American Express® Green Card review

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In a Nutshell

The American Express® Green Card is a nothing-special travel rewards card, with flexible redemption options.

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Pros Cons
Two points per $1 on qualified purchases Annual fee after first year
Fewer rewards than some other Amex cards
Foreign transaction fee

What you need to know

Charge card vs. credit card

The first thing you should know about the American Express® Green Card is that it’s a charge card rather than a credit card. That means it won’t have revolving credit the way a credit card would, but also unlike a credit card, you typically can’t carry a balance, instead having to pay your bill in full each month. There is an exception though: The American Express® Green Card offers you some flexibility to carry over certain balances through its Pay Over Time program (which comes with a variable purchase APR of 20.49%).

Learn more: Charge card vs. credit card: What’s the difference?

Rewards

The rewards you earn for using this card are … moderate.

The American Express® Green Card earns you just one Membership Rewards point per $1 on everyday purchases, but you’ll get two points per $1 when you book flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars and other eligible travel through American Express Travel at amextravel.com.

Redeem your Membership Rewards points through American Express travel, and you’ll also get access to certain discounts. Deals might include discounted rates on flights, last-minute hotel bookings and a variety of other amenities.

Other American Express cards offer bigger points multipliers, like the Platinum Card® from American Express, which gets you five points per $1 on flights booked with airlines or through American Express Travel and on hotels booked on American Express Travel.

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Foreign transaction fee

It probably goes without saying that you’d expect to use a travel rewards card to make purchases while abroad. But with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, you’ll want to leave this card in your wallet and use a travel card with no foreign transaction fee instead.

What else you need to know

Here are some other things to know about the American Express® Green Card.

  • There’s no annual fee the first year. But you’ll pay $95 every year after that, so make sure you’re getting enough value out of the card to justify the annual cost.
  • This card comes with a lot of the usual perks of a rewards card, like rental car insurance and purchase protection.

Understanding your points and redemption

2 points per $1

Eager to cash in on the 2x multiplier? In order to get two points per $1 on eligible travel purchases, you must first enroll your card in the Membership Rewards program, which you can do online.

Redemption value

The value of your Membership Rewards points varies depending on what you redeem them for. If you’re looking for gift cards, 10,000 points can get you a gift card worth up to $100 with dozens of travel and retail companies (coming in at a potential 1 cent per point). Here are a few from the long list of gift cards or vouchers you can choose from.

  • Amtrak
  • Avis
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Benihana
  • Carnival
  • Chili’s
  • Coach
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car
  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
  • The Home Depot

Points can also be transferred to partnering hotel and airline programs, including Delta SkyMiles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Marriott Rewards. Many partners redeem Amex member points for their own points at a 1:1 value.

Who this card is good for

If you’re looking for a low-ish annual fee and are willing to accept the conservative travel benefits that come along with it, the American Express® Green Card could be the American Express card for you. At a lower price than some other Amex travel cards, this card can be just right for the occasional traveler looking to rack up travel rewards for the first time.

The American Express® Green Card can also be great for someone who has never used a charge card before and wants to try one on for size. Paying off the full balance on your card each month might be a difficult, but worthwhile, habit to build.

Other than that, this card probably isn’t a great deal. If you’re open to other cards, there could be a better option out there for you.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.