The Amex Green Card Now Covers Your Entire CLEAR Fee
Standing in the shadow of the American Express Platinum and Gold cards, the Green card seems oft-forgotten these days. Despite having an iconic look and getting a revamp in 2019, it’s rare that I hear anyone mention this card. That might be because, for those with the other two aforementioned hybrid cards (formerly charge cards that have since added credit card features), the Green card doesn’t make a ton of sense as there are overlapping perks. Well, a new update to the American Express Green card could make it a lot more valuable to those looking at it as a standalone travel rewards option — and who want to speed through airport security this holiday season.
This week, Amex increased the annual CLEAR credit that’s included with the Green card. Now, cardholders will get up to $189 in credits per year towards that service. Previously, since the card was relaunched in 2019, the credit was $100.
The increase is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it means that this perk alone now exceeds the Green card’s relatively modest $150 annual fee. Second, it also means that the credit will cover the full price of a cardholder’s CLEAR membership. Moreover, like I did with my similar Platinum credit, Green cardmembers could potentially sign up for CLEAR using the discounted Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus member prices, add a family member to their account, and still come in at or under their $189 credit total.
I should probably back up a bit and explain CLEAR again for those who either aren’t familiar or who don’t quite understand the service. Basically, this paid service allows you to bypass the traditional boarding pass and ID check portion of the airport security screening experience. Instead, CLEAR customers can head to a kiosk and use biometrics to confirm their identity. Then, they’ll be escorted directly to a security screening line. As a result, the service is not actually a competitor to TSA Precheck and, in fact, works best when used in conjunction with that program.
On that note, one thing keeping the Amex Green card from being the ultimate airport security hack is that it does not feature a Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit. However, there are plenty of other cards that do. Additionally, the price for a TSA Precheck membership just fell a bit, now coming in at $78 for five years. That’s far more affordable to pay out of pocket than CLEAR, making the latter the better credit to have.
By the way, the American Express Green card has more to offer travelers as well. In addition to earning 3x on dining purchases, it also earns 3x on a broad range of travel and transit expenses. This stands in contrast to the Platinum card, which has surprisingly narrow travel rewards categories (although the travel benefits and perks are where that card really shines). Speaking of those Platinum benefits, while the Green card doesn’t have the same lounge access as its metal peer, the card does include an annual $100 credit for LoungeBuddy.
Overall, whether you’re looking for a travel card and aren’t quite ready for the much heftier $695 Platinum card or you just want what is essentially a discount on a CLEAR membership (or two!), the Amex Green card could be a good pick — especially as the winter travel season warms up.