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American Express® Green Card Review

A great option for people that dine at restaurants, travel, and make use of transit.

By Sebastian F.|Updated on 7/2/2024

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The American Express® Green Card is one of the best all-around earners within the American Express ecosystem. It also features a host of benefits to help offset the annual fee but is targeted toward people who travel at least once per year.

Terms apply to Amex offers and benefits. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Cardonomics.com.

Point Multipliers

The American Express® Green Card earns Membership Rewards points and has competitive multipliers:

  • 3X on travel (including hotels, flights, and more)
  • 3X on transit (including trains, subways, and more)
  • 3X on dining (including takeout and delivery)
  • 1X on everything else

If you prefer buying groceries instead of eating out, then it makes sense to add a secondary card to help with that category.

Membership Rewards Points

With the American Express® Green Card, you are earning American Express Membership Reward points (”MR points”) which may have more value for travel.

The base value (redeeming as a statement credit against charges) is only 0.6 CPP (”cents per point”), meaning that 3X is only 1.8% cash back.

The main draw of MR points is their ability to transfer to airline and hotel partners like ANA, Singapore, and Hilton for aspirational travel. For many people, this is one of the few ways to unlock these experiences.

Annual Fee and Credits

The Amex Green has a $150 annual fee and is the cheapest within the core Amex Green/American Express® Gold Card/The Platinum Card® from American Express ecosystem.

To help offset this fee, the Green provides two credits.

Up to $189 CLEAR Plus Credit

CLEAR allows you to digitally verify your identity to move faster through security at select airports and sporting/music venues nationwide. The $189 credit covers the general CLEAR membership and can offset the Green card by itself if you value the perk.

A key consideration is that you can buy CLEAR at a discounted price if you have airline status.

United and other airlines have similar discounts for their elite members. For example, Delta offers discounts for CLEAR:

  • General member (no status) = $10 off ($179 total price)
  • Silver/Gold/Platinum status = $40 off ($149 total price)
  • Diamond status = $189 off (free)

United and other airlines have similar discounts for their elite members.

This discount — in addition to how you value this perk — impacts the value of the credit.

A good question to ask yourself is: “How much would I be willing to pay for this perk if I didn’t have a credit?”

Up to $100 LoungeBuddy Credit

This credit allows you to purchase lounge access through the LoungeBuddy app, and you receive up to $100 in statement credits.

How valuable this is depends on the following:

  1. Whether you would use the perk/credits (i.e., whether you like lounges at all)
  2. How you value the lounge experience (i.e., it’s $40, but you would otherwise only pay $20 to get in)

For some people, this credit may be worth up to the full $100. For others, it’ll be worth $0, and for most, probably something in the middle.

Effective Annual Fee

Given the $150 annual fee and the $289 in total credits, you may have a lower “effective” annual fee.

Put another way, if you value the credits at ~50% of their value, then the effective fee may be $0, and you break even.

If you value the credits at ~25%, then the effective annual fee is about $78.

Downgrade Paths

The Amex Green is part of the core Amex family of:

  • American Express® Green Card
  • American Express® Gold Card
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express

Given this, no downgrade path from the Green to a no-annual fee card exists. This is a “cancel, keep, or upgrade” card.

Not bad necessarily bad, but a factor, especially if you are building out your credit card foundation.

Alternatives

If you are in the earlier stages of your credit career, consider a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which focuses on travel and dining as well, but has more optionality with downgrade paths.

card art for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is ideal for those optimizing for cash back or travel. Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for cash back at 1.25x on select categories through Pay Yourself Back or travel via Chase Travel℠. The card is also a basic travel card with good spend multipliers and benefits like no foreign transaction fees and primary collision damage waiver (terms apply).

Read the full review

If you’re looking for an all-arounder with more flexibility, consider the Citi Premier® Card, which has a lower annual fee and 3X on more categories.

card art for the Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou<sup>®</sup> Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com

One of the best all-around earners with 3x back on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels. This can be a "one and done" setup for many with no foreign transaction fee.

The big drawback is that the card doesn't have any additional benefits like trip delay or lost luggage protection. 

Read the full review

Even within American Express, there might be a better option. The Amex Gold offers some overlapping multipliers but at a higher rate (4X instead of 3X). Note that the Gold doesn’t cover travel benefits as broadly as the Green. For example, transit does not qualify. Given this, some strong arguments exist for the Green and the Gold together as a setup.

card art for the American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Check if you're pre-approved for this card or special offers using the CardMatch Tool.

The American Express® Gold Card offers competitive point multipliers when it comes to purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and it also has a handful of other benefits offered by Amex that make it stand out compared to other premium cards. 

Read the full review

Main Takeaway

The Amex Green is a strong workhorse card within American Express, covering key categories like dining, but also including categories that are generally weak within Amex cards, such as transit and travel as a broad category (many other cards specify only hotels or airlines).