On it’s 50th anniversary (launched 1969), the American Express Green card has been refreshed for 2019 with a worthwhile sign-up bonus and amazing spending category multipliers which positions it to compete directly with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If you use our link to sign up for this card (and have never been an AMEX Green card holder in the past), you will get:
- 35,000 MR Points (worth ~$700 with a 2CPP) on $2000 spend in first 3 months
- $150 AWAY Luggage credit
- $100 Lounge Buddy credit
- $100 CLEAR airport-security credit
The card does have an annual fee of $150/year which is NOT waived for the first year of card ownership. However, I’ll dive into why this card is great for some people and maybe not the best for others.
The Multipliers: 3X across the board
The AMEX Green card, as mentioned earlier has been positioned by American Express in such a way that it directly competes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve with these categories:
- Restaurants/Dining (worldwide)
- Travel including airfare, hotels, rentals, travel and tour agencies, camping, national/state parks, etc..
- Transit including rideshares (Uber/Lyft), buses, taxis, metro, subways, tolls, etc..
That means in any of the aforementioned categories you’re getting 3MR Points per Dollar spent which in my perspective when valued at 2 CPP (cent per point) is about 6cents/dollar redeemed towards travel ( Your Mileage May Vary).
The Reserve card pretty much covers the exact same categories so this makes it a 1:1 comparison in that space.
$150 AWAY Luggage (Once – Limited Time)
Honestly, if you really want to shell out a LOT of money for luggage/bags/suitcases with lifetime warranty, this may be useful to you. To me personally, it just seems like a pointless offering.
$100 Lounge Buddy (ANNUAL)
If you’re someone who wants to make the best use of lounges – maybe in a long layover or to grab a decent meal/drinks – this may be worth it to you, Nowhere close to the scale of Priority Pass, I feel this is very restrictive to certain airports which you can check on their website.
Again this is one of those credits which doesn’t really add too much value but I know is there to make use of if needed.
$100 CLEAR check-in (ANNUAL)
Similar to TSA Pre-Check, CLEAR membership offers you to authenticate your identity using bio-metrics and basically bypass the identification line. You still need to stand in line for the physical screening – not really useful to me – but if you live close to super busy airport, this can be a life saver (time saver as well).
Normally, the membership costs $179/year, but just for being a member (even without status) of Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus (free to make accounts), that cost is reduced to $109 per year. If you have Delta Medallion or United Premier status it’s cheaper. Learn more about CLEAR here.
Effective Annual Fee
If you’re someone who will make use of all the credits, then for the first year, you’re technically being paid to keep the card.
If you keep the card for the second year, you don’t get the AWAY luggage credits so it effectively is still +$50.
In some ways the card cannibalizes AMEX’s own Gold customers but I honestly don’t see that being a big chuck of their target crowd. People with the AMEX gold card will probably keep it (and only a small proportion who find the AF high may switch).
I feel like this card is the perfect little brother to the AMEX Gold card and takes on the Reserve head on. The true cost of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is only $150 ($450 AF – $300 travel credits) but the card has premium benefits the AMEX Green simply does not offer such as:
- Primary Collision Damage Waiver on Car Rentals
- Travel protection
- Priority Pass Access
- Car Rental status
But this car will sit well with those first time annual fee card holders looking to get a card that earns them travel reward points. Given AMEX’s slew of travel partners, I feel this card targets such a crowd perfectly.
Will I get the card now? Probably not and I would not recommend it either if you are under the Chase 5/24 rule (learn more on that here).
If you don’t care about Chase cards or just want a no nuisance card with good point earning multipliers, travel and eat out often, this is the card for you!
If you’re not sure how to redeem points (as opposed to cashback) always know this, for travel purposes, points almost always beat cashback credit cards.
If you decide this is the perfect card for you, I’d recommend using the link below to apply to get a higher sign-up bonus than a public offer.