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On the outside, the card has been redesigned. On the inside, the American Express® Green Card has some unique benefits for air travelers. You’ll get statement credits both for CLEAR and for LoungeBuddy so you can speed through security lines and have a quiet place to relax before your flight with free food and drinks. The card even comes with a new credit valid between May and December, 2020. We’ll tell you all about it!
Looking for more value? You can also earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months.
Is the Amex Green worth the annual fee? Yes, thanks to the value of its perks
Apply here: American Express® Green Card
I used to shy away from any card with an annual fee. Then I saw the light: Cards with annual fees make sense if you get more back.
The Amex Green Card carries an annual fee of $150 (see rates & fees), but it is loaded with perks that can make it well worth paying. For starters, the 30,000 Membership Rewards points that are part of the welcome bonus can be worth 2-3 times the annual fee, especially if you know about some of the best ways to use Amex points.
And don’t forget the annual perks of the card that include up to $100 in statement credits to CLEAR and up to $100 in LoungeBuddy statement credits per year.
Rack up rewards quickly as you eat and travel
The Amex Green Card will offer long-term value if you use it to pay for travel and dining purchases.
You’ll earn 3x Membership Rewards points on everything travel-related which includes airfare, hotels, cruises, car rentals, campgrounds, trains, taxis, ride-share services, tours, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, subways, third-party travel websites, and amextravel.com purchases. It’s a very broad category.
You’ll also earn 3x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide, so foodies can pile up rewards.
Maximizing the value from flexible Amex Membership Rewards points
Amex Membership Rewards points are incredibly flexible and can be redeemed in a number of ways. You’ll usually get the best bang for your buck by transferring the points to any of Amex’s travel partners.
Here are a few quick examples of what’s possible with 30,000 Amex points:
- A round-trip flight to Hawaii from the West Coast – These tickets often sell for around $500, but you can transfer your Amex points to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio and still have 6,000 points left over for your next trip.
- Three award nights at a Hilton hotel – Depending on the hotel, you’d normally be paying $100-$150 per night for a hotel stay. Instead, you can transfer your points to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio where the cheapest Hilton hotels are typically around 10,000 Hilton points per night in the U.S.
- A business-class flight in United Polaris – Depending on your itinerary, this could be worth several hundred dollars. You can transfer your points to Avianca for a transcontinental business-class flight for 25,000 miles one-way.
Statement credits for CLEAR
If you’re like me and don’t like waiting in long lines at the airport, you’ll want to sign up for CLEAR which will supplement your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership for the ultimate in expedited security checks.
CLEAR identifies you by your biometrics so there’s no need to have a TSA agent check your passport or boarding pass. Once your identity is validated at a CLEAR kiosk, you’re escorted to the front of the security line.
An annual membership to CLEAR typically costs $179 but when you use your Amex Green Card to pay for your membership, you can receive up to $100 per year in statement credits. And if you’re a Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus member, you become eligible for a discounted rate of $119 for CLEAR so your effective cost is $19.
I can personally vouch for CLEAR. I was flying out of LAX earlier this year and zipped through security in just minutes. By comparison, the TSA PreCheck lines were taking about 15 minutes and the regular lines were even longer. I had that time to find my flight and relax in a lounge with food and drinks.
Statement credits to LoungeBuddy
LoungeBuddy is available in a mobile app version that shows you the closest airport lounges and lets you pay for access to those lounges through the app. Lounges are a great escape from the bustle of an airport terminal and often you can enjoy free food and drinks. Some even have spas or showers.
Without a membership that grants access to a particular lounge, visits can cost anywhere from $20-$50. That’s where the Amex Green Card comes in. You’ll get up to $100 per year in LoungeBuddy statement credits, perfect for those who need occasional lounge access.
Statement credit for wireless purchases
From May through December 2020, you’ll receive up to $10 per month when you use your card to pay for wireless telephone services directly from U.S. service providers. That means you can get up to $80 in total value by opening the card in May.
I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to assume we all spend at least $10 per month on these purchases. This effectively lowers your annual fee from $150 to $70 for the first year. That’s a good compromise, considering you won’t be able to use your CLEAR membership or LoungeBuddy access nearly as much as you’d otherwise be able to during this COVID-19 travel lockdown.
Upgraded versions of the Amex Green Card
If you travel frequently and are looking for a card with more perks and benefits, The Platinum Card® from American Express might make more sense for you.
The card offers an up to $200 annual credit for incidental fees on your selected airline, a credit of up to $200 for Uber per year (useful when you need a ride to or from the airport), a credit of up to $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue, and a statement credit of up to $100 every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The card has a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
You’ll also get unlimited airport lounge access with Priority Pass, Centurion, Delta SkyClub and Airspace, so you’ll get a lot more lounge usage than with the $100 LoungeBuddy statement credits offered on the Amex Green Card.
You’ll also get elite status with Hilton and Marriott, which could mean room upgrades, better views, free breakfast and much more.
Here is our review of the Amex Platinum.
At the end of the day, the Amex Green Card is absolutely worth the annual fee. You can earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months.
The value of the intro bonus alone makes this card worth the fee, even more so if you can use the perks for CLEAR, LoungeBuddy and the monthly wireless statement credits through December 2020.
Monetary savings aside, sometimes there’s just no way to put a price tag on the intangibles like catching a flight just in the nick of time when CLEAR gets you through security quickly. Or when you need a moment to yourself in an airport lounge thanks to LoungeBuddy.
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For rates and fees of the Amex Green Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.