American Express Green Card Reward Optimization for Beginners

Erin HurdMay 1, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Whether it brings a sense of nostalgia or it’s brand-new to you, the vintage American Express® Green Card is revamped and packed with rewards.

The new American Express® Green Card earns Membership Rewards points at an impressive clip in certain categories. You’ll earn 3x points on travel and dining (even if you’re eating at a restaurant outside the U.S.) and 1x points on all other purchases. Plus, the American Express® Green Card unlocks discounts for travel and shopping. Terms apply.

Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of the rewards you'll earn on your American Express® Green Card.

Get yourself set up for success

The first thing you’ll want to do once you receive your American Express® Green Card is set up your account. Just head to the American Express website and register your card. It’s also a good idea to download the AmEx App to view your account on the go.

Once you start using your card, your Membership Rewards will start to accumulate. But the points won’t be accessible in your account until after your statement closes and your payment has been received. The points show as "pending" in your account until 24-72 hours after a payment posts.

When you click into "Rewards" on the website or app, you’ll see how many points you have now, how many points are pending and how many points you earned on recent purchases.

Know the way to earn Membership Rewards

Once you go into the "Rewards" tab in your account, you’ll notice that there are many different ways you can use your points. It’s important to understand that not all of these options are created equally. Some redemptions offer greater value than others.

You’ll generally get the most bang for your buck if you choose to transfer the Membership Rewards from your American Express® Green Card to a travel partner like British Airways, Delta Air Lines or Choice Hotels, to name a few.

Throughout the year, watch for limited-time transfer bonuses on various transfer partners. You can sometimes get 20% to 50% more points when you transfer to featured partners.

You also have other options for your Membership Rewards points:

  • Book travel directly through the American Express travel portal (value of 1 cent per point).

  • Use your points to upgrade flights you’ve already booked (value of 1 cent per point).

  • Book hotels, cruises or vacation packages (value of 0.7 cent per point).

  • Use them for gift cards, shopping and more (value varies, usually 0.7 cent per point or less).

American Express makes it easy for you to figure out how much value you’re getting with its handy Rewards Points Calculator tool. This tool shows you how much your points are worth for any possible redemption and you can compare choices. Terms apply.

Save money with AmEx Offers

The American Express® Green Card comes with access to AmEx Offers that can earn you extra points and save you some cash.

When you’re logged into your AmEx account, scroll down to see your Offers & Benefits. Click on the offers you like and they’ll be added to your card. Then, when you use your American Express® Green Card to shop at those merchants, you’ll automatically get statement credits back for the amount of the offer. Some offers earn extra Membership Rewards rather than cash back, and you’ll see those extra points on your next statement.

Use your $100 credits for Clear and LoungeBuddy

Another great perk of the new American Express® Green Card card is the annual credit (up to $200). Terms apply.

Clear is a biometric identification system in airports and stadium venues across the country. It can help you save time getting through security checkpoints. It costs $180 per year to use Clear, but when you pay with your American Express® Green Card you’ll automatically get $100 credited back to your account each calendar year. You can further reduce your Clear cost if you have a Delta or United frequent flyer account, nearly eliminating the annual fee (as the price drops to $119 or less depending on your status level). Terms apply.

If you want access to extra comforts while you’re waiting for your flight, you can also buy lounge access with LoungeBuddy. Pull up the app, make a reservation at an available lounge and pay with your American Express® Green Card. You’ll get up to $100 credited back to your account per year, and access starts at $25 per visit. Terms apply.

The bottom line

To optimize your new American Express® Green Card, be sure you take advantage of all the standard benefits including travel credits and AmEx Offers, and combine those with high-value use of your Membership Rewards points with the built-in calculator and transfer partners.

All information about American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.