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Is the Amex Green Card worth the annual fee?

Nov. 25, 2022
8 min read
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There are always exceptions to every rule.

There are a few examples of rules in the credit cards industry. Additional credit card perks added to a card is typically called a "refresh" — that's usually a code word for "your annual fee is going up." And many credit cards with low annual fees don't offer a ton of perks.

Enter the exception: the American Express® Green Card. The card has gained additional benefits over the past few years, with perks that easily justify its annual fee, yet the annual fee is still a modest $150 (see rates and fees).

But that doesn't answer whether the Amex Green Card's annual fee is worth it. What do you get for that $150? Let's take a look.

Welcome bonus

New applicants can earn 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first six months of cardmembership. TPG values this bonus at $800, and you only need to spend $333.33 each month for six months to achieve it.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Membership Rewards points have numerous uses, including cashing out your points (not the best value) or redeeming with hotel and airline partners (can provide incredible value, depending on the partner).

Related: Transfer and maximize: The ultimate guide to Amex Membership Rewards

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Excellent uses of Membership Rewards points include domestic flights on Delta Air Lines and flights to Canada with WestJet, a Delta partner. Flights to South America with LATAM can also provide excellent value, as can transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic for redemptions with ANA on flights to Japan.

Use your American Express points to fly first class on ANA to and from Japan. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

American Express has its own set of application rules and restrictions when applying for a credit card. The most famous of these rules is the once-in-a-lifetime rule. The Amex Green Card has the following terms:

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.

Thus, you may not be eligible for the bonus if you've had this card previously (or previous versions of it before its makeover in 2019). Amex may also consider how many other cards you've had in the past and sometimes uses a pop-up window during the application to say you're not eligible for the bonus.

Annual Clear credit

Clear is an airport security program that can help you speed through the checkpoint by using biometrics to prove your identity.

Membership costs $189 per year, and you can get this reimbursed up to $189 by paying for your membership with your Amex Green Card. There's no prior enrollment required with Amex to use this benefit, but you will need to sign up with Clear and complete your enrollment to use Clear security lanes at a growing number of venues and airports.

Related: Amex Green boosts Clear benefit to $189: Can now cover 2 people

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Even better, Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus members can get a Clear membership at a reduced price of just $119. Since your annual benefit maximum on the Amex Green Card is $189, that's enough to cover this reduced price, plus the $60 fee to add another person to your Clear membership.

Annual LoungeBuddy credits

LoungeBuddy is a lounge network of more than 200 lounges around the world. You can book a lounge visit in advance, a great feature to beat long lines at overcrowded lounges.

While this feature doesn't provide free, unlimited access like you get with a Priority Pass Select membership offered on other credit cards, you can be reimbursed when paying to visit LoungeBuddy lounges each year. Use your Amex Green Card to pay for these visits and you'll receive up to $100 in statement credits to offset these purchases each calendar year. There's no need to enroll for this benefit in advance with Amex, though you do need to enroll with LoungeBuddy for a membership.

Related: Maximizing LoungeBuddy passes with the Amex Green

Other cardmember perks

One of the best features of the Amex Green Card may be how you can earn points. Cardmembers earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide, 3 points per dollar on takeout and delivery services in the U.S., 3 points per dollar on transit (including trains, buses, ferries, subways and more), 3 points per dollar on a broad travel category and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

With broad travel and transit categories, this is one of the best credit cards for travel purchases and dining expenses. TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, meaning you can earn a 6% return on spending for your travel, commuting and dining expenses.

Related: Amex Green Card review

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

While the Amex Green Card earns less at restaurants than the 4 points per dollar provided by the American Express® Gold Card and doesn't have bonus points at supermarkets as the Gold Card does, the Green Card provides much better earning rates for commuting and travel.

Related: Credit card showdown: Amex Gold vs. Amex Green

Cardmembers also have access to other benefits. Amex Offers can provide rebates or bonus points on your upcoming purchases through targeted promotions, plus there are built-in shopping and travel protections that can provide both peace of mind and security during mishaps at home and abroad.

It's also worth pointing out that the Amex Green Card is not a traditional credit card. Credit cards have a preset spending limit, and you cannot spend more than that until you pay down your balance. You also can carry a balance (you shouldn't, though, since you'll pay interest) from month to month.

Conversely, the Amex Green Card doesn't have a preset spending limit. How much you're able to spend on the card can change depending on your payment history and credit score, for example, and you need to pay your bill in full each month. Pay Over Time can be used on some Amex cards, but cards like the Amex Green, Amex Gold and The Platinum Card® from American Express are designed for you to pay your entire bill in full each month.

This can be a positive or a negative feature, depending on how you see it and whether you plan to make a large purchase on a card and plan to pay it off over time.

Bottom line

As cardmember benefits have improved on the Amex Green Card in the past few years, the annual fee has remained steady at a moderate $150. If you can use the Clear benefit and LoungeBuddy passes each year, you can offset the annual fee quite easily.

However, you might not use these perks if you have another credit card that provides lounge access and/or a card that reimburses your Clear membership already. The question at that point would be whether the earning structure on the Green Card provides enough extra Membership Rewards points each year to make keeping the card worthwhile.

Related: Who should (and who shouldn't) get the Amex Green card?

For rates and fees of the Amex Green Card, click here.

Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson.

Featured image by VLADIMIR VLADIMIROV/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees