2018 American Express Green Card Review – WalletHub
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The Verdict: The American Express® Green Card might seem luxurious, given its uniqueness as a charge card and the fact that many people see cards from Amex (a WalletHub partner) as status symbols. But the Amex Green Card requires excellent credit for approval and doesn’t offer anything special compared to many of the other cards that qualified applicants can expect to get. Amex Green could actually hold you back in a few important ways.
The Amex Green Card has a $0 fee the first year but charges $95 after that – 498% more than the market average. Amex Green rewards you with 2 points per $1 spent on travel, plus $1 point per $1 on everything else. But you have to book your travel through American Express to earn those double points, which limits your ability to shop around for the best deals. American Express points are also worth less than a penny each on average.
Decent, Travel-Oriented Rewards: Each $1 that you spend on travel booked on AmexTravel.com will accrue 2 American Express Membership Rewards points. Every other $1 that you charge to the Amex Green Card earns you 1 point.
That equates to a maximum of roughly 1.7% cash back, given the $0.0085 average value of an Amex point. Considering the average person's annual spending of $28,523, you stand to earn about $440 in net rewards over two years with Amex Green.
- $95 Annual Fee Beginning Year Two: After a fee-free 12-month honeymoon, you’ll have to pay $95 each year you wish to continue using the American Express® Green Card. Such a charge isn’t unheard of among elite rewards cards — and it actually makes Green the cheapest of Amex charge cards — but relatively average perks shouldn’t cost much more than the market-average annual fee of $15.88.
2.7% Foreign-Transaction Fee: Not only does American Express limit where you can use your card abroad, given that it’s accepted in far fewer countries than are Visa and Mastercard, but you’ll also have to pay extra whenever you travel internationally or buy something from a merchant based abroad.
The general trend within the credit-card market is a shift away from foreign-transaction fees: The average charge (currently 1.51%) has declined by 40% since the end of 2010, according to WalletHub data.
Other Things To Consider
$37 Late-Payment Fee: In addition to having your card restricted from use until you repay your balance, you will be charged a penalty fee of either $37 or 2.99% of what you owe, whichever is higher in the event that you fail to pay your monthly bill in full for two consecutive billing periods.
You will pay the penalty unless a transaction is eligible for the “Pay Over Time” feature, which allows you to revolve the balance. But beware that such transactions could accrue interest charges. Furthermore, any rewards points earned during a month that you miss a payment will be forfeited. In other words, autopay is a must if you have doubts about your organizational skills.
Rewards Transfer Options: American Express has 20+ rewards partners to which you can transfer the points that you earn for redemption with a specific travel provider, for example.
The list includes the likes of JetBlue, Starwood and Hilton. Unfortunately, you’ll be charged a fee of $0.0006 per point transferred, up to a maximum of $99.
- Rewards Don’t Expire: Credit-card rewards often expire a certain number of months after being awarded or after a particular period of account inactivity. That, fortunately, will not be the case with your Green Card earnings. Only paying your bill late can rob you.
Compared To The Competition
In order to help put the American Express® Green Card into context, we compared it to some of its most popular competitors — both charge cards and general-use credit cards — across six fundamentally important factors. You can find the results of this exercise below, along with our Editors’ Rating for each card and our selection for the overall winner.
American Express® Green Card
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
|Annual Fee||None 1st yr, $95 after||$95||$250||$0 for 1st yr, $95 after||None 1st yr, $89 after|
|Rewards Bonus||N/A||$200||25,000 points||50,000 miles||70,000 miles|
|Rewards Rate||1 - 2 points / $1||1 - 6% Cash Back||1 - 4 points / $1||2 miles / $1||2 miles / $1|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||0% for 12 months||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Transfer Intro APR||Not Offered||0% for 12 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Not Offered||Not Offered||0% for 12 billing cycles|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Regular APR||N/A||14.99% - 25.99% (V)||See Rates & Fees||14.74% - 24.74% (V)||17.99% - 24.99% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||3.3 / 5||4.6 / 5||3.4 / 5||5.0 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
Rates & Fees
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Rates & Fees
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