American Express Unveils Refreshed Green Card

It’s now been 50 years since American Express first debuted its Green card. To mark the occasion the company has announced a major overhaul for the card including new rewards and benefits for customers. Plus the card is getting a slightly different name, officially changing from the “American Express Green Card” to “Green from Amex.”

The first big changes are that the card will now offer 3X points for two key spending categories: travel and dining. Notably the travel section also includes transit, encompassing everything from flights, hotels, and tours to car rentals, ride shares, buses, and subways. Meanwhile the 3X dining will apply to restaurants worldwide. Speaking of “worldwide,” the card will now no longer charge any foreign exchange fees.

In addition to those rewards, the card will carry some statement credit opportunities for cardholders. Given the travel angle of the card, it makes sense that the first of these credits is $100 for CLEAR — a service that lets members enjoy priority entry at select airports, stadiums, and more. Simiarly cardholders can also earn a $100 statement credit when purchasing airport lounge day passed from Loungebuddy. Finally, for a limited time (January 15, 2020), members can get $100 back on purchases from the luggage company Away.

Unfortunately these new perks also come at a cost. Green by Amex will now carry a $150 annual fee — up from the previous $95 a year price tag. Perhaps to help make up for that fact, American Express has also increased its welcome offer, currently allowing new card members to earn 30,000 Membership Rewards when they spend at least $2,000 on the card in their first three months.

Commenting on the Green card’s big relaunch, Amex presiden of Global Premium Products & Benefits Rachel Stock said in a statement, “The Green Card was introduced 50 years ago, to meet consumer needs as the travel industry took off. Today, we are reimagining this iconic Card to once again meet the evolving needs of our Card Members and reward the areas they care about and regularly spend in – travel, transit and dining.” Stock also mentioned that “Card Members value experiences – big and small – and a digital membership that fits seamlessly into their daily lives.” To that point, American Express recently introduced a new feature that allows account holders to split transactions by requesting funds from friends or family via PayPal or Venmo.

Last but not least — matching its Green color — the new cards will be made mostly from reclaimed plastic found on beaches. As Stocks explained, “We hope Green from Amex will serve as a daily reminder to our Card Members to do their part to back our oceans and consider how they can reduce the use of plastic in their own lives.”

Following this overhaul, frequent travelers and diners might want to consider whether Green from Amex makes sense from them. Of course, given the annual fee, potential cardholders will want to calculate the expected value for the card based on their spending. If running the numbers yields positive results, perhaps this new Green card could help you maximize your credit card rewards.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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