Amex Platinum Travel credit card is one of the most rewarding cards available in India. It offers a reward rate of up to 6%, which is one of the highest in the market. These kinds of reward rates would convince anyone to take this card; however, a high annual fee of 5,000+ taxes acts as a stumbling block for many. Nonetheless, American Express Platinum Travel credit card is a solid card with an excellent reward structure; read to find out more details about this card.
Amex Platinum Travel Credit Card
Fees and Eligibility:
- Joining fees INR3,500 + GST.
- Annual fee INR 5,000 + GST. No fee waiver based on spends.
Rewards and Benefit:
- Welcome gift of 5000 milestone bonus membership points (redeemable for travel vouchers worth 4000), on spending INR5,000 within 60 days of card membership.
- Travel vouchers worth 6,000 on spending 190,000 in a year.
- Travel vouchers worth 10,000 on spending 400,000 in a year
- Taj Experience gift card worth 10,000 on spending 400,000 in year
- 1 Reward points on every INR50 spent. Reward rate varies between 0.25-1 depending on redemption option. 1 Reward point = 0.25 paisa (0.25% reward rate) on statement credit.
- 1% fuel surcharge waiver
Lounge Access: (Only for primary cardholder)
- 4 complimentary domestic lounge access (max. 1/quarter).
- Complimentary membership to Priority Pass, but no free lounge visits.
Reward rate on Amex Platinum Travel credit card
While the default reward rate on Amex Platinum Travel credit card is very low at 1 reward point for every INR50 spent. The meat lies in achieving milestone spends.
On spending INR190,000 in a year, i.e. average monthly spends of ~16000, one gets a travel voucher worth INR6,000. Moreover, if one adds the standard reward points earned on these spends, one can get travel vouchers worth INR7,700. Thus, the reward rate varies between 3-4% on the first milestone spend. However, adjusted for annual fees reward rate falls to just ~1%.
Further, on achieving the second milestone spend of INR400,000 in a year; one gets additional travel vouchers worth INR10,000. Besides, if one clubs the standard reward points earned on Amex Platinum Travel credit card, the total value of travel vouchers increases to INR11,800. Resulting in a cumulative reward rate of 2.5-3.5%, adjusted for annual fees.
That’s not all, on achieving the second milestone, one also gets Taj Experiences gift card worth INR10,000. This is where one hits the sweet spot and achieves a reward rate of 6%.
Not to forget that milestone bonus membership points are valid for 3 years. Thus, one can accumulate reward points and redeem them together for flight tickets for an entire family.
How to increase the reward rate, further?
For existing Amex MRCC credit card holders (read the review here), Amex has a very sweet offer. If one upgrades to Amex Platinum Travel credit card, then the existing Amex MRCC card becomes a lifetime free card and all the benefits continue as is. The downside is this offer is available only to those who have received an email from Amex with the offer.
Anyways, if one upgrades under this offer, what it means is one can continue to do 4×1000 transactions on MRCC card and get 1000 reward points every month resulting in a reward rate of a whopping 8%.
What are the drawbacks of this card?
While this card is called the Amex Platinum Travel credit card and true to its name, reward benefits are related to travel. However, these vouchers can be used only for domestic bookings, which I find restrictive.
Further, despite being targeted towards frequent flyers, it offers only 4 domestic lounge access per year, that too capped at 1 per quarter. That’s not all, it does not provide access to the famed Amex lounges, but only to regular lounges on the airport. This is a big dampener, as frequent flyers will have to keep one more card in their wallet for lounge access (read about best cards for lounge access here). Not to forget that many entry-level credit cards now offer more number of lounge access than this card.
Moreover, Amex cards don’t provide any reward points on spends on fuel, insurance and utilities. These are the categories where one would definitely spend. Nonetheless, the good thing is these spends are counted towards milestone spends.
Another downside I find is there no milestone benefits on spending beyond 400,000 in a year. Maybe Amex should introduce another slab at say 800,000 spend level to make it more lucrative.
Despite the high annual fee, I find Amex Platinum Travel credit card a compelling proposition. If one spends more than 400,000 in a year, this card may make a lot of sense. A way to think would be, hardly anyone would be travelling for the next few months or even the next one-year, given the Covid scare. Thus, one can take the card now and assuming reaches all the milestones on time, by May 2022, one would have travel vouchers worth 60k. These vouchers could be used to fund a nice vacation in India.
Do you hold Amex Platinum Travel credit card? Please share your experience in the comment section below.