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American Express® Green Card review

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An entry-level Amex charge card that earns Membership Rewards points.

Please note: This card has been discontinued and is not currently available.

Another charge-style card from Amex

American Express® Gold Card

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4x Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4x Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 airline fee credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
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See Rates & Fees

The basics

The American Express® Green Card is an entry-level charge card that offers simple rewards: 2x Membership Rewards points through American Express Travel and 1x points on all other purchases. For the first year you get a $0 annual fee, reverting to $95 in your second year.

Redeem your Membership Rewards points for dining, shopping or travel rewards, typically for up to 1% back in value.

The perks

  • Membership Rewards points.

    Earn 2x Membership Rewards points when you book through American Express Travel and 1x points on all other purchases. Redeem your points for dining, shopping and travel rewards. The points you earn with this card can appear weak compared to the American Express® Gold Card, which lets you earn 3x points on eligible flights, 4x points at restaurants, 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1x points) and 1x points on everything else. But keep in mind that the American Express® Gold Card costs $250 a year (see rates & fees), versus the American Express® Green Card‘s $95.

How much are American Express Membership Rewards worth?

The value of membership points varies depending on what you redeem them for.

For a general idea, 20,000 points are worth:

  • $140 to $200 in gift cards.
  • $100 to $140 at such Membership Rewards partner retailers as Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy and Staples.
  • $100 to $200 for flight tickets, hotels, cruises and purchases through Expedia.
  • $140 to $200 for point-of-sale transactions with New York taxis and at Rite Aid.
  • $100 for entertainment purchases through Ticketmaster and AXS.
  • $100 to $200 as a charitable donation.
How to get the most out of Membership Rewards points

You can earn and redeem your Membership Rewards points in multiple ways. But consider booking as many flights and hotels as you can through American Express Travel to make the most of your Membership Rewards. You can then redeem these points for a high-value rewards potential — usually 1%.

For example, if you spend $5,000 on flights and hotels through American Express Travel, you earn 10,000 points. You can then redeem those points for a $100 reward — the highest value you can get out of this card.

For all other purchases, you get 1x Membership Rewards points. This results in 5,000 points if you spend $5,000. Redeem your 5,000 points for rewards valued from $25 to $50, resulting in a return of 0.5% to 1% of what you spent.

You’ll also like …

  • Purchase protection.

    You’re covered for accidental damage or theft of eligible items for up to 120 days from purchase, up to $1,000 each occurrence and up to $50,000 a year.

  • Travel protection.

    Get peace of mind on vacation knowing you’re covered for lost, damaged or stolen baggage throughout reservations paid for with your card. Any rental cars are insured against theft and damage when you pay using your card.

  • Roadside and global assistance.

    Call a 24/7 hotline for help with towing, changing a tire or charging a battery on the road. When traveling more than 100 miles from home, you get 24/7 access to medical, financial, legal or other emergency services. You’ll have to pay for any third-party services.

  • Purchase benefits.

    Get free two-day shipping and free returns through ShopRunner. And if you’re looking to return an eligible item within 90 days of purchase and the merchant won’t accept it, Amex’s Return Protection may refund you up to $1,000 a year. You can get these benefits with similar Amex cards like Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.

What to watch out for

  • $95 annual fee.

    American Express waives the annual fee for your first year of card membership. But you’re on the hook for a $95 annual fee starting with your second year.

  • Not a credit card.

    The American Express® Green Card is a charge card, which means you must pay your balance in full each month. If you often carry a monthly balance on your credit cards, the American Express® Green Card may not be the choice for you.

  • Not widely accepted overseas.

    Because the American Express® Green Card is an American Express card, you might not have as many opportunities to use it overseas as you would with a Visa or Mastercard. It also comes with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, which can add up over vacation.

  • Late payment fees.

    Making late or returned payments could saddle you with fees as high as $39.

Compare top rewards credit cards

Updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
$150 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months
1.5% cash back on all purchases
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
$150 after spending $500 in the first 90 days
5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases
When you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $150 cash back bonus. Rates & Fees

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Who is the American Express® Green Card for?

This card is suited for anyone who’s looking for an Amex charge card to build up their credit score. It offers perks, but you might find that other Amex cards match or exceed American Express® Green Card — and with lower annual fees.

Nearly every feature of the American Express® Green Card is matched by the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. It offers 2x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases; then 1x points) as well as travel protection and purchase benefits — and you won’t pay an annual fee.

Another potential negative: American Express® Green Card is also a charge card, making it a poor choice if you’re used to carrying balances month to month.

What’s a charge card?

A charge card is a credit account that requires payment of your purchases in full each month. Typically, a charge card doesn’t have preset spending limits. Instead, your purchases are approved based on your payment history and overall creditworthiness.

If you’re looking for a charge card with more robust rewards, consider the American Express® Gold Card which is a hybrid between a charge card and a regular credit card or The Platinum Card® from American Express (see rates & fees). You’ll pay a higher annual fee for each card, but the rewards you earn will likely cover that cost. The American Express® Gold Card is an especially good choice, offering an excellent mix of rewards for travel and everyday spending.
American Express® Green Card vs American Express® Gold Card

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the American Express® Green Card, you must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the US.

American Express will require such information as your:

  • Full name and contact information.
  • Residential status.
  • Annual income, source of income and employment information.
  • Social Security number and date of birth.

What credit score do I need?

Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher. Steady, high income on top of an excellent credit score will likely improve your chances of approval.

What do customers say about the American Express® Green Card?

American Express earns a Trustpilot score of 3 out of 10 based on more than 170 customer reviews. Many complaints cite poor customer service. On the positive side, customers love the membership points and rewards offered by this simple charge card.

Redditors debate whether paying the $95 annual fee is worth it, most concluding that you can get more tangible benefits with the American Express® Gold Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express.

How to apply for the card

  1. Go to the American Express website.
  2. Select the American Express® Green Card from the list and click Apply now.
  3. Complete the application form with required information.
  4. Review your application’s details and submit it.

How long will it take to get my American Express® Green Card?

Because American Express automates conditional credit card approval online, you might get a decision on your application within minutes. It could take up to a few weeks if further review is needed, however.

On approval, you’ll receive your card in the mail within 10 business days.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Pay on time. Register an online account or get the Amex Mobile app to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in autopay.
  • Enroll with ShopRunner. Get two-day free shipping through more than 100 retailers. If you don’t like your order, ship it back for free.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $39. Using your card overseas also comes with fees.
  • Customer service. If you have questions, call American Express at 1-800-528-4800 at any time.

Bottom line

For an entry-level Amex rewards card, the iconic American Express® Green Card could be a good choice. But it’s a charge card, which requires monthly payments on your purchases in full.

If you’re looking for a stronger charge card, consider the American Express® Gold Card which has features of both a charge card and a regular credit card or The Platinum Card® from American Express. With so much competition for your business, you may want to consider other card providers if American Express doesn’t have what you’d like.
Compare American Express® Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Frequently asked questions


Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Rates and fees

Images: AmericanExpress.com

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  1. Default Gravatar
    March 4, 2019

    If I rent a car with the Green American express card what kind of free insurance I get?

    • AvatarStaff
      March 4, 2019

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for getting in touch! According to the information above, when you use your card for a car rental service you are only covered for theft and damage. You can check the policy for more specific information. It would be ideal to look for a car hire insurance for overseas travel that will offer more than what is offered by American Express. As a friendly reminder, carefully review the Product Disclosure Statement of the product before applying. You may also contact the insurance provider should you have any questions about their policy.

      Hope this helps!


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