American Express Green Card Review: Perfect for Travelers and Foodies [New for 2020]

The American Express Green Card provides some unique perks for travelers that more than justify the card's $150 annual fee.
Last updated Jan 17, 2020 | By Christy Rakoczy

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If you're interested in a credit card designed for travelers but don't want to pay a huge annual fee, the American Express Green Card may just provide the combination of features and affordability you're looking for.

This Amex Green Card comes with a generous rewards program as well as the chance to earn statement credits for purchases that make your trips more pleasant. It's features don't provide travelers with all the luxury amenities more expensive American Express cards offer, but it's still well worth a look.

If you’re curious is this card is for you, then keep reading this American Express Green Card Review.

Check Out the NEW Green Card

Benefits

  • 30,000 point welcome offer
  • 3X points on eligible travel and at restaurants worldwide
  • Up to $100 credit for CLEAR
  • Up to $100 LoungeBuddy credit
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks

  • Limited lounge access
  • No balance transfers


Who should get this card?

The American Express Green Card is the ideal choice for those who do the bulk of their spending on travel of all types, as well as at restaurants across the globe. Unlike airline- or hotel-branded travel cards, the Amex Green Card provides triple points on all kinds of vacation-related purchases from rideshares and taxis to flights and accommodations.

That said, the American Express Green Card isn't a super-premium travel card. While those come with lots of benefits,they can also come with annual fees topping $400. That just means the Amex Green Card is a better choice for more budget-conscious travelers who don't necessarily fly often enough to justify paying a high fee to get luxury lounge access and statement credits for airline incidental fees that costlier cards tend to provide.

The American Express Green Card is also an ideal card if you're hoping to bypass long lines at security with CLEAR membership or if you want to gain occasional lounge access thorough LoungeBuddy, as statement credits for purchasing both of these services would more than cover the Amex Green Card's annual fee.

Card basics

Annual Fee $150
Welcome Bonus Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. 
  • A rewards program that provides bonuses for travel: Earn 3X rewards on on eligible travel and at restaurants worldwide, including ridesharing services. Rewards can also be redeemed for trips using the Amex travel portal or you can transfer your rewards to Amex transfer partners to book trips directly with participating airlines or hotels.
  • A $100 statement credit for CLEAR: CLEAR membership enables you to move more quickly through airport security as well as through security lines at stadiums throughout the U.S. When you use your American Express Green Card to pay for CLEAR membership, you'll get up to $100 per year in statement credits.
  • A $100 LoungeBuddy credit: LoungeBuddy allows you to buy access to lounges at airports across the globe. When you use your Amex Green Card to buy access to a lounge through LoungeBuddy, you'll get up to $100 in statement credits.
  • ShopRunner access: Free ShopRunner membership enables you to get two-day shipping and no-cost returns from more than 100 different participating partner stores.

  • Travel insurance benefits: The Amex GreenCard comes with car rental damage and loss insurance as well as baggage insurance. You can decline coverage when you rent a vehicle and will be protected from loss if your carry-on or checked bags are damaged. Plus, starting Jan. 1, 2020, if your flight is delayed more than 12 hours, you can also be reimbursed for up to $300 in unexpected expenses per trip.

Earning & redeeming

Best ways to earn

Spending on bonus categories is the best way to maximize the rewards points you can earn with your American Express Green Card. You'll earn 3X Membership Rewards on on eligible travel and at restaurants worldwide, as well as 1X Membership Rewards on all other purchases.

To make the most of your spending, make sure you use your card for transportation purchases, such as bus or train tickets and Uber or Lyft rides, so you can get the bonus rewards on this expense too.

Categories Rewards rate
Travel 3X
Restaurants worldwide 3X
All other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

American Express Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, and statement credits. When redeeming for travel, it's easy to use the Amex travel portal and use the “Pay with Points” option to cover trip costs instead of paying out-of-pocket.

Because American Express points can be transferred to other loyalty programs, including hotel and airline programs, you should also compare which redemption option will get you the most bang for your buck.

Often, transferred points are worth more than if you redeem through Amex directly. While booking through the American Express travel portal, for example, points are generally found to be worth about a cent each. But if you use points with a transfer partner, they could be worth up to 1.8 cents each with certain partners such as Singapore Airlines.

Common questions

Is the Amex Green Card a charge card or a credit card?

The American Express Green Card is a credit card. While charge cards require you to pay your balance in full each month, credit cards allow you the flexibility to carry a balance and pay it off over time with interest.

What is the maximum credit limit for the American Express Green Card?

American Express does not disclose the maximum credit line available for the Amex Green Card. Credit limits are determined based on your financial resources and level of debt. If your credit improves or you demonstrate that you are a responsible borrower, Amex may allow you to raise your credit limit. If you are late on payments or you exceed your current credit limit, on the other hand, Amex could lower the allowable amount you can charge.

What is the difference between American Express Green Card and American Express Gold Card?

Both the American Express Green and Gold Cards allow you to carry a balance on your card, rather than paying it off in full. And both charge no foreign transaction fees if the card is used abroad. The American Express Gold Card does have a higher annual fee at $250 compared to the Amex Green Card’s annual fee of $150.

That said, there are several ways this higher fee could be offset. Cardholders of the American Express Gold Card will get more welcome bonus points — 35,000 instead of 30,000 — after getting a new card and meeting spending requirements. However, Amex Gold Card members will also have a higher spending requirement of $4,000 to earn the welcome bonus instead of $2,000.

The Gold Card also provides 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and at restaurants worldwide, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. While both cards provide points for travel purchases, the Amex Gold Card restricts the bonus points to flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com while the Amex Green Card offers the bonus on eligible travel and at restaurants worldwide.

Finally, both cards provide statement credits, but for different things. With the American Express Green Card, your credits come from spending on CLEAR or with LoungeBuddy while the American Express Gold Card provides credit for spending at certain restaurants as well as for money spent on airline incidental fees.

Does the American Express Green Card help your credit score?

Any credit card can help your credit score if you are a responsible borrower. American Express will report your payment history and credit utilization to the credit reporting agencies. If you pay on time and keep your credit utilization low, this can help you to raise your credit score.

Does American Express automatically increase your credit limit?

American Express may invite you to request a credit line increase if your financial situation improves and/or if you demonstrate you are a responsible card user.


Other cards to consider

The American Express Green Card is a good credit card when you don't want to pay for a more expensive Amex card that provides the chance to earn more bonus points for travel or you don’t care about access to more luxury lounges as a perk of card membership.

If you'll use the CLEAR and LoungeBuddy statement credits, getting the Amex Green Card is a no-brainer as it will more than pay for itself. If you travel all the time, though, you may want to look into higher-end cards that could offer added perks not available with the more budget-friendly Amex Green Card.

As explained above, the American Express Gold Card charges an annual fee that's higher than the Amex Green Card's fee. But it also provides with 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and at restaurants worldwide, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. The Amex Gold Card defines travel more narrowly than the Green Card in terms of what you can get bonus rewards for, and it provides statement credits for different things than the Green Card does.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, has a lower annual fee than the Amex Green Card at just $95. You only earn 2X points on eligible dining and travel with Chase though, rather than 3X points per dollar spent with the Amex Green Card, but with the Chase card you also earn 5X on Lyft rides. Chase does provide a 25% bonus for redeeming points earned with the Sapphire Preferred Card for travel, which can make these rewards more valuable. Chase also offers a more robust welcome of 60,000 bonus points for $4,000 in spending in your first 3 months.

Check Out the NEW Green Card

Special Offer

Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

American Express Gold Card
American Express Gold Card
  • 35,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • High rewards rate in certain categories
  • Up to $100 airline fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Terms apply
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees