Underrated Reasons to Carry an AmEx Green Card

June CasagrandeMay 27, 2020
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Today’s travel rewards credit cards like to dazzle you with long lists of perks: concierge service, bonus points for buying gas, free hotel nights — even free museum admission. But the refreshed American Express® Green Card proves that sometimes, less is more. This classic card keeps things simple with a short list of valuable rewards. Here are some underrated reasons you may want an American Express® Green Card.

Simplicity

Some folks approach travel rewards as a game — a complicated game. They spend a good amount of time plotting out which card to use where and how to earn the most rewards. It’s fun, for some.

But for those who want to maximize their points earnings on autopilot, the American Express® Green Card is a top contender. Cardmembers earn 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurants and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Terms apply.

Compare that to the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card ,and you’ll see it’s a good deal. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2 points per dollar in those categories with a $95 annual fee that’s only slightly lower than American Express® Green Card’s $150-a-year fee.

With the American Express® Green Card, anyone who eats out a lot or travels a lot will earn bonus points without having to think about it. That bonus even applies to purchases for “transit,” which includes rideshares and taxis — making earning lots of points simple.

Easy welcome offer

New cardmembers approved for the American Express® Green Card can earn the following welcome bonus: Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

It’s common these days to find cards that require you to charge $4,000 in the first three months to earn a pile of bonus points. Not everyone can (or should) do that. A smaller minimum spend is a much easier threshold to meet for earning a welcome bonus.

Flexible redemptions

Unlike airline miles and hotel points, American Express Membership Rewards points offer super-flexible redemptions. You can use AmEx points to pay for travel right in the American Express Membership Rewards booking portal, where search results turn up options with different airlines, hotel and car rental companies.

Or you can transfer your points to a number of airline and hotel partners, including Delta, British Airways, Hilton and Marriott. Transfers let you combine your American Express points with points you earned separately in a hotel or airline loyalty program, and they also let you book through the airline or hotel website — which gets you recognized as a member or elite member when you check in.

You’re also not limited to travel redemptions with this card. The Membership Rewards points you earn by using the American Express® Green Card can also be redeemed for gift cards for tons of retailers, including Coach handbags and Saks Fifth Avenue.

$100 credit each for Clear and LoungeBuddy

There are two kinds of travelers at airport security: Those who breeze through lines with an expedited screening service like Clear or TSA Precheck, and those who wait in the longer line to take off their shoes, remove laptops from carry-on bags and just generally take longer to get through.

Why would anyone choose the latter? Money. A Clear membership, for example, costs $179 a year. Infrequent travelers may not find the fee worthwhile. But for these travelers — as well as for frugal frequent travelers — a $100 credit toward that fee may be just the incentive they need.

The same goes for lounges. The American Express® Green Card credits users with $100 for airport lounge access purchased through LoungeBuddy. Both an easy experience at security and lounge access in the terminal are within reach with theAmerican Express® Green 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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