American Express is known for its travel cards that reward cardmembers with the finest benefits and perks as well as bountiful points that can be leveraged for great deals booking award travel. Two of the card issuer’s most popular cards are the American Express® Green Card and the American Express® Gold Card (terms apply).
Though both cards earn Membership Rewards points, each one offers its own unique combination of bonus spending categories and benefits that may appeal to certain consumers. The Green from Amex is geared toward travel lovers, while the Amex Gold rewards spending on culinary delights. We’ll help you evaluate which is best for your needs.
|Green from Amex||Amex Gold|
|Rewards||3 points per dollar at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3 points per dollar on transit and travel, 1 point per dollar on other purchases||4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com, 1 point per dollar on other purchases|
|Welcome bonus||60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first six months. Plus, earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during the first six months, up to $200 back||60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months|
|Card benefits||Up to $189 CLEAR® statement credit; up to $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit; Global Assist Hotline; trip delay insurance¹; secondary car rental loss and damage insurance²; baggage insurance³. Enrollment is required for select benefits||Up to $120 dining statement credit; up to $120 in Uber Cash (card must be added in Uber app to receive benefit); experience credit during eligible stays at The Hotel Collection properties; Global Assist Hotline; secondary car rental loss and damage insurance²; baggage insurance³. Enrollment is required for select benefits|
The Amex® Green Card carries a $150 annual fee while the Amex Gold charges a $250 annual fee. This pricing places both of these cards squarely between mid-tier cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with its $95 annual fee, and ultra-premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express — which will set you back a steep $695 per year to carry (terms apply).
Consumers who rarely travel or dine out might not find either of these cards worth it, and may prefer instead to opt for a rewards credit card with no annual fee. However, for the right person, either the Amex® Green Card or the Amex Gold Card can be well worth the price you’ll pay to carry it. For example, if you take full advantage of the Amex® Green Card’s up to $189 CLEAR statement credit and up to $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit every calendar year, you’ve already come out ahead of the $150 annual fee.
Plus, both cards give access to the Membership Rewards program and a valuable lineup of transfer partners. For those seeking almost-free award travel via points, that’s a major asset.
Both the Green from Amex and Amex Gold reward cardholders handsomely for card spending on food and travel purchases. The Green from Amex offers lower bonus rates but is a better choice for varied travel spending, while the Gold Card is geared towards foodies who want to earn rewards.
With the Green from Amex, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3 points per dollar on transit and travel, 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Meanwhile, with the American Express Gold Card, you’ll earn 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar spent), 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com, 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
The Amex® Green Card and Amex Gold both earn Membership Rewards points, Amex’s flexible rewards currency. Cardmembers have several options for redeeming points, including:
- Booking or upgrading travel.
- Applying statement credits to past purchases.
- Selecting gift cards for a variety of retailers.
- Shopping online with participating merchants.
- Buying merchandise through Amex’s shopping portal.
Cardholders also have the option to transfer their Membership Rewards points to nearly two dozen airline and hotel loyalty partners. Points transfer at a 1:1 rate or better with most partners.
Typically, you’ll get the best value from either booking flights via American Express Travel or transferring points to your preferred airline or hotel program and redeeming award travel directly.
Both of these American Express cards come with sizable welcome bonuses if you can meet certain spending requirements.
With the Amex® Green Card, you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first six months of card membership. Plus, earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during the first six months, up to $200 back.
And with the Amex Gold Card, you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of card membership.
The Amex® Green Card and Amex Gold both offer decent travel benefits that can help justify the cards’ annual fees. For starters, neither of these Amex cards charges foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S. And both cards come with emergency coordination and assistance through Amex’s Global Assist Hotline when you’re more than 100 miles from home.
The Amex® Green Card comes with two significant yearly credits — a CLEAR statement credit up to $189 and a LoungeBuddy statement credit up to $100. CLEAR can help you get through select airports more quickly using biometric identification, and LoungeBuddy can help if you need to purchase occasional airport lounge access. In terms of travel protections, you’ll receive trip delay insurance and baggage insurance when you book a trip with your Green from Amex.
The Amex Gold also comes with a couple valuable credits. Cardholders can receive up to $120 in dining statement credits and $120 in Uber Cash each year of card ownership. Book a trip with your Gold Card and you’ll receive baggage insurance and trip delay insurance as well.
Car rental insurance coverage
The Amex® Green Card and Amex Gold both offer secondary car rental insurance² as a benefit. Secondary car insurance only covers costs not covered by your personal car insurance policy.
This car rental loss and damage insurance doesn’t include liability insurance. It covers damages to the vehicle if there’s an accident or theft during the rental period. Coverage may extend to reasonable charges like towing charges, storage and rental company administration fees.
Cardmembers must pay for the rental vehicle using their Amex card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver at the counter to receive coverage through this benefit.
Neither of these two Amex cards is known for its hotel perks. The Amex® Green Card’s only hotel benefit is earning bonus points for hotel purchases. The Amex Gold offers an up to $100 experience credit when booking stays with The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Note, a minimum two-night stay is required to qualify for this credit offered by the Gold Card.
If you seek elevated rewards on hotel stays or automatic status, consider a hotel card instead.
The American Express Green Card and the American Express Gold Card both offer purchase protection and extended warranty protection on eligible purchases made with your card.
You also get a complimentary ShopRunner membership with your card when you enroll. This provides free two-day shipping when shopping online at more than 100 participating merchants.
Should you get both the Amex® Green Card and Amex Gold?
There is a case to be made for having both of these Amex cards in your wallet. Foodies would likely benefit more from the Amex Gold, while frequent travelers may earn more rewards with the Amex® Green Card. There is some overlap in spending categories and card benefits, though, so evaluate carefully whether you’ll get enough value to justify paying two annual fees.
We think most consumers would be better off with one card or the other. That said, if you can use the major credits on both cards, and spend heavily on travel, restaurants and groceries, it’s possible that carrying both the Green from Amex and the Amex Gold could make sense for you.
Both cards are among the issuer’s flagship suite of rewards cards. For the best chances of approval, you will likely need a good-to-excellent credit score (though your score is not the only factor considered). Good credit is generally considered a FICO Score of 670 or higher.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The Amex Gold Card is a metal card weighing approximately 15 grams. The Amex® Green Card is not a metal card. It is made primarily from reclaimed plastic collected from beaches and coastal communities through a partnership between American Express and Parley.
Neither the Amex® Green Card nor the Amex Gold Card offer a statement credit to reimburse Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees. If you’re looking for an American Express card to cover your Global Entry, you should consider the ultra-premium Amex Platinum instead.
As mentioned above, both of these cards likely require good-to-excellent credit. However, American Express offers an “apply with confidence” feature, where you can see if you’re approved with no impact to your credit score. If you are approved, and choose to accept, there will likely be a hard inquiry on your credit which could ding your score just a few points.
¹Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
²Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
³Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.