Business Green Rewards Card from American Express Review: Who Is This Card Good For?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Dec 5, 2018

The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express is a basic charge card that provides the most rewards for those who book their travel through the American Express travel portal.

This particular card has been around for at least two decades, making it one of the most well-known cards in the business.

While the Green card has a great legacy, do its rewards and benefits deserve a spot in your wallet? That’s the question we’re going to answer in this review.

To provide that answer, we’re going to analyze the card’s rewards structure, how much that structure can earn you over the course of the year, which benefits the card has and what its rates and fees are.

Then, we’re going to compare it to three other business credit cards so you can see examples of what else is out there. This comparison will help you understand how other cards help you earn rewards and if those cards might be better suited for how your business uses its credit cards.

The final part of our review will give you some tips on how to use the AmEx Green business card to your advantage.

A Quick Word About Charge Cards

We mentioned earlier this the Green card is a charge card, which means the card has no credit limit and the entire balance is due each month. A credit card, on the other hand, has a credit limit and there’s a minimum amount due each month that’s usually between 1% and 3% of the balance.

The Rewards

This business credit card has two simple ways to earn rewards.

The first is a 5,000-point bonus that you earn after your first purchase. Those points are known as “Membership Rewards” points and can be used in a variety of ways through the American Express Membership Rewards portal (more on that later).

The card’s fine print says it will take 8-12 weeks for the points to show up in your Membership Rewards account.

The second way you can earn rewards is by earning points through making purchases. When you use your Green card to purchase travel through the AmEx travel website, you’ll earn 2 points for every dollar. All other purchases, minus a few things like traveler's checks and credit card fees/interest, will earn you one point.

So, if you book $5,000 worth of travel per year through AmEx and then use the card for another $25,000 in purchases, you’ll earn 35,000 points per year.

Using Your Points Through Membership Rewards

There are three main ways to get the most value out of your points: travel transfers, gift cards, and AmEx travel.

AmEx allows you to transfer your Membership Rewards points to any of the following international airline frequent-flier programs at a rate of 1 point for 1 mile:

  • Aeroplan
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • Asia Miles
  • British Airways Executive Club

You can transfer the points at a 1:0.75 rate to the following carriers, which means 1,000 Membership Rewards points are worth 750 miles in the two programs:

  • Delta
  • Etihad

You also have the option of redeeming any Membership Rewards points you have by using them to pay for travel you book through the American Airlines travel portal. If you go this route, your points will be worth $10 for every 1,000 you use when making a purchase through the portal.

AmEx knows how many points you’ve got in your account and makes redeeming them for travel a fluid process.

Finally, you can redeem your points for gift cards. In some cases, your redemption rate will be $10 for every 1,000 points. However, some cards will worse redemption rates, so keep that in mind.

AmEx allows you to use your points to cancel out any charges you made on the card. However, the redemption ratio is poor: $6 for every 1,000 points.

The Benefits

Owning this card provides you with a particular set of benefits that are most applicable to travelers.

Whenever you purchase a car rental with this card, you’ll get complimentary insurance coverage, which means you can waive the coverage the car rental agency offers.

Also, whenever you book a flight with your Green card, you’ll get up to $1,750 in coverage for lost, stolen or damaged carry-on and checked baggage.

Finally, items you purchase with your card get purchase protection. If you buy something that’s accidentally damaged or stolen within 120 days, then you may be able to be reimbursed for that item.

Each of these benefits has certain restrictions and limitations, so make sure you read through the benefits guide you get with your Green card.

In addition to these perks, AmEx offers various accounting features that can help you track your spending. You get free employee cards, too, as well as the ability to set spending limits for those employee cards.

Rates and Fees

Because this card is a charge card, there is a very limited set of fees. You can’t do balance transfers or cash advances with this card, nor can you carry a balance.

American Express may offer you something called “Pay Over Time”, which allows you to pay a balance back over time instead of when the bill is due. According to their fine print, charges of $100 or more are eligible for Pay Over Time, but there is not set APR and AmEx decided whether you get Pay Over Time.

You won’t pay an annual fee the first year you own this card and every year after that it will be $95. The card has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

Late payment fees are up to $38 or 2.99% of the late balance, whichever is greater This could be a costly fee, especially if you’re carrying a balance in excess of $1,300. At this point, AmEx will charge you the 2.99%. If you’ve got a balance of, for example, $4,000, then you’ll pay $119, which, over the course of the year, equals an APR of 35%.

Pro tip: Returned payments incur a $38 fee.

Comparing the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express to Other Business Cards

In our opinion, there are better business rewards credit cards out there and the following chart will show you the data that led to our decision:

Business Green from AmEx Discover it Business Chase Ink Business Unlimited Wells Fargo Business Platinum American Express SimplyCash Plus
Yearly Rewards $320 $450 $450 $450 $367
Sign-Up Bonus $50 $450 $500 $500 $0
0% intro APR N/A 12 12 9 9
APR N/A 14.74% - 24.74% 14.99% - 20.99% 12.99% - 22.99% 13.99% - 20.99%
Customer Service 5 stars 5 stars 3 stars 3 stars 5 stars

The Business Green is different from the other cards on this list because it’s the only charge card, so there is no APR.

However, what it has in common with the other cards – rewards, sign-up bonus – is where this card falters. Your yearly rewards total of $320 is based on $30,000 in total spending and $2,000 in travel spending through the AmEx portal.

This total is more than $100 behind the cards from Discover, Chase and Wells Fargo, as well as the AmEx Simply Cash Plus business card.

Furthermore, the Green card has no introductory offer of 0% APR on purchases and/or balance transfers.

In our opinion, a lack of solid rewards and the absence of 0% intro APR offer make this a weak choice among the cards we included in the table.

It’s one saving grace is that American Express has a sterling customer service ranking, having finished in the top-two of J.D. Power’s credit card customer satisfaction survey over the past four years.

How to Use the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express to Your Advantage

Based on all the data we’ve compiled and analysis we’ve done, we see the Green card being a good fit for a very specific type of person.

We believe the best fit for this card is someone who is an American Express loyalist who books all of their company's travel through the American Express travel portal. If you’re this kind of person, you’ll be able to leverage the 2x rewards on travel purchases.

Aside from that, there aren’t many ways that you can use this card to your advantage that would make this a better choice than other business rewards cards that we’ve analyzed.

If you want to get a sense of the other options you have, then take a few minutes to read through our rankings of the best business rewards credit cards.

In this guide, we take an in-depth look at seven different business credit cards and compare them across seven categories, including yearly rewards, APR and annual fee. This guide will help you see where the Green card fits in and why it may or may not be a good choice for you.

In the end, finding the right business rewards card is about understanding where your business spends your money and which cards best reward that type of spending.

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