The turmoil at Kingfisher Airlines seems to have affected their relationship with American Express as well. The American Express Kingfisher First Credit Card, while it still exists in the pockets of those who had them for years, is not being issued anymore. American Express then had to quickly work on an alternative and they have recently launched the American Express Platinum Travel Card.
Here is how I look at the American Express card hierarchy in India as of now:
- American Express Platinum Charge Card
- American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card
- American Express Gold Charge Card
- American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card
Like you can see, the American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card is the entry level American Express card you can have in India as per my assessment. And this time, American Express has decided to not put its cards in one basket a-la the Kingfisher Airlines co-branded credit card, but partnered with Indigo Airlines and the Taj group to offer benefits on this card. Where will the Jet Airways co-branded card stand, we don’t know yet and it will be a few months before that will be out.
Sign-up Bonus: On the payment of your annual fee and the first charge on the card, you will get a welcome gift of 5,000 Membership Reward Points. You can choose to keep them in your account, or redeem them for Rs. 4,000 worth of vouchers for travel on Indigo Airlines (6E). Granted Rs. 4,000 won’t get you far, but that takes out most of the fees at least on any ticket you buy.
Fee: The fee for the card is Rs. 5,000 (plus taxes), not waived in the first year.
Eligibility: While the eligibility is publicly not disclosed, assuming the eligibility is the same as the Kingfisher Airlines co-branded credit card, everyone with an annual income of Rs. 6.5 Lakhs and above should be able to apply.
Features: In terms of benefits, this is your ordinary credit card, so I do not know where does the word ‘travel’ credit card come into the picture. Yes, they have a couple of tie-ups and these will give you some free flights and stays, but the product proposition is really really weak this time around for someone who is a frequent traveller.
Like I mentioned above, for the payment of the fee, you get a Rs. 4,000 voucher on Indigo. Then, when you complete Rs. 1.90 Lakhs spend in a year, you will get another 7,500 Membership Reward points in your account, which translate to a Rs. 6,000 voucher on Indigo. On spending Rs. 4.00 Lakhs on this card, you will receive another 10,000 Membership Reward points, but this time valued for Rs. 10,000 on Indigo airlines. So, free flights is a misnomer here, you will at best be able to get some discounts on your flights using these vouchers. All your Indigo vouchers are valid for a period of 6 months from the date of issue, and hence, you should only call them in when you’re sure of your travel dates.
Additionally, when you complete the Rs. 4.00 Lakhs spend in a year, you get a Rs. 10,000 voucher from the Taj Group of hotels as well, which you can adjust against a stay at any Taj property around India for upto 2 room nights, and redeemable against the Best Available Rate. Rest of the expenses incurred will have to be borne by you.
So unlike the Kingfisher First credit card which the Platinum Travel card replaces, you cannot have really ‘free’ flights on this one. I redeemed 2 free round trips on my parents in Kingfisher First (business class) last year on the use of my Kingfisher Amex.
Earning Membership Reward Points: Since American Express has put this Credit Card in the Platinum basket, you earn one MR point for your spend of Rs. 40 everywhere. At select Platinum partners, you will be able to earn 10x MR points per month, and participate in the regular promotions, like the 5x on Groceries at the time of writing this post. In spite of being a Travel credit card, take note there are no special perks for travel-based spend in this card.
Redeeming Membership Reward Points: MR points earned on this credit card expire after 3 years, so you have to redeem them before that. What can you redeem on? Everything available in the MR catalogue of American Express India.
Overall Assessment: This is an American Express credit card, so be assured you will have a nice experience using the card all along. But other than that this card is just an ordinary credit card with some travel freebies thrown in. So, you would be better off waiting for the American Express Jet Airways co-branded card.
- Sunday Plastic: The American Express Gold Charge Card
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