2021 Review: American Express Green Card – Is It Worth the $150 Annual Fee?
Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.
American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
The newly revamped American Express Green Card is a big improvement over the old version, now offering 3X points for travel and dining plus annual statement credits for certain travel services. The new annual fee is higher, but the enhanced rewards and benefits could easily make up for it.
Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.
Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
The newly revamped American Express® Green Card gets 5 out of 5 Stars for being a rewarding travel card that can potentially deliver more value per year than the annual fee will cost.
Why We Like It
- 3X Membership Rewards points on travel and dining is competitive with other travel rewards cards
- Annual statement credits totaling $200 for CLEAR and LoungeBuddy
- A solid welcome bonus
- Points can be transferred to various airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Amex Offers and a complimentary ShopRunner membership give you more bang for your buck
- No foreign transaction fee
Why It Could Be Better
- Point redemptions can take a bit of work to find a good value (because statement credit redemptions are a poor choice)
- The annual fee of $150 would be a bit steep if you can’t make good use of the annual statement credit benefits
- American Express cards aren’t accepted as widely around the world as Visa or Mastercard (not the fault of this card, however)
The Amex Green Card was recently refreshed, and it got a pretty sweet upgrade: new 3X point categories for travel and restaurants worldwide, along with new annual statement credits for a CLEAR membership and LoungeBuddy purchases.
The annual fee has been upgraded too (to $150) but the new yearly credits can completely offset that, and you could actually come out ahead.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- Book travel and pay for meals: Use this card to pay for travel (including transit) and for all your restaurant stops along the way.
- Get the introductory bonus: New cardholders can get 30,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Membership Rewards points for making $2,000 in purchases in the first three months, a pretty solid return on your spending.
- Redeem with point transfers: You can find the best value for your points if you transfer them to a partner airline or hotel’s frequent traveler program, which could yield upwards of 2 cents per point.
- Get a CLEAR membership: You’ll get up to $100 in statement credits each year for a CLEAR membership, which provides expedited security screening at certain airports, stadiums, and other venues. A CLEAR membership costs $15 per month ($179 per year).
- Visit LoungeBuddy airport lounges: Take a load off before your flights in LoungeBuddy lounges, because you’ll get up to $100 per year in credits for eligible purchases with this lounge access program.
Some American Express cards don’t have typical preset credit limits. Instead, the American Express Green Card’s limit fluctuates based on your use of the card, plus other factors including your payment history and creditworthiness.
The Green Card can provide the equivalent of 1%–6% cash back, or perhaps even more, depending on what you buy and how you redeem your points.
The updated rewards program is pretty straightforward, and a great improvement over the old model.
The travel category is fairly broad, and includes transit along with common travel purchases like airfare and hotel stays. It also includes the American Express Travel portal, which may be worth exploring when planning your next getaway. (The previous version of this card offered 2X points at Amex Travel — and that was it.)
The restaurant category covers restaurants worldwide — a nice feature because, when it came to Amex cards, this category used to only cover dining establishments in the U.S.
The Membership Rewards points you earn can be redeemed in a variety of ways, and the value of those points will depend on how you redeem them.
We recommend redeeming by transferring your points to an airline or hotel partner, where they could provide the most value. You could convert your points to Delta SkyMiles or Marriott Bonvoy hotel points, for example, and then redeem them for flights or hotel stays.
Take note that transfers to U.S. airlines will cost $0.0006 per point; other transfers are free.
The other redemption methods can’t provide as much value, only up to 1 cent per point. So try to resist cashing in your points until you can transfer them to a partner loyalty program for a good deal.
Your redemption options are:
|Redemption Method||Point Value (In Cents)|
|Air travel or hotels||0.5–1|
|Shop through retailers||0.5–1|
Explore the full range of Amex Membership Rewards redemption options to learn more.
- $100 annual CLEAR credit: Each year you’ll get $100 in statement credits to pay for a CLEAR membership (when you pay with your Amex Green card). CLEAR provides expedited security screening at certain airports, stadiums, and other venues, using biometrics like eyes and fingerprints to verify your identity. A CLEAR membership costs $15 per month, or $179 per year — so this credit will pay for most of the annual membership, but not all.
- $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit: LoungeBuddy is an international airport lounge access program owned by American Express, and each year you’ll get up to $100 in statement credits for purchases through it.
- American Express Travel Services: Amex provides a variety of benefits for booking travel through its in-house service, American Express Travel. Many of these benefits come and go, and are only available for a limited time before being replaced by something else.
- Amex Offers: You’ll have access to discounts and extra points at a wide variety of merchants, giving you a way to earn rewards beyond the bonus categories.
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Cardholders will have access to free two-day shipping and returns through the ShopRunner service. This benefit includes over 140 merchants and brands, which you can easily browse. You must manually enroll in this benefit to make use of it.
- Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed: If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference. You must submit your claim before the check-in date, and be sure to check your card details because some restrictions apply.
- Global Assist Hotline: Call 1-800-333-2639 to reach the Global Assist Hotline. Get specific information about your destination, plus help with finding lost passports, accessing translation services, locating missing luggage, and finding emergency legal and medical aid.
- Trip Delay Insurance: If a covered trip is delayed for more than 12 hours, you could be reimbursed for food, medicine, toiletries, and lodging expenses. Up to $300 per trip, with two trips per year.
- Baggage Insurance Plan: If your carry-on luggage is lost or damaged by a common carrier, you and your immediate family members could be reimbursed. Up to $1,250 per person.
- Car Rental Insurance Plan: Decline the rental car provider’s insurance offer and charge the full amount to the card, and your rental car will be covered against damage and theft.
- Extended Warranty: If you purchase an eligible item with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less, it can be extended by an additional year.
- Purchase Protection: Your new eligible purchases are covered against damage and theft for 90 days.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|See Pay Over Time APR||None||25.24% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|N/A||Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|See Rates & Fees||Up to $40||Up to $40|
You’ll usually need to pay off your entire statement balance in full every month, unless you’re making use of Amex’s Pay Over Time feature. In that case you’d be revolving a balance from month to month and accruing interest — but we don’t recommend doing so because you’ll be charged interest (obviously!).
Eligible charges can be included in a Pay Over Time balance, up to the Pay Over Time Limit. Eligible charges include purchases, foreign transaction fees, and annual membership fees. The following are ineligible for Pay Over Time: cash advances, including cash and other cash equivalents, certain insurance premiums, and any other fees owed to American Express. Pay Over Time Limit applies to the total of the Pay Over Time, cash advance, and Plan balances.
All charges not added to a Pay Over Time balance, a monthly payment plan, or a cash advance balance must be paid in full each month by the payment due date.
The Bottom Line
The newly upgraded American Express® Green Card has a lot to offer travelers of a certain persuasion.
Do you love to taste the local flavors on your trips, leading you to spend quite a bit at restaurants? This card can help you recoup some of that.
Is a CLEAR membership appealing? (Research where CLEAR is being used.) Have you ever peeked enviously into airport lounges, wanting to relax but not willing to spring for it?
Examine your spending and travel habits — how would this card fit in? If you’re willing to explore your redemption options, and bide your time to wait for a good deal, the Green card could take the help take the edge off your next vacation in a big way (monetarily speaking).
There are a lot of options when it comes to travel rewards credit cards, and you may find something better for you than the Green card. Take a look at the alternatives below for some other good card picks.
How Do I Apply for the American Express Green Card?
Applying for the Green Card is simple — just follow the link below. American Express will check your credit to determine if it will approve you or not.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the American Express Green Card?
This card is designed primarily for people with good to excellent credit, but take note that approval depends on more than just credit scores. Your income plays a role as well, along with other factors that American Express may use to evaluate applicants.
So, you may not be approved just because you have good credit; and if your scores are a bit low, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be denied.
Alternatives to the American Express Green Card
You’ll find a mix of popular credit cards below, all designed for travel but focused on different aspects. Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive option or you don’t mind laying down a sizable annual fee, there’s a travel card out there for you.
American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
Do you use the American Express Green Card? How do you like it? Leave your own review below to let us know!Read more Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
Do you have a correction, tip, or suggestion for a new post? Contact us here.
The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.