Refreshed Amex Green Card Earns 3X on Travel and Restaurants

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American Express has relaunched the American Express® Green Card with an overhauled earning structure and unique new benefits. Updates include earning 3X points on travel and restaurants and annual statement credits for LoungeBuddy purchases and CLEAR memberships. The annual fee has bee updated from $95 to $150 per year. (Terms Apply - Rates & Fees)

For folks locked out of Chase cards courtesy of the 5/24 policy, the refreshed Green from Amex is an opportunity to earn the same 3x points on travel and dining purchases as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, without having to navigate Chase's draconian application rules.

American Express® Green Card
American Express® Green Card
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Rates & Fees
(Terms Apply)
American Express® Green Card
Annual Fee$150
Welcome Bonus Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Receive up to $100 in statement credits towards any eligible purchase made directly with Away in your first 3 months. Offer ends 1/15/2020.
  • Receive up to $100 in statement credits towards any eligible purchase made directly with Away in your first 3 months. Offer ends 1/15/2020.
  • Plus, earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
  • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership.
  • Receive up to $100 in statement credits per year on your LoungeBuddy purchases. Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network - no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees

American Express® Green Card Signup Bonus – 30,000 Points

The welcome bonus on the Green from Amex is a two-part offer consisting of traditional points bonus, plus a statement credit for Away, a boutique travel brand producing luggage and travel accessories.

New cardmembers earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Receive up to $100 in statement credits towards any eligible purchase made directly with Away in your first 3 months. Offer ends 1/15/2020.

Membership Rewards are one of our favorite flexible rewards currencies. You can transfer points to an extensive list of American Express travel partners, including Delta, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and ANA, plus take advantage of multiple transfer bonuses on offer from Amex each year.

Note: Several readers have reported that there may be a higher welcome bonus if you are referred by a friend. There are also some reports that folks are seeing a higher targeted offer by applying directly through the Amex website in incognito (private browser) mode. We haven't been able to personally verify the higher offers, but it's worth taking a look before you apply.

Earning Potential and Bonus Categories

One of the most significant changes to the Green from Amex is the new bonus categories, which we see as a clear shot across the bow of the Sapphire Reserve. The Green from Amex now earns 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, plus 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.

Unlike many Amex cards, which only earn bonus points on airfare purchased directly with the airline or amextravel.com. The travel category on the Green from Amex covers airfare, hotels, cruises, car rentals, campgrounds, trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, tours, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, subways, third party travel websites, and amextravel.com purchases.

Likewise, the restaurant category is not restricted to U.S. purchases. Instead, it covers dining worldwide, although you won’t receive bonus points on purchases from bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, and convenience stores.

American Express® Green Card Feature Benefits

The Green from Amex provides two standout feature benefits, both providing tangible value for cardholders.

$100 Annual CLEAR Credit

A unique benefit for an entry-level card, Green from Amex cardholders receive an annual $100 statement credit towards the cost of a CLEAR membership. Unlike Global Entry or TSA PreCheck memberships, which renew every five years, CLEAR memberships renew every year, so this credit has the potential to return the full face value of $100 every year.

American-Express-Green-Card-Clear-Credit

If you’re not familiar with CLEAR, it’s a biometric ID program that replaces traditional ID documentation and provides an expedited path through security screening lines at 60+ airports, stadiums, and other venues nationwide. A CLEAR membership will typically set you back $179 per year, but thanks to recent partnerships with Delta SkyMiles & United MileagePlus, it's possible to reduce the cost by at least $60.

  • Delta & United frequent flyers without elite status: $119
  • Delta & United mid-tier status holders: $109
  • Delta Diamond, United 1K, and United Global Services: Free
  • Family Plan: add up to 3 family members for $50 each

If you are a member of United MileagePlus or Delta SkyMiles (both free to join), you can get CLEAR for $119 per year, leaving you with a cost of only $19 out-of-pocket after the Green from Amex statement credit. (Lower-tier elites get a further $10 discount for a total cost of $9 per year after the Amex credit) If you get a complimentary CLEAR membership courtesy of having top-tier status with Delta or United, you can use the credit to cover up to two family members which cost an additional $50 each when added to an existing membership.

While there are more than a dozen rewards cards that offer a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓, Green from Amex is the first card that helps cover the cost of CLEAR, which is a nice point of differentiation. For folks who already have Global Entry or TSA Pre✓, the value of adding clear will depend on your home airport. In some locations, PreCheck lines can be as long as the regular security line, so having CLEAR as an option can still save significant time.

It's also worth noting that CLEAR membership fees are charged each year while TSA Pre✓ only needs to be renewed once every five years. If you're comparing the Green from Amex CLEAR benefit with cards offering a Global Entry/TSA credit, you'll be getting $500 in credit towards CLEAR over a five year period compared with a $100 credit for TSA Pre✓ from most rewards cards offering that benefit.

$100 Annual LoungeBuddy Credit

Initially, this perk didn't jump out at us as holding a lot of value if you already receive lounge access thanks to other cards. But, on further thought, the LoungeBuddy credit could be a genuine get-out-of-jail-free card for a lot of folks, particularly when flying domestically.

If you currently hold a Priority Pass membership from a premium travel card, you can access hundreds of lounges all over the world. However, there are some significant gaps in Priority Pass coverage domestically, and some lounges are time and/or capacity restricted, leaving you out in the terminal to fend for yourself. The LoungeBuddy app provides access to many of these lounges for ~$40, plus you can also gain access to plenty of airline lounges like United Club, Delta Sky Club, and Lufthansa Business Lounge for ~$60.

American-Express-Green-Card-LoungeBuddy-Credit

If you’re caught at an airport without a convenient Priority Pass option, you'll have 2-3 lounge entry credits available to access other lounges, without the out-of-pocket expense.

If you can maximize both the CLEAR and LoungeBuddy credits, or even come close to getting face value, you offset the annual cost of holding the card over the long term.

Additional Card Benefits

Outside of the feature benefits listed above, the Green from Amex doesn’t come with the long list of benefits offered by other travel cards in the same class. Rather than the long list of travel protection benefits offered on cards like the Sapphire Reserve, the Green from Amex only provides car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary), and baggage protection.

Application Restrictions and Strategy

For folks that have held this card in the past, whether you received a welcome bonus or not, you won’t be eligible for the introductory offer on the revamped Green from Amex.

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or previous versions of the American Express® Green Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

In addition to the standard American Express application rules, you also need to be aware of other rules for Amex cards.

  • You can hold a maximum 5 American Express credit cards (doesn’t include charge cards)
  • You will be approved for a maximum of 2 Amex credit cards in 90 days

We see massive value in pairing the Green from Amex with other Amex cards like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, matching the premium benefits and lounge access with the complimentary bonus categories and perks of the Green from Amex.

Interestingly, the new Green from Amex is no longer an outright charge card. Instead, bridging the gap between charge and credit card as a new kind of hybrid credit card, without a preset spending limit. When queried about the new setup, Amex responded:

“Green from Amex is a credit card on which Card Members have no preset spending limit and can pay in full or carry a balance with interest on eligible charges, up to the Pay Over Time limit. The amount the Card Member spends above their Pay Over Time limit is included in full in their minimum due each month.”

Although there are limited data points available now, it's probably safe to assume Green from Amex will be treated as a credit card—meaning that folks with five or more Amex credit cards will need to close one of their other accounts in order to be approved for a new account.

Final Thoughts

Amex has done a great job with the refreshed American Express® Green Card, designing an entry-level card that competes with premium cards like the Sapphire Reserve, provides unique travel credits not found on other cards, and isn’t subject to the oppressive application rules in place with other card issuers. If you are locked out of applying for Chase cards due to 5/24, the Green from Amex is now a viable alternative to earn 3x points on travel and dining expenses.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees)

Refreshed Amex Green Card Earns 3X on Travel and Restaurants
4 (80.74%) 54 votes
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Comments

  • I was instantly approved with 5 existing AMEX credit cards. I intend to pair this with the Sapphire for similar earnings with a different currency at a reduced AF (after considering CLEAR membership). I can now easily build both currency banks.

    3x (broad) travel & dining is not available on the other AMEX cards & is where I spend most. This will be a very useful card, but I intend to still put some small portion of most travel purchases on the Sapphire for the protections offered.

  • I wouldn’t call Chase’s application rules “draconian.” More like “anti-abuse.”

  • FYI – Recent reports and my own experience indicate that you can get a bonus of 45,000 points if you use incognito mode on Chrome.

  • Juan Francisco says:

    Do they give benefits in this program for car rental?

  • adam wolkoff says:

    Any chance that airline seat upgrades will code as 3x travel?

  • Andrea Kalli says:

    I’m still waiting for my new green card to arrive, but I was quickly approved and I currently already hold 5 credit cards and 2 charge cards from amex.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I find the possibility of earning 3X points on travel and restaurants and annual statement credits for LoungeBuddy purchases rather attractive. The CLEAR is also a plus.

  • I heard about this card but I hadn’t realized that the three points for travel category is so broad. This, combined with the CLEAR credit might convince me want to add this card to my collection. Thanks for the comprehensive review.

  • Why you do not mention the existence of a better offer on this card?

    In particular 45K bonus if you apply in incognito mode? Either you are not making commissions in that case, or you did not do your home work before you wrote this post. Either way you are loosing your credibility big time by doing so.

    This 45K offer has been know for a quite some time, and well covered on DoC (doctor of credit). As a matter of fact I just opened the incognito window, went to Amex site, and here you go.. 45K offer is there.

    There are also targeted offers around with no lifetime language, but you did not mention it either. No mention of a possibility of a referral from a family member if they hold any Amex card…

    Please do not go “TPG” way, please be honest to people who actually read your posts.

    The fact that you are sending out mysterious emails “another great offer is about to expire” without specifying which one you are talking about in the emails, is already a grey area for my taste. But I get that, you need users to click on the link to get your page to load. You are being paid based on the number of times you show the ads. I get that and happy to help and I am clicking your links to bring you some traffic, but if you will be hiding the better offers just because you are not making money on them it is a totally different ball game. This will make me reconsider my membership with you.

    So far, I was thinking that you are doing outstanding job with your AwardWallet application and I was happy to pay you $30 per year for the premium account although I do not really need the extra features. I am doing it just because I think you deserve it… but more posts like this and I will be forced to reconsider my opinion.

    Sorry.. You made me sad.

    • Hey VL, thanks for sharing your frustration. It’s our policy to share a better offer when one is available. In this case, it looks like we made a mistake; we were simply not aware of the 45k offer.

      I take your point that we should do a better job of verifying that we have the best offer, and I’ll make sure we take some additional steps with future offers. It’s our responsibility to get the best information, and I’m sorry we missed the mark this time around. Going forward, if you know of a better offer, please write a comment or send an email to support@awardwallet.com to let us know, and we’ll update the post.

      With respect to your comment about sending mysterious (i.e. generic) emails that don’t mention a specific card, please know that we don’t do this to tease you or waste your time. Generally, we are not allowed to include any specific information that identifies a card, bank, or loyalty program in an email. This is a firm requirement from many of our advertising partners and not a strategy to increase traffic to the blog. We do our best to provide all the relevant info in the summary at the top of the post to help you quickly decide if the post is relevant to you.

      Thanks for being an AwardWallet member.

      • Erik – thanks for explaining the AW policy on emails. I too have wondered why you aren’t more specific in the emails about the offers to which you’re referring to. Appreciate the explanation.

  • Yes the 3x the points does make this more attractive. The AF isn’t that bad considering that most of their cards are going up. Still it’s going up. Even with the 3x on so many restaurants I don’t know if that AF would make it worth it to me. It does make it something I would look at and I think that definitely something they want. Too bad they don’t have the Away credit as a perk.

  • I have been amazed at how many domestic US airports are without a Priority Pass available lounge. Lounge Buddy will be a welcome addition to our travel benefits.

  • It appears that I could use my United Silver status to purchase Clear for $109. So by using Amex Green to purchase it, in the end Clear would cost $9?

  • There are some nice perks here for sure. A nice refresh worth consideration. I think I’ll hop on.

  • Michael Skelly says:

    Thanks for sharing this review. I will definitely keep this card in mind for when the 5/24 rule prompts me to switch to a non-Chase card.

  • The 3X on travel and dining definitely enhances the card.

  • lounge buddy credits and CLEAR credits! this is a nice option!

  • A good card with no annual fee.

  • Refreshed benefits are much more compelling.

  • I think the refresh is still a bit disappointing.
    The credits for lounge buddy, clear, and luggage are virtually useless to many people realistically.
    If only the green card had airline fee credits like the gold/plat card…I just can’t understand why on earth they had to go with lounge buddy and clear…

  • I wonder why the conversion from the classic travel charge card to the “hybrid” card occurs.

  • Is the 30,000 Membership Rewards bonus worthwhile when I already have the CSR with Global Entry and Prioriy Pass Membership?

  • is this downgradable to, from other cards?

  • Not too bad. I’ll have to give the Green card a try.

  • The CLEAR credit is a nice benefit for this card. I wish Canadians had some of the same benefits available on our cards.

  • Never had an amex card before, but the 3x on travel and restaurants might change my mind.

  • I have this card (had downgraded a Platinum to this earlier in the year so looking forward to utilizing the clear credit. I’m wondering how to utilize the loungebuddy credit though.

  • That annual fee is a turn-off

  • Dexter Ohama says:

    Amex has always been my go- to card in my wallet & I do have this green card so I am SO taking advantage of this as the holidays are quickly rolling around. Jump on this, don’t wait.

  • This looks like quite a good entry level card with some good benefits. The trouble is you soon get addicted and want better and better cards!

  • Amex is taking a very different approach than Chase. Chase wants you to have a Sapphire and two Freedoms. Amex on the other hand is largely only beneficial to have only one charge card but with slightly different options to meet your situation. 99% of people should not have a Gold AND green card and let’s not even bring up the Platinum card.

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