- Amex just announced a complete makeover of its American Express® Green Card.
- The Amex Green card has been around for years, and it used to be a pretty low-value option for award travellers, with very few perks and only one bonus category.
- Now, it offers 3x points on travel and restaurants, and annual statement credits for CLEAR and LoungeBuddy.
- It does have an increased annual fee: $US150, up from $US95. But it could be well worth it for the points-earning, airport lounge access, and more.
- If you apply for the Amex Green card by January 15, 2020, you can also get up to $US100 in statement credits toward purchases with Away luggage in the first three months.
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The Amex Green Card has been something of an “also-ran” in the world of rewards credit cards, hardly worth mentioning when other options like the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card have great bonus categories and travel benefits. At $US95, the Green card had a lower annual fee than other Amex charge cards, but it also offered very little in the way of perks or rewards.
Amex just announced a major overhaul to its Amex Green card that completely changes all that. With new benefits like 3x points on travel and restaurants and various annual statement credits, it’s now an option worth considering if you want to maximise your spending and enjoy travel perks like airport lounge access. The card now has a $US150 annual fee, but it also offers up to $US200 in annual statement credits.
Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It’s important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
The updated Amex Green card
Before this revamp, the Amex Green card only offered bonus points on travel booked through Amex – and then, only 2x points. Now, it has a much more competitive earning structure:
- 3x points on travel including transit – this includes everything from flights to hotels to third-party travel websites and amextravel.com
- 3x points at restaurants worldwide
- 1 point per dollar on everything else
Our e-commerce partner The Points Guy valuesAmex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, which means you’re getting a 6% return on your spending with these 3x bonus categories. Considering that travel and dining are common expenses for many of us, these new categories make it easy to earn points quickly.
Beyond much-improved bonus categories, the card has a new design, which lives up to the “green” in its name by using reclaimed plastic from beaches collected by the organisation Parley for the Oceans. We’ve seen plenty of eye-catching credit card designs – including the limited-edition rose-gold version of the Amex Gold card, but it’s nice that this one goes one step further to use recycled materials.
- Up to $US100 in statement credits per calendar year toward CLEAR membership.CLEAR is an alternative to TSA PreCheck, offering expedited security access at airports. It also offers expedited security at other locations, including stadiums and arenas and even Hertz rental car locations. A year of CLEAR membership costs $US179, but if you pay with the Amex Green card you’ll effectively pay only $US79 out of pocket.
- Up to $US100 in statement credits per calendar year toward purchases with LoungeBuddy.LoungeBuddy is an airport lounge network like Priority Pass, but unlike with Priority Pass, you don’t pay for a year-long membership; you pay per lounge visit. LoungeBuddy visits start at $US25, but most lounges cost $US45 to $US50. So you could get at least two free lounge visits with this perk.
Amex is also offering the following benefit for new cardmembers who apply by January 15, 2020:
- Up to $US100 in statement credits toward eligible purchases with Away, the ultra-popular luggage brand. This statement credit only applies to Away purchases made in the first three months after opening the Green card.
New cardholders can earn 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards points with the Amex Green card when they spend $US2,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
This 30,000-point bonus is worth $US600 based on The Points Guy’s valuations, and there are lots of great ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points, especially for booking travel directly through Amex or with its transfer partners including Delta, Hilton, Marriott, and Virgin Atlantic.
A much-improved rewards card
The new Amex Green card is a huge step up from its previous incarnation, with very lucrative bonus categories and annual statement credits that can cancel out the $US150 annual fee.
If you’re a seasoned award traveller, you may be more inclined to pick a card like the Amex Gold, which has a $US250 annual fee and offers 4x points on restaurants worldwide and 4x points on the first $US25,000 you spend each year at US supermarkets (then 1x). And plenty of people will still be drawn to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has a $US450 annual fee but also offers one of the most generous annual travel credits, plus Priority Pass lounge access and 3x points on travel and dining.
But for those who want an “in-betweener” card that balances very generous perks with a more moderate annual fee, the Amex Green card is now an option worth a close look.