American Express Green Card Review
Update 2019.10 – The Green Card has been reissued with a 30k MR point public offer, new benefits (described below), and a higher annual fee of $150 that is not waived in the first year. There is also available an incognito mode offer of 45k, which is the best available offer on this card. The 45k offer is being seen by people all over the U.S., so my recommendation is to wait for that offer if you can’t see it right now. The public signup offer is available through January 15, 2020.
- AmEx Green – It is possible to see a 45k MR offer with $2,000 spending requirement. Note that you have to use the incognito mode or empty the cache in your browser to see the 45k offer. If you can only see the 30k offer, please try a few more times. The offer may differ by geographic location, and you may need to use a VPN (see How to Use VPN to Get Amex Big Offers for details).
- Public 30k offer: earn 30,000 Membership Rewards (MR) Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. (note that, again, we recommend waiting until you can see the 45k incognito offer).
- [Limited time offer – ends on 2020.01.15] $100 AWAY luggage credit.
- We estimate that MR are worth about 1.6 cents/point, see below for a brief introduction. So the 30k sign-up bonus is worth about $480. If you can pull the 45k incognito mode offer, that bonus is worth about $720!
- Earn 3 MR Points per $1 spent on restaurants and travel worldwide, and 1 MR on all other purchases.
- $100 CLEAR credit per calendar year. CLEAR is a service to bypass the travel document checker at security checkpoints in selected airports.
- $100 Lounge Buddy credit per year.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- With this card, you can get access to Amex Offer, which usually offers very good discounts at some stores, such as: spend $15 or more and get $5 back at Walmart; spend $75 or more and get $25 back on Amazon.com.
- Refer a friend: You can earn 5,000 bonus MR points for every approved account you refer, up to 55,000 MR points per calendar year.
- This card is very easy to get approved, because it is a charge card, not a credit card. Charge card means that you don’t have an option to make a minimum payment, you have to pay your balance in full on the due date. Charge card applications will also result in a hard credit pull, similar to credit card applications.
- Charge Cards have no pre-set spending limit.
- $150 annual fee, not waived for the first year.
- If you add an Additional Card to your account following your Basic Card application, you will be charged an annual fee of $30 for up to 5 Additional Cards. The annual fee for 6 or more Additional Cards is $30 for each Card. Waived for the first year.
Introduction to MR Points
- You can earn MR points with AmEx ED, AmEx EDP, AmEx Green, AmEx Gold, AmEx Platinum, AmEx Platinum for Schwab, AmEx Platinum for Morgan Stanley, AmEx Blue Business Plus, AmEx Business Green, AmEx Business Gold, AmEx Business Platinum, etc.
- The MR points you earn on different MR cards will automatically go to the same MR account.
- MR points never expire. You will not lose the MR points on one card if you close the account, but you will lose all of the MR points if you close all of the MR cards. In order to avoid losing your MR points, we recommend to keep the no annual fee AmEx ED.
- If you have any of the MR cards, MR points can be transferred to some airline miles. One of the most common and best way to use MR points is to 1:1 transfer them to All Nippon Airways (ANA, NH) miles (Star Alliance). Other good options are: Air Canada (AC) (Star Alliance), Delta Air Lines (DL) (SkyTeam), British Airways (BA) (Oneworld), Asia Miles (Oneworld), Singapore Airlines (SQ) (Star Alliance), Flying Blue (SkyTeam), Virgin Atlantic (VS) (Non-alliance), etc. If you use MR in this way, the value is about 1.6 cents/point.
- If you have any of the MR cards, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate about 1 cent/point towards air tickets on AmEx travel portal.
- If you have AmEx Platinum for Schwab, you can redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 1.25 cents/point towards cash. If you don't want to spend time studying airline miles, this is a pretty good way to cash out the points. If you don't have this card, you can only redeem your MR points at a fixed rate 0.6 cents/point towards cash.
- In summary, we estimate that MR points are worth about 1.6 cents/point.
- For more information about MR points, see Maximize the Credit Card Points Values (overview), and Introduction to MR: How to Earn and Introduction to MR: How to Use (very detailed).
Recommended Application Time
- You can only get the welcome bonus once in a lifetime, so be sure to apply when the historical highest offer appears.
- AmEx doesn’t care about the number of hard pulls.
- You can try to apply for it when you have a credit history of 6 months.
The new Green Card seems to be competing with the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR). After the $300 travel credit on the CSR, the annual fee is effectively the same ($150). However, you don’t get a Priority Pass, a bonus on point spend through the Amex travel portal, primary car insurance, or really any other travel benefits. The Lounge Buddy credit is OK and explains Amex’s acquisition of that company in 2017, however I would never pay for Lounge Buddy to begin with so I don’t view it as a benefit. The $100 AWAY luggage credit is a nice touch, but my understanding is AWAY luggage is not very high quality or made to last. The 45k signup bonus is very good and I would certainly recommend waiting for that offer over the 30k offer. I don’t think the card is worth keeping long term, so if you decide to apply for this card and cancel after the first year but need to keep your MR points active, you can apply for the no annual fee AmEx EveryDay.
Recommended Downgrade Options
- You can not downgrade this card to any card with no annual fee, so I suggest you close it when you don’t want to keep it any longer.
- Click here to check AmEx application status.
- AmEx reconsideration backdoor number: 877-399-3083. The “real” backdoor number of Amex is well protected. Different from Chase, the representatives from this AmEx reconsideration backdoor number only have the right to help you submit requests.
Historical Offers Chart
- AmEx Green. Possible to see 25k offer with $1,000 spending requirement. Note that you have to use the incognito mode or empty the cache in your browser to see the 25k offer. If you can only see the 15k, please try a few more times. Now the offer differs by location, you may need a VPN to see the big offer, see How to Use VPN to Get Amex Big Offers for details.