Edited by: Stella Shon
& Kellie Jez
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American Express has one of the best portfolios of travel rewards cards that constantly deliver great value to cardholders, and 2 of those cards are the American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Green Card.
Both cards have a lot to offer cardholders, but which one is a better fit for you? In this post, we provide a detailed comparison of what each card can offer you, including its rewards, redemption options, benefits, protections, fees, and more.
Let’s preview what each card offers before we more thoroughly compare each card by benefit or feature.
|Benefit of Feature||Amex Gold Card||Amex Green Card|
|Welcome Bonus||Earn 60,000 points when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.||Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 6 months.|
|Top Travel Protections||
|Annual Fee||$250 (rates & fees)||$150|
|Authorized User Fee||No authorized user fee to add authorized users for the first 5 cardholders, and any additional cards after that each have a $35 annual fee (rates & fees)||No authorized user fee|
One of the most exciting features of a new card is the large welcome bonus it may offer that quickly boosts you towards your next vacation. American Express is known for offering great welcome bonuses on its cards.
Welcome bonuses change often, but here is a look at the number of points you can currently earn with both the Amex Gold card and Amex Green card. As a note, we value Amex Membership Rewards points at 2.2 cents per point thanks to the flexible redemption options they provide.
This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.
With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.
There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.
The American Express® Green Card is an excellent all-around travel rewards card thanks to earning 3x Membership Rewards® points on eligible travel and transit purchases and at restaurants, access to American Express transfer partners, and a reasonable annual fee.
It’s important to try and maximize the number of points you earn on each purchase, as each purchase gets you one step closer to your next award redemption.
With that, here is a look at how each card will reward you for the purchases you make with it.
|Bonus Category||Amex Gold Card||Amex Green Card|
|Restaurants||4x points||3x points|
|U.S. Supermarkets||4x points (on up to $25,000 in spending each year)||1x point|
|Airfare||3x points when booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel||3x points|
|General Travel||1x point||3x points|
|Transit||1x point||3x points|
|All Other Purchases||1x point||1x point|
The Amex Gold card is a bit more food-focused and earns a rather large 4x points per dollar spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 per year), making it a fantastic option for those who spend a lot on these 2 categories. While the Amex Green card still earns 3x at restaurants, it falls well short in the supermarket category, offering just 1x point per dollar spent.
Where the Amex Green card shines is as more of an everyday purchase and general travel card. In addition to earning 3x points on dining, its general travel and transit purchase categories are broad. For general travel, this allows you to earn 3x points on expenses including hotels, rental cars, tours, cruises, and more, while the transit category will enable you to earn 3x on taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains, buses, subways, and more.
Deciding which card is better for you will primarily come down to which items you spend the most on each month. That said, you might have also noticed that the cards can complement each other if you want to cover as many bonus categories as possible.
Hot Tip: American Express Membership Rewards points are some of our favorite points to earn thanks to the redemption options they offer. Here is a look at the best ways to earn lots of Amex Membership Rewards points.
This is an easy comparison, as both cards offer exactly the same redemption options for your Amex Membership Rewards points.
In our view, the best option is redeeming your points through one of the American Express transfer partners, as this allows you to book luxurious business and first class flights for a fraction of what they would ordinarily cost you.
Another option is to simply redeem your points through the Amex Travel portal at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point. These redemptions likely won’t be as valuable as using transfer partners, but what you lose in value, you make up in flexibility, as you can redeem for any travel purchase you’d like with no blackout dates.
American Express also allows your Membership Rewards to be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, airline upgrades, and shopping with partners such as Amazon and Uber.
Both the Amex Gold card and Amex Green card charge an annual fee to cardholders, and one of the easiest ways to offset that is through the statement credits each card provides.
The Amex Gold card offers 2 statement credits to cardholders. First is up to $120 annually in dining credits, offered in $10 increments each month, which can be applied to Grubhub orders, or through The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations.
In total, that is up to $240 worth of annual credits to help offset the card’s $250 annual fee, and they should be fairly useable as many people find themselves needing an Uber or ordering Grubhub/Uber Eats at least once or twice a month.
With the Amex Green card, the statement credits are much more travel-focused, with the first being an up to $189 annual CLEAR Plus credit. For those unfamiliar, CLEAR Plus provides a faster security experience at select airports and stadiums nationwide.
You’ll also receive a $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit, allowing you to pay to enter any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network without needing to fly a certain class or hold any elite status. Depending on which lounges you visit, this credit could get you 2 to 3 free lounge visits each year.
With your Amex Gold card, you’ll be able to make hotel bookings through The Hotel Collection from American Express, and when you make a booking of at least 2 nights or more you’ll receive a room upgrade at check-in (if available) and a $100 credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities (varies by property).
The Amex Green card, on the other hand, despite being more travel-focused on its bonus categories and statement credits, does not offer any sort of hotel benefits.
When it comes to travel protection, the Amex Green card and Amex Gold card offer the exact same benefits.
|Benefit||Amex Gold Card||Amex Green Card|
|Trip Delay Insurance||
Up to $300 per trip when the delay is 12 or more hours
Up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage
|Rental Car Insurance||
|Foreign Transaction Fees||None (rates & fees)||None|
We love that both cards offer trip delay insurance, as this can really come in handy when your flight is significantly delayed and reimburses expenses including lodging, meals, toiletries, and more.
Shopping benefits and protections can be easy to overlook, but can actually provide quite a bit of value to cardholders and help keep you covered when something goes wrong with an item you’ve purchased.
Both cards offer the following benefits:
The annual fee of the Amex Gold card is $250. There is no authorized user fee to add authorized users for the first 5 cardholders, and any additional cards after that each have a $35 annual fee.
As for the Amex Green card, the annual fee is $150. However, there is no authorized user fee.
Whether or not each card is worth that cost will come down to what you’re looking for in a travel rewards card, and how you value the benefits each card provides. Fortunately, each card offers solid statement credits to help you offset the annual fee expense. Authorized users will earn points at the same rate as the primary cardholder and have access to most of the card benefits with the exception of receiving additional statement credits.
Ultimately, both cards are very solid in their own right and can offer quite a bit of value to those who add them to their wallet. Deciding which is a better option for you will come down to what you are trying to optimize for out of your next card.
Those looking for a dining and food-focused card should opt for the Amex Gold card thanks to its 4x rewards, dining credits, and Uber Cash credit. Those who prefer an all-around everyday and travel-related card should opt for the Amex Green card thanks to its 3x earnings, plus its annual CLEAR Plus and LoungeBuddy credits.
Depending on your goals, it could make sense to consider adding both cards to your wallet, as doing so would allow you to earn 3x to 4x points per dollar on 5 separate bonus categories while benefiting from the statement credits, benefits, and protections of each card.
For the baggage insurance benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, coverage can be in effect for Eligible Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the entire fare for a Common Carrier Vehicle ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an eligible Account. Coverage can be provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on Baggage and up to $500 for checked Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus). For New York State residents, there is a $10,000 aggregate maximum limit for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
For the car rental loss and damage insurance benefit of the American Express® Green Card, the car rental loss and damage insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
For the Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
That depends on what you are looking for out of your next rewards credit card. Those that are looking for a powerful point-earner on their food purchases at restaurants and supermarkets, along with monthly dining and Uber credits, should opt for the Amex Gold card.
If you prefer a card that rewards you for general travel and transit purchases and still offers dining as a bonus category, along with statement credits for expedited airport security with CLEAR Plus and lounge access through LoungeBuddy, then the Amex Green card would be better suited for you.
Some of the top benefits of the Amex Gold card are that the card earns 4x points on dining and U.S. supermarket purchases and 3x points on airfare purchases, a $120 annual dining statement credit, a $120 annual Uber Cash credit, access to Amex transfer partners, and more.
Some of the top benefits of the Amex Green card are that the card earns 3x points on travel, transit, and restaurants purchases. It offers an up to $189 annual CLEAR Plus statement credit and $100 annual LoungeBuddy statement credit and offers solid travel protections.
Yes, the Amex Gold card has a $250 annual fee, but this can be nearly offset by the card’s $120 annual dining credit and $120 annual Uber Cash credit.
Yes, the Amex Green card has an annual fee of $150, but this can be offset but the card’s up to $189 annual CLEAR Plus credit and $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit.
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