What counts as travel on the Amex Green card?

Oct 6, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information. 

in 2019, the American Express® Green Card was refreshed with a slew of benefits that moved it up onto the list of TPG’s best Amex credit cards.

Currently, the card is offering a welcome offer of 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first three months of account opening and has a $150 annual fee (see rates & fees).

The card has also added bonus spending categories of 3x Amex points on travel, transit and dining. For all other purchases, you’ll earn one point. In terms of the travel category, it’s broader than you think. So which purchases will earn the 3x bonus? Let’s find out.

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.

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Related: American Express Green card review

What counts as travel on the Amex Green card?

(Photo by @brittneyborowski via Twenty20)
Rental cars will earn 3x points with the Amex Green card. (Photo by @brittneyborowski via Twenty20.)

Here’s are the travel purchases that will earn bonus points, according the Amex Green Card’s terms:

  • Airfare
  • Hotels
  • Cruises
  • Car rentals
  • Campgrounds
  • Trains
  • Taxis
  • Ride-share services
  • Tours
  • Ferries
  • Tolls
  • Parking
  • Buses
  • Subways
  • Third-party travel websites (i.e., Orbtiz, Expedia, Priceline)
  • Travel booked through amextravel.com

Timeshare purchases will not count as travel and Amex specifies that:

Merchants are assigned codes based on what they primarily sell. A purchase will not qualify for additional points if the merchant’s code is not eligible.

This won’t be an issue for most purchases, but it could be, depending on where you make the transaction. For instance, on a trip I purchased a bus ticket from a convenience store. I didn’t use an Amex card, but if I had, I wouldn’t have expected it to code as travel.

Another common area of confusion when it comes to determining travel purchases is home-sharing sites such as Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO. Amex confirmed to us that Airbnb purchases made with your Amex Green Card will count as travel but it’s a little less clear with other home rental sites. TPG’s Director of Travel Content Summer Hull had a VRBO rental code as travel on her Chase Sapphire Reserve, but readers have had mixed experiences. It seems that vacation rentals that are listed by the owner are more likely to code as travel than those listed by a property management company.

And just because Chase coded VRBO as travel, Amex may not. So I wouldn’t expect most vacation rental purchases to earn bonus points. If you have an experience one way or the other, please let us know.

Bottom line

The Amex Green Card has an intro offer and the ability to earn 3x points on travel, transit and dining purchases. Amex lists the specific purchases that count as travel in the card’s terms, but some transactions might code differently than you’d expect. Airbnb will count as travel but another home-rental site may not.  Often they code as “real estate” or “property management.”

Regardless, the travel category is broadly defined for the Amex Green card — that’s good news for earning the most points possible.

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

Additional reporting by Chris Dong. 

Featured photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.

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.

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