Is American Express About To Improve Its Green Card?


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The Green Card was once (a log time ago) one of the iconic symbols of American Express but, as time has gone by, new cards have been brought to market which offer better benefits, better sign-up bonuses and better earning rates so the Green Card has largely been forgotten.

When was the last time you saw a blog promoting the Green Card as a useful tool in the miles & points world?

Well, it may be that American Express has finally realised that its Green Card has been left behind because, over the weekend, Doctor of Credit reported that the card may be getting a refresh….and soon.

The American Express Green Card (As It Stands)

Annual fee: $95 (waived in the first year)

Earning rates:

  • 2 Membership Rewards Points/dollar spent at Amex Travel
  • 1 Membership Rewards Point/dollar spent everywhere else

Main card benefits:

  • Secondary rental car insurance cover
  • Baggage insurance
  • Accidental damage cover
  • Extended warranty on eligible purchases

That’s a pretty sad set of benefits for a card which costs the came as the Citi ThankYou Premier card which, as a point of comparison, offers 3 points per dollar on all travel (including gas stations) and 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment spend.

American Express Green Card Rumored Refresh

We’re expecting to see a relaunch of the American Express Green Card by June or July this year and it looks like Amex is at last looking to give consumers a reason to take this card out and to actually use it in everyday life.

Expected earning rates:

  • 4 Membership Rewards Points/dollar spent at gas stations
  • 3 Membership Rewards Points/dollar spent with streaming services
  • 1 Membership Rewards Point/dollar spent everywhere else

Possible added benefit:

  • Amazon Prime Membership

It is not clear if the annual fee will be kept at $95 or if it will be increasing to account for the cost of including Amazon Prime as a benefit but DoC speculates that an increase to $119 may be in the offing if Prime is definitely included as part of the card’s benefits.

Thoughts

A standalone Amazon Prime account costs $119/year so, if the refreshed American Express Green Card includes Prime as a benefit and costs no more than $119, the card suddenly becomes a no-brainer for anyone who makes the most of Amazon Prime’s benefits.

Essentially you’ll be getting the Prime you already pay for plus a card that earns you 4 points per dollar at Gas stations and 3 points per dollar for streaming services without paying a cent more in fees.

The 4 points/dollar at gas stations will be great for anyone whose monthly expenditure on gas is a significant part of their expenses and great for those of us who like to buy gift cards at gas stations too.

I value Membership Rewards points at 1.5 cents each so, essentially, this card will give users a 6% rebate on spending at gas stations and that’s definitely worth having.

As far as the new earning rate for spending with streaming services goes, I’m not sure just how valuable or useful it will be.

Firstly, even someone who subscribes to the most expensive Hulu and Netflix packages (for example) won’t be spending more than $28 per month across both and so will only earn around 1,000 extra Membership Rewards points over a year – that’s not really a tempting incentive to hold the card.

Secondly, you can buy Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Apple etc… gift cards at gas stations, grocery stores and office supply stores and there are numerous credit cards out there which will offer a better return at those outlets than the 3 points/dollar being offered by the Green Card.

Even if an American Express Green card holder doesn’t have any other credit cards at all he/she would be better off buying gift cards for the streaming services at a gas stations, earning 4 points/dollar on the purchases, and then using the gift cards to pay for the services.

Bottom Line

The American Express Green Card has been crying out for a refresh for years so it’s about time Amex got round to it and made one of its original cards relevant again.

The two key things which will dictate how valuable this card will be going forward will be the annual fee and the nature of the Amazon Prime membership that is expected to come with this card – if Amex works some magic and offers its Green Card with Prime membership at no more than Prime Membership costs now then we could be on to a winner here.

1 COMMENT

  1. I hope they can do better than the rumored refresh. Chase already does 5% back on gas during 1-2 CF quarters, and most have 2 CFs, CIC does 5% back on streaming and 2% on gas, etc. If the prime is like the platinum biz refresh a 1x free prime year is bound to happen. Amex needs to get their act together on foreign spend and ask why anyone would want a green card.

    I’d like to see something like..
    Green:
    4x gas
    3x entertainment/amusement
    2x non gas purchases to 25K
    50 generic travel statement credit
    Free prime membership on a yearly basis if overall spend is $6K per year
    Gold:
    Multipliers are fine, fix
    100 generic travel statement credit
    120 generic dining statement credit/broken to $10 month
    Plat:
    Beyond the 5x airfare
    4x hotels booked directly, keeping the 5x prepaid through amex
    3x foreign dinning
    2x foreign spend, non dining
    250 generic travel statement credit
    100 generic dining statement credit
    100 generic amusement/entertainment statement credit

    Give someone a reason to carry all three cards and put spend on them.

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