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American Express had revamped its Green Card in 2019 to some fanfare. Yet other Amex cards like the Gold Card and the Platinum Card received a lot of attention. Today, we’ll cover why the Green Card deserves your attention and possibly a spot in your wallet.
The Amex Green Card currently offers a 30,000-point welcome bonus after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening (terms apply). The card has a $150 annual fee. If you choose to apply, remember that Amex typically will not approve you for more than two Amex credit cards during a 90-day period.
The Amex Green Card’s points earning potential is impressive for a $150-annual fee card. The card earns 3x Amex Membership Rewards points for travel and restaurants worldwide, and 1x points for all other purchases. Membership Rewards are quite valuable given the number of Amex airline and hotel transfer partners, which include Delta, Air France/KLM, and ANA among the airlines, and Hilton and Marriott as hotels.
For restaurants, the Amex Green Card beats the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x points per dollar) and ties the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x), but falls short of the Amex Gold Card (4x) and the Citi Prestige (5x). However, the Amex Green Card’s $150 annual fee is lower than all those cards except for the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95).
For travel purchases, the Amex Green Card packs a punch mightier than its big brother, the Amex Gold Card. The Amex Green Card’s “travel” category is much broader than the Amex Gold Card’s “flights,” which offers 4x points per dollar but only counts for flights booked directly with airlines. For the Green Card, travel includes flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services. Therefore, when it comes to travel, we prefer the Amex Green Card’s 3x points per dollar, which covers more than just flights but also flights booked through third-party websites.
Compared to travel purchases on other cards, the Amex Green Card still holds its own. By earning 3x points for travel, the Amex Green Card again beats the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x) and ties the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x).
$10 Monthly Statement Credit for Wireless Telephone Services
From May through December 2020, the Amex Green Card offers up to $80 in statement credits for select wireless telephone services, up to $10 per month. This is part of American Express' temporary perks announced at the beginning of May. This $80 benefit alone covers more than half of the card's annual fee.
$100 CLEAR Statement Credit
You receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits when you pay for your CLEAR membership with your Amex Green Card. A one-year membership with CLEAR costs $179, and you can add additional family members for $50 per person. This benefit alone makes the Amex Green Card worthy of consideration for any frequent flyer who wants to breeze through security.
$100 LoungeBuddy Credit
The Amex Green Card offers up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year when you purchase lounge access through the LoungeBuddy app. LoungeBuddy is an airport lounge booking service that allows you to buy one-time passes to lounges in over 80 airports worldwide. Lounge visits through the app start at $25, so this benefit could net you four free lounge visits per year. LoungeBuddy can be a good way to supplement lounge access if you already have a Priority Pass membership, although a number of lounges available through LoungeBuddy are also Priority Pass lounges.
The Amex Green Card comes with a Baggage Insurance Plan, which covers eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage when you purchase the entire fare on your card. Coverage can be up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked luggage.
Trip Delay Insurance
If your trip is delayed by more than 12 hours for a covered reason, the card’s trip delay insurance can reimburse up to $300 in expenses per trip. Covered reasons include certain inclement weather, terrorist action or hijacking, and a common carrier’s equipment failure. This benefit is limited to two claims per 12 consecutive months.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
The Amex Green Card can cover damage and theft for car rentals when you use your card to reserve and pay for the entire rental. For the insurance to apply, you must also decline the collision damage waiver at the rental car counter. The policy is subject to exceptions and does not cover certain countries, including Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. Keep in mind that this benefit provides only secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage.
Global Assist Hotline
The card offers holders access to Global Assist Hotline, which offers coordination and assistance services for a variety of issues. These include assisting with replacing a lost passport, translation services, missing luggage assistance, medical or lawyer referrals, etc. Keep in mind that card members are responsible for any costs charged by third party service providers.
The Amex Green Card tends to fly under the radar when compared to its bigger siblings, like the Amex Gold Card and the Amex Platinum Card. But with 3x per dollar for travel and restaurant purchases and a reasonable annual fee, this card deserves everybody’s attention. To earn even 1 more point per dollar on either of those categories, you would have to spend at least another $100 in annual fees for the Amex Gold Card, and a lot more for the more expensive cards. Compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550), the Citi Prestige ($495), or the Amex Platinum Card ($550), the Amex Green Card’s $150 annual fee is sure to get you more for your money.
Earning 3x points for travel and restaurant purchases makes the Amex Green Card a fantastic starter card for those first venturing into Amex Membership Rewards. The $100 statement credits for CLEAR membership and LoungeBuddy also help (more than) offset the annual fee. If you don’t have an American Express card and are looking to start earning some Membership Rewards, we recommend starting with this card.
The Amex Green Card stands out as a great all-around player with tremendous points earning potential and a modest annual fee. This is a great starting point for those looking to earn valuable Amex Membership Rewards. Share your thoughts on the Amex Green Card in our Facebook group.