Released in 1958, the American Express Green Card is one of the original credit cards. Historically, it was used by the upper-middle class primarily for travel and did not offer any rewards. Today, the Green Card offers rewards, but not many at all. Because of its meager earning structure and high annual fee, it’s a shell of its former self and its in need of a revamp.
Overview of the American Express Green Card
The Green Card is the only Amex charge card that I have not done a review on for good reason. Its earning structure and perks leave much to be desired. This is exacerbated by its $95 annual fee (waived the first year).
You earn one Membership Rewards (MR) point for every dollar spend with no bonus categories. And you can earn 2x points if you book travel through amextravel.com. Despite its higher annual fee, the American Express Gold Card offers much more value. Alternatively, you can get the Everyday Preferred Card, which also offers more value for the same $95 annual fee.
Furthermore, the Green Card does not offer any valuable perks or travel credits like its “bigger siblings”. This is a stark contrast to the Platinum Card, which offers thousands of dollars’ worth of perks. You do get standard Amex perks that are also available on the issuer’s no annual fee cards.
However, the Green Card’s silver lining is its sign-up bonus. The catch is that the bonus is targeted and not always available. The Green Card has a targeted bonus worth 25,000 MR points. It can be earned by spending $1,000 in the first three months. This is a decent bonus that can be earned for a low minimum spend. Some people get this card for its bonus and cancel after the first year.
Throughout the first quarter of 2019, there have been rumblings of change for the Green Card. The most recent of which came from Doctor of Credit. The article said that the revamped Green Card would earn 4x MR points on Gas Stations and 3x points on Streaming Services.
It’s also possible that Amex might add Amazon Prime membership as a perk. To counter that perk, the card’s annual fee will also increase to $119. However, the fee will remain at $95 if they don’t add Amazon.
Nothing was mentioned about a sign-up bonus. But I hope that they make the 25,000-point targeted bonus public. That would be a nice offer that puts the Green Card more in line with its “bigger siblings”, particularly the Gold Card.
The Green Card is a legacy credit card that’s in need of a revamp. As it currently stands, its simply not competitive with other Tier III cards.
Adding a Gas category would be a nice move for Amex. The only other personal Amex card with a Gas category is the Everyday Preferred. Plus, the 4x multiplier is huge for those who want to earn MR points quickly. This multiplier and category would also make the Green Card a nice supplementary card to the Platinum or Gold Cards.
The Streaming Services category is unique for both American Express and the entire credit card industry. That’s because the Green Card would be the only card in the industry with this category if Amex goes through with the revamp. The next closest card is the Barclays Uber Card, which earns 2% cash back on music streaming services. Given the name of the category, I assume the Green Card would include all types of streaming services.
Furthermore, an Amazon Prime membership perk would be a nice addition. It would also mean the Green Card would follow in the footsteps of its “bigger siblings” offering credits as perks. Many people shop on Amazon and it could be a win-win for customers and Amex. Customers get complimentary Prime membership, Amazon discounts, and savings at Whole Foods. Amex gets more swipe fees, purchase volume, and annual fees.
If Amex adds Amazon Prime membership, they will likely raise the annual fee to $119. The current cost of an Amazon Prime membership is also $119. This equality would make the Green Card a possible long-term keeper card because its so easy to get value from Prime membership. Furthermore, the two bonus categories would make for more added value.
The American Express Green Card is one of the original credit cards. However, its in need of a serious revamp. Fortunately, American Express is addressing this issue and the results might be pleasant for many.
Amex is clearly trying to target millennials and the oldest members of Generation Z with this revamp. The Green Card could be a nice entry-level charge card for both generations for the next several years. All Amex has to do is give its legacy card the “green” light.