American Express Gold vs. Green Cards: Which One Should You Get?

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If you’re looking to apply for a new card that earns rewards, you may have come across the American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Green Card*. Both are popular offers in the middle tier of travel rewards cards, with a sizable slate of perks and an annual membership fee.

Both cards offer perks that may be beneficial to you, whether at home or on the road, and share some similarities. Ultimately, though, they appeal to people with different priorities and spending habits, and while there’s no such thing as the “best” card, we can help you decide which one might suit your needs best.

Amex Gold vs. Amex Green at a Glance

While the cards have similar annual fees, they differ greatly in terms of earning rates and perks. Here’s a quick comparison of their most relevant features.

Amex GoldAmex Green
Annual Fee$250 (See Rates & Fees)$150
Welcome Offer60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months45,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first six months
Bonus Points4x at restaurants; 4x at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x); 3x on flights booked directly from airlines or via Amex Travel; 1x on other purchases3x points on travel and at restaurants; 1x on other purchases
CreditsUp to $120 in Uber Cash annually (for U.S. Eats orders and rides; Gold Card must be added to the Uber app to receive the benefit); Up to $120 in dining statement credits annually ($10 per month)Up to $100 Clear credit; Up to $100 LoungeBuddy credit

The American Express Gold: Fee and Perks 

The Amex Gold card is the more expensive card of the two. It has a $250 annual fee but comes with perks that can help you have a more luxurious travel experience. This includes access to the American Express Hotel Collection, with more than 600 participating hotels where you can get up to a $100 credit on qualifying purchases if you stay two or more nights. You are also eligible for room upgrades, if available.

The card is currently offering  60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in your first six months of membership.

Membership Rewards points do not expire as long as your account is in good standing. You can use these points for free or discounted travel by transferring them to airlines or hotels, or by using the Amex Travel portal. With 60,000 points, you can book some great travel experiences for free, including flying round-trip coast to coast in the U.S. with a companion in first class.

The card earns 4x points per dollar on dining at restaurants, including takeout and delivery. That elevated earning rate makes it a great card for people who often eat at, or order from, restaurants. For those who prefer to cook at home, the Gold card is also a good choice since it earns 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year (then 1x). While it’s clearly positioned as a “foodie” card, it also earns 3x points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or at AmexTravel.com. (You won’t earn that elevated 3x rate if you book through travel portals like Expedia.) The card earns 1x points per dollar on other purchases.

Here are some other notable perks the card comes with:

  • Up to $120 annually in Uber Cash ($10 per month, which can be used on U.S. car rides and food delivery via Uber Eats) as well as up to 12 months of Uber Eats Pass membership (must enroll by 12/31/21; Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting from initial enrollment in this offer, at then-current monthly rate)
  • Up to $120 annual dining statement credit ($10 per month, can be used on GrubHub, Seamless, Shake Shack and more)
  • ShopRunner free two-day shipping
  • No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)

The American Express Green: Fee and Perks 

The Amex Green card carries a $150 annual fee. While that fee is a bit more than half of the Gold card’s $250, its welcome offer is 45,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first six months of membership. (In any case, we advise you not to overspend in order to meet a spending target for a bonus, or you might pay more in credit card interest than the bonus is worth.)     

Pro Tip

Use the up to $100 Clear credit on the Amex Green card to breeze past airport security, which will come in handy as people return to flying.

The card earns 3x points per dollar on both travel and restaurants, plus 1x points per dollar on other purchases. In other words, it rewards you less than the Gold on dining at restaurants, and same as the Gold on flying — but also gives you 3x points on all travel, not just flights.

However, it adds two perks that might help sway frequent flyers. The first is a credit up to $100 toward membership in Clear, a biometric scanning that’s the fastest way to get through airport security (at least in airports where Clear is available.) The other is a credit of up to $100 toward airport lounge access bought through LoungeBuddy, an app that reviews and offers paid entry to lounges. If you don’t have lounge access as an elite member of an airline’s mileage program, this is a great way to make your flying experience much better.       

Here are some other worthwhile benefits:

  • Uber Eats Pass Membership
  • ShopRunner free two-day shipping
  • No foreign transaction fees
American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card

Editor’s Score: (3.9/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    45,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $150
  • Regular APR:
    See Rates & Fees
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    100,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

How to Decide Between the Amex Gold Card and the Amex Green Card

Ultimately, both cards earn points for free or discounted travel, with notable perks that can help you save money either on dining or traveling.

The Amex Gold card is geared more toward travelers who plan their trips or daily life around food. The 4x points on restaurants and U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x) can add up quickly, and both the dining statement credits and Uber credits are easy ways to save money on food delivery (or Uber rides).

Conversely, the Green card comes with perks like a Clear membership that can help you breeze past airport security. The up to $100 credit to LoungeBuddy can help you travel in style even before your flight (and lounges nearly always offer free food and drink, although the pandemic has reduced service levels and forced some lounges to close temporarily.) 

You’ll earn 3x points per dollar on both restaurants and travel on the Green card, compared to 4x on restaurants and 3x on airfare (booked through amextravel.com or directly with airlines) on the Gold. The Green card categories with elevated earnings are more broad, but the Gold has a higher earning rate in categories you might care more about.

As mentioned earlier, there’s no such thing as the “best” card, and it’s important to consider your spending habits, goals, and preferences to determine which could be a better fit for you.

Why I Prefer the Amex Gold Card

With that said, I do have a favorite between those two cards. I personally have the Amex Gold card, and it’s one of the cards I use most often. I frequently dine out or order takeout to support my favorite restaurants. I get a solid use out of my $10 monthly Uber Cash, which I  spend on Uber Eats orders rather than car rides, as well as the $10 monthly dining credit. Since I also earn 4x on all of these restaurant purchases, it’s easy for me to accrue valuable Membership Rewards points that I have used pre-pandemic, and will use once it’s safe to do so again, on travel.

That 4x earning rate alone was enough to make me decide without hesitation for the Gold. It has an annual fee $100 higher than the Green, but the higher earning rate on things I would buy often anyway means I get more value out of the more expensive of those two cards. 

Another point in favor of the Gold if you like to travel is access to The Hotel Collection to get room upgrades and property credits.

One area where I think the Green card outshines the Gold is Clear membership. I have Clear, and find a lot of value in the service — a huge time saver at crowded airports, when those return, anyway — so I  would certainly value the $100 Clear credit from the Green card.

In addition, the Green card earns the elevated rate of three points per dollar on much broader travel categories. The Gold card earns 3x just on airfare, when booked directly with airlines or at AmexTravel.com. The Green card, on the other hand, earns 3x on all travel, including hotels.

One feature both cards share is access to Amex Offers, which I take advantage of frequently, saving money (or earning bonus points) from many of my favorite retailers. In fact, this is one of my favorite ways to find good deals, especially combined with a cash back service such as Rakuten. 

In many ways, these cards are similar to one another. When deciding between the two, I recommend factoring in the cost of the annual fee, earning rates, and whether you’d rather have more travel or dining perks. You’ll be able to extract more value where it matters for you, and turn it into more free travel once doing so is safe again.

*All information about the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here.