Is the Green Card from America Express worth it? | finder.com

Review: American Express® Green Card — June 2018

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An entry-level Amex charge card that earns membership rewards.

30-second take

  • Get this card if you’re looking to build your credit score with this iconic charge card.
  • Pick something else if you want cash back or don’t want to pay an annual fee.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.
Product NameAmerican Express® Green Card
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
Annual fee$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Card TypeAmerican Express
Returned Payment Fee$38
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (AMEX)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
2.7% of transaction value
Minimum Interest$0
Minimum Credit ScoreFair (660-699)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Returned Payment Fee$38
Late Payment Fee$38
Additional Cardholder Fee$30 after the first 5 cards
Rewards ProgramAmerican Express Rewards
Bonus Points on Sign-up25,000
Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX)2
Points ExpiryNever

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.

It comes with a welcome offer of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months your account is open. And 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 for up to 2% back in value.

The perks

  • Welcome offer.

    Spend $1,000 in the first three months your account is open to earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points — worth up to $250. Compared with Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which gives you 15,000 points for the same $1,000 spent in the first three months, the American Express® Green Card offers higher value.

  • Purchase protection.

    You’re covered for accidental damage or theft of your phone and other eligible items for up to 90 days from purchase, up to $1,000 each occurrence and up to $50,000 a year.

  • 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 with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express by American Express, which earns you 3x points on flights, 2x points at US restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets and 1x points on everything else. But keep in mind that the Gold Card costs $195 a year, versus the 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 of 2%.

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 effectively results in 5,000 points for the same $5,000 spent. 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 …

  • 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 Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and 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 $0 intro annual fee for the first year of Card Membership, then $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 $38.

Consider other cards if …

Compare other American Express credit cards

Rates last updated June 22nd, 2018
Name Product APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Intro APR for Balance Transfer Annual fee Product Description
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
14.74% to 25.74% variable
0% Intro APR for 15 months
$0
Earn 15000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
14.74% to 25.74% variable
0% Intro APR for 15 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
14.74% to 24.74% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn 15000 Membership Rewards Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card
14.74% to 25.74% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn $250 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $250 back in the form of a statement credit.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$550
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
0
$0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Blue Sky® Credit Card
19.99% variable
$0
Flexible travel rewards and no annual fee.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
17.49% to 26.49% variable
$0
Earn 75000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 or more in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
17.49% to 26.49% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 35000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
17.49% to 26.49% variable
$450
Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 40000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
17.49% to 26.49% variable
$195
Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.
American Express® Green Card
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Shop with more confidence
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card
16.99% to 20.99% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

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 on bookings through American Express Travel and at US supermarkets 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, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or The Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll pay a higher annual fee for each card, but the rewards you earn will likely cover that cost. The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is an especially good choice, offering an excellent mix of rewards for travel and everyday spending.

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.

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

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 Platinum Card®.

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 $38. 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, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or the Platinum Card®. 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.

Frequently asked questions

Images: AmericanExpress.com

Kliment Dukovski

"Kliment Dukovski is a writer for finder.com. He specializes in global financial markets and personal finance, with a focus on credit cards. His main goal is to deliver honest and accurate information that will help you make the right financial decision. When he's not writing about finance-related subjects he writes sci-fi stories."

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