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Business Green Rewards Card from American Express review

Published: November 8, 2018

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Published: November 8, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Business Rating:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Rewards Value 0.9
Annual Percentage Rate 0.1
Rewards Flexibility 3.9
Features 5.0

In a Nutshell:

This classic American Express business charge card offers modest rewards and a more flexible spending limit, but it struggles to compete with other cards.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2 points per dollar on eligible American Express travel purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

Introductory Bonus

  • 5,000 points with your first purchase
  • Terms apply

Annual Fee
$95 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
$545

APR
Charge card (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No travel blackout dates
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Transfer points to a variety of frequent flier and other travel rewards programs
  • Can redeem points for gift cards, shopping, travel, entertainment, merchandise or charity

Cons

  • You must go through American Express to book rewards-funded travel
  • Must earn a minimum of 1,000 points before you can redeem them

Other Notable Features: Free employee cards; set customized credit limits for employees; account alerts; manage receipts more easily; designate an account manager; extra savings on eligible business purchases; mobile payments app; online business forum; baggage insurance; travel accident insurance; purchase protection; no preset spending limit; car rental insurance; free roadside assistance; extended warranty

With an instantly recognizable mint green exterior and a classic gladiator logo on the cover, the American Express Business Green Rewards Card beams with nostalgia. American Express’ classic line of Green, Gold and Platinum charge cards have offered generations of cardholders a potent combination of prestige, flexible credit and world-class customer service.

But compared to other cards in its class, the Business Green Rewards Card struggles to compete. Despite a hefty annual fee that’s comparable to what many higher end travel cards charge, the Green card’s rewards program is surprisingly stingy. It also offers relatively few benefits for such an expensive card.

Since it’s a charge card, the Business Green Rewards Card doesn’t set a strict credit limit and so it is a more flexible spending tool than the average business card. However, you can only charge what you can afford to pay back quickly since charge cards don’t let you carry over a balance to the next month.  

American Express is also renowned for its exceptional customer service, winning over customers who might otherwise be tempted by other cards. But if you want to work with American Express and prefer a charge card, you’d get more value from an American Express Gold or Platinum card. Both cards are considerably more expensive; but you get more for your money and will still be able to enjoy the benefits of owning an American Express business card.

If you don’t want to invest that much money in an annual fee, though, but still want an AmEx charge card, the Business Green Rewards Card does have some perks. Here’s what you should know about it:

Modest point rewards

The rewards program on the Business Green Rewards program is relatively straightforward, but it’s restrictive. You get two points for every dollar you spend on travel. However, you have to purchase that bonus-earning travel on amextravel.com.

If you buy a plane ticket from Orbitz or book a hotel through Hotwire, you won’t get to enjoy the extra points bonus. Any purchase that isn’t made through amextravel.com will earn just one point for every dollar spent.

Anemic earnings

Unless you spend huge sums of money on travel, the Business Green rewards system isn’t going to get you very far – even with American Express’ more generous point rewards system. American Express membership rewards points tend to be more valuable than the average card rewards point. For example, a membership rewards point is generally worth slightly more than a penny each, while the average card rewards point is worth just one cent each – a difference in value that can add up if you use your card regularly.  

However, if you only net one point for every dollar you spend on the majority of your purchases, you’re not going to earn much overall. For example, $3,000 in spending on regular purchases will net you just $36 in rewards. At two points for every dollar spent, even travel purchases don’t net that much either. A $1,000 business trip, for example, will gain you just $24 in new rewards.

Very small introductory bonus

The Business Green Rewards Card is also pretty spare for a card that charges nearly $100 a year. Cardholders earn just 5,000 points — worth around $60 — after their first purchase.

Many cards with comparable fees, by contrast, offer sign-up bonuses big enough to buy a round-trip airfare or book a free night in a high-end hotel. Even cards without annual fees typically offer larger sign-up bonuses.

Costly to own

For a card with so few benefits, the Business Green Rewards Card is pricey. It charges business cardholders an annual $95 fee – which is around the same amount that many higher end business cards charge. The Green Rewards card is considerably cheaper than American Express’ other charge cards. For example, the Business Gold Rewards card charges $175 after the first year and the Business Platinum card charges $450 as soon as you open your card. But you also get way more value for your money with the Gold and Platinum cards.

For example, the Business Gold card allows you to earn three points for every dollar spent on the category of your choice — a big opportunity for businesses that have large expenses — and two points per dollar spent on another customized category. It also offers 50,000 bonus points — worth roughly $595 — if you charge $5,000 in the card’s first three months. Compared to the Business Green Rewards card, that’s a big step up.

Flexible spending limit

The biggest selling point for the Green Rewards card is its flexible spending limit, which can be a huge convenience for cash-strapped businesses. Since it’s a charge card, the Business Green Rewards card doesn’t limit cardholders to a hard credit limit the way traditional credit cards do. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can go wild and charge $100,000 out of nowhere. You’ll still get a soft limit, based on your credit history, card usage and other factors. But overall, you’ll likely have more spending power with this card than you would with traditional credit. You just have to make sure you only charge what you can pay back at the end of the month since charge cards don’t let you revolve a balance.

You can get this perk with the American Express Gold and Platinum cards, too, but since the fees are higher, you’ll have to pay more for it. If you don’t really care about rewards and just want to gain access to a more flexible spending tool with as little investment as possible, then the Business Green Rewards Card may be your best choice.

Some business-friendly benefits

Many business cards these days offer a variety of business-friendly benefits, including upgraded travel benefits, such as baggage insurance, and business-friendly discounts. The American Express Business Green Rewards Card is no exception. It offers free employee cards that you can use to track and manage your employees’ spending and pool your card rewards.

It also allows you to set customized spending limits for your employees so you don’t have to worry about overspending. In addition, it offers convenient expense management tools, such as Spend Manager, which let you annotate your transactions with notes and receipt records. That said, it doesn’t offer the kind of perks you’ll often see on other premium cards, such as free checked bags or priority boarding.

Why get the American Express Business Green Rewards Card?

  • You prefer a charge card over a traditional credit card.
  • You want a flexible spending limit, but don’t want to pay more than $95 a year.
  • You want a business card from American Express.

How to use the American Express Business Green Rewards Card:

  • To maximize your rewards earnings, use this card for all or most of your travel purchases.
  • Go to Amextravel.com to book any trips you pay for with your charge card.
  • Be careful about your spending: Only charge what you can afford to pay back each month.
  • Use this card for expenses that may be too large for a credit card with a harder credit limit.

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