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American Express

Is Re-Branded Amex Green Good Enough to Compete With Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Is Re-Branded Amex Green Good Enough to Compete With Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Anya Kartashova

American Express has re-branded its classic Green Card and added new features, including 3X points earned per dollar spent on travel and dining, a $100 CLEAR credit, a $100 LoungeBuddy credit and a limited-time $100 Away credit. The travel-focused card is clearly taking a page out of the crowd-favorite Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s book, which earns bonus points in the same spending categories, but is the Amex Green Card compelling enough to compete with Chase head to head? Let’s find out.

Both Cards Cost About the Same to Keep

When it comes to annual fees, early sticker shock is a natural reaction to the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $450 membership fee. However, the $300 travel credit, issued for every travel purchase made each membership year (up to $300), lowers that fee to $150 per year.

The American Express Green Card comes with a $150 fee.

I would say the two cards are about equal in this department, minus the fact that you don’t earn bonus points on travel purchases that count toward the $300 with the Reserve Card. That puts the Chase card at a slight disadvantage, but it’s not a deal breaker for many cardholders.

CLEAR Credit vs. TSA Precheck/Global Entry Credit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers either an $85 TSA Precheck credit or $100 Global Entry credit every four years you’re a cardholder. Each membership is good for five years. For the sake of comparison, let’s say you sign up for Global Entry, which includes TSA Precheck membership, and you extract $20 worth of additional card benefits each year.

CLEAR membership, on the other hand, costs $179 per year. However, as a Delta SkyMiles member (free to join) you’ll pay $99, and if you’re a United MileagePlus member, the cost is $119 per year (further discounts are available based on your status). The Amex Green card offers an annual $100 credit toward membership in this program, which can help you get CLEAR membership for free by stacking the discounts.

But how are the two programs different? Well, each helps with a different step of the security clearance process. CLEAR helps you skip the line to an agent who verifies your identity and checks your boarding pass, and TSA Precheck simplifies the actual screening by letting you keep your shoes on and your liquids and electronics in the bag.

In the ideal world, you probably want to be a member of both programs to breeze through the most airport queues possible. However, if you were to choose one, here’s some information.

I bet you’ve seen Precheck lines at your home airport and, perhaps, even looked with envy at how short they are while waiting in the regular line to see an officer. That’s because TSA Precheck lines are available at every domestic airport, whereas CLEAR isn’t a common program. Additionally, CLEAR doesn’t circumvent any security requirements, which are usually more annoying to me than waiting for an officer to check my ID. I’d rather keep my backpack organized and wait an extra few minutes instead of skipping the line just to ruin the order inside.

As a Global Entry member, I also go through expedited customs processing upon arrival in the United States from any international destination. CLEAR membership doesn’t include anything like that. My vote is for the Chase Sapphire’s Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit.

Priority Pass Select Membership vs. $100 LoungeBuddy Credit

As you know, the Sapphire Reserve Card comes with Priority Pass Select membership, which lets you and up to two guests enter any of the 1,200 lounges in the network for free within listed operational hours, and the number of visits per year is unlimited.

The Green Card’s $100 LoungeBuddy credit gives you no more than $100 toward lounge access passes purchased through the site. At the rate of $39 to $59 per visit, you’ll max it out in no time, especially if you travel with a companion. Not to mention, many busy airports, including Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and O’Hare International Airport, don’t even offer purchasable lounge passes through the network leaving you high and dry when all you need is some peace and quiet.

As for me, lounge access is an important credit card perk that can save you a lot of money and spare the stress associated with pure evil and abomination that is an airport terminal. This is the main reason that the Green Card from American Express can’t challenge the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, for Amex to face off with Chase as equals, I’d like to see some sort of a dining bonus added to the American Express Platinum Card. Both cards have high annual fees, lounge access, travel credits, and flexible point currency, but the Platinum Card’s 5X bonus on airfare purchases isn’t enough for many travelers to use it more frequently. I say add a restaurant bonus and rake in the swipe fees.

 

 

Have more questions about the revamped Green Card from American Express and its new perks? Head to this FlyerTalk forum on the topic. 

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. GetSetJetSet

    October 28, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Enough all this crap, if AMEX wants to compete, add 3x on dining and hotels to the Platinum card and they’re there. Forget mucking about with these lesser cards. 3x on dining, 3x on hotels/travel and 5x on airfare plus a few more transfer partners and my business is back on AMEX and away from Chase. It’s simple.

  2. sarpotd

    November 1, 2019 at 8:06 am

    If you are comparing Chase sapphire reseve with Amex green Amex maketing has already won.

  3. sarpotd

    November 1, 2019 at 8:06 am

    If you are comparing Chase sapphire reserve with Amex green Amex marketing has already won.

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