Amex Green Card
30,000 Membership Reward points plus $100 "Away" luggage credit.
($330 net value, .17/$)Signup Bonus Chart
3x Travel (≈4.5%)
3x Restaurnats (≈4.5%)
1x Everywhere Else (≈1.5%)
No Foreign Transaction Fee
If you are comfortable earning Membership Rewards points and using them for frequent flyer tickets (especially for premium class tickets), the Green Card can be a great option for your restaurant and travel purchases (other than airfare). It depends on whether you have an Amex Gold Card and/or a Citi Prestige Card.
The Green Card is also interesting just for its signup offer (especially when there is a promotional offer and it is coupled with an Amex referral). Because it is a "charge" card, it is not subject to Amex's limit of 4-5 total "credit" cards.
Because it is hard to use credit card travel benefits during the pandemic, Amex has made some temporary changes to their cards.
- You get a 10 per month cell phone credit until the end of the year.
Amex Green Card Options
Amex has a Amex Business Green Card but the features and benefits of the two cards are different enough that each is covered in their own guide.
Introduction to Membership Rewards Points
Membership Rewards is the name of Amex's own rewards program. Membership Rewards Guide
- Membership Rewards points can be transferred to many different frequent flyer programs. This gives you the flexibility to take advantage of award space on over a hundred different airlines. In many cases, you can choose to book a flight through one of several different partner programs, allowing you to take advantage of whichever program requires the fewest miles and fees for your trip.
- Membership Rewards has many more airline partners than the other big credit card reward programs, such as Chase's Ultimate Rewards and Citi's ThankYou Rewards. They also have many more credit cards with Membership Rewards bonuses. If you are willing and able to use your points to book frequent flyer tickets, especially premium cabin award tickets, Membership Rewards is the most valuable reward program.
- Amex frequently offers promotional transfer bonuses. When the promotion is active, you'll get extra airline miles when you transfer your Membership Rewards points to a specific airline. For example, if American Express is offering a 40% bonus for British Airways, you'll receive 14,000 British Airways points for every 10,000 Membership Rewards points you transfer. See Take Advantage of Transfer Bonuses to Get More Value from Your Reward Points for more information or visit Frequent Miler’s Current Transfer Bonuses page for a list of current (and past) promotions.
- Unlike Ultimate Rewards points, frequent flyer tickets are usually the only good option for redeeming your Membership Reward points. Membership Rewards' transfer rates for hotel programs aren't very attractive, it doesn't partner with any fixed-value airline programs (like Southwest), and you'll only get 1 cent per point when you use them to purchase travel through Amex.
- The only exceptions are for certain Amex Platinum cardholders:
- Amex BUSINESS Platinum Cardholders get a 35% rebate on some airfare purchases made through Amex. This works out to a value of 1.54 cents per point. While this isn't as much as we hope to get by using our Membership Reward points for frequent flyer tickets, you'll always get decent value from your points and don't have to worry about finding available award space. It is a lot better than purchasing travel at only 1 cent per point.
- Amex SCHWAB Platinum Cardholders get an option to cash out their points at 1.25 cents per point.
- We value Membership Reward points at 1.5 cents each. Because you can take advantage of award space and "sweet spots" from many different frequent flyer programs and the occasional transfer bonus, Membership Reward points are worth more than any single type of airline miles. If you highly valuable premium-cabin award tickets, Membership Reward points are worth even more. But if you want to avoid the hassles associated with frequent flyer tickets, they are worth significantly less. How Much are Points Worth?
Collecting the Signup Bonus
- It is worth signing up for this card just to collect the signup bonus. The typical signup bonus is 30,000 Membership Rewards points, valued at $450 (at 1.5 cents per point). Higher private browser and referral offers are available.
- You may want to wait until you receive a better than normal offer. Since Amex will normally only let you receive the signup bonus once per lifetime, and frequently offers promotional signup offers, it can be worthwhile to postpone signing up, so you don't waste your bonus on a less valuable offer.
- You can earn Membership Reward points from many different credit cards. While you can normally only earn each signup bonus once, there are more than a dozen cards with Membership Reward signup bonuses. You can combine multiple sign-ups to earn hundreds of thousands of Membership Reward points.
After subtracting the annual fee and the opportunity cost of using the card for $2,000 of spending, the calculated net value for the initial year is $440 (22 cents per dollar spent). Your value may be higher or lower, depending on how much you value Membership Rewards points. Introduction to 'Transferable' Reward Points
- Annual $100 Clear Credit. Clear provides fast access through security at about 30 airports plus a number of stadiums and other locations. Anyone with a United or Delta frequent flyer account can purchase a Clear membership for $119 per year. The Green Card's $100 credit would drop that fee to an effective $9 per year. Children under 18 (travelling with a members) don't require memberships and additional adult members can be added to an account for only $50 per year. Elite frequent flyers can get discounted or free membership. Because this is a calendar year credit, you should be able to get two years of membership during the initial year you have the card. Clear Webpage.
- Annual $100 LoungeBuddy credit. Applied to purchases of day passes for a number of airport lounges available via LoungeBuddy. There aren't that many lounges that participate in the LoungeBuddy program and the vast majority of the participating lounges already provide free access through Priority Pass. So if you have a Priority Pass membership, you may not have many opportunities to take advantage of this credit. But it would be useful when you want to visit a participating lounge that is not a member of Priority Pass, when you want to bring in an additional uncovered guest to one of the lounges that participate in both programs, or where the lounge is temporarily blocking access to Priority Pass members, but would allow a purchased LoungeBuddy pass. Normal prices for passes are $25-50, so you can get two to four free visits or so per year. Since it is a calendar year credit, you may have an opportunity to use up to $200 of credits during the initial year you have the card.
- Free year of Uber Eats Pass. You can activate a one-year subscription to Uber Eats Pass any time up until the end of 2021. With the subscription, you'll get a $0 delivery fee and 5% off purchases of over $15 at participating restaurants. Since the subscription is available on multiple cards, you might be able to sign up with one card for the remainder of 2021 and sign up with another card towards the end of the year for 2022. Once your year is up, they will automatically start charging the normal $10/month charge, so make sure to cancel.
- Amex Hotel Collection. When you use this luxury hotel program program to book a two night stay at one of the participating hotels, you'll get a room upgrade (upon availability) and a $100 credit to spend on dining, spa, and resort activities. Hotel Collection Website.
- Access to Amex Offers. Amex continuously provides discount offers to their cardholders. Most of the offers are in the form of "Spend $x, get $y back", but other offers are in the form of "x% off your entire order" or "Earn an extra Membership Reward point on your purchases". To take advantage of the offers, you need to go to the Amex website, find the ones you are interested in, and "add them" to your card. Each offer will then be automatically applied when you use your card to make the corresponding purchase. Amex Offers Website.
- Free ShopRunner membership. As with all Amex cards, you are entitled to a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day and return shipping from around 150 of the largest online retailers. ShopRunner Website
- Exclusive access to entertainment events. Amex sponsors cardmember-only events around the country and also provides early ticket access for some other shows.
- If you plan to use your points for frequent flyer tickets, the Green Card earns the most valuable rewards on travel purchases (other than airfare). It earns 3x Membership Rewards points on a very broad range of travel (including taxi and transit services). The Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Preferred cards, and Citi Prestige card also earn 3 transferable points per dollar. But Ultimate Rewards and ThankYou points are a big less valuable for frequent flyer redemptions and the Prestige card doesn't offer bonus rewards on such a broad range of categories (but offers 5x on purchases from online travel sites). Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending.
- It may be worthwhile to use the Green Card for airfare and restaurant purchases. 3x Membership Rewards points is pretty good, but a few other cards are probably even better options. Best Credit Cards for Restaurant Spending.
- For most people, we'd recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card over the Amex Green Card. It offers the same effective annual fee and the same number of points per dollar on travel and restaurant spending. But Ultimate Rewards points are better for non-frequent-flyer rewards, the Sapphire Reserve has better travel insurance and airport lounge benefits, and Visa cards are accepted at more merchants, especially overseas. But for straight point transfers to airline program, the Green card is the better option and it also offers bonus rewards on a slightly wider range of travel services (taxis, transit, ridesharing).
- You don't want to use this card for your everyday spending. You'll earn higher rewards from a good general-purpose reward card. Get a Great General Purpose Reward Card and Use It for All of Your Spending.
Getting Rid of the Card
- You need to be careful or you could lose your Membership Rewards points when you cancel your card. To keep your points, you need to hold onto at least one card that earns Membership Rewards points. If you don't have one, you either need to hold onto the card, open up a new Membership Rewards card (like the no-annual-fee Amex Everyday Card), or transfer all your points to your favorite airline program. Before cancelling, make sure to check that the card you're cancelling is linked to the same Membership Rewards account as your other cards (as it should be).
- We usually recommend cancelling your card, rather than doing a product change. If you change to a card that you haven't had before, you won't be able to earn the signup bonus for that card in the future. In addition, signing up directly for the new card would earn a referral bonus for your Amex referral partner. And it usually isn't hard to get approved for a new Amex card when you need it.
- You can wait to cancel the card until after the annual fee shows up on your statement. As long as you cancel within 30 days of the statement closing date, Amex will refund the fee. Normally, you can receive a pro-rated refund when you downgrade your Amex Card, but there are no Amex charges cards that are less expensive than the Green Card.
- You might be able to receive a retention offer to keep your card. It could be enough to make it worthwhile to keep the card.
You can product change between the personal Platinum ($550), Gold ($250), and Green ($195) cards.
blog comments powered by Disqus