Credit & Charge Card Reviews (1): The American Express Card (Amex Green)

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This is my review of The American Express Card (Amex Green) charge card issued in the UK.

Starting today, we are running updated versions of our key travel rewards credit card reviews.  Long term readers will recognise this as an October tradition which helps ease the workload over half-term 🙂

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit and charge cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page. My other UK airline and hotel credit and charge card reviews can be found here.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Experian Credit Score.

Key link:  The American Express Card (Amex Green) application page

Key facts:  £60 per year. You can cancel at any point and will receive a pro-rata refund if you cancel during the year.

Interest rate:  None.  Amex Green is a charge card, not a credit card.  You must repay your entire balance in full at the end of each month.

Amex Green review (The American Express Card)

What is the Amex Green sign-up bonus?

I should say upfront that there are very few reasons to get The American Express Card when you look at the rest of the Amex portfolio.  Other cards offer similar features without a fee, or offer substantially better benefits for a higher fee.

There is no sign-up bonus on Amex Green.

This is not a great start!  It compares very poorly with:

10,000 Membership Rewards points for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card (free in Year 1, £140 thereafter)

30,000 Membership Rewards points for The Platinum Card charge card (£575)

5,000 Membership Rewards points with the American Express Rewards Credit Card (free for life)

You can read our review of American Express Preferred Rewards Gold here, our review of American Express Platinum here and our review of American Express Rewards here.

Any other benefits with Amex Green?

No.  The American Express Card (Amex Green) is a very basic product.

Again, this compares poorly with – say – Preferred Rewards Gold which is free for the first year and comes with two airport lounge passes, double points on airline and foreign spend and 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points if you spend £15,000 per year.

What is the Amex Green annual fee?

£60 per year.

This is not good value compared with Preferred Rewards Gold (no fee for the first year and better benefits) or the American Express Rewards Credit Card which is free for life, has a sign-up bonus and has the same day-to-day earnings rate.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.

This is same rate as you get on The Platinum Card, Preferred Reward Gold and the American Express Rewards Credit Card.

However, Amex Gold has three special bonuses which make it more attractive than Amex Green – foreign currency transactions and airline transactions earn 2 points per £1, and you receive 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points if you spend £15,000 per year.

What is a Membership Rewards point worth?

Anything from ‘not a lot’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer!  I wrote this lengthy article on the subject here.

If you redeem your points for, say, an Amazon gift card then you will receive around 0.5p per point. This is a poor return compared to a typical cashback card or the value of an airline mile if used sensibly.

I tend to value airline miles at 0.75p – 1p each (this is conservative) so that is your valuation if you transfer to an airline programme.

Some of the hotel programmes also offer good value. Radisson Rewards (the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn scheme) transfers at 1:3 from Membership Rewards, for example. Their top five-star hotels generally cost 70,000 points per night which would be just over 23,000 Membership Rewards points. This would usually get you over 1p per point of value.

The other hotel partners are Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

You can take a look at the full list of Membership Rewards travel options here.

Is Amex Green a good card to use when travelling?

No, not really.

Because Amex adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.  Unfortunately there are no credit cards with a 0% foreign exchange fee which earn airline or hotel points.  One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

If you want a dedicated credit card to use abroad, take a look at the Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (click here).  This card is free and charges NO foreign exchange fees.  It also offers 0% interest on purchases for 12 months and 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months.  Representative APR 21.9% variable.

Other points to note

American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for any of its cards.

You benefit from various Amex purchase protection features.  To quote the Amex Green website:

  • When the manufacturer’s warranty expires on your favourite new purchase, we’ll give you a year’s Extended Warranty up to £1,500 per item
  • Enjoy Refund Protection on eligible items.  If the UK retailer won’t refund or replace the eligible item, we will, up to a maximum of £200.
  • You also get Purchase Protection. If you bought it on your Card and it’s stolen or damaged within 90 days, we’ll replace or repair it, or refund you up to £2,500 per eligible item.

Conclusion

It is difficult to work out why anyone would want to apply for The American Express Card (Amex Green).

If you are looking for a low cost American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points, you should get the American Express Rewards Credit Card instead (free for life) or Preferred Rewards Gold (free for Year 1, with free airport lounge passes).

If you want a sign-up bonus (and who wouldn’t?!) you should look at Preferred Rewards Gold (10000 points), The Platinum Card (30000 points) or the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5000 points).

The only reason to get Amex Green is if you specifically want a charge card – perhaps you don’t want the temptation of a credit card and being able to roll-over your balance at the month end – and would prefer one which has a permanently low fee, compared to Amex Gold (free in year 1 but £140 afterwards).

The application form for Amex Green can be found here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

250 Membership Rewards points or Avios for £5 spend on Amex
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Comments

  1. The extended warranty is exclusive to the Green Card, and it’s not a standard Amex offering across all products. Indeed, I’ll be buying my first house next year and buying most furniture, electrical products etc as new, and may opt for the Green Card.

    HSBC Premier has a similar offering but it’s much more restrictive. It’s also very useful for products that only come with a, for example, 90 day warranty, as these are also covered for a further year

    • the_real_a says:

      Over the years Ive made several claims on the “extended year” warranty on my Halifax card. In fact its the only reason i keep it. Definitely an under-rated benefit IMO.

    • Is it possible to hold Plat and Green?

    • HSBC Premier Credit Card’s extended warranty is far superior. They (unbelievably) don’t mention it but read the T&Cs – it includes accidental damage for a full 3 years. Invaluable for laptops etc.

  2. Graham Watson says:

    I’m not sure that’s the only reason to get the card. Lots of offers for Amex charge cards don’t get posted to the Rewards credit card.

  3. Isn’t the main benefit the ability to upgrade to platinum?

  4. sorry reward points related is the business plat card always 27k per referral ? or is it a special offer

  5. There is really no point to this particular card 🙄 it’s a nostalgia product at best.

    • memesweeper says:

      IMHO it’s the classiest looking Amex. And yes, if you want to keep your MR alive and know you will upgrade to Plat soon it’s better than the free credit card.

  6. I took out the card purely to test whether the 9k MR bonus for self-referral (from my Amex Plat) would work… It did.

    The Statement Credits for Marriott, MyFreeNowHailoTaxi, Hawksmoor, Gauchos and Hilton have all more than covered the card fee. All of which I’ve been able to double dip with my Amex Plat (except MyFreeNowHailoTaxi as it was every trnx).

    I suspect I’ll give it up at the end of Yr 1 but it’s certainly been a beneficial product for me.

  7. Shouldn’t you mention the travel inconvenience and baggage insurance as a core benefit? From memory it compares well to premium Amex cards (free cards have none) for a fraction of the annual fee

    • Most people would have that as part of their travel insurance though, surely?

      • Why do you think most people have travel insurance?

        • I agree I don’t expect most people to have travel insurance, surely not for most short trips. The £60 annual fee could be value for simple no fuss coverage, especially if travelling with partner / family (single booking paid on the card)

  8. The extended warranty isn’t even offered on the platinum card… useful to have (as I have found with my US issued amex cards with it)

    • Doctorbee says:

      Yes, this does seem to be a benefit specific to the Green card. Would be useful for appliance purchases!

  9. After 9 years as an Amex Plat, I had to bite the bullet a few months ago and downgrade – it was madness enough at £450, £575 too many straws on the camels etc.
    Downgrading to Green was the “easiest” option to keep MR the same and so on- same account, basically, just a new card issued against it.
    Shame that the Gold stopped being a Charge as otherwise I would have downgraded there.

    • Doctorbee says:

      I have just last month been able to downgrade to a Gold charge card. It is still available, just not for new applicants.

    • the_real_a says:

      I was also offered and accepted a downgrade to the Gold charge card when i cancelled the Plat this year…

    • NvT1115 says:

      I was also offered a Gold Charge Card free for a year to keep my custom in the last month when I cancelled my Plat card

  10. O/T anyone else having problems getting the Free Now app to work? Whenever I try to book it just says “Sorry your payment method is currently unavailable”

  11. Big Dave says:

    I like my Green – depending on the offers redeemed the £60 benefit may be dubious – but I got it to get the Gold Charge in the future – then they pulled the gold charge….
    I do not want a credit card …. so I thought I’d hang on for the platinum charge card… then they upped the fee and made it rather impossible for me to get value for it so stuck on green – for the forseable future as do not want a credit card (though I have not applied I probably would not qualify as not tax resident anywehere in particular, failed to get the BA amexes but that was years ago)
    Grean for churning points and have accumulated probably more than the £60 worth per year just with referals and offers

    • Shoestring says:

      you could time upgrading to Plat for a heavy spend 3 months to hit the £4000 target (eg pay all your annual council tax + pre pay some other bills) and at a time when you can use the Priority Pass lounge passes

      bank the 20K MR points

      then downgrade to Gold *charge* card (yes, charge)

      • Shoestring says:

        & do a few referrals from Plat

      • Plastivore says:

        Ah, that’s interesting to know! I applied for the Amex Gold Credit Card because, well, it currently seems to be the best deal at the moment, with its first year for free, but I find the advantages of the former Gold charge card more interesting (travel insurance and extended warranty are included, IIRC), though I think it didn’t get the point multipliers. That would be a bit more interesting for my usage since I really don’t need the credit facility on the card (If I need a credit, my bank card has a much better rate! But I’m still not planning on using it).

        Would you happen to know if the Gold Charge Card you get from downgrading from a platinum card has the same benefits as the current Credit Card (bar the credit facility), or is it the same as the former Gold Charge Card? If the latter, it could totally be worth upgrading to a Platinum card for a year of heavy travel and then downgrade to the Gold Charge.

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