and features

Broad earning categories

When you spend on the American Express® Green Card, you will earn the following rewards:

  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases

These categories are similar to other travel credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. However, the American Express® Green Card's annual fee of $150 is nearly 75% less than the Chase Sapphire Reserve®'s annual fee of $550.

For people on the go, these spending categories can have you earning large amounts of Membership Rewards in no time, without a large annual fee.

Variety of redemptions

The Membership Rewards points you earn with the card can be redeemed for a tremendous variety of rewards. These multiple options make Membership Rewards some of the most valuable points to earn in the credit card space.

You can use Amex points to:

  • Cover eligible charges on your American Express (Amex) card
  • Pay with points at checkout for online retailers like Amazon and Grubhub
  • Buy gift cards
  • Book or upgrade travel
  • Transfer points to Amex transfer partners
  • Purchase merchandise

Each of these purchasing opportunities will net you different values for your Amex points. To net the greatest value, it is best to save your points for Amex travel partners.

Amex transfer partners

Besides the list of redemption options above, the points that you earn with the American Express® Green Card can be transferred to a long list of travel partners, mostly at a 1:1 ratio, to be used for free flights or hotel rooms.

Points transfer is generally the most valuable way to redeem your points. By transferring your points, and redeeming them for flights, you can get a value of 2 cents per point or more. For example, if you transfer 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards to Delta and redeem them for a flight that is $1,300, the value of those points is 2.6 cents per point.

Here are the current Amex travel partners, along with their transfer ratios:

  • Aer Lingus 1:1
  • AeroMexico 1:1
  • Air Canada 1:1
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) 1:1
  • Alitalia 1:1
  • ANA 1:1
  • Asia Miles 1:1
  • Avianca 1:1
  • British Airways 1:1
  • Delta Air Lines 1:1
  • El Al 1000:20
  • Emirates 1:1
  • Etihad 1:1
  • Hawaiian 1:1
  • Iberia 1:1
  • JetBlue 1:1
  • Qantas 1:1
  • Singapore Airlines 1:1
  • Choice Privileges Hotels 1:1
  • Hilton Honors 1:2 (1 Amex point = 2 Hilton Honors points)
  • Marriott Bonvoy 1:1

Airport lounge credit

When traveling through airports, sitting at the boarding area before your flight can be an unpleasant experience. The American Express® Green Card offers a solution to this issue, with a $100 statement credit to LoungeBuddy.

LoungeBuddy is an app that offers one-time passes into airport lounges around the world. Typically, airport lounge access is earned through memberships like Priority Pass or by flying premium class on an airline.

To use LoungeBuddy, simply download the app and type in the airport you plan on visiting. It will then list off the applicable lounges that you can enter. Select a lounge, use the American Express® Green Card to complete the purchase and you are done. You will receive a QR code on your phone to scan at the check-in desk of the lounge.

Lounge access starts at $25 per person per entry, so the credit won’t stretch far. But it is a great feature to make a few airport visits more enjoyable.

CLEAR airport security credit

Waiting in airport security lines is not enjoyable for anyone. To avoid the long lines and waits, you can enroll in an expedited security program like CLEAR. The American Express® Green Card offers a $100 statement credit per year to enroll in CLEAR, which knocks the price of CLEAR down to $79/year. If you travel with family members, you can add up to three adult family members for $50 each per year. Children under 18 can join you for free.

To bring the price of CLEAR membership down even further, you can stack on the following discounts:

  • Members of Delta SkyMiles receive the following reduced rates:
    • General members pay $119/year
    • Platinum/Gold/Silver Medallion members pay $109/year
    • Delta Credit Card holders pay $109/year
    • Delta Diamond Medallion members receive CLEAR membership for free
  • Members of United MileagePlus receive the following discounts:
    • General members pay $119/year
    • Premier Platinum/Gold/Silver members pay $109/year
    • United Credit Card holders pay $109/year
    • United Premier 1K members receive CLEAR membership for free

By simply joining the Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus programs to get a discount on CLEAR membership and using the $100 statement credit from the American Express® Green Card, you can reduce your annual fee for CLEAR to $19/year.

Limited time offer during COVID-19 outbreak: Credit card holders aren’t able to use many travel benefits during the coronavirus outbreak, so American Express has introduced other benefits in the interim.

Cardholders will receive up to $80 in statement credits ($10 per month from May to December 2020) when they pay their cellphone bill with the American Express® Green Card. The wireless providers included in the promotion are: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Travel coverages

During your travels, you may run into unfortunate situations, such as a flat tire or lost baggage. The American Express® Green Card offers an array of travel coverages to help you with any hiccups that happen when you are away from home. By using the American Express® Green Card on your travels, you will have the following credit card travel insurance policies:

  • Trip delay insurance
  • Rental car insurance
  • Baggage insurance

The travel insurance on this card isn’t as robust as other credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. If you prefer a credit card with travel insurance policies like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, the American Express® Green Card may not be the best option.

ValuePenguin's verdict: If you travel regularly, consider it for your wallet

The American Express® Green Card is a good, but not great, option for those who travel constantly. It offers great benefits for those on the road — including fee credits for CLEAR and LoungeBuddy — but those who aren’t regular travelers may find it difficult to maximize the card.

If you aren’t able to visit airport lounges or take advantage of the CLEAR membership, the $150 annual fee may be difficult to justify. However, the wide spending categories like transit and travel can be beneficial enough for some spenders to see value in the card.

Compared with other travel cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Citi Premier® Card, the American Express® Green Card stands as one of the best travel credit cards with a moderate annual fee.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, please click here.

How does the American Express® Green Card compare to other cards?

The American Express® Green Card has strong competitors in the travel credit card market. Here’s how it matches up against three other cards.

Similar rewards with a different look

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The American Express® Gold Card is another great charge card for travelers. The card comes with a $250 annual fee, as well as a $120 annual dining credit and $100 airline fee credit to help offset the annual fee.

As you spend on the American Express® Gold Card, you will earn:

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • 1X Membership Rewards® point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The American Express® Gold Card is the better option if you spend a significant amount at U.S. supermarkets, and can utilize the annual credits for dining and airline purchases. If you travel and eat out regularly, the American Express® Gold Card will likely suit your needs more.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

Luxury benefits with a luxury price tag

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The Platinum Card® from American Express offers luxurious benefits to travelers looking to step up their level of travel. The card comes with a long list of extensive benefits including:

  • Credits for Uber and airline purchases, and enrolling in TSA PreCheck/Global Entry
  • Airport lounge access including Priority Pass and Centurion Lounges
  • Benefits at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts programs
  • Complimentary hotel loyalty program status at Hilton and Marriott
  • Comprehensive travel insurance

While the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express are arguably the best of any travel credit card, the spending categories are limited. You will earn:

  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • 1X Membership Rewards® point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The largest downside of the card is the limited spending categories. Because the American Express® Green Card offers broader spending categories, it may make sense to use the two cards simultaneously to maximize your point earning potential.

Keep in mind that The Platinum Card® from American Express has a steep $550 annual fee. However, by maximizing the annual credits and the benefits, you can nullify nearly the entire annual fee.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

A battle of broad categories

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is widely regarded as the one of the best travel credit cards on the market — and for good reason.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers comprehensive travel insurance, outstanding earning categories, airport lounge access and a low annual fee. As you use the card, you will earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

There is plenty of debate about which credit card rewards program is best, but it really comes down to which rewards partners you value the most. Chase has a smaller, yet still powerful list of transfer partners — including United, Southwest and Hyatt.

In most cases, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card would is a better card than the American Express® Green Card. The only exception is if you personally see more value in Amex's travel partners.

The information related to the American Express® Green Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

FAQs

How does the American Express® Green Card work?

The American Express® Green Card earns travel rewards based on how much you spend on the card. These rewards can be transferred to Amex travel partners like Delta Air Lines or Marriott Hotels.

What credit score do you need for American Express® Green Card?

American Express doesn’t disclose an exact credit score needed for the American Express® Green Card, but the card is marketed to consumers with Excellent/Good credit scores, which means a credit score of at least 700.

Is the American Express® Green Card a charge card?

Yes, it is.

Is the American Express® Green Card metal?

No, it is made of reclaimed plastic found on oceans and beaches.

Brett Holzhauer

Brett Holzhauer is ValuePenguin’s travel rewards expert, focusing on credit card rewards maximization, consumer travel trends, and personal finance news. He has earned and burned over 5 million points and miles throughout his travels, saving him roughly $75,000 in travel expenses.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).