American Express Green Card Relaunch: Can Basic Green Beat The Super Premium Cards?

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American Express has relaunched American Express® Green Card and given it really great value.

  • Initial offer: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • Ongoing earn: 3 Membership Rewards points on eligible travel and at restaurants worldwide.

  • Airport lounge access: Up to $100 in statement credits per year on your LoungeBuddy purchases

  • Expedited airport security: Up to $100 statement credit per year to pay for CLEAR membership

american express green card bonus points for hotel and restaurants
Dining at Grand Hyatt Singapore Restaurant Straits Kitchen

There are no foreign transaction fees and the card has a $150 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Frequent Miler compares the American Express Green Card head-to-head with Chase’s Sapphire Reserve, which is heady praise in itself but also apropos – both earn 3 points per dollar on travel and dining, both have useful up to $100 credits.

He says Sapphire Reserve wins over the American Express Green Card because a Priority Pass card is better for lounge access than LoungeBuddy credit, and because American Express travel protections aren’t as rich. I’d point out that:

  • Membership Rewards points are probably more valuable than Chase points
  • That the CLEAR $100 credit is per year while the Chase $100 Global Entry/TRA credit is every four years (and Global Entry credits are a drug on the market, everyone offers this, while CLEAR is a more unique benefit)
  • This card seems likely an easier approval (at least readers have told me that Sapphire Reserve has been challenging to get approved for).

However I’d frame the product somewhat differently. Sapphire Reserve is more a competitor to the Platinum Card® from American Express. I have that and also the American Express® Gold Card which earns 4 points per dollar at restaurants and on the first $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets plus 3 points on flights booked directly with airlines.

The American Express® Green Card is a more entry card in travel rewards, with a lower fee than both, yet offering 3x on travel and dining. That’s interesting. What’s more the card itself is much improved.

This card’s points transfer to:

  • Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore, Avianca
  • oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia, Qantas
  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM, Delta
  • Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, El Al, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
  • Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Marriott

american express green card points transfer to cathay pacific
Cathay Pacific First Class

For American Express® Green Card rates and fees click here

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. I’m interested what you think of the 3x on hotels. How does this rate to you compared to carrying around a Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt credit card, depending on your travel habits? Because that caught my attention, since most of my travel is to Japan and Europe, where it can be harder to find a Hyatt/Hilton/Marriott in the city I’m going to.

  2. @Steve – I think spending on the premium Hilton card at Hiltons is better, spending on the Hyatt card at Hyatts is better, but 3 Membership Rewards is better than spending on the IHG card or Marriott card at their hotels.

  3. Gary, I know the card just came out, but I feel like there’s more analysis to be done on this card. Should we expect a follow-up review from you?

  4. I had heard rumors of some sort or partnership with Amazon (ie including Amazon Prime membership with the card). Disappointed this wasn’t the case and wish it were more complimentary to my gold and platinum cards (like bonus catagories for utilities, streaming services, etc). Was really hoping for an Amex Trifecta.

  5. Amex card benefits aren’t even remotely comparable to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It won’t be kicking Chase out of my wallet, especially since I’m not qualified for welcome bonuses (having gotten a grand total of two in my life).

  6. For those of us who had the green card in the past can we get the signup bonus again or does this not count as a new product?

  7. My offer letter as a current cardholder was nil as to signup bonus. I will be cancelling when new AF posts.

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