American Express Green Card Review 2022: Rewards Points and Travel Benefits

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: The American Express Green Card, the original American Express charge card first introduced in 1969, remains one of the best travel rewards cards you can find today. With a generous welcome offer, unlimited triple rewards points in select categories, and tons of perks --especially for travelers-- the American Express Green card is a solid choice for someone looking to carry an American Express card but seeking an affordable annual fee compared to other cards in the line-up.
  • Fees
    4.5
  • APR
    4.8
  • Rewards
    4.9
  • Travel
    5.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Rewards points worth as much as a penny a point
  • Generous welcome offer
  • Transfer points to more than 16 travel partners
  • Earn 3X rewards on travel, transit and restaurants
  • 1X rewards on other purchases
  • $100 LoungeBuddy credit annually
  • Travel benefits include car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance and trip delay insurance
  • "Plan It" and "Pay Over Time" options for cardmembers who need to carry a balance

Cons

  • $150 annual fee
  • High APR if you don't pay your balance in full each month
  • Need a good-to-excellent credit rating to qualify

American Express Green Card Overview

First launched in 1969, the American Express Green Card, was the first charge cards American Express offered. It has evolved to be much more than a charge card, with options for Card Members to pay over time and finance eligible purchases at an interest rate of , depending on your creditworthiness.

The card provides an amazing array of travel benefits, including access to the company’s renowned Global Assist Hotline, a concierge service that can help you prepare for international trips, and offer assistance during emergencies any time you are traveling more than 100 miles away.

You can redeem rewards points, which you earn for every dollar spent, for anywhere from half a cent to a penny per point. Gift cards and travel booked through the American Express portal typically offer the highest exchange rates. Plus, you’ll earn 3X rewards points for travel, transit, and restaurant dining. The American Express Green Card provides many different ways to redeem your rewards points for travel, merchandise, gift cards and even a statement credit if you prefer.    

Key Features

Here’s how the American Express Green Card stacks up in four key areas: fees, APR, rewards and travel benefits.

Fees

If we’re being perfectly honest, the annual fee of $150 for the American Express Green card is higher than many competitors. Chase Freedom Unlimited, for instance, has no annual fee. Neither does Discover it Miles. Chase Freedom Unlimited, like American Express Green, offers up to 3% back in select categories. Discover it provides a flat rate of 1.5% back on all purchases. Chase Sapphire Preferred also has a lower annual fee of just $95.

However, you’ll easily make back your annual fee in the first year with the 45,000 Membership Reward sign-on bonus with American Express Green Card. After that, you’re likely to earn back the fee easily with perks like LoungeBuddy and CLEAR, which is a prescreening program available at some airports and other venues to verify your identity. You’ll earn $100 in statement credit annually for each service you purchase, which will more than pay your annual fee.

APR

The American Express Green Card doesn’t receive a perfect 4.0 for its APR since many lower options exist. The national average APR for travel rewards credit cards as of May 2022 — the most recent data available — is 19.65%, according to TheBalance.com. The American Express Green Card APR can range from , depending on your creditworthiness. That means applicants with a credit score in the lower range of “good to excellent” could pay several points more than the national average.  

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Discover it Miles both have APRs that begin much lower for individuals with excellent credit: . There’s not as much difference on the higher end of the APRs, with Chase Sapphire Preferred and Discover it Miles APR’s, both topping out at 23.74%.

There’s also no 0% introductory APR on American Express Green Card, which the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card and Discover it Miles both offer.  

One benefit to the American Express Green Card, however, is that there is no pre-set spending limit as long as you pay your balance in full at the end of each month. It’s also important to note that not all purchases will qualify for financing since American Express Green Card is a charge card with some features that allow revolving debt for some cardmembers.

Rewards

The American Express Green Card shines with its rewards program. The card offers 3X rewards points on travel, transit and restaurant purchases, as well as one point for every dollar spent on most other purchases.

If you use the Split Purchases feature in the American Express app, you can pay for an entire purchase on your American Express card, collect the Rewards points and let your friends or family members reimburse you their portion of the expense via Venmo or PayPal. You keep all the rewards when you split a restaurant bill, concert tickets, or any other purchase in this way.

You can maximize your Rewards points value at a 1:1 ratio when you cash in points at AmexTravel.com. You can also use your American Express Rewards on any website that offers the American Express Pay with Points program. You’ll get between 0.5 cents and 1 cent when you pay with points online. You can turn your rewards into cash, at a rate of 0.6 cents per point, by requesting a statement credit. You can also use points to purchase gift cards or transfer points to any American Express travel partner. Points values vary when you’re transferring so you’ll want to choose carefully.  

Travel

The American Express Green Card is renowned as a travel rewards credit card, and for good reason. In addition to the generous, 3X rewards on most travel and transit purchases, American Express has partnered with 15 airline and hotel travel partners where you can transfer points, in many cases on a 1:1 basis.

American Express Green Card also gives you a $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit to gain access to select airport lounges worldwide, and a $100 CLEAR credit to make travel even more accessible.

The Global Assist Hotline can help make international travel a breeze, providing a concierge service that can help provide emergency travel, medical and legal services any time you are more than 100 miles from home, even during international travel. Plus, when you use your American Express card abroad, you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees.  

The card also provides the following travel benefits:

  • Trip delay insurance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance

How the American Express Green Card Stands Out

American Express Green Card stands out for the company’s prestigious reputation. However, American Express Green is not just a card for high-earners or elite jet-setters and businesspeople. It’s new, and flexible payment terms and accessibility for people with a credit score of 680 and up means that many people can enjoy the vast benefits of American Express card membership.

Not many credit cards provide car rental insurance, anymore, so that is a big benefit for frequent travelers. Likewise, if you need a card with no foreign transaction fees, you may find the selection to be limited.

Perhaps best of all, the American Express Green Card has a welcome offer of 40,000 rewards points when you spend $2,000 within the first six months of card membership can be worth as much as $450 in travel credits if you redeem those points through the American Express travel portal.

Comparable Options

If the American Express Green Card doesn’t impress you, there are plenty of other travel rewards credit cards you may consider that might fit your needs better.

Discover it Miles

If you tend to spend a lot in many different categories across the board — or your spending habits change seasonally — Discover it Miles could be a good choice. The card offers 1.5X rewards on all purchases, with no limits. You can redeem your Miles to credit travel purchases on your statement or for cash to pay your bill. Miles never expire.

As with your American Express Green Card , you can use your rewards when you check out at Amazon.com or if you make a purchase using PayPal.

There is no welcome bonus for Discover it Miles, but you will receive a bonus equal to all the miles you earned in your first year on your first anniversary as a cardholder. Best of all, Discover it Miles has no annual fee, making it a great card for someone who isn’t sure they will always spend enough to cover the annual fee each year.

Plus, if you are looking to transfer a balance from higher interest cards, Discover it Miles offers that capability, with 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and with a 3% balance transfer fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred is another great travel rewards credit card for consumers with good to excellent credit. Although the card has a $95 annual fee, you’ll earn 5X points on travel when you purchase through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You also get a $50 hotel credit annually when you book a stay through the portal. Get 2X points on other travel purchases, 3X on dining, takeout, and delivery, as well as 3X on select online grocery purchases and 3X points on select streaming services. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

The welcome bonus is also larger than American Express Green Card’s offer, giving 60,000 bonus points, which is worth $750 in travel when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards, after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

Chase Sapphire Preferred also has no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and the highly coveted Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.

Similar to the American Express Global Assist Hotline, Chase also has a travel and emergency assistance service for legal, medical or other emergency assistance when you’re traveling.

How To Apply for the American Express Green Card

If you’ve decided the American Express Green Card is the best travel rewards card for you right now, it’s easy to apply online with no effect on your credit score. Your credit score may drop slightly — and temporarily — if you accept the card after approval.

Who the American Express Green Card Is Best For

If you spend more than $5,000 annually on travel, transit, or dining out, you’ll easily cover the annual fee for the American Express Green Card. Likewise, if you plan to take advantage of perks like a $100 credit toward both LoungeBuddy and CLEAR, you’ll more than cover the fee.

If you’re a frequent traveler looking for a card with a host of travel benefits, including no foreign transaction fees, and generous rewards, American Express Green Card could be a good card to carry. This card is best for those who don’t carry a balance since the APR runs on the high side compared to some cards in its class.

Final Take

The American Express Green Card provides all the benefits of a credit card, with no pre-set spending limit if you pay your balance in full at the end of each month. With generous travel rewards and a wide range of travel partners, the benefits on this card make it well worth the annual fee for many people.

American Express Green Card FAQ

Consumers like yourself may have questions about the American Express Green Card before applying. Here are answers to some of the most common questions here.
  • Does American Express have a green card?
    • The American Express Green card was the first American Express charge card and is still available today. American Express also offers Gold and Platinum travel rewards cards, both with higher annual fees and more extensive benefits and rewards than the Green card.
  • Is it hard to get an American Express Green card?
    • American Express says it looks for a credit score above 680 for new American Express Green card applicants. American Express will also evaluate your income and your existing debt before approving your application. In the American Express family, the Green card is easier to get than a Gold or Platinum card, but it is not a credit card for people who are just starting to build or re-build their credit.
  • What benefits does American Express Green card have?
    • The American Express Green card has a host of benefits, including credit toward LoungeBuddy access, the Global Assist Hotline for emergency help on trips, access to exclusive American Express entertainment experiences, car rental insurance and other forms of travel insurance so you can book your trips without stress.
  • What credit score is needed for American Express Green card?
    • The American Express website indicates that consumers with a credit score over 680 may qualify for the American Express Green card.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of June 27, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

All information about American Express card offers has been collected independently by GOBankingRates and has not been reviewed or approved by American Express. These offers are not available through GOBankingRates.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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