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The American Express® 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.
This is a charge card, not a credit card — that means you’ll typically need to pay your balance in full every month, so there’s no interest to worry about.
The newly revamped 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.
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.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
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|
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.
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.
LoungeBuddy allows access to a variety of lounge brands, including the popular Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, Delta Sky Club, and Plaza Premium lounges.
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.
These benefits include discounts at hotels, reduced airfare, and special offers and upgrades from individual merchants, like complimentary extra nights at resorts.
Remember to check for savings opportunities here whenever you travel, and you can subscribe to the email newsletter to get even more 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.
You just need to head to the Amex Offers program and click “Add to Card” for the deals you want. Then, just use your card as you normally would to make purchases with those merchants. Your savings will appear as a statement credit later on, reducing your account balance.
Many of the deals can be quite valuable, saving you from $5 up through more than $100. For most of them, you’ll need to spend a certain amount to get a certain discount. There are many participating companies; at the time of publication, they include:
You must manually enroll in this benefit to make use of it.
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.
Green card members have the opportunity to apply for a loan through American Express (but only if they have been pre-approved). Loans are offered from $3,500 to $25,000, with fixed interest rates from as low as 6.98% (at the time of publication).
|Annual Fee||Purchase and Balance Transfer APR||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|See Rates & Fees||Up to $39||Up to $39|
This is a charge card, so you won’t find any standard interest rates here. You’ll 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 at an interest rate — but we don’t recommend doing so because you’ll be charged interest (obviously!).
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).
Just remember that you’ll be required to pay off your balance in full each month.
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.
Applying for the Green Card is simple — just click “Apply Now” below. American Express will check your credit to determine if it will approve you or not. Amex usually pulls your Experian credit report, though occasionally it may pull other reports as well.
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.
You’ll find a mix of popular charge cards and regular 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.
Do you use the American Express Green Card? How do you like it? Leave your own review below to let us know!
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.
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