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AmEx Green, Gold and Platinum: Which One Should I Get?

Of these cards, the AmEx Green is our top pick, for its robust rewards on travel and dining and its potentially valuable perks at a relatively low cost.
March 17, 2020
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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  • American Express® Green Card
  • American Express® Gold Card
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express

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For travelers, the flagship American Express cards — the American Express® Green Card, the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express — all stand out as valuable, versatile choices. And they have certain features in common: All three come with rich side perks, Membership Rewards points and three-digit annual fees.

So, which one is right for you? When reviewing the three cards, we found the American Express® Green Card offered the most compelling combination of perks. Although it doesn’t offer the most luxurious benefits, it comes with robust rewards, potentially valuable credits and the lowest annual fee of the bunch.

There are good reasons you might choose to go with one of the other cards, though. Ultimately, the right choice for you depends on what you’re looking for:

  • For travel and dining rewards for a relatively low cost: The American Express® Green Card, which carries an annual fee of $150, is the ideal choice.
  • For rich dining perks: The American Express® Gold Card, which has an annual fee of $250, outshines the others.
  • For luxury travel perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express, which has an annual fee of $550, is the superior option.
  • Terms apply.

» MORE: American Express Membership Rewards: How to earn and use them

The basics at a glance

The basics at a glance

The American Express® Green Card
The American Express® Gold Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee

$150$250$550

Welcome offer

Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply. Terms apply.Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Foreign transaction fees

None.None.None.

Ongoing rewards

3 points per dollar spent on travel, including flights, hotels, transit, taxis and ridesharing services, and at restaurants worldwide. Terms apply.4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases for U.S. supermarket purchases). 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Terms apply.5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Terms apply.

Benefits


  • $100 in Clear credit per calendar year.

  • $100 in LoungeBuddy credit per calendar year.

  • Terms apply.


  • $100 airline fee credit for incidentals, such as checked bags or in-flight refreshments.

  • Up to $120 in dining credits at select locations each year, paid out monthly. Credits can be used at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

  • Terms apply.


    • Access to AmEx's Global Lounge collection, which includes over 1,200 airport lounges.

    • $200 airline fee credit for incidentals, such as checked bags or in-flight refreshments.

    • Up to $200 in Uber Cash each year, paid out monthly, and Uber VIP status.

    • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

    • Complimentary benefits when you stay at hotels in AmEx's Fine Hotels and Resorts Program.

    • Terms apply.

      How they stack up

      Annual fee

      Winner: The American Express® Green Card

      All three of these AmEx cards carry annual fees north of $100. But the American Express® Green Card is the least expensive of the bunch, which might make it more compelling for some. The Platinum Card® from American Express is the priciest, with an annual fee north of $500, and the American Express® Gold Card lands in the middle.

      » MORE: Full review of the American Express® Green Card

      Side perks

      Winner: The Platinum Card® from American Express

      When it comes to side perks, The Platinum Card® from American Express totally dominates — not just among these three AmEx cards, but among consumer cards more generally: It offers a dizzyingly long list of statement credits and perks, including access to American Express Global Lounge Collection’s extensive network of airport lounges, up to $200 in Uber Cash each year, a $200 airline fee credit for purchases like checked bags and in-flight refreshments and an application fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. Terms apply. The American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Green Card also offer impressive benefits, just not as many.

      The American Express® Gold Card card, for instance, is the only card of the bunch that offers the $120 annual dining credit at select locations. Terms apply. The American Express® Green Card also packs a few travel perks not offered on the other cards: a $100 annual credit for LoungeBuddy, an app that allows you to book single visits to airport lounges, and a $100 annual credit for Clear membership, which can help you skip the prescreening line at certain airports and stadiums. Terms apply.

      Before settling on a final choice, here’s something to note: While both the American Express® Green Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer some form of lounge access and fee credits that could help you save time at airport security, these perks differ in key ways:

      The American Express® Green Card features a $100 credit for LoungeBuddy, an app acquired by AmEx in 2019 that allows you to purchase single-use passes for airport lounges, starting at $25 a pop. LoungeBuddy’s network of lounges is somewhat limited as of this writing, but it will be expanding the options available in the near future, according to its website. Terms apply.

      The Platinum Card® from American Express doesn’t come with a LoungeBuddy credit, as of this writing, but it offers access to a much more extensive portfolio of airport lounges — over 1,200 — through its Global Lounge Collection. It also comes with access to Delta Sky Club lounges and Priority Pass Select lounges. Terms apply.

      The American Express® Green Card comes with an annual $100 credit toward Clear membership, which costs $179 a year. Terms apply. That means if you used the benefit, you’d be getting a discount on membership; the cost wouldn’t be completely covered. Clear helps you speed through the prescreening line at select airports, but doesn’t shorten the actual security screening process. It also helps you get into certain venues and select stadiums faster.

      The Platinum Card® from American Express, meanwhile, comes with a fee credit for TSA Precheck ($85 every five years) or Global Entry ($100 every five years). Terms apply. The credit covers the full benefit, which is cheaper and available in more airports than Clear is.

       

      » MORE: Full review of The Platinum Card® from American Express

      Bonus categories

      Winner: The American Express® Green Card and the American Express® Gold Card (tie)

      When it comes to raking in the Membership Rewards points, two of these three cards really shine: the American Express® Green Card and the American Express® Gold Card. The American Express® Green Card stands out as the card with the highest rewards on most travel purchases. The American Express® Gold Card is superior for foodie rewards: It offers generous bonus points on both restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets.

      The Platinum Card® from American Express, strangely, is relatively lackluster when it comes to ongoing rewards, even though it earns an impressive 5 points per dollar spent in some categories. Of all the cards, its bonus categories are the most narrowly defined. That makes it considerably harder to actually take advantage of the high earn rates.

      Here’s what the cards offer:

      • American Express® Green Card: Earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, and ridesharing services; and at restaurants worldwide. Terms apply.
      • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases for U.S. supermarket purchases) and 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.
      • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

      » MORE: Full review of the American Express® Gold Card

      Top pick: The American Express® Green Card

      Among these three AmEx cards, the American Express® Green Card offers the top value on the basics with rich ongoing rewards and a relatively reasonable annual fee. For many, that makes it the strongest choice — even if its side perks aren’t as generous. But its sibling cards, the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, may have more appeal for those looking for either richer dining perks or more luxurious travel perks, respectively.