We compared the Amex Gold and Amex Green cards - the best option for you depends on where you spend the most
Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- Amex recently unveiled a new credit card option, the American Express® Green Card. This card offers a big welcome bonus, lucrative ongoing rewards, and the opportunity to earn Membership Rewards points.
- The American Express® Gold Card is also worth considering if the Amex Green Card caught your eye. This card offers a bigger welcome bonus and a higher earning rate for dining and US supermarkets.
- Make sure to consider how both cards might work with your spending style before you sign up. The chart and details below can help you decide.
- See Business Insider's picks for the best rewards credit cards available now »
American Express recently updated one of its oldest rewards cards aimed at consumers who want to earn American Express Membership Rewards points. The new Amex Green card hit the scene with an enticing welcome bonus, an interesting earning structure, and some very specific annual credits that can benefit certain types of consumers.Still, the fact that the updated Amex Green card is new on the scene doesn't necessarily make it the best. In fact, many would say the Amex Gold card is a better deal since it offers a bigger bonus and a higher earning rate in popular categories like dining and US supermarkets.
Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
Amex Gold vs. Amex Green: The biggest differences
Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
Welcome offerThe welcome offers on these two cards are similar, but the Amex Gold card comes with a much higher minimum spending requirement. At the moment, you can earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months with the Amex Gold, whereas the Amex Green card gives you 30,000 Membership Rewards points for spending just $2,000 within the first three months.
It's good to note, however, that both of these cards earn flexible Membership Rewards points. You can cash in these points for gift cards or merchandise, but you can also use them for travel through AmexTravel.com. Finally, you can transfer Membership Rewards point to a wide range of airline and hotel loyalty partners.
Earning rate for purchases
The earning rates for both of these cards can be lucrative, but you might earn more points with one card over another depending on how you spend. The Amex Gold card gives you 4x points on dining worldwide and on up to $25,000 spent at US supermarkets each year (then 1x), plus 3x points on flights booked with airlines or AmexTravel.com and 1x points on all other purchases.The Amex Green card, on the other hand, gives you 3x points on travel (including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services) and dining worldwide and 1x point on all other purchases.
With these rates in mind, it's easy to see how the Amex Green card might work better if you spend a lot on travel each year. Likewise, the Amex Gold card could be a better deal (and worth the higher annual fee) if you spend a ton on dining and at US supermarkets.
Read more: The best credit cards for buying groceries »
Annual feeThe annual fee on the Amex Gold card is $250, whereas the Amex Green card charges just $150 per year. Both card's annual fees can be well worth it if you're able to use their annual credits and make the most of the rewards you earn, but you should still keep this detail in mind.
Benefits - what's different?Before we dive into the benefits and credits each card offers, it's important to note that American Express tends to make its credits harder to use than other issuers. This is mostly because the credits its credit cards offer are very specific, whereas many other card issuers like Chase and Citi offer annual credits that can be used easily and for a wide range of purchases.
With that being said, here are some of the credits you can earn with either the Amex Gold or the Amex Green Card.
Airline fee credit with the Amex Gold cardThe Amex Gold card gives you up to a $100 airline fee credit each year. However, keep in mind that this credit online applies to one airline you pick ahead of time, and that it's only good for incidentals like in-flight internet access in-flight meals, and checked baggage. That makes a lot more difficult to use than, say, the annual travel credit offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Dining credits with the Amex Gold card
The Amex Gold card also offers up to $120 in dining credits each year, but once again, this credit is only good for specific purchases. The fine print for this credit clearly states that you can earn up to $10 in credits monthly for purchases made with GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed.com, and participating Shake Shack locations.If you rarely dine at any of these establishments, this $120 credit won't do much for you at all.Read more: Amex Gold card review »
Credit for Away luggage with the Amex Green card
If you apply by January 15, 2020, the Amex Green card is offering up to $100 in statement credits when you make an eligible purchase with Away luggage within the first three months of account opening. This credit seems a bit random - maybe it could help you save on holiday shopping? - and it will only benefit you if you plan to buy pricey Away luggage to begin with.
LoungeBuddy credits with the Amex Green card
The Amex Green card also gives you up to $100 in LoungeBuddy credits each year. LoungeBuddy is an airport lounge program that is not quite as good as Priority Pass. You get up to $100 in credits for lounge entry booked through the LoungeBuddy app each year, which may not go far since entry into the 700+ LoungeBuddy lounges can cost anywhere from $29 to $75 each time.
Credit for CLEAR with the Amex Green cardThe Amex Green card also gives you a $100 credit toward CLEAR membership, which works similarly to TSA PreCheck. Once again, this credit is very specific and may not matter to everyone since CLEAR isn't available at nearly as many airports as TSA PreCheck. It also costs $179 per year, so you'll still have to pay $79 out of pocket for CLEAR membership.
Read more: Amex Green card review »
Benefits shared by both cards
No foreign transaction feesBoth cards let you avoid paying foreign transaction fees on purchases you make outside the United States. This perk will save you from having to pay an additional 3% for purchases you make when you travel.
Car rental coverageBoth cards offer up to $50,000 in coverage for damage or theft of a rental vehicle. You do have to pay the full rental amount with your credit card to qualify for this coverage.
Both cards offer the same baggage insurance coverage. When you pay for travel with a common carrier with your credit card, you'll get up to $1,250 in coverage for the replacement of carry-on baggage and up to $500 for replacement of checked luggage. You can also qualify for an additional $250 in coverage for each person per covered trip for high-risk items like jewelry, sports equipment, electronics, and more.
Which card is best for you?Both the Amex Gold card and Amex Green card can be extremely lucrative if you are able to use their annual credits, but you may find one card could help you earn more points each year depending on how you spend. Make sure you compare both cards in terms of their earning rates, welcome bonuses, and ongoing benefits before you decide.
If you're unsure about either of these cards, it also makes sense to compare other travel credit cards and general rewards cards before you pull the trigger.
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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.
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