American Express Business Green Rewards Review
Looking for an American Express travel rewards card for business, but put off by the $450 annual fee that comes with the exclusive Amex Business Platinum card? The Amex OPEN Business Green Rewards card might be just the card for you and your business.
The Business Green Rewards card allows you to earn 2 points to the dollar on eligible purchases on amextravel.com, American Express’s travel booking portal. Combine that with the ability to transfer your points to various airline and hotel loyalty programs, and the Green Rewards card makes a lot of sense for the small business owner with travel needs.
The Green Rewards card is a charge card — a particular specialty of American Express. Unlike a standard credit card, a charge card doesn’t allow you to carry any of your balance over to the following month (under normal circumstances — more on that later). One benefit of this arrangement is that there is no preset spending limit — instead, you’ll get an individualized spending limit that adjusts over time based on your card use, credit record, and other factors. We published an article on choosing between a charge card and a standard credit card for those interested.
You won’t be earning travel points at the same rate you would with the Business Platinum or gain access to the same fancy airport lounges, but then again, you’ll have to spend a lot less per year to cover the Business Green Rewards card’s lower annual fee.
Is the OPEN Business Green Rewards charge card enough of a value proposition for you and your business? Read on to see how well the card measures up.
Table of Contents
Business Green Rewards At A Glance
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
$95 ($0 the first year)
N/A (this is a charge card)
Want to know how this card measures up to the competition? Compare popular business credit cards at Credit.com to see how the rates and fees for Business Green Rewards stack up.
Applicants must generally have excellent credit to qualify for the Business Green Rewards card, though charge cards tend to be a bit easier to qualify for than regular credit cards (all else being equal).
Rewards & Fees
- The annual fee is $95, so you’ll have to spend at least $9,500 per year to cover the cost of the fee (assuming a point value of $0.01). However, the fee is waived for the first year.
- The welcome offer of 5,000 points is worth $50 if redeemed for airfare.
- Unfortunately, there is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction on all foreign purchases.
As I said, you’ll be earning double points for every dollar of eligible purchases made on Amex’s travel booking portal. On all other eligible purchases, you’ll earn one point to the dollar. It’s a simple rewards structure for a card without a high degree of fringe benefits. The value is straightforward: based on your business spending, you either stand to benefit from using this card, or you don’t. It shouldn’t be too difficult to determine which camp you fall into. If your spending is disproportionately consumed by travel, yet you don’t spend enough to make a high-annual-fee luxury travel card worth it, look into the Business Green Rewards card.
One thing to note: Although Business Green Rewards is a charge card, meaning you ordinarily must pay the balance in full on your statement date, you can avoid paying your entire balance under certain circumstances. According to American Express:
For months when you may need additional time to pay, we offer a feature that allows you to pay certain purchases over time with interest. If eligible, you may be given the option to enroll in the Pay Over Time feature, and if you choose to enroll, you will accrue interest on all eligible purchases when you choose to carry a balance.
The rewards points you earn on your Business Green Rewards card are redeemable via Amex’s Membership Rewards program. As of May 2018, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to 16 different airline loyalty programs and three different hotel loyalty programs.
You can redeem your Membership Rewards for gift cards from a vast selection of merchants, from AMC Theaters to Zappos.com. Points redeemed for gift cards are generally worth one cent apiece, though not always. You can also redeem your points for Uber rides to the tune of one cent per point.
You can redeem your points on any eligible charges on your billing statement as well, but they’re only worth 0.6 cents per point this way. For a slightly better value, you can link your Amazon and Membership Rewards accounts together and redeem your points through Amazon for 0.7 cents per point.
A final note on the subject of rewards: As of May 2018, a Business Green Rewards card also gets you into Amex’s OPEN Savings program, which gives you the choice of receiving a 5% discount as a statement credit or two extra Membership Rewards points for every eligible dollar spent with OPEN Savings partners, including FedEx, Hertz, and HP.
Don’t get used to this perk, though. The following statement is posted to Amex’s OPEN Savings page:
Effective June 1, 2018, the OPEN Savings program will no longer be available on your Business Card. You can view savings and rewards opportunities for business purchases, including offers from FedEx, in Amex Offers, which you can access by logging into your American Express online account at americanexpress.com.
Per Amex’s Business Green Rewards page, the card entitles you to the following benefits:
- Add Employee Cards for your employees and each additional card will carry no annual fee
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Roadside assistance
- Baggage insurance plan
- Travel accident insurance
- Mobile and tablet apps
- Global Assist Hotline
- Extended warranty
- Purchase protection
- Dispute resolution
- Eligibility for Amex Offers
Business Green Rewards vs Business Platinum
The Business Green Rewards card’s travel rewards mean that if you spend some each month on business travel, you stand to benefit from using the card. However, if your business has grown to the point where you spend a lot on business travel and you’re eager to gain admission to swanky airport lounges and other exclusive travel perks, you might find Amex OPEN’s Business Platinum card the more compelling choice.
With Business Platinum, you get 5X points on travel booked through Amex’s website. If your business has you coming and going with great frequency, that’s a lot of travel points! Of course, you’ll need to earn lots of points just to compensate for the eyebrow-raising annual fee of $450. Then again, you can also earn a handsome 50,000 point welcome offer for spending $10,000 within the first three months. And unlike the Business Green Rewards, the Business Platinum has no foreign transaction fees. Reward redemption works the same way with both cards as both cards enroll you in Amex’s Membership Rewards program.
Read our American Express OPEN Business Platinum review and see what you think.
The American Express Business Green Rewards card gives the business traveler a steady stream of rewards points and is a solid option for the business owner who doesn’t have the time or inclination to track multiple rewards categories. As the card carries with it a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, you’ll likely find other business travel cards to be a better value if you travel overseas, and the most frequent of business travelers may find the increased travel point earning rate and exclusive fancy benefits of a luxury card to be a better draw. More importantly, if your business spending goes predominantly toward gas, shipping, office supplies, or other common rewards categories of a non-travel-oriented business card, this isn’t the card for you.
But if you travel a moderate amount for business and you’d like to be rewarded for it by the great points god up in the Cloud — and you’re fine with having to pay the balance in full each month — the Amex Business Green Rewards charge card is a robust value proposition.
Green Rewards is undeniably a useful card for many small businesses, but is it the best card for you? Compare cards at Credit.com to see how this card measures up to other popular business credit cards.
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.