2018 American Express Green Card Review – WalletHub
This content is not provided or commissioned by any issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of an issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by an issuer.
The Verdict: The American Express® Green Card (American Express is a WalletHub partner) might at first appear luxurious given Amex’s overall cachet, its uniqueness as a charge card and perhaps even the simplicity of its name. But Amex Green won’t give you anything special relative to many other charge cards and normal credit cards for which you can expect to be approved if you have the excellent credit needed to get a Green Card. In fact, Amex Green has the potential to limit you in a few important respects.
Although there is no annual fee the first year, free time ends on your first account anniversary, at which time the annual fee jumps to a pricey $95 — 478% more than the market average. Furthermore, while Amex Green offers 2 points per $1 spent on travel (in addition to $1 point per $1 on everything else), you must book your travel accommodations through American Express to earn that maximum rate, 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 Points. Every other $1 that you charge to the Amex Green Card earns you 1 point. That equates to a maximum of roughly 2% cash back, given the $0.01 average value of an Amex point. Considering the average person's annual spending of $28,523, you stand to earn about $665 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 $15.55.
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 1.60%) had declined 15.79% over the past year, 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
|Annual Fee||None 1st yr, $95 after||$95||None 1st yr, $160 after||$0 for 1st yr, $95 after|
|Rewards Bonus||N/A||$200||N/A||50,000 miles|
|Rewards Rate||1 - 2 points / $1||1 - 6% Cash Back||1 - 2 points / $1||2 miles / $1|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||0% for 12 months||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Transfer Intro APR||Not Offered||0% for 12 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Regular APR||N/A||14.74% - 25.74% (V)||N/A||14.49% - 24.49% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||3.3 / 5||4.6 / 5||2.0 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
|Learn More||Learn More|
Was this article helpful?