Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
If your small business spends a lot on travel through American Express but not enough to justify a card with a premium annual fee, the Amex Business Green Rewards Card might catch your eye. It does offer 2 points per $1 if you book travel through the American Express travel portal and the annual fee is a modest $95 (and waived in the first year).
However, with competing cards like the Chase Ink Business Preferred or the Spark Miles from Capital One (both charge a $95 annual fee) you’ll earn bonus rewards on a much wider variety of purchases from your choice of retailers and travel providers (and in some cases at a higher rate per dollar). And even the Blue Business Plus, another option from American Express, offers more encompassing rewards and doesn’t charge an annual fee. Plus, you’ll likely need excellent credit to get the Business Green Rewards Card, whereas the recommended credit for competitors is just good.
About the only reason we can think of to choose the Amex Business Green Rewards Card is if you want a charge card instead of a credit card. American Express is the only major U.S. issuers of charge cards, and the Green Rewards Card has the lowest annual fee of the business charge cards available from Amex.
Beginning with the November 2020 billing cycle, American Express will add the issuer’s now optional “Pay Over Time” program to its Green, Gold, and Platinum business charge cards for all cardholders. Currently the program is “opt-in.” With Pay Over Time cardholders can choose to pay any charge over $100 over several billing cycles, with interest, like a traditional credit card.
Charge cards can be handy for two reasons: Unlike a credit card, they don’t have a set credit limit; instead, your limit is based on and adjusts with your card use. Charge cards also typically require you to pay your balance in full each month, helping you to steer clear of finance charges. Although you may be given the option to enroll in the Pay Over Time feature, that comes with caveats too. (See the Fees section at the bottom of this article for more information.)
Charge card discipline and buying power
No limits on point earnings
Disappointing rewards and benefits
Not good for international business travel
- Charge-card discipline and buying power: If your business has struggled with credit card debt in the past, a charge card may be a good option to avoid that trap in the future. Or, if your company is in growth mode, you may want to avoid a predetermined credit limit. Amex will adjust your buying power based on how you use your card, your payment history, and other factors.
- No limits on point earnings: If you spend more than $50,000 a year on travel through American Express portal then this card's unlimited earning potential is a nice perk. Some small-business cards limit the rewards you can earn after spending a certain amount. For example, the American Express Blue Business Plus card offers 2 points per $1 until you spend $50,000. You’ll then receive 1 point per $1 for the rest of that year.
- Disappointing rewards and benefits: Similarly-priced business credit cards offer two points per $1 spent on all purchases or triple points on categories like shipping, Internet, or advertising. The bonus for new cardholders is also the lowest we’ve seen compared to cards requiring a similar spend and an annual fee. To top it all off, this card doesn’t offer trip cancellation insurance or cell phone protection as some other cards do.
- Annual fee: For a card that doesn’t offer much, $95 is a lot. You can earn more points with a card like the Blue Business Plus from American Express and avoid an annual fee altogether.
- Not good for international business travel: We’d suggest you choose another card if you’ll be traveling abroad. This card charges a 2.7% fee on foreign transactions, which is not typical for business cards with annual fees of $95-$99. This is also a bit challenging for a card that emphasizes travel rewards.
If you’re not wedded to a charge card, there are plenty of other cards to consider. Depending on what you want to use a business card for, a more traditional credit card may offer additional financing, balance transfer, and cash advance options that better fit your needs. For tips on weighing your options, see “How to Choose the Right Business Credit Card.”
Bonus for New Cardholders
The Amex Business Green Rewards Card welcome offer is 15,000 Membership Rewards points for spending at least $3,000 within the first three months you have the card. The value of Membership Rewards points varies based on how you use them, but if you were to use them to book flights through the Amex travel portal, that’s $171 worth of points, based on our average point value research.
This is a really meager offer compared to this card’s competitors. With comparable cards requiring a $3,000 spend, you’ll earn at least $600 in bonus value in points or miles. Ouch.
Earning Points & Rewards
You’ll only earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases made through Amextravel.com. Everything else you charge to your card earns 1 point per $1.
Eligible travel includes airfare, prepaid hotels, flight and hotel packages, and cruise reservations made through Amextravel.com. But, if you use this website to pay for “ticketing services,” non-prepaid hotels, and—importantly—rental cars, you’ll only earn 1 point per $1.
While there are no limits on how many points you can earn with this American Express card, these very specific and subpar rewards earning rates compared to other business cards, even those that don’t charge annual fees. This is not a card you can easily earn points with every day.
Although there aren’t many opportunities to earn points with this card, you can at least take comfort in the many options for redeeming your points, which are worth 1.14 cents each, based on our average value calculations.
The Membership Rewards program is one of the more versatile points programs out there. You can use the points earned with this card to pay for travel or buy gift cards, make purchases directly with online retailers such as Best Buy or Amazon, or redeem them for a credit on your card statement. You can even transfer your points to various airline and hotel frequent traveler programs, usually at a 1-for-1 ratio.
However, not all redemption options are created equal. The most valuable way to use your points is by transferring them to a partner travel program, which includes Delta SkyMiles, British Airways, and Marriott Bonvoy, to name a few. By doing that, you can avail yourself of higher point values. For instance, The Balance values Delta SkyMiles at 1.54 cents each on average. Just note that points must be transferred in 1,000-point increments, with an exception for JetBlue, which you must transfer points to in 250-point increments.
Transferring points may also incur a fee of .06 cents per point, with a maximum fee of $99. For example, if you transfer 10,000 points, your fee would be $6.
Outside of transferring your rewards, you’ll get the most consistent value—1 cent per point—by redeeming points for flights booked on Amextravel.com.
In some cases, you may be able to buy gift cards with your points at a 1 cent-per-point value, but often the value is much less, particularly when points are used on Amex gift cards. You’ll get 0.7 cent per point when booking hotels or cruises or using your points to shop at eligible retailers, and 0.6 cent per point if you redeem them to cover your statement charges. At worst, you’ll get a 0.5 cent value when using points for Ticketmaster purchases.
To learn more about how Membership Rewards compare to the value of other travel and credit card rewards programs, see our report on average credit card point values.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Aside from making sure you spend at least $3,000 within the first three months to earn the welcome offer, there’s not a lot you can do to earn more points. Any additional cards you get for employees can be added at no charge, so make sure they use their cards for all their business travel, too.
Once you do have a pile of points accumulated, stretch their value as far as possible by transferring them to a partner airline or hotel loyalty program. Redeeming them for flights or flight upgrades on Amextravel.com, or using them to buy certain gift cards, are also good options. Just make sure your points are worth at least 1 cent each before using them.
Avoid using the “Pay with Points” program, which allows you to pay with points directly on a retailer website (such as Amazon or Best Buy. Your points are usually worth 30% less when redeemed that way.
Business Green Rewards Card’s Excellent Perks
The Balance has examined the most commonly offered credit card perks and narrowed down the ones with the most value. Only one on our list is offered with this card:
- Insurance coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage: If you used your card to pay for a ticket on a plane, train, or another common carrier, you could be reimbursed up to $1,250 (for carry-on baggage) or $500 (for checked baggage).
Business Green Rewards Card’s Other Features
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Extended warranties
- Travel and emergency hotline
American Express is ranked first in customer satisfaction among 11 credit card issuers, in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
If you’re logged into your online account, you can chat with the company live, or you can call in 24/7. Like many credit card companies, American Express also offers its own credit score monitoring service that provides you with a fresh VantageScore update every week, although this is also available to non-Amex customers.
In addition, American Express has a number of convenient online features for business owners. The American Express Business app gives you a centralized place for you and your employees to upload and categorize receipts, and you can even set reminders to upload receipts for purchases that exceed certain amounts. Plus, you can designate a business partner as an account manager, get year-end transaction summaries, and set account alerts to monitor employee spending.
American Express uses standard security features for your safety.
Fees to Watch Out For
This card’s annual fee is relatively high, given what you get from the card, and it has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee. Since it’s a charge card, you won’t owe any interest unless American Express offers you the Pay Over Time feature, but if it does, the interest rate isn’t as low as what comparable cards might offer. The late-payment fee is $39 or 2.99% of the pay in full amount, whichever is more—and that can be steep. For example, if you owe on a $2,000 balance, you’ll pay an additional $59.80 in late fees. If you have a bad month and high expenses, that could add up fast.