Large bonus, limited earning: Amex Business Green Rewards Card review

Jun 14, 2020

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Amex Business Green Card Overview

The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express now offers a potentially lucrative welcome bonus, but the benefits beyond are lackluster. If you’re spending enough on travel to maximize the welcome bonus on this card, you would actually end up getting more value from The Platinum Card from American Express.  Card Rating*: ⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

In 2019, Amex refreshed its Business Green Rewards Card from American Express. When it first relaunched, the card’s saving grace was that it came with a potentially lucrative welcome offer. However, now that the offer has passed, the card is rather underwhelming. In my opinion, most business owners are going to get more from Amex’s other business cards. The information for the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Let’s walk through this new welcome offer and the details of this card, as well as a few alternatives for those looking to earn Membership Rewards through business expenses.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

The Business Green Amex is a beginner travel card for business owners interested in Membership Rewards. Within Amex’s lineup, it sits just below the mid-tier American Express® Business Gold Card. However, the card doesn’t exactly have a clear value proposition compared to other Amex business cards.

Larger budget business owners are going to get more value from the American Express Business Gold Card or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Those with lower annual budgets will likely be better off with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. To be frank, the Amex Business Green Card falls into an odd middle-ground where it isn’t strong enough to compete with top Amex business cards, but it’s not versatile enough to work for small business owners and freelancers who operate low-budget operations.

(Photo by Getty Images)
(Photo by Getty Images)

Underwhelming welcome offer

The Amex Business Green offers 15,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. It’s a decent bonus, worth $300 according to TPG valuations. But it’s lackluster compared some of the high-value business credit card offers available right now. For example, the Ink Business Preferred is offering 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months. 

Of course, a $3,000 welcome offer is much easier to hit than $15,000, but the potential value you get from the Ink Business Preferred would make it well worth it for any business that already planned to spend that much.

While this current bonus is a bump up from the previous offer for the Amex Business Green (a measly 5,000 points), it’s a far cry from the limited-time offer from the card’s relaunch, which gave new cardholders the opportunity to earn 3x on the first $50,000 spent on dining, hotels and airfare within the first three months, an offer that was potentially worth $3,000 according to TPG valuations.

Related reading: 10 easy sign-up bonuses you can earn right now

Main benefits and perks

Unfortunately, the Amex Business Green is also definitely lacking when it comes to benefits and perks. Where other Amex Membership Rewards cards are known for their annual statement credits and other travel benefits, the Business Green doesn’t offer anything along those lines. Of course, this is a low-cost card with only a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year. The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, while superior in its welcome bonus and rewards structure, also does not offer much in terms of travel credits and benefits.

The Amex Business Green does offer Amex’s standard portfolio of business tools that can help you manage your business finances. You can integrate your Amex account with Quickbooks for easy expense tracking and labeling. You can designate an account manager to have access to your account. You can even pay bills through Amex’s Vendor Pay through Bill.com. These benefits are incredibly valuable to any business owner, but are standard for most Amex business cards.

How to earn points

With the Amex Business Green, you’ll get 2x Membership Rewards points for eligible purchases made through amextravel.com. It’s a disappointing rewards structure, even for a card with a lower annual fee. The reward structure is similar to what you’d get with a basic airline cobranded card (though even many of those have recently added new bonus categories outside of travel).

Because Amex points are worth 2 cents each, the return is a bit better than your typical airline card. But if you’re spending enough on travel to make this rewards structure worth it, you should consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers 5x on eligible amextravel.com purchases, plus some of the best travel perks available across any business card. It also comes with a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees).

For lower-budget business owners who are interested in the Amex Membership Rewards program, there is the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. With no annual fee (see rates and fees), you’ll get 2x on the first $50,000 spent across all categories each calendar year; then 1x. You’ll be better off in the end with this structure unless you’re spending more than that $50,000 cap each year.

Related reading: The ultimate guide to Amex Membership Rewards

How to redeem points

It seems like the one thing this card has going for it is that you’re earning Membership Rewards points. With Amex you can redeem points for travel, gift cards, statement credits, Amazon purchases and a number of online retailer purchases. However, you’re only getting the best value when you redeem for award travel.

Amex has an extensive list of transfer partners, including top airline and hotel brands. You can transfer your Membership Rewards points instantly at a 1:1 value with any of these partners and Amex frequently runs transfer bonuses where you can transfer to some partners at even more attractive rates. When redeeming for premium class cabins, you can often find sweet spots in the program.

You can transfer Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic for an Upper Class Suite on this A350.
You can transfer Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic for an Upper Class Suite on this Airbus A350. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

You can also redeem points through the Amex travel portal, but keep in mind that you won’t get the same Pay with Points rebate as you do with the Business Platinum.

Related reading: Redeeming Amex points for maximum value 

Other Amex business cards to consider

With Amex offering so many great business cards, most people are going to get more value out of Amex’s other business card options.

Best for frequent travelers: Amex Business Platinum

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

The Amex Business Platinum is offering a welcome bonus of 125,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership — all with a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees). You’ll earn more than double the points with the Platinum than with the Green on business travel expenses, with 5x on airfare and prepaid hotel stays through amextravel.com.  Better yet, you’re also getting access to multiple luxury travel benefits, including a 35% Pay with Points rebate on qualifying travel purchases booked through amextravel.com, lounge access, elite status with Hilton and Marriott and much more (including some temporary benefits from Amex during the coronavirus pandemic).

If your business is spending enough on travel to really take advantage of the Business Green, it’s likely that you can find even more value with the Amex Business Platinum.

Best for everyday business expenses: Amex Business Gold

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Right now, the Amex Business Gold is offering a welcome offer of 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening for a $295 a year annual fee (see rates and fees). For long-term value, this card is an asset to any business owner. You’re getting 4x on the two categories you spend most on each month (up to $150,000 in purchases each calendar year; then 1x). With this card, you’ll earn points on far more than just travel, which makes it ideal for anyone who needs a card for more than just business travel expenses.

Best for low-budget businesses: Blue Business Plus

With no annual fee (see rates and fees) and a simple rewards rate, smaller-budget businesses are better off with the Blue Business Plus. You’ll get a flat 2x points on the first $50,000 spent on the card each year (then 1x). You don’t get a welcome offer with this card, but the long-term value of this card for those who spend less than $50,000 in a year across multiple bonus categories makes up for the lack of bonus, in my opinion. However, it is important to note that Amex does have that once-per-lifetime welcome bonus restriction rule, which means that by getting this card now would preclude you from getting any future bonus on this card should one be added.

If you want a no-frills way to earn Membership Rewards points, the Blue Business Plus offers that without category restrictions. For businesses that are spending less than $50,000 a year, it’s a good fit.

Related reading: Choosing the best Amex card for you

Bottom line

Even after last year’s refresh, this card still falls short. If you are spending enough on travel to really utilize this card, you’ll likely get even more value from one of Amex’s other cards. If you’re not spending enough on travel to get your money’s worth with the Business Green, you’ll be better off with the no-annual-fee Blue Business Plus.

For rates and fees of the Business Green card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.