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American Express Gold Card vs. American Express Green Card: Which Is Better?

We breakdown the differences between the rewards, fees and travel perks.

CNET'S PICK
American Express® Gold Card
Apply Now

American Express® Gold Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Apply Now
On American Express's secure website
Intro Offer
60,000 Membership Rewards® Points Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$250
APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Rewards rate
3x - 4x Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Rewards
Annual credits
Travel benefits
Welcome offer
4x
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4x
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3x
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
Best for
Rewards
Annual credits
Travel benefits
Welcome offer
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
American Express® Green Card
Learn More

American Express® Green Card

5.75/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 40,000 points Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$150
APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Rewards rate
3x - 3x Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
Annual Fee
3x
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
3x
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
3x
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
Best for
Annual Fee
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more

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

The American Express® Gold Card and the American Express® Green Card are both best used to earn rewards to put toward flights. Though they’re a little pricier than other rewards credit cards with respective $250 (see rates and fees) and $150 annual fees, the Gold Card’s premium makes sense given that it doubles as a grocery card.

Despite the price, the Gold Card will be the best option for most cardholders because of its superior rewards program, welcome offer and other perks. Both cards dole out Membership Rewards points, which can make redeeming rewards trickier than classic cash-back credit cards, so both of these cards are best for frequent travelers. But there’s more to consider when deciding which one is ultimately right for you.

Annual fees

WINNER
American Express® Green Card
  • $150
American Express® Gold Card
  • $250

These cards are both slightly pricier than your average rewards credit card. They aren’t quite in the $400-plus category of premium cards, but $150 (Green Card) and $250 (Gold Card) are both significantly more than the closest competing travel credit cards, like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card* and the Citi Premier® Card which come in at $95 annually. 

As always, you’ll want to make sure the rewards and perks will make the cost of the annual fee worth your while. Alternatively, you can apply for credit cards with no annual fee

Welcome offers

American Express® Green Card
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
WINNER
American Express® Gold Card
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

The Gold Card has a higher welcome offer, at 60,000 Membership Rewards points compared to the Green Card’s 40,000. However, the Green Card’s welcome offer requires a lower spending threshold, requiring you to spend only $3,000 in eligible purchases on your card in the first six months of card membership -- a full $3,000 less than the Gold Card’s $6,000 minimum spend requirement for the same timeframe.

Consider your normal spending habits to ensure you’ll be able to reach the welcome offer. If you can easily spend $6,000 or more in six months, the Gold Card’s welcome offer will be more valuable. But if you think you’ll struggle to reach that spending threshold through your normal spending, you may be better off getting the Green Card.

Also consider how you would redeem the welcome offer to get the best value. American Express values Membership Rewards points redeemed for flights booked through Amex Travel at 1 cent per point, and for statement credits at 0.6 cent per point. So 60,000 Membership Rewards points would be worth $600 if redeemed for flights through American Express Travel, but would only be worth $360 if redeemed for a statement credit.

Rewards

American Express® Green Card
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
WINNER
American Express® Gold Card
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

The Gold earns more rewards on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, while the Green earns more rewards on transit and some travel purchases. Transit includes trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses and subways. If you commute a lot, the Green Card’s rewards programs may make more sense to you. Otherwise, the Gold covers more basic rewards categories.

Remember that the same redemption rates apply for Amex’s Membership Rewards points: You’ll get a value of 1 cent per point if you redeem your rewards for flights through American Express Travel, but significantly less for most other redemption options.

Annual credits

American Express® Green Card
  • Up to $189 CLEAR® Plus statement credit for airport security expediting (subject to auto-renewal)
  • Up to $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit for airport lounge access purchased through LoungeBuddy
WINNER
American Express® Gold Card
  • Up to $120 annual dining statement credit (up to $10 per month) for Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 annual Uber Cash (up to $10 per month) good for either rides or Uber Eats in the U.S.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

This one is trickier to determine. If you eat regularly at any of the Gold Card’s participating locations and use Uber, you can earn up to $240 that’s as good as cash. For the Green credits, CLEAR® Plus is less popular than TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and single-use passes through LoungeBuddy typically cost $40 to $50. If you regularly purchase one-day lounge passes and value CLEAR® Plus membership, the Green Card offers good credit value, but we think the dining credit and Uber Cash will do more good for the broadest group of people. 

Travel perks

American Express® Green Card
WINNER
American Express® Gold Card

Both cards offer car rental loss and damage insurance**, lost baggage insurance**, trip delay insurance** and a 24/7 global assist hotline. The Gold Card also grants access to the Hotel Collection -- a curated list of hotels which you can reserve through AmEx. If you stay at least two nights at a Hotel Collection property, you receive up to a $100 experience credit with the Gold Card for qualifying spa, dining, or resort activities (experience credit varies by property).

How American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Green Card compare to other cards

CNET’S PICK
American Express® Gold Card
Apply Now

American Express® Gold Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Intro Offer
60,000 Membership Rewards® Points Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$250
APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
3x – 4x Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Apply Now
On American Express’s secure website
American Express® Green Card
Learn More

American Express® Green Card

5.75/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 40,000 points Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$150
APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
3x – 3x Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Learn More

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
75,000 miles Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
Annual fee
$95
APR
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
2x – 5x Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options; Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

The bottom line

The Gold Card is more expensive, but it will also offer better value for most consumers. The Green Card is more travel-focused -- but other travel credit cards will most likely be better options.

FAQs

The Hotel Collection is a curated list of properties where American Express cardholders can book stays. Upon check-in, you’ll receive a free upgrade if available, and for two-night stays or longer, you’ll receive up to a $100 credit for qualifying resort activities, depending on the specific location.

Membership Rewards points can typically be redeemed for airline travel, hotels, statement credits, gift cards and more. Air travel and gift cards will generally net the highest values, but each card has its own redemption rates. Check out our breakdown of Membership Rewards point values for more information.

The CLEAR® program allows you to bypass designated airport security lines. It uses biometic information like an eye scan or fingerprint identification to quickly identify you. It only takes a few minutes to sign up. You can find more information in our comparison of Clear, TSA Precheck and Global Entry.

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

*All information about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

**Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Joe Van Brussel is a freelance writer for CNET Money, where he deciphers obfuscatory credit card offers and breaks them down so consumers actually know what belongs in their wallet. He also covers other aspects of personal finance, from life insurance and loans to tax software and the impact of broader economic trends on individuals. Joe believes the United States will win the World Cup in his lifetime, and wishes New York City apartments came standard with thick, noise-reducing windows.