Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen American Express increase annual fees on many of their cards. While Amex has added benefits, they’ve also been making it tougher to use a lot of the benefits, by splitting them into monthly installments. That’s one of the primary reasons why I wrote a few weeks back about why I plan to dump the Amex Platinum card, which now carries a $695 annual fee. However, if you travel every now and then and need a card for your daily spend, then the Amex Green card is often a product many tend to overlook. In this post, I’ll explain why the card still carries a decent value for travel and dining related spend.
Currently, you can earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months. This bonus is pretty easy to achieve if you simply spend a minimum of $334 per month.
Earning Membership Rewards Points
The card offers some really decent rates when it comes to earning points on travel and dining related spend.
- 3x points for every dollar you spend on transit (trains, buses, ferries, subways)
- 3x points for every dollar you spend on all travel (airlines, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals) and dining (restaurants all over the work and delivery/takeout services in the US)
- 1x on all other purchases
Benefits & Credits
- $100 Clear credit
- $100 lounge access credit via LoungeBuddy
- No foreign transaction fees
- Trip Delay & Baggage Insurance
- Car Rental & Loss Damage Insurance
- Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty
American Express does have a one bonus per lifetime rule. In a nutshell, American Express may not approve you for the welcome bonus on this card if you currently have the card or have had the card in the past and received a welcome bonus for the same. This may also include any upgrade or downgrade offers that you may have signed up for.
Every now and then, we see American Express loosening these restrictions for certain card applications. If you’re ineligible for the bonus, you should ideally see a popup informing you about the same before you submit you application.
Crunching the Numbers
Let’s say the average family spends $50 on dining on the weekend. That equates to about $2,600 on dining spend per year. As per a recent survey, the average American spends about $2,000 on travel each year. If you simply add up both these amounts and charge to your Amex Green card, you’ll end up earning 13,800 Membership Rewards points. Even if you conservatively value Membership Rewards rewards points at 1.5 cents per point, you’ll still get a value of $207.
Even if you don’t value the lounge access at face value, you can easily get some value out of it if you simply make a couple of trips each year. For a card that carries an annual fee of $150, that’s pretty decent value in the first year in addition to the 50k points bonus.
The Pundit’s Mantra
The world of travel has changed drastically and remains in transition. Covid-19 and the resulting travel restrictions have definitely made me review my wallet. I’m slowly switching from a benefit rich, high annual fee road warrior like travel strategy. to one that’s more targeted in terms of specific travel programs and points currencies. As always, I continue to focus on padding my balances with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
While this may not be a card that gets a lot of limelight due to its lack of premium travel benefits, it’s still carries a lot of value when it comes to earning points on travel and dining related spend. Also, unlike the Amex Gold and Platinum, the annual fee doesn’t give you a sticker shock. Also, I don’t have to track credits or rebates that expire each month, which can be a real pain with the Amex Gold and Platinum cards.
Which is your favorite Amex card for travel and dining spend? Do you find the Amex Green Card an appealing proposition to earn Amex Membership Rewards points? Tell us in the comments section.