Last month, Amex relaunched the American Express® Green Card as a travel and lifestyle card — with some awesome benefits that are easy to use. That last bit is key, as Amex has been known to make perks a bit tricky to navigate (cough…airline fee credit…cough).
On paper, the AMEX Green Card slots in right below the American Express® Gold Card. Both the Green and Gold cards are both targeted to a market that enjoys dining out and traveling.
I would argue that the AMEX Green Card is actually easier to use its card benefits, as I’ll explain below. Here are three reasons to snag the Green Card this holiday season.
Reason #1: 3x Membership Rewards Points On Dining & ALL Travel
This one is big. Finally, American Express is including all types of travel under its “travel” category. No more confusing verbiage about booking direct with the airline or at Amextravel.com, etc.
The following categories would earn 3x Membership Rewards® Points:
- Airfare, hotel, rental car
- Rideshares (Uber, Lyft, etc)
- Transit and commuter rides (subways, buses, etc.)
- Tours, online travel agencies, and more
And with all the travel that you’re bound to do during the holidays, it makes sense to earn points for what you’re spending on anyways.
It’s interesting that this 3x points category on dining and travel is exactly the same bonus you’d earn on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a premium card that commands a much higher $450 annual fee.
The American Express® Green Card comes with a $150 annual fee. (See Rates & Fees.)
Reason #2: Easier-To-Use Benefits
While the AMEX Gold and Platinum cards have worthwhile benefits that can easily justify their annual fee, one of the biggest pain points is using the annual airline credit ($100 for the Gold card and $200 for the Platinum card).
The whole process is clunky, from selecting only one airline at the beginning of the year, to only getting credit for airline “incidentals” like checked bag fees or onboard food. Previously, you could buy airline gift cards but that workaround has been mostly killed off.
The AMEX Green Card has a straightforward set of benefits, besides the 3x Membership Rewards points on dining and travel.
- Up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year towards purchase of CLEAR® membership (expedited security)
- Up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year when you purchase LoungeBuddy access (single-use lounge access through an app)
These benefits are not only easy to use, I appreciate that they’re different than most other cards.
- Instead of TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you get $100 towards CLEAR®
- This is also annual, and with CLEAR® charging $109 for any United MileagePlus member, a membership will essentially be $9 per year with this card.
- Instead of Priority Pass, you get LoungeBuddy credit
- LoungeBuddy is a startup that AMEX acquired earlier this year that allows you to book lounge access on its app at hundreds of airports worldwide. Granted, there’s a ton of overlap with Priority Pass, but there are some unique offerings like Lufthansa Business Class lounges.
Reason #3: A Decent Signup Bonus
New American Express Green® card members get 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of membership. There’s no foreign transaction fees either.
However, there are referral offers out there that have a better sign up bonus — so I’d recommend going that route if you find one.
American Express has an interesting, worthwhile card on their hands with the new Green card. It could serve as a complement to a more premium card or serve as a great introduction for someone looking to get into the points and miles world.
The benefits are unique, they seem easy to use, and the bonus categories of travel and dining are super broad.
Of course, American Express Membership Rewards® points also transfer to many airline and hotel partners.
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