In recent years, American Express (U.S.) has done a substantial revamp of the Green Card with a range of multipliers on earning for travel and dining as well as substantial travel credits but now it got even better.
The credit for airport security fast lane CLEAR has just been increased to the full US$189 (up from the previous $100) and with the annual fee being just $150 it could now be the best travel credit card in the market.
Typically, credit cards that come with an elevated earning ratio such as 3X on all travel have a rather high annual fee, and the fact that Amex also added substantial credits to the card makes it almost too good to not carry it.
My desire is to pay as little as possible for a credit card while having the best services or at least earning options associated with the card product but those are getting harder and harder to find. The best value for me have traditionally been hotel credit cards that had a sub-$100 annual fee and came with a free night certificate on top. It’s almost impossible to not at least break even or double/triple your annual fee when using the certificate right.
Those are still around but cards that come with useful credits are a close second for me and the first thing I did following American Express revamp of the Green Card was to get the “new” Green Card myself.
You can find more details about the card’s benefits on the Amex website here.
This week they made yet another improvement to the card as the credit for the most useful feature, the credit towards an annual CLEAR membership.
This credit used to be $100 but has now been upped to $189 so it will cover the entire membership fee. Previously there was always a discrepancy for the cardholder to pay even though you could reduce that to a very minimal amount by utilizing the discount for Delta Sky Miles general members ($119/year).
I previously wrote an article about this feature:
Here is a detailed description of the new AMEX CLEAR benefit:
CLEAR® uses unique attributes, such as eyes or fingerprints, to digitally verify identity to help its members move faster through security at select airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide. At 45+ airports nationwide, use the dedicated CLEAR Lane to confirm your identity without taking out your passport or ID – this can mean shorter lines, less waiting. Receive up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year after you pay for your CLEAR membership with the American Express Green Card®.‡
How It Works
- Use the button below or go to clearme.com/enroll.
- Create a CLEAR® membership or log in to your existing account and enter your Card as the payment method.
- You’ll receive a statement credit of up to $189, typically 6-8 weeks after your membership is charged to your Card.
Together with the $100 Lounge Buddy (lounge passes) credit, the Green Card has $289 worth of useful credits plus the enhanced 3X Membership Rewards points earning feature for Dining, Travel, and Transit.
As I’ve mentioned often times in the past, I’m very critical of the American Express Platinum Card and its horrible points-earning abilities except for the 5X on airfare. The credits on the U.S. Platinum card are very difficult to use and oftentimes useless making it very hard to justify the $695 annual fee unless you’re a heavy airport lounge user.
The Green card on the other hand has a rather low annual fee of $150 and the new $189 Clear credit itself is already worth more than this. The Loungebuddy credit can be useful to purchase 3-4 lounge passes which is a nice perk as well.
Since I got the card it’s probably the one I use the most together with Chase Sapphire Reserve and Bonvoy Brilliant. I tend to reshuffle my card portfolio once per year depending on changes to the annual fees and services provided.