Who Can Benefit the Most from the American Express Green Card?

Megan LeeMay 12, 2020
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The American Express® Green Card got a makeover last year — and it looks pretty nice.

The card’s revamped benefits include more powerful points accrual rates, better rewards and higher fees. But before applying for this iconic card, ask yourself: Are you a good fit to maximize its benefits?

Read on to learn who this card is ideal for.

The traveling foodie

Do you love eating out, traveling and … eating out while traveling? You can earn 3X points on dining and travel (including transit), when you pay with your American Express® Green Card. This generous points accrual rate includes domestic and global restaurants, as well as:

  • Airfare.

  • Hotels.

  • Cruises.

  • Car rentals.

  • Campgrounds.

  • Trains.

  • Taxicabs.

  • Rideshare services.

  • Tours.

  • Ferries.

  • Tolls.

  • Parking.

  • Buses.

  • Subways.

  • Third-party travel websites.

  • AmExtravel.com.

Terms apply.

The occasional airport lounger

If you like airport lounges, but don’t need them for every flight, you are in a good position to benefit from the American Express® Green Card.

Frequent travelers who love lounges might seek a Priority Pass from a different credit card, but if you only need lounge access a handful of times annually, you can benefit the most from the $100 LoungeBuddy annual statement credit. LoungeBuddy is an app that aggregates airport lounges where you can purchase instant access — no memberships, elite statuses or first class tickets required.

The Clear member

Current and aspiring members of Clear — a security prescreening program for travelers operated by a private company rather than the federal government — are in luck.

American Express® Green Card holders will automatically receive a $100 Clear credit each year. Though it doesn’t cover the full price of membership ($179), this perk gives you a nice discount.

If Clear is available at your most frequently traveled airport(s), you can quickly use this perk to effectively earn back $100 of the card’s annual fee.

The international traveler

The American Express® Green Card has no foreign transaction fees, and we all know those pesky fees can add up quickly. Just be sure you’re traveling to countries that widely accept American Express cards.

The AmEx loyalist

If your goal is to optimize points accrual around American Express Membership Rewards, but you don’t want to fork out a ton of money on annual fees, this card could yield big benefits. The $150 annual fee isn’t overly steep, and your points can be redeemed with a variety of transfer partners.

For example, American Express’ extensive list of airline partners includes Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Hotel partners include Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and Radisson Rewards; you can also redeem points at American Express partners Nectar and Club Eurostar.

Note that points transfer to these partners at varied rates.

The bottom line

You should stay away from the American Express® Green Card if you already have a credit card that gives you a 3:1 return on dollars you spend on travel and dining. Otherwise, those who like the lounge perks, are motivated to maintain their Clear membership (or get one) and who travel internationally to AmEx-friendly countries will benefit the most from this credit card.

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The 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:

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