American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Review (India)

Since last year, one of the newest cards that have been getting a space in my pocket has been the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card. There have been more than one reasons to bring along this card on my wallet, and I thought after using it for many months, I could now review this card for the benefit of our readers.

The American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is essentially the Credit Card version of the American Express Gold Charge Card. The Credit Card version comes with a pre-set spending limit and the charge card version does not have a published spending limit, although your payment capability continuously is assessed and Amex will give you a higher ability to pay on the card when you have some established patterns and history on the card.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Review India

The American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is an entry-level credit card, currently being offered free for the first year, which is where I started to look into getting around to add another card to my wallet. The Card offers 2 Membership Rewards points per INR 100 spent on the card, which when transferred to an airline partner converts into one mile usually.

Here are some features of the card:

  • American Express Offers: American Express has been offering bonus points and spend based offers for their members for many years now, but last year, American Express consolidated their offers and started to put them on the website. Many offers are on at the moment, for instance, the Flipkart and Amazon 10% Cashback, Uber ride cashback and more.
  • Membership Rewards earning: American Express Membership Rewards points are very popular as a currency for miles and points earners, given the ability to transfer to nine frequent flyer programmes and two hotel programmes. Just like many other base-level cards, American Express offers one MR for every INR 50 spent on the card, excluding spending on  Fuel, Insurance, Utilities and Cash Transactions.
  • 1000 Bonus Membership Rewards every month: The card offers you 1000 bonus Membership Rewards every month, simply for making at least 4 transactions worth INR 1,000 every month. That makes it 12,960 Membership Rewards in no time, assuming you only spent INR 1000 x 4 every month for 12 months.
  • 2 Supplementary Cards at no cost

Like I mentioned above, these MR then transfer to 9 partner airlines, two hotel programmes and one generic programme:

  1. Emirates: 2 MR=1 Skywards mile
  2. Etihad: 2 MR = 1 Etihad Guest Mile
  3. Vistara: 3 MR = 1 Club Vistara Point
  4. Virgin Atlantic: 2 MR = 1 Flying Club mile
  5. Cathay Pacific: 2 MR = 1 Asia Miles
  6. British Airways: 2 MR = 1 Avios
  7. Finnair: 2 MR = 1 Finnair Plus Mile
  8. Qatar Airways: 2 MR = 1 Privilege Club Mile
  9. Singapore Airlines: 2 MR = 1 KrisFlyer Mile

Apart from this, you can also transfer Membership Rewards points to two hotel programmes:

  1. Marriott: 1 MR = 1 Marriott Bonvoy Point
  2. Hilton: 1 MR = 0.9 Hilton Honors Point

You can also transfer your Membership Rewards to InterMiles at the rate of 2 MR = 1 InterMile.

The reason I’ve taken to using this card regularly has been the ease with I’ve been able to earn Membership Rewards points for very little effort. From my use of this card every month, I easily end up earning 1,000 Membership Rewards point, which gets consolidated in my Membership Rewards account at American Express, with all the other MR I earn from my other cards as well.

For the moment, the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is being offered free of charge when you apply via this link. You also get 2,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for the first INR 5,000 spent within first 90 days of card membership. But if you spend a total of INR 25,000 within these 90 days, you get another 2,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. So, for a year, you can get 17,360 Membership Rewards (12960 + 4,400).

 

Even on a standalone basis, these approximately 17,000 Membership Rewards points are good for at least two nights (3 in off-peak season) at many Marriott Hotels in India, in the following cities:

  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Belagavi
  3. Bengaluru
  4. Bhopal
  5. Bilaspur
  6. Chennai
  7. Mahabalipuram
  8. Coimbatore
  9. Hyderabad
  10. Indore
  11. Kochi
  12. Lucknow
  13. Madurai
  14. Pune
  15. Siliguri
  16. Srinagar
  17. Surat
  18. Vadodara
  19. Vishakhapatnam

Just by waiting for the right offers to come by, I was also able to maximise the utilisation of the Membership Rewards, however, transferring them to Marriott and Hilton late last year when a 50% transfer bonus offer was revealed. Another thing to note is Emirates, Marriott and Hilton are exclusive transfer partners with American Express in India, so you can’t earn these points by transferring any other currency to these programmes in India.

The other use of the Membership Rewards Points earned is for statement credit or for buying something from the catalogue of American Express. Here is how much the points are worth for statement credit:

  • 12,000 MR: INR 5,310 Statement Credit (only once per annum) [Special offer]
  • 18,000 MR: INR 7,500 Statement Credit
  • 24,000 MR: INR 10,000 Statement Credit

The best part of using our link for the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is that the fee offered for the second year is just INR 1,500 which is 66% off on the usual annual fee of INR 4,500. If you spend INR 90K in any given year, 50% of the fee is taken off, and when you spend INR 1.5 Lakhs on the card, the complete fee is taken off the card.

Remember, American Express allows for one proprietory and one charge card in one go, so you can add on the American Express Gold Charge Card along and get another 1000 bonus MR every month on spending at least INR 6,000.

What is your take on the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card?

Pros

+ Free for the first year
+ 1,000 bonus MR for just INR 4,000 spend every month, including wallet reloads
+ MR points can be earned in common account with other Amex MR-earning cards

Rating

Comments

  1. These MRs don’t seem to the same as MRs earned on a US Amex card.

    Those transfer at 1:1 rates for most airlines and typically accrue at 1 point/$1 spend, sometimes even more so better than 1/Rs 100.

  2. Hi, any idea on getting Amex card for freelance consultants , ITR is above 6 lakhs and cibil is 800+, but Amex ppl are asking for company mail id if employed or office set up for self employed ..

  3. Hi Ajay, to your point on accumulation of MR from different Amex cards, is it only applicable upon applying through the link you have mentioned above ?

    I have a couple of Amex cards including the membership rewards and Amex said that you can’t accumulate MR as the rewards structure is different on both the cards!

    • @Aniket, there are 3-4 different type of Membership Rewards options. Most cards offer what is called the FTO (Frequent Traveller Option), including MRCC, Gold Charge, Plat Charge and so on. These can be clubbed in one account. IF you have a Plat Travel, it has a different kind of MR and hence can’t be combined.

  4. Given that I use DCB for my all other expenses, I use this card only for fuel from HPCL. Spending around ₹5,000 in a month through 4 transactions is an excellent return of 1000 points (~₹400) i.e. 8%

  5. If you apply through Amex Guys Representative, you will see multiple benefits over the years. I was given a Travel Card for Rs 3250 and Rewards Card is given as companion card for free. Now I am eligible for Insurance Spend Offer. Shift to Amex from Existing cards.

  6. Currently am keeping the Amex platinum reserve cc for the taj Membership. Most of my spend goes on the Membership Rewards cc and the Gold charge card. Getting 2000 bonus MR every month for my regular spending is great

    • If you are paying 10K+Tax for Plat Reserve to Maintain Taj membership you should rethink your strategy…we can directly get the Taj membership and get the one night free certificate which will not be part of Amex Taj Offer.

      Considering no Renewal Bonus MR Points on Amex Plat Reserve, it will not be worth at that price value.

      • It’s also my first amex cc so I don’t want to cancel it.
        Add in the Amex lounge access at BOM and DEL and its a winner for me. I only travel 3 or 4 times a year. The Amex lounge access helps me fly in comfort.

  7. I am holding Amex platinum card, platinum travel card and Jet airways card. Is it possible for me to apply for Amex mrcc after holding 3 Amex cards.

  8. For Amex to Marriott transfer ,is it necessary that card holder and Marriott membership has to be in the same name.Further,can I book rooms for third parties against my Marriott membership points.

  9. Well, Emirates isn’t exactly exclusive, they have a proprietary card with SCB. Also, one can get Hilton points by transferring Citi Prestige points to Virgin Atlantic to Hilton. 2500 Prestige Points give 15000 Hilton points this way.

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