While doing the detailed review of Amex Platinum Travel credit card, I realised how good the product is. In a gist, it gives you ~5% reward rate on spending 4 lakhs in a year. Thus, I applied for it right away. In this post, I discuss my thoughts behind applying this card and the application process.
Amex Platinum Travel –Hands-on experience
Application process- smooth as ever
I used my friend’s referral, which made the card free for the first year and gave me 2000 reward points as joining bonus. (You can get the same offer, by using this link).
On application, I received an email from Amex team listing the documents that I need to upload on their portal. In case, you have an existing Amex card just email the application reference number and existing Amex card number to email@example.com and they will consider the same documents for KYC. Since I hold the Amex MRCC I emailed them right away. However, a day later, I got a call saying, they still need to confirm my company email id and KYC . Therefore, I emailed them the documents from my company email.
A couple of days later, Amex informed that my Amex Platinum Travel credit card is approved and should reach me within 7 working days. However, I got physical delivery of card in just 2 days.
So overall, I applied for the card on Sunday morning; and by Friday noon I had my Amex Platinum Travel card with me. Considering, I applied for this card during the nationwide lockdown and it was delivered within 5 days is just beyond exceptional.
Why I applied for Amex Platinum Travel?
My thought process when applying for this card was simple. From the second year onwards, when I have to pay 5000+GST as fees, my worst-case reward rate on this card will be 4.3% on spending 400,000 in a year. This is still much better than what most other cards offer. For the first year, my reward rate will be a whopping 5.75% on spends of 400,000. Thanks to the first year fee waiver.
On the travel front, I know I won’t be taking any vacation in 2020 or maybe even the first half of 2021. Thus, by the time I take my vacation, I would have likely completed 2 cycles with Amex Platinum Travel card. Which means I would have travel vouchers worth 26,000 and Taj vouchers worth 20,000. These can be used to offset a decent portion of my vacation spends.
The above calculations are based on just the milestone reward points that accrue. Have not considered the regular reward points and bonus points on joining.
Where do I spend using Amex Platinum Travel?
No matter how good Amex service is, its acceptability is still an issue. Thus, I had a clear plan of where to use my Amex Platinum Travel card to reach the milestone spends. I plan to use this card for wallet loads and insurance payments. While these spends will not be 400,000 in a year but insurance premiums would cover a large base for sure.
As Amex gives reward points for wallet loads. Thus, I use the card to load my Paytm wallet every month, which in turn is used to pay at local grocery stores.
Secondly, I decided to make this card my primary card for insurance payments. It is a well-known fact that Amex does not give reward points for insurance and utility payments. However, as of now if you pay via Amazon Pay, you get reward points. While this loophole may not last long, I plan to continue paying my insurance premium via this card. As effectively, I would earn 4.3% reward rate on insurance payment, which is very good.
Recent offers on American Express credit cards
Amex in the last 2 months has launched a slew of offers for the cardmembers. A few offers that I could recollect are 2x reward points on spends for a day, 3x on education spends, 5x points on utility bill payment (ongoing offer) and Rewards Multiplier program (a la HDFC SmartBuy program).
I believe Amex will continue to bring such targeted offers for cardholders as the spending on Amex cards has declined by ~70% between Feb and now. Thus, they need to entice cardholders to swipe their cards more often.
Reward Multiplier Program
Reward multiplier program offers up to 5x reward points on Amex credit cards with select merchants. These merchants include the likes of Amazon, Ajio, Flipkart, Myntra and many more. It offers 5x reward points on Amex Platinum charge card, 3x on Amex Platinum Reserve and Amex Platinum Travel card and 2x on Amex MRCC, Amex Smart Earn and Amex Gold charge card.
While I have used the 2x reward points and 5x utility bill payment offers in July, I have not used the reward multiplier program as yet. Reason being, my ICICI Amazon card gives me 5% cashback on Amazon which is way better than 3x (~1.2%) on my Amex Platinum Travel.
Amex Platinum Travel card is a very good product for those who wish to redeem rewards points for flight tickets and hotel bookings. I understand that hardly anyone would be in travel mode any time soon. However, as the milestone points on Amex Platinum Travel don’t expire for 3 years, one can look at accumulating points for at least 2 years and then redeem in one go. Further, as one can get the card free for the first year (using this link) which makes it an even better proposition to take this card now.