Several companies have launched credit cards that focus on giving back to the environment. But until recently, I hadn’t found a card that focused on the green traveler’s needs as both an environmentalist and a traveler. Is there such a thing as a best green travel credit card?
Best green travel credit card
I was invited to beta test the ZYNC Card from American Express, and I’ve been exploring its benefits for a few months. Overall, I like what I’ve found. The ZYNC Card has “packs” — essentially interest areas — that are aimed at twenty- and thirty-somethings and benefits that will appeal to eco-conscious travelers.
Give Back: Get Paid to Volunteer
You don’t quite get paid to volunteer with the Give Back Pack, but you can get up to hundreds of dollars worth of gift certificates (or hundreds of other rewards) each year just for volunteering. And the ZYNC Card rewards you for donating to nonprofits. The Give Back Pack is free to use.
Give Back Pack
- Earn points for each logged hour of volunteer service
- Earn points on your charitable donations, more using your American Express card.
Shop Green, Ask Green, Go Green
With the Eco Pack, you earn extra points when you shop at certain green merchants and you get access to an eco-concierge. I know who I’ll be calling in my search for an environmentally friendly mattress. Like the Give Back Pack, the Eco Pack is free to use.
- Earn twice the points when buying from 4,000+ green merchants — as rated by Greenopia
- Points redemption discounts on certain eco-friendly merchandise enabling you to redeem 25% less points for qualified eco-friendly products and carbon offsets.
The Travel Pack costs an extra each year, but you get additional discounts on rental cars (be sure to book a hybrid) and double membership rewards points on various travel purchases. Some benefits include:
- 2X points on airfare ticket purchases
- Discounts at Avis, Budget and Hertz
- Enrollment in Credit Card Registry, which allows you to easily cancel and replace all of your credit cards should they be lost or stolen.
And the ZYNC Card gives you other American Express benefits that will save you money and stress while traveling.
- Emergency assistance when you are 100+ miles from home
- Free car rental loss and damage insurance
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Baggage insurance plan
And because ZYNC is a charge card (not a credit card), you pay it off in full each month. This means that you can set a better budget for your travel, and you won’t rack up hefty interest fees.
For me, the big downside of the ZYNC Card (and other AmEx cards) is that many locally-owned and small businesses don’t take American Express. While that can be a bit of a hassle, I’ve just made sure to have a backup credit card with me at all times.
You also have to make sure the benefits you get from the card justify the expenses of the annual fee and the packs you choose. But AmEx really does have great benefits that I didn’t know about before, so I would recommend reading up on those to be sure you take full advantage of them.
There are lots of reasons to use a credit card while traveling. Overall, I think the ZYNC Card is a great option for green travelers.
Disclaimer: I was compensated to be part of a panel that beta-tested the card. However, I was not compensated for this review. Go Green Travel Green’s review policy is to only post reviews that we think will be useful to our readers.