The Platinum Card®from American Express offers one of the best packages of perks and travel rewards in the credit card industry, and the American Express® Gold Card is one of the best dining cards around, but do you remember the American Express®Green Card? It’s been primarily a business card in recent years, but the consumer version is relaunching today with an impressive set of benefits, and a low(ish) annual fee.
Like the aforementioned Amex Platinum and Amex Gold, the Green card earns American Express’s Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel programs like Delta, JetBlue, and Marriott, among many others. They can also be used to pay for purchases directly, shop on Amazon, and buy gift cards, but you’ll generally get the most value out of the points by transferring to travel partners. All told, The Points Guy values Membership Rewards points at the same $.02 each as Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points, but the value you get from them will vary widely depending on how you use them.
Green Card holders can earn three membership rewards points per dollar on all things travel, including hotels, Airbnbs, airline purchases, and even public transit. That’s far more flexible than American Express’s other cards, which generally only reward bonus travel points for plane tickets purchased directly from an airline, or prepaid hotel bookings made through American Express’s site.
You’ll also earn 3X points at restaurants worldwide, which is one of the best returns on dining in the entire credit card industry, though falls a bit short of the Gold Card’s 4x points.
Given the value of the points and the ease of earning them, it’s somewhat surprising that the card carries a fairly modest $150 annual fee, compared to $250 for the Gold and $550 for the Platinum.
When you sign up for the card and spend $2,000 in your first three months, you’ll also get a 30,000 point welcome bonus (worth $600 according to the aforementioned valuation). And for a limited time, your welcome offer also includes a $100 statement credit in your first three months on any purchase from Away Luggage (offer ends January 15, 2020), so you can finally get that sexy suitcase you’ve been eyeing every time you go through airport security.
While it’s no Amex Platinum, the Amex Green punches above its weight in the perks department too. The star of the show is an annual $100 statement credit when you use the card to pay for your CLEAR membership. If you frequently fly out of an airport or attend sporting events at stadiums with CLEAR, it basically moves you to the front of the line without requiring you to pull out a boarding pass or ID. The service costs $179 per year, so the $100 credit won’t completely cover your membership, but it should make it much more compelling.
And while the card doesn’t grant access to American Express’s Centurion lounges or include Priority Pass lounge access like other cards, it does include $100 worth of annual statement credits on LoungeBuddy purchases. LoungeBuddy is an app that allows you to easily buy day passes to a variety of lounges in airports around the world, and in most cases, that $100 credit should just about cover two day passes per year.
Oh, and befitting the name of the card, the card itself is made from 70% reclaimed plastic from beaches and coastal communities. Green...get it?
If you’ve been intrigued by American Express’s Membership Rewards ecosystem, but were scared off by the Amex Platinum and Gold’s higher annual fees, the revamped Amex Green is, quite frankly, an incredibly good entry(ish)-level card. Even if you don’t use the CLEAR membership credit, you should get your money’s worth here from the LoungeBuddy credit and the wide-ranging 3x earning categories alone.