Yeah! And it feels liberating!
American Express charges INR 50,000 per annum + taxes to provide you their Platinum Charge Card. They promise the world with it, including a luxurious do anything concierge service and access to the Platinum Travel Desk. However, unlike their home market, the USA, the fees is more than double that market, and the privileges are 1/2 or so of that market. There are no mileage or Membership Rewards points to get you started as well, unlike the 100K MR offer in the USA last year. With this insight, this card was never a competitor in my pocket since it was not worthy of the fee in my opinion.
Now, earlier this year, American Express India brought out an amazing offer, where they offered INR 40,000 worth of Taj Vouchers for signing up for the card. I thought it was a great time to get on the Amex bandwagon, because I was essentially going to get the card for a fees of about INR 16,000 after adjusting the vouchers, which I believe, get sold to Amex at a much lower price.
I signed up in February 2014, and this set a chain of events which were not very good. American Express took a very long time to start me up with the benefits. In spite of paying the fee within the stipulated time frame, these vouchers never arrived for more than 3 months after subscription to the card. Also, adding up add-on cards took a much longer timeframe in spite of initial confirmations coming in quickly.
The American Express concierge & lifestyle services, and the travel services, turned out to be plain dumb. They could also not extend the Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits to me on a properties I wanted. When I wanted certain tickets, they sent me quotations from third party vendors and not from the source.
If a customer of a high-end product such as this one does not like it within a few weeks, I thought it was unfair for me to carry on with the product and avail the vouchers, which were ready after I escalated a complaint to the Amex Executive Office in India. So, I reached out to Amex to cancel the card. They asked me to keep it on for a little longer and see if I liked their services. Unfortunately, this did not work out. I got long and wrong emails from the services division. For instance, I asked to be sent a pricing on a British Airways premium economy itinerary, but I got one back for Economy.
Heck, there is a whole thread on FlyerTalk which is full of such experiences which I wished I’d read up on before. Trouble is, American Express did not think the provision of sub-par services were problems from their end, and they did not even take the bait to improve their standards. Every problem I listed, they slammed me a T&C in my face to get out of it. Not just that, their leadership team displayed a similar attitude.
In the end, I decided to cut my losses, and fortunately for me, they decided to refund the full fee for the year to me as well. Like I described it to the Amex reps, “It was an expensive date gone all wrong…” I was paying for Champagne and they tried pouring me cheap local sparkling wine instead!
How has been your experience with the American Express Platinum Card in India? Good or bad? Write it here…