American Express Green Card vs. Aspiration Zero: Which Do You Get?

Decision-making styles and the stress of making the right choice — the behaviorist

Green credit cards have become increasingly popular as individuals make caring for the environment a priority in everything they do. In addition to having the regular perks that many credit cards offer, a green credit card usually provides eco-friendly benefits, like helping plant trees with your spending. 

While many green credit cards are available, two prominent ones are the American Express Green Card and the Aspiration Zero. But of the two, how do you pick the one right for you? Let’s take a look at American Express Green Card vs. Aspiration Zero, and which should you get?

American Express Green Card

American Express’s Green Card comes with all of Amex’s leading customer features but leaning toward eco-friendliness. 

Partnering with Parley for the Oceans, Amex launched AIR, a nonprofit initiative for Avoiding, Intercepting, and Redesigning how the world uses plastic. The goal is to cut down the negative contribution of the material to marine pollution.

In 2018, American Express reinvented itself with its commitment to 100% renewable energy. But its determination to better its footprint hasn’t hindered its mission to offer the best financial services.

Perks — Amex Green Card vs. Aspiration Zero 

Amex offers great travel benefits and nothing truly eco-conscious. Still, the card remains a sound alternative if your desire for financial and personal benefits is paramount. 

The Aspiration Zero promises to be an outlet for minimizing how your traveling impacts the world for generations to come. Every use of the card is a small step to a better future.

What you’ll love about the Amex

If you lean toward membership rewards and the use of a single card for your travel expenses, the Green Card is a strong option.

American Express maintains its exclusive rewards program

Earn three points per dollar spent dining, in transit, and using an array of travel accommodations such as lodging, cruises, fares, rentals, campgrounds, and more.

Frequent travelers get $100 lounge access credit via LoungeBuddy

LoungeBuddy allows the busy traveler to search, discover, book, and access the world’s premium airport lounges.

Additional insurance 

Get extra protection for trip delays, lost baggage, car rentals, and damage.

No fees for foreign transaction 

No matter where you are in the world, your American Express Green Card transactions are not subject to foreign transaction charges. Ever.

Extended warranty

Use your green card for extended (up to an extra year) on original manufacturer warranties. 

Purchase protection and flexibility

Use your Green card anywhere in the world with an array of payment choices, spending power, and other available resources and features.

One big drawback to the Amex Green Card

The Amex Green card risks an accusation of greenwashing. An entity is greenwashing when they create a false impression about the environmental impact of their products. 

Eco-activists find the practice disconcerting. And while Amex is likely transparent about its intent, it comes nowhere near the efforts of the Aspiration Zero.

What you’ll love about the Aspiration Zero Card

The card has yet to launch, but the Aspiration card promotes the following benefits.

  • Cashback of 1% on all purchases after reaching carbon zero (planting 60 trees per month). Otherwise, the base rate is 0.5%.
  • One planted tree for every purchase 
  • Second tree planted if you round to the nearest dollar
  • If you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, you get a $300 bonus
  • The company plants ten trees for every referral
  • Biodegradable cards

One big drawback

As of this writing, the Aspiration Zero is still in a pre-launch phase. We offer a waitlist for anyone interested but currently provide only the most basic information. If you’re looking for a sound option right now that lets you know exactly what you’re getting into, you may have to look elsewhere.

Is the American Express Green Card any different than other cards?

The truth is the American Express Green is the same as the rest of the cards regarding terms and conditions. It has a few lean sustainability incentives. But the company, apart from the plastic initiative and recycling plastic found in the ocean, has no real programs for saving the environment. It’s a green card in name only.

What is your motivation to get a card?

What separates the American Express Green Card and the Aspiration Zero from other cards is the desire to protect the environment. Their financial instruments are ideal if you’re a busy traveler who is also concerned about sustainability

Sustainability has three primary components:

  • Economic development: Sustainability can protect the environment and economic growth. The development of renewable resources, technologies, protocols, and techniques decreases conventional, harmful processes. It also builds up industries with green solutions and creates new skills and market opportunities.
  • Environmental conservation: Applied to natural resources, conservation encompasses the use, management, and protection of resources to prevent the destruction or overexploitation of ecosystems. Though often seen as a contradictory concept, sustainability, and conservation bridge the development and implementation of green ideas.

Both credit card providers offer perks anyone can appreciate as a financial instrument. 

  • One-time bonuses
  • Cashback
  • Reward points
  • Frequent flyer miles
  • Insurance options
  • Universal flexibility
  • Building credit

Despite these similarities, there are some dividing factors between these two credit cards. The American Express Green Card provides more rewards directed towards the client but not necessarily the environment. The claims of greenwashing also raise a flag about the true intentions of the company. 

On the other hand, the Aspiration Zero Credit Card allows consumers to choose where the investments in the bank should go. More ethical spenders and those wishing to positively impact the environment may want to opt for Aspiration Zero

So, what’s your motivation to get a credit card: the personal or environmental rewards?

What to know about carbon footprinting and spending

Truly impactful solutions to climate change are going to need global action. But you can make choices every day that lessen your impact on our environment. For the average person, the majority of our footprint comes from housing, food, and transportation. Calculate how your behavior is affecting your carbon footprint.

  • How many miles do you approximately travel by bus, car, train, or plane?
  • What is the average monthly energy usage in your home?
  • How much are you spending on shopping?
  • What is the composition of your diet?

Here are some activities and behaviors to reconsider, actions that may help lessen your impact on ecosystems.

Less travel by plane

Sometimes we have no choice but to get on a plane for business and other purposes. Offset this by donating to sustainable projects. There are organizations devoted to sustainability. Some airlines offer the option. Other travel-related enterprises like Terrapass or Atmosfair provide charity services.

Drive less

The contribution of transportation to emissions of carbon dioxide topped the list of greenhouse gas sources in 2017. It replaced the long-time leader electricity. What’s changed is that electricity is shifting away from coal and towards natural gas and renewable sources.

Going carless for 12 months can save almost three tons of carbon dioxide. 

If you do drive:

  • Take it easy on the gas and braking.
  • Get regular service to manage efficiency.
  • Well-managed tires may reduce emissions.
  • Intensive traffic and air conditioners can gradually increase emissions.
  • To save gas, use cruise control on long drives.
  • Avoid weighing down your car with things you don’t need.
  • Carpooling remains a sound way to reduce emissions.

New cars

If you’re prowling the market: 

Lastly, keep in mind that autos with lowered emissions often end up costing less to operate in the long term.

Make your choice

A credit card should help you reach financial objectives. Managed properly, the card does so in affordable, effective ways, whether you’re building credit, borrowing funds, or earning points. And with your Aspiration Zero or American Express Green Card, you’re taking an admirable step toward saving the planet for future generations. 

However, always be aware of green credit cards that might be hiding greenwashing. Do a proper investigation and decide for yourself if the company truly cares about sustaining the environment. 

While it may not seem like a huge issue, the credit card company you choose could enormously impact the funding for eco-friendly businesses – or companies that harm the environment.

If you would like to learn more about sustainable banking that is transparent and strictly avoids greenwashing, contact us at Aspiration today. Discover how you can be part of a bank that is just as dedicated to caring for the planet as you are.

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