Amex Green Card Review [2020]

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For the longest time, the American Express Green Card was pretty much a joke of a credit card. It didn’t have much to offer in terms of bonus categories and perks but that changed when American Express decided to revamp the card.

And now, it’s a very valuable travel rewards credit card and one that many people seek out to optimize their points.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the American Express Green Card.

The Amex Green Card intro

The American Express Green Card is one of the most valuable travel rewards credit cards available because of the great travel/dining bonus earning potential and some unique credits for travel.

While this is a solid mid-tier card, I would first get a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred since that card is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule (and also has better travel protections).

Eligibility

Because the Green Card is a charge card (versus a credit card), it is not subject to all of the American Express application rules like the 1/5 rule, the 2/90 rule, etc.

However, this card is still subject to the Amex once per lifetime rule which states that if you have ever had this card before you cannot receive the welcome bonus again.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can automate your eligibility for credit cards and boost your approval odds!

Welcome bonus

  • 35,000 points to 50,000 points

The Green Card had a long history of pretty lackluster welcome bonuses until it was revamped. Finding a bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards was considered a huge success but now it’s possible that you could find the card with welcome bonuses up to 45,000 Membership Rewards!

But even the standard offer of 30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months is pretty solid.

If you value Amex Membership Rewards at 1.75 cents per point then it’s like $525 in value.

Of course, you can get much more value if you transfer your points out to some of the amazing travel partners.

These partners are listed below along with the expected transfer times.

Travel PartnerRatio (MR to airline)Transfer wait time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
AeroMexico1:1.624 Hours
Air Canada1:1Instant
Alitalia1:1Instant
ANA1:148 Hours
Avianca1:1Instant
British Airways1:1Instant
Cathay Pacific1:148 Hours
Delta1:1Instant
El Al1000:20Instant
Emirates1:1Instant
Etihad1:1Instant
Flying Blue1:1Instant
Hawaiian Airlines1:1Instant
Iberia1:124 to 72 hours
JetBlue250:200Instant
Qantas1:1Instant
Singapore Airlines1:124 to 72 hours
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant
Choice 1:1Instant
Hilton1:2Instant
Marriott1:1Instant
American Express travel partners.

Bonus categories

  • 3x on travel
  • 3x on transit
  • 3X on restaurants

3X on travel

The biggest reason that the Green Card stands out as a great travel card is that it earns 3X on all travel purchases. This is on par with the Chase Sapphire Reserve which earns 3X but has a much higher annual fee of $550.

Travel purchases may include: airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, travel purchases on third party travel websites, and travel purchases on Amex Travel. (Timeshares are excluded.)

If you value Membership Rewards at 1.75 cents per point then it’s like earning 5.25% back. That’s a lot of value on travel.

3X on transit

The transit category might as will be under the travel category but American Express separately highlights that you will also earn 3X on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.

3X on restaurants

The 3X on restaurant purchases is nice although I prefer to put my dining purchases on my Amex Gold Card in order to earn 4X.

There are some exclusions in the restaurant category which include purchases at a restaurant located within another establishment (e.g. a restaurant inside a hotel, casino, or event venue).

You will also not earn bonus points at bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, and convenience stores.

Credits

To help you offset the annual fee, the Green Card comes with two credits:

  • $100 CLEAR
  • $100 LoungeBuddy

$100 CLEAR credit

The American Express Green Card will offer you $100 per year in statement credits for CLEAR (the regular price for CLEAR is $179 a year).

If you are not familiar with CLEAR, it allows you to bypass the security lines at airports in different venues such as stadiums by utilizing your biometrics such as your fingerprints.

If you have TSA Pre-Check, this will save you even more time during rush hour at airports. I would recommend that you read our review here if you need to find out more.

This is a huge perk if you ask me because the one major knock against CLEAR is that it is so expensive.

Picture of kiosks for CLEAR
Save $100 on CLEAR.

$100 LoungeBuddy credit

You will get $100 in annual credits for LoungeBuddy. 

LoungeBuddy is a way for you to get access to various airport lounges. Not every airport has a relationship with LoungeBuddy but for those that do you might be paying anywhere from $25-$50+ for lounge access. 

So this credit gives you 2 to 4 visits per year covered (again prices can vary widely). 

For anybody without Priority Pass this could be a great way to get airport lounge access when you need it. 

However, I already have the Platinum Card and so I don’t think this lounge benefit would do much for me. 

The Platinum Card offers lounge access in many different forms including:

  • Centurion Lounge access for up two guests
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access for up to two guests
  • Delta Sky Club access (when you fly with them)
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Escape Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges
  • Lufthansa Lounges
  • Additional lounges in the network
The Amex Green Card can be useful for airport lounge access.

Amex Green Card benefits

Amex Offers

Amex Offers is one of the most valuable perks offered by any American Express card because it can save you tons in the long term.

Every month, you should check your Amex Offers to see what type of special promotions and discounts are available to you.

These discounts apply to all sorts of different industries like travel, shopping, etc. — everything from Hilton to Best Buy.

Amex concerts and events

You can get access to pre-sale tickets and also to select seats at certain events. Find out more about that benefit here.

ShopRunner

The ShopRunner program offers the following benefits from select retailers:

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Free return shipping
  • Specials deals and discounts

Typically, there is an annual fee of $79.00 to maintain ShopRunner. I’ve used this benefit with a few different retailers and it essentially offers Amazon Prime for free for those select retailers.

Green Card protections

Purchase protection

The Amex Green Card will protect your purchases for up to 90 days from the date of purchase if the item is stolen, accidentally damaged or lost.

The coverage is limited up to $1,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year.

This is a major downgrade from the Gold Card and Platinum Card that both offer coverage up to $10,000 per occurrence. Therefore, I would be cautious about relying on purchase protection with this card — it’s just not that solid.

Extended warranty

For warranties of five years or less, the manufacturer’s warranty can be extended up to one additional year. 

Trip delay

If your trip is delayed 12 hours or more, you can get coverage for up to $300 for the delay. You can use these funds for necessities like lodging, meals, and toiletries.

This is a solid perk but the drawback is that you must wait for delays of 12 hours or more while some cards kick in after only six hours.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

The Green Card does not have trip cancellation and interruption insurance. In addition, the Green Card does not come with baggage delay protection which will allow you to purchase essentials while you’re waiting for your bag is to arrive.

Baggage Insurance Plan

With baggage insurance, you will be covered for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage. Coverage can be provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage.

These baggage insurance limits are pretty low compared to the Platinum Card which offers up to $3,000, for carry-on baggage and up to $2,000 for checked baggage.

Amex Green Card FAQ

Does the Amex Green Card offer airport lounge access?

The Green Card does not come with an annual airport lounge access membership like Priority Pass but it does offer $100 worth of credits that could be used at Lounge Buddy airport lounges.

What counts as “travel” for the Amex Green Card?

According to American Express, the following purchases count out as travel:

  • airfare
  • hotels
  • cruises
  • tours
  • car rentals
  • campgrounds
  • travel purchases on third party travel websites
  • travel purchases on amextravel.com.

In addition, you will earn 3X on transit purchases which include: trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.

How much is the Amex Green Card annual fee?

The annual fee for the Amex Green Card is $150 and it is not waived the first year.

Does the Amex Green Card have foreign transaction fees

No, the Amex Green Card does not have foreign transaction fees.

Can you upgrade the Amex Green Card?

Yes, you can usually upgrade the Amex Green Card to the the Gold Card or the Platinum Card.

Does the Amex Green Card offer Amex Pay Over Time?

Yes, you can enroll in Amex Pay Over Time with your Amex Green Card.

Final word

The is a tremendous card for earning lots of Membership Rewards on travel purchases.

The annual fee can easily be offset by someone who values priority access at airports and some entertainment venues by taking advantage of CLEAR.

In addition, the lounge credit is perfect for someone who only plans on visiting a few lounges per year and does not need an unlimited lounge visit membership.

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