American Express Green Card Review

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Are you looking for an American Express Green Card review? Admittedly, this card isn’t nearly as impressive as other travel credit cards from Amex, but it has no annual fee. That alone makes it a winner. Even though you don’t get many benefits with this card, you still get Amex perks, such as the ability to transfer your points to other airline loyalty programs. This makes the card appealing to consumers as it’s another way to earn Aeroplan and other loyalty program points.

American Express Green Card

  • No annual fee
  • 10,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Earn 1 Additional point per $1 spent on American Express Travel
  • Buyer’s assurance and purchase protection

Welcome bonus and earn rate

The American Express Green Card typically has a welcome bonus worth 10,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months of cardmembership. However, they often have an increased bonus where you can earn 12,500 Membership Rewards points. That said, when there’s an increased offer, the minimum spend requirement typically goes up too.

As for the earn rate, you’ll get 2 points per dollar spent on hotel and car rentals booked through the Amex travel portal. All other purchases earn you 1 point per dollar spent. While this earning rate is quite low, it’s comparable to other no fee credit cards. Your return is essentially 1%, but if you transfer your points to Aeroplan, it’s not hard to double that value (I’ll explain in detail further below).

Benefits and perks

Let’s examine the benefits of my American Express Green Card review. What you’ll quickly realize is that the card comes with little perks. However, it’s still one of the best no fee credit cards because American Express has unique benefits.

Airline transfer partners

You can transfer the points you’ve earned with your American Express Green Card to the following airline partners:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan (1:1)
  • British Airways Avios (1:1)
  • Air France KLM Flying Blue (1:.75)
  • Asia Miles (1:.75)
  • Delta SkyMiles (1:.75)
  • Etihad Guest (1:75)

Canadians will likely be most interested in the transfer agreement with Aeroplan. It’s a 1:1 transfer ratio, and there’s a 1,000-point transfer minimum. Aeroplan points are typically valued at around 2 cents each, so when you transfer your points to Aeroplan, you can easily double the value of your points.

Hotel transfer partners

The Amex Green Card also allows you to transfer your points to the following hotel partners:

  • Marriott Bonvoy (1:1.2)
  • Hilton Honors (1:1)

The ability to transfer your points to Marriott Bonvoy is interesting since Marriott International has more than 8,000 hotels in 140+ countries. That means you’ll always have access to a hotel where you can use your points. That said, there’s also an American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card with a higher earn rate. So if you want to earn hotel points, the Green Card is not your best option.

Purchase insurance

  • Buyers assurance – 90 days
  • Extended warranty – Up to 1 year

You get some standard purchase insurance with the American Express Green Card. Buyers assurance is the same as purchase protection, where your purchases are covered from loss, theft, and damage for 90 days. With the extended warranty, your manufacturer’s warranty is doubled up to one additional year.

American Express experiences

Having the American Express Green Card gives you access to American Express experiences, which can be exclusive. Some of the perks you get access to include:

  • Front of the line – American Express has agreements with many major concerts, theatre productions, and more where you can buy pre-sale tickets.
  • Reserved tickets – Some venues have an exclusive agreement with American Express, where seats are reserved for those with an American Express credit card.
  • Offers – Throughout the year, you’ll get retail offers where you can save on restaurants, travel, and more.
  • The Hotel Collection – Cardholders get access to the American Hotel Collection. When you book two nights at a participating hotel, you get a room upgrade when available and up to $100 USD in hotel credits.

How to redeem your points

American Express Membership Rewards is the best bank travel rewards program in Canada. As you’ve already learned, you can transfer your points to select hotel and airline partners. What makes American Express Membership Rewards points unique is that you can redeem your points for travel or a statement credit at the same rate. 1,000 Membership Rewards points get you $10 as a statement credit or travel. This essentially makes the card a hybrid travel and cash back card. That said, transferring your points to Aeroplan will usually give you the best return if you want to maximize your value.

In addition, your points can be redeemed via the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program. This program is beneficial since it can increase the value of your points based on where you’re flying to. For example, a Canadian short haul flight (Calgary to Vancouver, Toronto to New York, etc.) would cost you only 15,000 points, but you could redeem up to $300 for the base fare. That would give you a value of 2 cents per point, which is double the regular rate.

You also have the option to use your points for gift cards and merchandise, but that’s a low value so I don’t recommend it.

American Express Green Card eligibility

The American Express Green Card eligibility is clear and vague at the same time.

  • You must be a resident of Canada
  • You must be at least the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside

You’ll notice that American Express doesn’t have a formal income requirement. That means this card could be good for students. Like other banks, American Express doesn’t list a minimum credit score requirement for approval. That said, since this is an entry-level card, you likely want your credit score to be at least 660.

How the American Express Green Card compares

It’s time to go over comparable cards in this American Express Green Card review. Since this is a no fee credit card where you can earn travel rewards or cash back, you need to compare several cards.

American Express Green Card vs. Tangerine Money-Back Card

One of the most popular no fee cash back cards is the Tangerine Money Back Card. You’ll earn 2% cash back on up to three categories of your choice. All other purchases earn you 0.5%. This card is great for people who want cash back since you can choose your categories with the increased earning rate, but the lower base rate is not ideal.

American Express Green Card vs. CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card

I also like to compare this card to the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card since it’s a no fee Aeroplan card. With the CIBC Card, you earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on grocery, gas, EV charging, and Air Canada purchases. All other purchases earn you 1 Aeroplan point per $1.50 spent. This is a lower earn rate than the American Express Green Card since the Green Card gives you 1 American Express Membership Rewards point per dollar spent. Remember, those points can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.

Final thoughts

My American Express Green Card review is positive. It’s good for people in the following situations:

  • You don’t want to pay an annual fee – This card allows you to earn points without having to pay a yearly fee.
  • You want flexible points – American Express Membership Rewards points can be used for travel or a statement credit. You can also transfer your points to select airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • You want access to American Express Experiences – Get front of the line access, offers, and access to the hotel collection by being an American Express cardholder.

Overall, the American Express Green Card is a no fee, entry level card that gives you flexibility with its points. It’s a great card to have if you want to provide yourself with options while having access to American Express Experiences.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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