User Review: AmEx Platinum Charge Card India

Given the Amex Platinum Charge Card is undergoing a revamp, we requested our reader Puneet DV to review it, which is available for application till tomorrow with the old fees of INR 50,000. The price goes up on October 17, 2018, to INR 60,000 plus taxes. Over to his review.


I have been using the American Express Platinum Charge Card close to a year now. I was offered this as an upgrade from my American Express Gold Charge Card with the first-year welcome gift of INR 50,000 Taj Hotel Vouchers, and a free American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card as long as I held the Amex Platinum Charge Card.

Amex Platinum Charge Card

Fees: While American Express runs various promotions on this card from time to time, presently they are offering either 100,000 Bonus Membership Rewards points or INR 40,000 worth of Taj Experience vouchers for the first year. The annual charge for this card is INR 50,000 + GST which is the equivalent of INR 59,000. American Express does not give any discount on the joining fees on this card. However, I have heard that they do provide some waiver when it comes to renewal.

Rewards: This card has the highest reward rate among all the AMEX cards. Members earn one membership reward point per INR 40 spent.

Benefits: While the card offers a variety of travel and lifestyle benefits, I am highlighting some key benefits below.

Elite Status with Hotel Loyalty Programmes

  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle’s Jade tier
  • Taj InnerCircle
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold, now Marriott.
  • Radisson Rewards Gold Elite status

Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection

The Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) Program is a Card benefit accessible only to Platinum & Centurion cardholders. With this benefit, cardmembers enjoy exclusive benefits when staying at over 700 participating hotel around the world. Here are some of the benefits at a quick glance

  • Noon check-in, when available
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Guaranteed 4 pm late checkout
  • In-room Wi-Fi
  • $100 F&B credit (at specific hotels)
  • $100 spa credit (at specific hotels)
  • Complimentary 3rd and 4th night (at select properties)

Dining Privileges: Cardholders also get complimentary membership to the following dining programs in India

  • EazyDiner Prime
  • ITC Club Culinaire
  • Taj Epicure

International Airline Program

The airline offers are variable, and keep changing from time to time. It is best to check with the Platinum travel desk. Here are examples of a few benefits available to Platinum Charge cardholders

  • Complimentary upgrade to First Class when you book Flex Business class ticket on Etihad.
  • 25% Discount on Business Class for all Domestic & International Sectors.
  • There are discounts on business class on various airlines for which one needs to call the Platinum Travel desk.

American Express Invites

This is a unique program that gives cardmembers the chance to purchase tickets to some of the most sought-after events, often before they go on sale to the general public.

Platinum Concierge

A key benefit of holding this card is the access to the concierge. The concierge is available 24/7 and can help cardholders with a variety of lifestyle requests from booking a restaurant to planning a surprise for a special occasion.

My experience and my take on the Platinum Charge Card

I have been using various AMEX cards over the years and I always stayed away from this card as the fee is steep and I always felt I would not use 50% of the benefits the card has. Since I was getting INR 50,000 Taj Vouchers last year, I decided to take the upgrade offer as the net effect on my wallet was minimal.

I have spent a lot of time exploring the card benefits some of which are not directly advertised and checked all the various options available for redemption to get the maximum value out of the AMEX Membership Rewards points. I will highlight some of the benefits I got as of date.

  • Marriott Platinum Status: I quickly moved to Marriott Gold via SPG gold (this has changed now) last September when I got the card. I took a Platinum Status challenge wherein I had to do nine nights in 4 months, and by the end, I was able to meet the challenge and got Platinum Status. This year from January to August, I have done 24 nights, and I looked at the value I got being a Marriott Rewards Platinum member, 24x breakfast for two and lounge access. About 90% of the time I got upgraded, and about 50% of the time I got upgraded to Suite. This is a huge benefit I got from this card.
  • Shangrila Jade -> Taj InnerCircle Gold -> KrisFlyer Silver: Though American Express does not mention this, many members are aware of the mutual benefits through Shangri-La Jade tier. Taj & Shangri-La are friends.  It takes 2-3 weeks to get Shangri-La Jade upgrade, and if you link your InnerCircle account, the upgrade to InnerCircle Gold is automatically done. I did get benefits from InnerCircle gold status. While many have mentioned that Taj does give upgrades when asked, in my case it did not happen. So, I had to use the certificate twice, and I got upgraded to a suite. One of these upgrades was in the Taj Falaknuma Palace, where I was upgraded to the Historic suite (Golconda view) when I booked a base category room. I see a lot of value in this as Taj InnerCircle Gold gives you 15 upgrade vouchers.
  • Shangrila Jade -> KrisFlyer Silver: Through Infinite Journeys, you can link your KrisFlyer with Shangri-La to move to KrisFlyer Silver. One can take three flights in 4 months to move to Kris Flyer Gold. I have presently enrolled for this, and I need to make two more trips by December.
  • Platinum Concierge: I think I haven’t used this as much I should have. I have used this twice, and I was quite happy. During a trip last year my wife was sick, and none of the medical stores nearby where I stayed were open. I called the concierge, and a runner got me what I wanted from a medical store in about 30 minutes. I had used this service again recently when one of my USPS parcels from the US to Singapore was wrongly sent to another location which it shouldn’t be going to. USPS customer care had a wait time of more than 60 minutes, Amex folks got in, raised a service request and followed up, and in the end, I got the parcel on time before I left Singapore. I am quite happy with the concierge.
  • Platinum Travel: The deals from the travel team compared to what I found on MakeMyTrip or GoIbibo using credit card offers. While they do have some great benefits on Flex Business fares, I never used this. I have availed visa services twice from them, once for Dubai and once for Singapore, and I am quite happy with their service. They charge INR 500 + tax. They provide all the details and sample form at times so that it is easy just to fill it up and send them a scanned copy for review before applying. I found this service valuable.
  • Centurion Lounge: While I missed this in SFO last year as I had to change terminals, I had been to the Hong Kong Centurion Lounge twice. I found the food alright, however, this is known for cocktails. They had quite a collection of drinks.

Bottomline

From my experience, I would advise people first to get equivalent benefits of what you pay as joining fees. Here is here one way to maximise the Membership Rewards points:

  1. Go for 100,000 Membership Rewards points at the time of joining
  2. Open add-on cards, presently there is an offer where you get 5000 Membership Rewards points for each add on card. Unlike other cards where add on is only for immediate family members, here you can apply for anybody. Even supplementary cardmembers get elite benefits.

Assuming you get 1.4 Lakh points from above, I value this at INR 70,000 if you transfer to Marriott Rewards (1:1). I value Marriott points at INR 0.5 based on the cheapest purchase rate of SPG points we had in the past. Again, this is a very conservative value I have given.  Also, AMEX is the only card in India which has Marriott as a transfer partner with a ratio of 1:1. Whatever other benefits you get, are just add-on now and don’t forget, American Express runs various offers throughout the year, and I am sure everyone might get some benefits.


So, in case you are pondering on the American Express Platinum Charge card, perhaps the time is now. The card is going to raise prices day after, so maybe an idea to apply for one today.

What is your experience with the American Express Platinum Charge Card?

Comments

  1. Wow! I like this card but my income eligibility will be short until the next ITR is filed in 4-5 months. Currently using the HDFC Diners black and get a shit load of free points for air tickets, but the hotel loyalty plans look badass!

  2. Hi. Thanks for the write up. I have been using the platinum charge card for the past year and initially took it up for the Taj vouchers as I didn’t think the additional 10k of fees would hurt. I honestly haven’t made much use of the card so can’t really say its worth the fee or not. But now that the time has come for my renewal and the fee has moved up to 70k (including GST), I am wondering if this is worth it at all particularly if you don’t get the Taj vouchers or any bonus points. Given that I use the HDFC Infinia card primarily (as it gives me PP + better reward points + taj inner circle membership), would you think a renewal makes sense?

  3. Great review. This certainly helps a lot.

    I am not very happy with JET AMEX Credit Card. No problem with AMEX but I don’t see much worth anymore. Sure the earning rate is one of the best when it comes to JET co-branded card but after spending 93,750.00INR and get 5000 JP MILES which is like Bombay to Goa one way and that cost hardly 2000-3000INR. Also lounge access are limited too and no other benefits towards hotels etc.

    I’m already a Gold Member with Hilton & Marriott but I do stay in other properties sometimes like Oberoi, Hyatt, Taj, Accor etc. For 1 thing I really like AMEX Plat is converting 1:1 for Marriott. Also the conversion ratio of Hilton from 1000MR to 900HH is not bad at all. Getting more perks from Taj and other hotel benefits will only improve my benefits having AMEX Plat. Also, other benefits towards airlines and lounge access across the world will be a great boon too. Currently I use AMEX Jet & Citibank Premier Miles card for lounge access but abroad I don’t get access to lounge and don’t think Priority Pass USD27.00 is worth enough unless the flight is delayed for a long time.

    Now coming towards the annual fee. I think most of the people don’t realise how much you need to spend to stay, just to become Gold Member with Hilton/Marriott/Radisson/Hertz etc and other elite status. Also, charges for ITC Club/EazyPrime/Taj Epicure. All in one package for just 60,000.00INR. This enough speaks loud for AMEX Plat.

    Here’s the thing, nobody is happy with the earning ratio. Where I spend 93750.00INR and get 5000 JP Miles (Worth 3000.00INR) compared to spending 2,00,000.00INR and get 5000MR, both don’t hold value much to it. At least JET AMEX is far better than AMEX Plat when it comes to earning.
    But the story starts what after you earn? I don’t want to spend miles on Bombay – Goa which cost nothing. I don’t want to wait for a year or so just to buy a ticket from Mumbai – Amsterdam which also cost less than Rs.25,000 one way. That’s affordable. I want to use points for things which are out of my reach. Like suite upgrades in hotels. Even after being a Gold Member with Hilton, they have upgraded me to suites 80% of the time. It’s usually for Diamond Members.

    My spending is less compared to routine travellers for business and holidays. I spend around 60,000 – 1,00,000 INR per month. I’ve realised that I want my card to do more than my earnings of miles or points. For sure anything that comes as miles or points from the credit card is all bonus and must be respected but it’s not something of a big deal you get out of it unless you are spending a lot or even via supplementary card given to others. Then it’s a whole different story.

    With AMEX Plat, not only me but even my parents as supplementary card holders gets benefit which can help a lot in family holidays too. I think overall it’s a great card. The perks are amazing if you happen to stay in luxury hotels even if it’s for 4-5 times in a year. The hotel suites starts from 30,000INR (hotel category 1-2) to number is endless when it comes to a hotel like Taj Falaknuma Palace. That one or two nights of stay itself covers the annual fee which you get upgraded complimentary.

    Feel free to find anything if I’m wrong somewhere or I might have missed out something. I’m very eager to get this card so anything constructive will help.

    Cheers

  4. Just got my metal card but kind of confused wha to opt for 40,000 Taj Vouchers or 1 Lakh MR points. Had read one of the posts of Amex Guy that the MR points are valued was more 1:1 if redeemed against Mariott but kind of confused now.

  5. The Amex Platinum Application Process and Sales Team Approach has been nothing but dismal for me personally.

    I’ve been told a bunch of lies by the sales guys, the customer service team. The funniest being, I got a statement in my email with the membership fee charges even before I’ve seen the card in my hand. How ironic and annoying is that !

    This first impression that card has given me is poor and I cant believe such high fees gives you nothing out of the ordinary.

    I think Amex India is simply the worse, other banks offer better service and don’t charge as much.

  6. My experience wit Plat has also been a good one till date. I have used the TIC gold membership to get upgrade for 3 nights in Bekal (but I was informed its only the next available category), when I used the PP for domestic lounge I got charged for it (it’s a long story about why I used it and I don’t want to bother all the details) but Amex CC waived off ~5k charges and in another instance when the driver of avis (booked thro PLAT coinceirge) wasn’t good, I wasnt charged at all (~4k).. Amex plat pampers you with their service but it’s still personal choice of paying the big renewal fee

  7. Hi Ajay and Puneet, thanks for the article. Puneet could you please tell how much does AmEx charge for the services provided through the concierge? Is there any standard fee for the requests or does it depend on the specific requests?

    • Hi Harshit, It depends on the type of request. While I have asked for medicines to be delivered at door step last year, I was told the runner charges were about INR 100 and the runner didn’t accept the amount. The other times I used coinceirge were mostly to get some information which is free.

  8. Great article!

    A couple of questions on the business fare discounts:

    1) Is it applicable for all airlines?
    2) Is it even applicable for the cheapest business class fare or are we forced to book a costlier fare to get the discount?

    • Hi Ajay,

      #1) They keep changing the offers on airlines time to time. You need to contact the Travel Team
      #2) To be honest I never found good price on the cheap or discounted economy/business class fare. You get better deals only on the flex fares

  9. Hi Puneet, thanks for sharing the review. It’s very informative.

    I have few queries:
    1. Do you enjoy Elite status with Hotel Loyalty Programmes as long as you hold this card or you have to maintain/upgrade it with required spends/stays once enrolled?
    2. Which elite benefits can also be enjoyed by supp cardmember? (I guess not the elite statuses :D)
    3. I understand you got a complimentary Platinum Reserve Credit Card under offer. What additional benefit does it provide to you besides having a 2nd card?
    4. With someone also holding Citi Prestige which offers Taj InnerCircle Silver status, how is the status pushed from 2 card partners (with varying renewal dates)? Is the higher status kept by default?

    • You have the statii as long as you have the card. All supplementary members get the statii benefits too. They get same lounge benefits as well, but only one supplementary gets the PP. They get access to same offers, same concierge, same travel desk. They can have their own travel profile with Amex. The only thing I’m aware of is not for supp card holders is the overseas medical insurance and dining memberships.

      For Taj, you get an enrolment form with the card. If you have it through Prestige, you can simply ignore it. If in future you give up Prestige, you can enrol through Amex.

      The additional benefit of Plat Reserve CC is that you can hold two golf bookings at the same time. Very rare, but there are sometimes offers just for reserve cards, like the current 50% off at Lodhi restaurants.

      • Amex Guy,

        I have heard you write about status benefits for complimentary cardholders. But I saw that only the ITC Culinaire program is shared with one of the supplementary card holders. Do you mean that Hilton, SPG, Shangri-la, Taj status are also available for the supplementary card members as well? If so what is the channel – the portal only take the primary holder’s details.

        Cheers!
        SH

        • SH,

          You supplementary card member must create their own account on Amex website using the supplementary card number. They can then enrol themselves in hotel programs on americanexpress.co.in/platinum using that new account they created. Hotel status and Hertz Gold registration options will appear for supps as well.

          As for ITC dining program, it is available only for primary member and their spouse. AFAIK, spouse doesn’t; have to be an add-on user with Amex. Taj Epicure is primary only. But, through Shang status each primary can get to InnerCircle Gold with Taj. They will not have Epicure dining membership though.

    • Also, please do not confuse Epicure membership with InnerCircle. If you have Epicure, you have Silver on InnerCircle + Epicure. If through Shang you get Gold, you will have Epicure (through Prestige) + InnerCircle Gold. It would be same as if you earned Gold through actually staying.

      If you don’t have Epicure in future, you will still retain InnerCircle Gold.

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