Amex Green vs. Amex Gold: Which One Is Better for Your Wallet?

The Amex Green and Gold cards may appear similar, but they have loads of different features and benefits. Find out which card would better suit your needs.
Last updated Jun 4, 2021 | By Ben Walker | Edited By Jess Ullrich
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If you’re interested in an American Express rewards card, you’re likely to consider both the American Express® Green Card and the American Express® Gold Card. These cards have a few similarities, but you’ll find their differences become apparent very quickly as you start to dig deeper into their benefits.

In this Amex Green vs. Gold comparison, you’ll learn about each card’s strengths and weaknesses as we stack them up against each other. This will help you decide which one would work best for your unique situation.

In this article

Amex Green vs. Amex Gold

The Amex Green and Gold are considered travel rewards cards because they both earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash back on purchases. This plays a part in the earning categories associated with each card, as well as many of their benefits.

However, it becomes clear that the specific benefits on each card will align better with certain cardholders’ spending preferences. For example, the Amex Gold leans heavily toward dining benefits while the Amex Green focuses more on travel. Use the table below to quickly compare the rewards and benefits between both cards.

American Express® Green Card

American Express Green Card

American Express® Gold Card

American Express Gold Card

Card type Travel Travel
Credit card issuer American Express American Express
Credit card network American Express American Express
Annual fee $150 (See rates and fees) (terms apply) $250 (See rates and fees) (terms apply)
Welcome bonus Earn 45,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months months of card membership Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months months of card membership
Earning rate 3X points on eligible travel and transit purchases, and at restaurants worldwide; and 1X points on all other purchases 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases
Redemption methods Points can be redeemed for:
  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Online shopping
  • To cover card charges

    Points can also be transferred to travel partners such as:

    • Delta
    • JetBlue
    • Marriott
Points can be redeemed for:
  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Online shopping
  • To cover card charges

    Points can also be transferred to travel partners such as:

    • Delta
    • JetBlue
    • Marriott
Annual credits
  • $100 annual statement credits for CLEAR membership
  • $100 annual statement credits for airport lounge access through LoungeBuddy
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders
  • Up to $120 in annual dining credits with participating partners like Grubhub, Seamless, and The Cheesecake Factory
  • Enrollment required for select benefits
Travel perks
  • Trip delay insurance to cover additional expenses on eligible travel delays
  • Baggage insurance to cover lost, stolen, or damaged baggage
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance to cover damage to or theft of covered rental vehicles
  • Global assistance services available 24/7 when traveling
  • Exclusive presale ticket access to different events in select cities through American Express Experiences
  • $100 credit for qualifying activities at The Hotel Collection hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • Personalized Travel Service available with up-to-date information to help you book your entire trip
  • Trip delay insurance to cover additional expenses on eligible travel delays
  • Baggage insurance to cover lost, stolen, or damaged baggage
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance to cover damage to or theft of covered rental vehicles
  • Global assistance services available 24/7 when traveling
  • Exclusive presale ticket access to different events in select cities through American Express Experiences
  • Access to premium seats for select events with American Express Preferred Seating
Other benefits
  • Purchase protection to cover theft of or damage to new purchases
  • Extended warranty coverage to extend eligible manufacturer’s warranties on purchases
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free two-day shipping and returns at over 100 stores (enrollment required)
  • Purchase protection to cover theft of or damage to new purchases
  • Extended warranty coverage to extend eligible manufacturer’s warranties on purchases
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free two-day shipping and returns at over 100 stores (enrollment required)
Foreign transaction fee None (See rates and fees) None (See rates and fees)
Credit needed Good, Excellent Good, Excellent
Learn how to apply Learn how to apply

What both cards excel at

Two cards from the same card issuer that earn the same rewards are likely to have a few similarities. Here are the areas where both the Amex Green and Amex Gold cards overlap:

  • American Express Membership Rewards points: Both cards earn valuable Membership Rewards points on purchases, which gives you plenty of options for redemptions. Choose between travel, gift cards, online purchases, covering card charges, and more. Travel redemptions include flights, flight upgrades, hotel stays, cruises, car rentals, and vacations.
  • Transfer partners: Membership Rewards points can also be transferred to Amex transfer partners. This includes loyalty programs from major airlines and hotel chains like Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and Delta SkyMiles. (Loyalty program accounts required.)
  • Foreign transaction fee: If you frequently travel abroad, it’s well worth it to have a card on hand that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. This can help you save money on unnecessary expenses as you make purchases in other countries. Neither the Amex Green nor Amex Gold have foreign transaction fees.
  • Purchase protection: Both cards offer purchase protection, which could cover eligible purchases against damage or theft. Note that the limits are different between the Amex Green and Amex Gold:
    • Amex Green: Receive up to $1,000 per covered purchase and up to $50,000 per year.
    • Amex Gold: Receive up to $10,000 per covered purchase and up to $50,000 per year.
  • Extended warranty benefits: Both cards offer extended warranty coverage of up to one year on eligible purchases with manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less.
  • American Express Experiences: Receive exclusive access to ticket presales for select events in nearby cities. This could include Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events, and more.

4 important differences between Amex Green vs. Amex Gold

An easy way to compare credit cards and choose the right one for you is to look at the differences between them. In the Amex Green vs. Gold debate, both cards focus on different types of benefits, so their differences become apparent fairly quickly. Here are important ways the Amex Green and Amex Gold differ:

1. Travel benefits

While both may be considered travel cards, the Amex Green tends to focus more on travel-related benefits than the Amex Gold. For example, its earning rates include 3X points on eligible travel and transit purchases, and at restaurants worldwide; and 1X points on all other purchases. The Amex Gold’s travel earning category is more specific, which could limit its usefulness. You get 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com.

In addition, the Amex Green also offers $100 in annual CLEAR credits and $100 in annual LoungeBuddy credits to help make your airport travel experiences easier and more enjoyable. If you already have a card that offers Priority Pass lounge access, the $100 LoungeBuddy credit can help increase your airport lounge options when traveling through airports that don’t have Priority Pass lounges.

Learn more about this card in our American Express Green Card review.

Powerful Benefits with a Low Annual Fee

Benefits

  • Earn 45,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months
  • 3X points on eligible travel and transit purchases, and at restaurants worldwide
  • Up to $100 credit for CLEAR
  • Up to $100 LoungeBuddy credit
  • $150 annual fee. Terms apply.

2. Dining benefits

If the Amex Green leans more toward travel benefits, the Amex Gold leans more toward dining benefits. Both cards earn points for dining purchases, but the Amex Gold earns 4X points while the Amex Green earns 3X points.

In addition, the Amex Gold also provides up to $240 in total credits that could be used at restaurants. That’s up to $120 in Uber Cash, which can be used for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders, and up to $120 in dining credits at participating partners. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Learn more about this card in our American Express Gold Card review.

Big Rewards for Dining Out

Benefits

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • Rose gold is back! Choose your color.
  • $120 in dining credits
  • $120 in Uber Cash
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $250 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

3. Annual fee

Annual fees immediately subtract from the overall value of any card, so it’s important to weigh each card’s features and benefits against its fees to see if a card is worth applying for. The Amex Green has a $150 annual fee while the Amex Gold has a $250 annual fee. Comparing these numbers alone, the Amex Green is the clear winner because it costs less for cardmembers.

However, it makes sense to dig a little deeper. If you can take advantage of the annual credits on both cards, both annual fees are nearly or completely negated. The Amex Green offers $200 in annual credits, while the Amex Gold offers $240 worth of annual credits. This puts both cards on more level terms when it comes to how much you’re actually paying for their annual costs. Though, the eventual winner will depend on which card’s credits you’ll use more.

4. Welcome offer

A rewards card’s welcome offer is often a major factor when you’re choosing a card because you could potentially earn thousands of bonus points quickly, depending on the offer. The Amex Green offers 45,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months while the Amex Gold offers 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months.

The Amex Gold provides a significantly higher welcome offer than the Amex Green. Since 10,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $100 for flights through American Express Travel, getting a higher welcome offer could provide a big boost to any future travel plans. The same number of points might be worth even more if you transfer them to a travel partner and find a good deal.

Which card should you choose?

The best card for you between the Amex Green vs. Gold depends on your preferences and goals. Overall, the Amex Green might make sense if you want a travel-oriented card that can also earn you rewards on dining purchases. Likewise, the Amex Gold could make sense if you want a dining-oriented card that also has travel benefits and can earn you rewards on specific travel purchases.

Both cards could suit frequent travelers, but their benefits are narrow enough for specific preferences. If you want a better airport experience, the CLEAR and LoungeBuddy credits on the Amex Green can be useful. But if you like the idea of having dining credits, whether traveling or not, the Amex Gold is the more straightforward choice.

It’s also important to consider how both cards stack up in spending scenarios. For example, which card has the potential to earn more rewards on purchases throughout the year? If you spend $500 on restaurants, $500 on groceries, $500 on flights, and $500 on hotel stays on an annual basis, here’s how many points you could earn on each card:

  • Amex Green: You would earn 5,000 points on these purchases. That’s 3X points on eligible travel and transit purchases, and at restaurants worldwide; and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Amex Gold: You would earn 6,000 points on these purchases. That’s 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases.

The Amex Gold proves the victor in this example, but keep in mind that how many points you can earn with these cards depends on your typical purchases. If you spend a lot on different types of travel purchases, the Amex Green might offer higher earning potential. But if groceries and dining are typical expenses for you, the Amex Gold is likely the better option due to its bonus categories.

FAQs

Which is better, the Amex Green or Amex Gold?

The better card between the Amex Green or Gold depends on your spending habits and goals. If you frequently travel and want an enhanced airport experience, the Amex Green card offers plenty of travel benefits, including $100 in CLEAR credits and $100 in LoungeBuddy credits each year.

But if you want a travel card with a dining focus, the Amex Gold provides up to $240 in annual dining credits, including up to $120 in Uber Cash and up to $120 in dining credits at participating partners like Grubhub, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and The Cheesecake Factory. Uber Cash can be used for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Can you upgrade from the Amex Green to the Amex Gold?

Yes, it’s possible to upgrade from the Amex Green to the Amex Gold. This can be done by contacting American Express or checking for an available upgrade offer in your Amex online account. It’s often recommended to hold your Amex Green Card for a year before upgrading to an Amex Gold Card, though if you receive an upgrade offer from American Express before the year mark, you likely don’t have to wait.

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

You likely need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the American Express Green Card. Good credit scores typically start in the high 600s. According to the Vantage score model, a good credit score typically falls within the 661-780 range, while a good FICO score typically ranges from 670-739. Excellent credit scores are often above 780.

What credit score do you need for the American Express Gold Card?

You often need at least a good credit score to qualify for the American Express Gold Card, so an excellent credit score should also work. Depending on the credit scoring model you’re looking at, good credit scores typically start at 661 or 670.

Which is the easiest American Express card to get?

Many American Express credit cards require at least a good credit score to qualify. These include The Platinum Card® from American Express, Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

These cards may be easier to qualify for than other American Express cards that require an excellent credit score, like some of their business card products.

Bottom line

The Amex Gold and Amex Platinum cards are often considered some of the best travel credit cards available from American Express because of their hefty perks and benefits. But the Amex Green should be thrown into the mix as well, especially if you don’t need the dining benefits on the Amex Gold.

However, be sure to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each card equally before making your decision. The key to which new card might suit you better lies in the specific benefits of each card and how they align with your lifestyle and preferences.

Big Rewards for Dining Out

Benefits

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • Rose gold is back! Choose your color.
  • $120 in dining credits
  • $120 in Uber Cash
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $250 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

Author Details

Ben Walker Ben Walker is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially-sound decisions. For nearly a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.