amex green card amex gold card

AMEX Green vs Gold

Side by Side Comparison & AMEX Points Calculator

AMEX Green vs Gold side-by-side list of earning rates and benefits. Calculate total AMEX Points and cash value of both based on spend, perks, and fees.


The AMEX Green Card and AMEX Gold Card are two of the top cards in the AMEX Membership Rewards Program. The AMEX Green Card is centered around those who travel as it offers the bonus categories of travel and dining while also offering benefits such as $100 in CLEAR credits and $100 in Loungebuddy credits. The AMEX Gold Card is more focused on your everyday spend with categories like supermarket and dining along with $120 in dining credits. Both cards provide a way to earn lots of valuable points assuming you can put them to use to make the annual fees worth paying.

Bonus Categories

The AMEX Green Card and AMEX Gold Card both feature three bonus categories. The AMEX Green features travel, transit, and restaurant while the AMEX Gold features U.S. supermarkets, restaurant, and airfare.

AMEX Green Card Categories

The AMEX Green Card is going to be the better option if you're looking to earn points on travel. The card earns 3 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent on general travel purchases (airfare, hotels, car rentals, etc.) and transit purchases. That makes the AMEX Green one of the top choices for road trips and vacations. The card also has no international transaction fees which makes it a good choice for international travel (assuming you're visiting somewhere in which AMEX is accepted).

AMEX Gold Card Categories

The AMEX Gold Card is what you'll want to pick up if you're looking to earn on everyday purchases. The card earns 4 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants (worldwide). The AMEX Gold Card also earns 3 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent on airfare which is great if you're looking to book airline tickets directly with an airline. Like the AMEX Green, the AMEX Gold also has no foreign transaction fee which makes it a great option for earning lots of points spending at restaurants internationally. Unfortunately, the supermarket category is tied to United States establishments only so you will not be able to use the card to earn at international supermarkets.

get go gas 4x
My AMEX Gold Card earns me 4x points per $1 spent on gas at Giant Eagle Get Go which codes as grocery.

Overlapping Categories

The AMEX Green and AMEX Gold Card both feature restaurant as an overlapping category. The better option in terms of points will be the AMEX Gold Card since you're earn an additional point per $1 spent.

Since the AMEX Green Card features general travel purchases as a category, airfare can be considered to be an overlapping category. If you frequently travel, the AMEX Green will be the better option just because it covers many subcategories of travel.

One big plus to the AMEX Gold Card is the 4 Membership Rewards Points per $1 you earn on U.S. supermarket spend. Many supermarkets offer gift cards which means you can easily earn 4x on categories you wouldn't normally be able to. For example, I can go to my local Giant Eagle or Meijer and buy a $200 Kohl's Gift Card or $100 AutoZone Gift Card. This would be equal to me earning 4x at both since I can use the gift card to checkout as normal in-store or online with either retailer. This can add a significant amount of value to the AMEX Gold Card if you don't mind buying gift cards. Just note that the U.S. supermarket category is capped at $25,000 in purchases per calendar year.

AMEX Green Card

  • 3x Travel
    • AMEX defines travel as being:
      • Airfare
      • Hotels
      • Timeshare Rentals
      • Vacation Rentals
      • Car Rentals
      • Cruises
      • Tours
      • Vacation Packages
      • Third Party Travel Agencies (i.e. Expedia)
    • Purchases made on the AMEX Travel Portal will also count towards this bonus category.
  • 3x Transit
    • AMEX defines transit purchases as (but is not limited to):
      • Trains
      • Taxi Cabs
      • Rideshares
      • Ferries
      • Tolls
      • Parking
      • Buses
      • Subways
  • 3x Restaurant
  • 1x Non-Category

AMEX Gold Card

  • 4x Restaurant
    • Purchases are for restaurants worldwide.
  • 4x U.S. Supermarket
    • Note that these purchases are for the U.S. only; International supermarket purchases will earn you the non-category rate.
    • Annual spend cap of $25,000 per year; Earns at non-category rate once cap is hit.
      • Limit is to cap gift cards that can be picked up from grocery stores.
      • Earning 4x on gift cards is a great way to expand this category to others (e.g. getting a $100 AutoZone gift card is equal to earning 4x on AutoZone purchases).
  • 3x Airfare
    • Can be booked direct or through the American Express Travel Portal.
  • 1x Non-Category

Perks & Benefits

The AMEX Green Card and AMEX Gold Card both feature annual credits that can add more value as well as offer several other benefits and insurance. When it comes to comparing the AMEX Green's benefits versus the AMEX Gold, it will depend on if you're able to fully use these credits.

AMEX Green Benefits

The AMEX Green Card offers an annual $100 credit towards CLEAR which uses biometrics to speed you through airport security and an annual $100 credit towards LoungeBuddy which gives you the ability to purchase one-time lounge passes, on-demand, when you need them.

One benefit that the AMEX Green offers that the AMEX Gold does not is Trip Delay Insurance. trip delay insurance reimburses you for necessary and reasonable accommodations, restaurant expenses, and sundry items that results from a delayed flight or trip which can be a money saver in the case that everything does not go your way.

AMEX Gold Benefits

The AMEX Gold Card offers two annual benefits as well. You'll receive $120 in annual dining credits broken down into $10 in credits per month for select restaurants and a $100 airline incidental credit which will trigger for incidental purchases made with a select airline. You're given the option to choose an airline when you first get the card and you have the chance to change your airline in January. Do note that I've been able to change my selected airline by contacting AMEX... so it's not set in stone if you want to switch airlines before you use your credit.

Overlapping Benefits

Both the AMEX Green Card and AMEX Gold Card features several benefits that you'll find standard on AMEX Cards such as ShopRunner Membership, access to AMEX Offers, and AMEX Entertainment access. You'll also receive some insurance and purchase coverage such as car rental loss and damage insurance, extended warranty, and purchase protection.

AMEX Green Card

  • Annual $100 CLEAR Credit
    • Triggers when you use the card to pay for your CLEAR membership.
    • CLEAR membership allows you to zoom through airport security at selected airports and stadiums.
  • Annual $100 LoungeBuddy Credit
    • Triggers on purchases with LoungeBuddy.
    • With LoungeBuddy you can purchase one-time lounge passes, on demand, when you need them.
  • ShopRunner Membership
  • No Preset Spending Limit (NPSL)
  • AMEX Offers
  • AMEX Entertainment Access
    • AMEX Presales
    • AMEX Preferred Seating
    • Access To Exclusive Events
  • Insurance and Purchase Protections

AMEX Gold Card

  • Annual $100 Airline Incidental Credit
    • Applies to your chosen airline that you pick upon receiving the card and every January thereafter.
    • Can be used with the following airlines:
      • Alaska Airlines
      • American Airlines
      • Delta Airlines
      • Frontier Airlines
      • Hawaiian Airlines
      • JetBlue Airways
      • Spirit Airlines
      • Southwest Airlines
      • United Airlines
    • Incidental charges are credited back to your account in the form of a statement credit.
    • Baggage fees, lounge fees, and in-flight purchases count as incidental charges; Can also be triggered by some seat costs (such as paying for an Exit seat).
    • Chosen airline does not have to be the same airline you picked on other cards that feature this benefit.
    • This benefit is being removed in 2022.
  • Annual $120 Dining Credit
    • Credit is broken up into $15 per month.
    • Credits do not roll over; Use it or lose it.
    • Only applies to the following restaurants:
      • GrubHub
      • Seamless
      • The Cheesecake Factory
      • Ruth's Chris Steak House
      • Shake Shack
      • Boxed
  • The Hotel Collection
    • When staying 2+ consecutive nights, you will receive:
      • $100 USD hotel credit towards hotel amenities such as dining, drinks, and spa.
      • Room upgrade at check-in.
  • The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group
  • ShopRunner Membership
  • No Preset Spending Limit (NPSL)
  • AMEX Benefits
    • American Express Experiences
    • American Express Presale(s)
    • American Express Seating
    • AMEX Offers
  • Insurance and Purchase Protections

Sign Up Bonus (SUB)

When comparing the AMEX Green Card sign up bonus versus the American Express Gold, you'll typically find that the AMEX Gold will offer a slightly higher bonus in terms of overall value. This is mainly due to the card being a little bit more costly in terms of the annual fee.

Do note that higher AMEX sign up bonuses can be triggered using incognito/private browsing. Sign up bonuses using referral links may also offer different sign up bonuses at times. Unless you want/need the card immedaitely, I would try to avoid going for low/standard bonuses if you can avoid doing such since AMEX sign up bonuses are typically once per lifetime.

AMEX Green Sign Up Bonus

The standard sign up bonus for the AMEX Green Card is 30,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months of card membership. This is worth an easy $300 when redeemed directly with AMEX for airfare through the American Express Travel Portal. You can also transfer your AMEX Points to airline and hotel partners which will give you 30,000 airline miles or hotel rewards points with several programs giving you the ability to get a lot more than $300 in value.

amex green sign up bonus
The AMEX Green offers special sign up bonuses from time to time. You can trigger these easier using private/incognito browsing.

AMEX Gold Sign Up Bonus

The standard American Express Gold Card has a sign up bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases with your card within the first 6 months. When redeemed directly through the American Express Travel Portal for airfare, this is worth $350. As mentioned with the AMEX Green Card, you can obtain higher value by transferring Membership Rewards Points to airline and hotel partners.

amex green sign up bonus
I was able to trigger a higher sign up bonus of 60,000 Points by merely using incognito/private browsing.
AMEX Green Sign Up Bonus
Bonus 30,000 Membership Rewards Points
Spend Requirement
Within First 3 Months
$2,000
Est. Value $300+
AMEX Gold Sign Up Bonus
Bonus 35,000 Points
Spend Requirement
Within First 6 Months
$4,000
Est. Value $350+

Fees

There's a $100 difference in annual fees when you compare the AMEX Gold versus the AMEX Green. While both cards can be a little pricey, they offer annual benefits that can easily cut down the overall cost of fees. If you're able to make use of these credits and card benefits, both cards can easily be worth having.

AMEX Green Fees

The AMEX Green Card has an annual fee of $150, but the card comes with an annual $100 CLEAR credit and an annual $100 LoungeBuddy credit. When you combine the $100 CLEAR credit with the discount offered by CLEAR's airline partners, you can get CLEAR for $19 per year. So if you typically pay full price for CLEAR, you can save some serious money picking up the AMEX Green Card. As for the LoungeBuddy credit, this is a useful benefit if you're looking to enjoy a lounge a few times per year.

The AMEX Green Card does not have any costs associated with adding additional cardholders. If you have family or friends that spend in travel, transit, or restaurant, you'll want to add them to the account to help build up rewards easily.

The AMEX Green has a 0% foreign transaction fee which makes it one of the top international cards for travel since you'll be able to earn an excellent 3x on travel, transit, and dining purchases.

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AMEX Gold Fees

The AMEX Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. This seems like a high annual fee, but the card comes with $120 in annual dining credits and a $100 airline travel credit which can cut the overall price down to a mere $30. This is, of course, if you're able to fully take advantage of these credits. If you can't use all the credits, the card may be harder to justify but it still earns a whopping 4x on dining and supermarket spend which is hard to beat if you spend a lot in either category.

There's no fee associated with adding additional users to the AMEX Gold which is fantastic considering the earning rates. I highly recommend adding family and friends as authorized users to help build up your points faster.

The AMEX Gold Card also has no foreign transaction fee. This makes it one of the top dining cards for internatinoal travel since you'll be earning 4x per US$1 spent. If you're looking to earn on international supermarket spend, this card will not apply since the supermarket category is tied to U.S. merchants only.

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You can use this rewards calculator to calculate how many points, miles, or cash back you can earn based on your spend per category across both cards. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of both cards based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees. Do note that you can only compare the cards covered on this page side-by-side. If you want to compare against other cards, you'll need to go to the card's specific page.

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