At IHG brand hotels and resorts booked directly; otherwise earn 2X.
Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.
The IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card is IHG’s no-annual-fee credit card. As such, it doesn’t offer the excellent perks that come with the IHG Premier Credit Card — like a free night each account anniversary, automatic Platinum Elite status, and other travel perks.
However, the IHG Traveler Card still offers surprisingly good benefits for a no-annual-fee card. You’ll get IHG Rewards’ intro level Silver Elite status, fourth night free on rewards stays, and a 20% discount on purchases of IHG Rewards points.
Silver Elite status doesn’t offer too many perks — 20% bonus points at IHG hotels and resorts, a shot at late checkout, and not having to worry about point expiration. Cardholders can spend $20,000 in a calendar year to upgrade to Gold Elite status. Gold Elite status includes 40% bonus points at IHG hotels and resorts.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card cardholders will earn bonus points on IHG hotel stays, dining, gas stations, select streaming services, and utility monthly bills. Cardholders earn 2 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Considering the IHG Rewards point value is only around 0.4 cents per point, that’s not the best possible return on your other purchases.
So, you might just want to limit using your IHG Traveler Card to IHG hotels and resorts. By charging IHG hotel stays to their IHG Traveler Card, cardholders will earn a total of at least 17 points per dollar spent:
For those unfamiliar, the IHG Rewards loyalty program includes a wide range of hotel brands. On the luxury side, you can earn and redeem IHG points at InterContinental Hotels, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo, Six Senses, and Regent Hotels. On the flip side, you can earn and redeem IHG points for stays at Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Candlewood Suites, and Staybridge Suites. That range of earning and redemption options is truly impressive.
American Express seems to have positioned the Green Card to more directly compete with high performing mid-tier cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Citi Premier card, offering a few more direct benefits than each of them in exchange for a $150 annual fee (vs. $95 on those other cards). (Rates and Fees)
Whereas the The Platinum Card® from American Express is all about the benefits (elite statuses, statement credits galore, etc), the American Express® Green Card is all about the 3X Membership Rewards points on all things travel (including Transit!) plus 3X on dining – all for a relatively low annual fee of just $150 (Rates and Fees). It’s great for frequent travelers, especially if you don’t already have a card that earns at least 3X on travel purchases.
And it does have a couple of benefits that can cover the annual fee. If you don’t have access to CLEAR (which lets you go ahead of most other people at airport security in select airports / terminals), this card will cover $189 in CLEAR fees which is enough for a whole family to have a membership. And you also get up to $100 in credits for airport lounge access with LoungeBuddy.
It’s worth considering this card in combination with other American Express cards. One solid Trifecta that maximizes points would be an Amex Gold Card, an Amex Green Card, and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. You’d use the Gold for Dining and U.S. Supermarkets, the Green for 3X points on travel and transit, and the Blue Business Plus for 2X on other eligible purchases (up to $50,000 a year; 1X Membership Rewards points per dollar thereafter).
In another Trifecta replace the Gold Card with a Platinum Card and enjoy all the perks and benefits of the Platinum card while putting all non-airfare travel and transit charges on the Green Card and the rest on your Blue Business Plus.
In short, I don’t think anyone should have the Green Card as their sole credit card, but I do think it has a nice place among a handful of American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points.
Keep in mind that American Express Membership Rewards points never expire and combine among all of your Membership Rewards-earning cards. All points earned from various American Express cards have the same transfer partners.
The Amex Green card is part of the same family of Amex proprietary cards formerly referred to as charge cards. However, the Green Card has a built-in Pay Over Time feature, making it function in many ways as any other standard credit card. Unlike a typical credit card, the Green Card allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.
What this means: Amex generally limits a cardmember to 5 credit cards (personal and small business combined), while they have a limit of 10 on proprietary Amex cards (formerly known as Charge). This means that even if you already have 5 Amex credit cards, you would still be eligible for a Green Card.
Bonus Eligibility: They still state that if you had the Green Card before, you are not eligible for a welcome bonus on this card. So you’ll be eligible if you have less than 10 Amex charge cards and have never had the Amex Green card before.
Rates and Fees for the American Express® Green Card