The bottom line: This card is a great fit for travelers who can make use of its valuable transfer partners, rich rewards and generous credits. Doing so takes some time and effort, though, and cheaper options exist.
American Express® Green Card
Recommended Credit Score
Quick FactsView rates and fees
Pros & Cons
High rewards rates
No foreign transaction fee
Has annual fee
Some low-value redemptions
Alternate Pick: 3X back on travel and dining, no annual fee
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Triple points on gas and transit, too
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers rich rewards across a broad range of everyday spending categories, plus a healthy welcome offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value. You get all of that for an annual fee of $0. Terms apply.
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Among travel credit cards, the $150-annual fee American Express® Green Card is a strong choice.
It earns Membership Rewards — AmEx's versatile rewards currency, which can be transferred to several different loyalty programs — and features high ongoing rewards rates on travel and restaurants worldwide. You'll also get some unique and potentially valuable travel credits, not to mention an impressive 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.
Cheaper options exist. But for travelers and folks who can take advantage of the card's perks and rewards — say, by transferring points to other airline and hotel programs and making high-value redemptions — it's a good deal.
Key features of the American Express® Green Card
Annual fee: $150.
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.
3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases.
3 points per dollar spent on restaurants worldwide.
1 point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Membership Rewards points are super-flexible and can range in value from about 0.5 cents to 1 cent each depending on how you redeem them, with travel and gift card redemptions generally being the most valuable. Points are also transferable and can be worth even more if redeemed strategically after being transferred to other loyalty programs.
APR: See terms.
Nerd tip: This product is technically a charge card. Unlike traditional credit cards, charge cards don't typically let you carry a balance and require instead that pay your bill in full every month. However, this card offers two different features — "Plan It®" and "Pay Over Time" — that allow it to function more like a traditional credit card. Plan It® lets you set up a payment plan for eligible purchases, during which you pay a monthly fee instead of interest charges. With this feature, you know how much you'll pay each month. "Pay Over Time" lets you finance eligible purchases over a term with interest. There is a limit to the amount you can finance with a Pay Over Time plan.
Foreign transaction fees: None.
Up to $100 per year in statement credit when you use the card to pay for your Clear membership fee. (Clear is a prescreening program at certain airports and other venues that uses biometrics to verify your identity.)
Up to $100 per year in statement credit when you purchase LoungeBuddy passes with your card. (LoungeBuddy lets you buy single-use day passes to airport lounges.)
Benefits of the American Express® Green Card
One of the card's most valuable features: It earns Membership Rewards points. These can be transferred to an extensive list of airline and hotel loyalty programs. The transfer ratios vary by partner, but in many cases, they're 1:1. That means, for instance, you could turn 50,000 Membership Rewards points into 50,000 miles with a certain airline program. Potentially, this means you could get much more than one cent apiece from these points if you moved points to a loyalty program and took advantage of a high-value redemption.
The card makes it easy to rack up points, too. It earns a generous 3 points per dollar spent on eligible travel and restaurant expenses. Terms apply. The list of what counts as travel is expansive, too. It includes airfare, hotels and car rentals, but also cruises, campgrounds, tours, trains, rideshares, buses, subways, tolls, parking and more. Third-party travel websites and amextravel.com also qualify.
Nerd tip: Generally, you can transfer points fee-free. But if you're transferring earnings to a U.S. airline, you'll get hit with a fee of $0.0006 per point, up to a maximum fee of $99.
Big welcome offer
New cardholders can get a top-notch 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. That could potentially cover a round-trip flight or a night or two at a hotel.
Potentially valuable travel credits
The travel-related perks that come with the American Express® Green Card are relatively specific — but they could be worth as much as $200 for those who can use them. For frequent travelers, they could prove valuable. Here's how they work:
$100 annual statement credit toward a Clear membership: Over three dozen airports — and several other stadiums and venues across the country — use Clear's biometric ID technology to allow people to breeze through eligible prescreening lines (though you'll still have to go through the X-ray line). A Clear membership costs $179 annually, so this is a sizable discount. However, keep in mind that Clear isn't the same thing as TSA Precheck or Global Entry. More on that below.
$100 annual LoungeBuddy statement credit: This online- and app-based service allows you to buy airport lounge access for a fee at hundreds of airports. Single-use lounge passes start at $25, so in theory, this credit could net you up to four complimentary lounge visits per year.
Drawbacks of the American Express® Green Card
High annual fee
The card's $150 annual fee can be worthwhile, especially if you can take advantage of AmEx's transfer partners and the card's statement credits. But it's still relatively expensive for a non-premium travel card, and if you won't use travel partners or credits, go with a different option.
Consider, for example, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. It earns Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards, which aren't transferable like Membership Rewards. And you won't get fancy travel credits. But for an annual fee of $0, you'll earn the same 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, but also on gas stations and eligible streaming. All non-bonus-category spending earns 1 point per dollar spent. Terms apply. Plus, you get a rich bonus offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.
Some redemption options are low-value
The American Express® Green Card can deliver excellent value through its transfer partners. But other redemption options aren't that great. For example, redeeming for a statement credit will get you only 0.6 cent per point.
For a card with better redemption options and excellent transfer partners, try the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. For an annual fee of $95, you'll get access to many of the same transfer partners, including Aer Lingus, Air France/KLM, British Airways, Emirates, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic and Marriott. The card earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Booking travel through Chase gets 1.25 cents out of each point, and redeeming for cash back gets 1 cent per point. The card also comes with an outstanding sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Other cards offer more useful travel credits
A Clear credit may be useful in specific situations, especially as a supplement to TSA Precheck or Global Entry. But it isn't really a substitute for those programs. Unlike Clear, which is a private company, TSA Precheck and Global Entry are administered by the federal government and are in wide use across the country. They're also significantly cheaper: The application fee for TSA Precheck is $85; for Global Entry, it's $100. What's more, your status with those federal programs lasts for five years — not just one — and many travel credit cards with less hefty annual fees will cover the full application cost for you.
The LoungeBuddy credit is also a nice touch and potentially more useful, particularly if you don't have any other cards that provide lounge access. But while the service advertises lounge access for as low as $25 per visit, many lounges on the platform will end up costing you significantly more than that. Also be aware that some travel credit cards with lower annual fees already offer some version of airport lounge access.
If you're looking for a card with bonus rewards on travel and dining and more useful credits, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card could be a match. It earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. You'll get a statement credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fees every four years. There's also an annual airline incidental statement credit worth up to $100 that can cover qualifying purchases like seat upgrades, airline lounge fees and checked bag fees. The annual fee is $95.
» MORE: Is Clear worth the cost?
Should you get it?
The American Express® Green Card isn't particularly simple: Scoping out good deals and moving points to other programs takes some effort and taking advantage of this card's side perks might mean using services you might not otherwise try. But for travelers who love the challenge of maximizing points and perks, it offers excellent value and versatility, making it well worth its annual fee.
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, please visit this page.
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