American Express® Green Card Review

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"The Original Points Card."

This card can provide a great way to accumulate points, especially if you book airfare, hotel stays, and more via the American Express Travel site.

Apply Now (at Amex's secure site)

You have stumbled upon the first card that American Express introduced back in the 1950s.

While many other versions of the American Express card have come out, the good ol’ American Express® Green Card is still in many pockets.

Card Summary Table

  • Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
  • Card Provider
    American Express
  • Card Type(s):
  • Card Focus:
    • None
  • Annual Fee
    • $0 first year, then $95 each year after
  • Rewards Center
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    2.7% of each transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars
  • Typical Users
    Frequent Travelers, The Average Spender
  • Customer Service Number

    1-800-528-4800

  • Login Link
  • Partners
    [table id=59 /] [table id=60 /]  
  • Interest Rates ?
    • No interest is charged because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Late fees ?
    • Up to $38. However, if your account does not have a Pay Over Time feature or balance and you do not pay for two billing periods in a row, your fee will be $38 or 2.99% of the past due amount, whichever is greater.
    • Also, there is a Returned Payment fee of up to $38.
  • Balance Transfers
    • N/A
  • Cash Advance APR
    • N/A

The Ideal Cardholder

Amex Green Timeless First Card Vintage Couple
The American Express® Green Card may be an older card, but it is still used by many people who have never switched from AMEX’s original offering.

More on the American Express® Green Card

One reason for this may be the card’s timeless, non-flashy green design. While it has a moderately high annual fee of $95, you can add up to five additional cards for just $35 per year.

You will earn a basic 1x points with this card for all purchases. However, the card does offer 2x points on spending through AMEX Travel just like other Membership Rewards cards.

Bottom Line:  The American Express® Green Card earns 1x points for all purchases, but 2x points in the Amex Travel portal!

Card Travel Benefits

This card definitely shines when it comes to travel benefits!

For someone who is on the go (whether in flight or on the road), the American Express® Green Card provides features like baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, and roadside assistance that make it more than just a way to spend on plastic.

Also, for someone who may be interested in a “beginner” AMEX card, this could be a good option.

This is because it really doesn’t offer a lot in terms of “bells and whistles” like the Gold Card from American Express or The Platinum Card® from American Express, but it still has some nice features.

It could also be a good choice if you already have access to a corporate American Express card through your employer, and you want an AMEX card for personal use.

You can link the two together and really boost your rewards.

Alternatives to the Card: More Travel Rewards

Let’s face it, the card doesn’t have a lot of additional benefits.

While it does include a little travel insurance, the frequent traveler may be better off with a Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.

On this card, you’ll get a ton of extras like 2-3x bonus point categories on airfare purchased directly through the airline, and U.S. gas, supermarkets, and dining purchases.

You also get a $100 airline fee credit for an airline of your choice. While you will pay $195 per year for the card, the credit offsets the fee, so you can earn many more points for the same value.

If you’re just looking for another simple card that earns AMEX points, you should try the Blue from American Express®. You’ll still get 1x points, but with no annual fee.

Other good options may be The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express or The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express.

In Conclusion

In any case, if you are looking for a nice, basic card that will offer you some great rewards on travel and more, the American Express® Green Card can be a good option – so remember, “Don’t leave home without it.”

Great Card If

  • You travel frequently
  • You are a big sports fan and/or entertainment buff
  • You love to shop

Don't Get If

  • You do not travel frequently
  • You do not plan to use the card when you shop
  • You are not able to pay off the card’s balance every month
  • You are looking for a way to obtain a cash advance
  • You are looking for a place to move a balance transfer from another credit card

U.P. Pro Tips

If you travel frequently, the American Express® Green Card could be a good fit for you. This is because you can earn 2x points in the AMEX Travel Portal.

While it’s still a basic card, these options will help your points grow much more quickly!

Back to the Basics
Some people just like the basics: a card that allows you to collect points and redeem them for travel rewards. You won’t have to learn about a bunch of different features – just grab and go!

How To Use the American Express® Green Card: The Upgraded Way

Best Way To Maximize Points

Although there are numerous ways to benefit from the American Express® Green Card, most people really want to know how they can earn lots of points.

Similar to creating a fool-proof travel plan, you need to know just which direction to turn in order to get the most rewards from your card.

Here are some top tips for earning Amex points with your card:

Tip #1:  First, you need to ensure you book all of your travel (including flights, hotel, cruises, and vacations) through the American Express Travel website. This way, you will earn your 2x points.

Tip #2:  If you’ve had some issues with your credit over the years, this can be a great card to help rebuild your credit while also building up points.

Just remember to use the card for purchases and then pay off the balance every month. Otherwise, the meager 1x points you earn will not make up for the fees!

Tip #3:  If you work for a company that allows you to use an American Express corporate card, you could obtain an American Express® Green Card and then link the cards together to really accumulate points.

This is a unique benefit that most cards don’t have!

Amex Green Corporate Card Linking
You can have a customer service representative link your personal American Express® Green Card with an AMEX corporate card, allowing you to bank all the points in your personal account.

Best Way To Redeem Points

One cool thing about American Express is that they definitely provide their cardholders with options for using rewards points.

AMEX also provides a convenient portal where card members are easily able to check the value of their points.

While the point values may not be exceptionally high, you’re always able to see exactly what they’re worth and what you’re able to do with them.

There are a variety of ways to redeem Amex points when you own an American Express® Green Card. These include:

Option 1: Paying With Points for Statement Credit

One option is to use your accumulated points to pay some or all of your AMEX card statement balance.

If you’re going this route, though, it’s important to note that points are not worth $0.01 each, but rather $0.006 per point.

Option 2: Purchasing Gift Cards and/or Other Types of Vouchers

You can also choose from a wide variety of different gift cards and other vouchers from the American Express gift card portal. Some gift card categories include:

  • Travel
  • Dining
  • Entertainment

The value here will vary, but typically falls between $0.006 and $0.01 per point depending on the type of gift card you choose.

Option 3: Shopping Through Partners

Another option for redeeming points earned on your card is to shop directly through AMEX partners, such as Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and others. Here, points are typically worth $0.007 each.

Option 4: Shopping Directly Through American Express

AMEX points are also good for shopping directly through American Express. Here you can find a wide variety of items like electronics, clothing, sporting goods, and even items for your pet!

Points here are worth $0.005 each, and they can be mixed with cash to buy higher-end items if you wish.

Option 5: Donating Points to Charity

Rather than purchasing items or gift cards, there is also an option to donate points on your card to charity.

If you opt to go this route, the minimum option is 1,000, and the point value is $0.01 per point for the first 500,000 points each year.

Option 6: Paying for Amex Pay with Points Partners

Amex Pay with Points partners get a value of $0.01 each when using points to pay during checkout in-store or online.

Check the list of partners for updates. Current partners include Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, Rite Aid, Staples, and more.

Option 7: Booking Trips via Amex Travel

One of the very best ways you can redeem your Amex points is to book your travel through the travel portal and use points to pay for it.

When you do this, you will get $0.01 per point for your flights, and $0.007 on all other eligible purchases, including AirBnB (although this is booked through their own portal).

Option 8: Using Points With Travel Rewards Partners

This, too, can be a great use of your points, especially if you are a frequent traveler. Using the loyalty programs can multiply the value of your points!

To use this option, you will first need to link your loyalty program accounts.

Then, you can transfer to any of the Amex Travel Partners (see below) and redeem for $0.02 per point or more!

Be sure to pay attention to the transfer rates, as some are less than 1:1 and AMEX charges a fee of $0.0006 per point, up to $99 maximum.

Partners

Using American Express Membership Rewards, you’ll be able to transfer your points to a variety of airline and hotel travel partners. Below is a complete list:

Amex Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
AeroMexico
2,0001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada2,0001:1Almost Instant
Alitalia2,0001:1Almost Instant
Aer Lingus2,0001:1Newly launched, collecting data
ANA
2,0001:1
2-3 days
British Airways
2,0001:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific2,0001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines2,0001:1Almost Instant
EL AL2,00050:1Almost Instant
Emirates2,0001:1Almost Instant
Etihad Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM2,0001:1Almost Instant
Hawaiian2,0001:1Almost Instant
Iberia2,0001.25:11-3 days
JetBlue2,0001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines2,0001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic2,0001:11-2 days
Amex Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Choice Privileges1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hilton Honors1,0001:2Almost Instant
Starwood Preferred Guest1,0003:1Almost Instant

Card Math

The reality is that the value of the American Express® Green Card will vary from person to person.

Points for this card tend to be more valuable for those who travel a lot, since you can utilize your points for travel rewards at a good value.

Card Overview

The card is set up so that you pay no annual fee in year one, and $95 each year after that.

You will also earn 1x points for all purchases, or 2x if you book travel through AmexTravel.com.

With this card, you won’t really have to spend an exorbitant amount to make up for the annual fee, especially in the first year since there’s no annual fee to try out the card.

So in year one, it’s kind of a no-brainer!

Going forward and assuming a point value of just 1 cent each, it really only takes $9,500 in spending to “make up” for the $95 difference.

($9,500) * (1 pt/$1) * ($0.01/pt) = $95

In order to come out ahead, though, you would have to spend a lot more than $9,500 on the card.

However, if you plan to pay for most or all of your everyday purchases on the card (along with travel expenses, especially if you travel frequently), then it’s well worth it.

Evaluating the Card With Our Model Spending Families

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers through our model spending families.

If we assume each family puts all of its spending on the card each year but doesn’t earn bonus points, then the following table shows how many points they could earn.

This assumes they don’t put anything from the “other” category on their cards:

FamilyTotal SpendTotal PointsAnnual Fee (In Points)Value at $0.01 per PointValue at $0.02 per Point
Kennedys$22,60022,6009,500$131 $262
Jetsons$36,40036,4009,500$269 $538
Hartnells$45,10045,1009,500$356 $712

You can see we also added in a column that subtracted out the value of the points needed to make up for the annual fee.

While the families will make more in year one, during a typical year they would be able to pull anywhere from $131-$712 in value from this card!

Note that the $0.02 per point valuation comes from transferring your Membership Rewards points to travel partners.

Earn Value from the AMEX Green Card
Hmm, not bad right? You can earn $131+ in value from using your American Express® Green Card on everyday expenses, and over $700 if you have a higher spend and transfer to travel partners. Sure beats using a debit card!

Math Conclusion:

You can bet that if your expenses are close to one of our model families, you’ll have no problem earning value on the card.

Bottom Line:  Per our estimations, at its best the American Express® Green Card could be worth up to $712 over a year of spending!

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

If you do opt to become a card holder, there are some details you’ll need to be aware of – starting with the fact that this is not a card on which you can carry a balance forward from month to month.

Instead, you will be required to pay off your purchases, or risk paying a late fee to AMEX.

Because this is a charge card, you will also not be able to obtain any cash advances. Likewise, there is no way to earn points in this capacity.

Nor can you do so in certain other categories, like using the card to make gambling-related purchases such as lottery tickets.

Just as with any type of financial transaction, it’s important to carefully read the card agreement prior to moving forward with applying for a card. That way, you won’t have any surprises!

American Express does have the right to make certain revisions to the terms of the card agreement, and it can add or delete terms. Therefore, it is important to have a good understanding of the agreement when you initially apply for the card.

Other Unique Features

That being said, there are numerous other ways to benefit from this card while you’re traveling, including:

Baggage Insurance Plan – You’ll be able to travel a lot more comfortably knowing that if your bags happen to get lost, stolen, or damaged, they will be insured for up to $1,250 if they’re carried on, and up to $500 if they are checked.

Roadside Assistance Hotline – With roadside assistance, you can get services such as towing, changing a flat, and boosting a battery by simply making a phone call.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance – When using your card to reserve a rental car, you can be covered if the car is stolen or damaged.

Global Assist Hotline – We all know that the unexpected can happen when traveling. If you lose your passport or come down with a sudden illness, help is just a call away when you’re over 100 miles from home.

Travel Accident Insurance – This coverage can provide protection for accidental death or dismemberment while traveling on a common carrier when you’ve booked your trip with the card.

Entertainment Access – Your card can provide you with discounts (and even presales) to various shows, concerts, and sporting events. In addition, you may be able to obtain access to cardmember-only events.

Extended Warranty – When you use your card to make eligible purchases, you can obtain up to one year extra added to the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Purchase Protection – When an item that you’ve purchased breaks or is stolen, this important protection can cover you for an additional 90 days from the time of its purchase.

Return Protection – If an eligible item will not be accepted back as a return from the original merchant within 90 days, American Express may refund you the entire purchase price (up to $300) if you purchased the item with your card.

Dispute Resolution – Should you happen to find an incorrect or fraudulent charge on your AMEX statement, American Express will work with you to get the issue resolved.

Photo Credits / Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Vintage Couple: Stokkete/Shutterstock
Man in White Tshirt: FeyginFoto/Shutterstock
Businessman Linking Chains: Pressmaster/Shutterstock
Sweatered Man in Contemplation: file404/Shutterstock

FAQ

Is the American Express® Green Card worth it?

If you are a frequent traveler or you find yourself doing a fair amount of shopping, then yes, the card will likely be well worth it even if you have to pay an annual fee.

If you use this card to book your travel and/or pay for your qualifying purchases, then you can really find yourself racking up the rewards since you’ll get 1x points for every dollar spent.

In addition, you’ll get some travel insurances such as baggage, car rental, and travel accident insurance. You’ll also get purchase and return protection.

So, if you’ll spend enough on the card to make up for its $95 annual fee, then this card could work for you.

For the same value, however, you could get a card that earns more points and has more benefits: the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. While it costs $195 per year, you’ll get $100 in airline fee credits each year.

If you want to stay basic, you could try The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express or Blue from American Express®.

Does the American Express® Green Card have an annual fee?

There is a $95 annual fee, but for the first year this fee is waived.

Effectively, you have one full year to use the card and all of its benefits to determine whether the card is something you can truly benefit from.

Does the American Express® Green Card use American Express Membership Rewards?

Yes, you will earn 1x-2x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent with this card.

How much are the American Express® Green Card points worth?

You will be able to use the points earned through Membership Rewards.

This portal offers redemptions as low as $0.005 in value (not recommended), or as high as $0.02 in value (highly recommended!) if you utilize them with travel transfer partners.

Will your points on the American Express® Green Card ever expire or go away?

The points that you accumulate will not ever go away or expire, unless you decide to cancel all of your American Express rewards cards.

As long as you keep at least one of your AMEX rewards cards open, then you will be able to also keep all of your points.

How does the American Express® Green Card compare to the American Express Serve® Card?

While the card is a Membership Rewards-earning travel rewards card, the American Express Serve® Card is a reloadable prepaid debit card.

The American Express® Green Card allows you to earn one to two points per dollar, while the American Express Serve® Card earns no points at all.

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