Why the AmEx Green Card Could Replace Your Chase Sapphire Reserve
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After the Chase Sapphire Reserve® announced an annual fee increase of $100, you might be looking for a new travel credit card with a lower annual fee and comparable benefits. With so many travel cards on the market, you might have overlooked the recently refreshed American Express® Green Card.
In fact, there are a few reasons why the American Express® Green Card could be a great card to replace your more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve®:
Valuable welcome offer
The American Express® Green Card currently is offering a generous welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during your first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
This is a reasonable spending requirement for the welcome offer, and significantly less than what the Chase Sapphire Reserve® requires: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Manageable annual fee
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has an annual fee of $550, which is less than The Platinum Card® from American Express. Meanwhile, the American Express® Green Card has a more manageable annual fee of just $150 per year.
Also, there is no fee to add authorized users. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® charges $75 per authorized user.
Membership Rewards points have multiple redemption options, including gift cards, travel or transfer to one of AmEx's many travel partners. Redemption value can range widely depending on how you redeem points and which program you transfer them to.
» Learn more: American Express Platinum review: Luxury isn’t cheap
If you like the 3x point earnings on dining and travel worldwide from the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, then you’re in luck. The American Express® Green Card offers the same triple point multipliers on travel and dining worldwide.
You get the same great earning rates whether you travel domestically, or internationally. However, remember that with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you'll earn 5x points on air travel and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
When it comes to travel categories, the definition of travel on the American Express® Green Card is broad and includes the following:
Third party travel websites.
» Learn more: AmEx points versus Chase points
The American Express® Green Card has a couple of benefits that we have yet to see from other banks. They include the following:
While cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, Citi Prestige® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer Priority Pass select membership (enrollment required), the American Express® Green Card goes in a different direction, with a $100 in LoungeBuddy credit each calendar year. Terms apply. Access to lounges start as low as $25, and LoungeBuddy has lounges around the world that expand beyond Priority Pass lounges.
This benefit might be limiting for frequent flyers, but this could be useful if you need lounge access only a couple times per year — or if you want to experience a lounge other than one affiliated with Priority Pass.
» Learn more: Citi Prestige review: Fancy perks for $495
While plenty of cards offer TSA Precheck or Global Entry fee credits, the American Express® Green Card offers a $189 Clear credit each calendar year. Terms apply. This can help you speed through airport security faster by using biometric data to confirm your identity.
As an added perk, Clear membership will also get you complimentary Avis Preferred Plus status with Avis's loyalty program. Avis Preferred Plus status includes perks like:
A free, single-car class upgrade upon availability.
The ability to earn additional bonus points on each rental.
Access to exclusive offers and promotional discounts.
You would typically need to spend $4,000 on qualifying Avis purchases or complete 10 rentals in a calendar year to qualify for Avis Preferred Plus.
» Learn more: Is Clear worth it?
Trip delay coverage
Having a card that offers trip delay coverage can potentially save you hundreds of dollars on unexpected costs if your flight is delayed or requires an overnight stay.
The American Express® Green Card offers trip delay coverage on flights delayed 12 hours or more. This benefit is eligible on round-trip tickets paid for with your American Express® Green Card. The coverage is for up to $300 in expenses, with up to two claims within 12 months. Terms apply.
This benefit should give you peace of mind knowing American Express has you covered if an extended delay occurs when you are traveling.
» Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve alternatives worth considering
The bottom line
If you're considering replacing your Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the American Express® Green Card is worth a look. The annual fee is lower, the earning rates are just as good, and it offers unique benefits to improve your travel experience.
The information related to the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card