The most recognizable credit card in the world is no longer a world-beater.
The most iconic credit card is clearly the American Express Green card. It’s so well known that for decades, and until recently, it was just called “the American Express card.” But now that Amex offers literally dozens of cards, it just calls it by its color, kind of like their Gold and Platinum cards.
Now that this card is so old, you have to ask yourself if it still makes sense. Let’s take a look…
What the Green Card offers
With this card, you earn one point per dollar spent in the American Express Membership Rewards program and double points for booking travel through the American Express travel agent.
Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, and other goods, but they are most valuable when transferred to frequent-flier miles with 17 different programs. When these miles are redeemed for premium-class international airfare, it is often possible to receive three to five cents in value per point, instead of about a penny a point for other options.
And right now, it doesn’t even offer a sign-up bonus, although you may receive a targeted offer that does. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and it still has the outdated 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee, which I’ve loathed for years.
What should you do?
I love the American Express Membership Rewards program because I can transfer my rewards to airline miles. This allows me to book award flights when and where I want, which can be a problem when your rewards are tied up with one airline.
This card also used to be a great entry-level product that offered a gateway to the Membership Rewards program, but it has since been surpassed by another American Express card.
Amex now offers its Everyday Preferred card, which also earns points in its Membership Rewards program. Everyday Preferred cardholders can earn double points on U.S. gasoline purchases and triple points on up to $6,000 spent each year at grocery stores. In addition, cardholders receive a 50 percent points bonus each statement period when they make more than 30 transactions.
So you get the ability to earn a lot more points from the Everyday Preferred card than you do from the Green card, and it has the same $95 annual fee. It even offers new applicants 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening.
Also, the Amex Everyday card offers nearly all of the same benefits as the Green card, such as a roadside assistance hotline, car rental loss and damage insurance, and travel accident insurance. The Green card offers a baggage insurance plan that the Everyday card doesn’t, but that’s hardly worth missing out on the extra points earning potential.
So given the option between having the classy-looking Green card, and earning more points and paying no annual fee on the Everyday card, the choice is clear. The Green card was a great product in its day, but the competitive world of credit card rewards has since passed it by. Sad but true.
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