IndiaLends Advisory

By IndiaLends Advisory

Mar 28, 2018

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card: A Complete Review

Card Rating- 4.5/5

This is the perfect card for individuals in the premium spending category looking to earn reward points on their everyday spends.

The Good & The Bad

Pros

Cons

  • Good joining bonus
  • A bulk of bonus reward points
  • Exclusive offers on dining and travel
  • One of the highest point to INR conversion
    rates in the market.
  • Low annual fee in comparison to other cards
    with the same benefits
  • Excellent customer service
  • No additional benefits on fuel
  • Slightly high interest rate
  • No complimentary airport lounge access
  • High renewal fee

As the name suggests, the card is known for its rewards program, to the point that it rewards practically all spends. While that is the primary benefit of the card, there are various other features. Here are some of them:

Why Go For The Card?

Bonus Reward Points:

The card offers you up to 20,000 or more bonus reward points every year. Within the first 60 days of joining, you earn 4,000 bonus points. Then you earn 1,000 bonus points for simply using your card 4 times on transactions of ₹1,000 and above every month. You also earn 5,0000 bonus points on renewing the card membership. 

Rewards Program:

The card rewards 1 point for every ₹50 spent on it. This is one of the highest in the market since most card companies provide 1 points for every ₹100 or ₹150 spent. 

Redemption Options:

American Express is a treat in the number of redemption options that it provides its customers. What’s more is that you can use your points to pay at certain merchants for shopping and dining directly.

24,000 points redemption options include:

MakeMyTrip Holiday Voucher

-Good Earth Gift Card worth ₹13,000

-Statement credit worth ₹10,000

18,000 points redemption options include:

-WelcomHeritage Luxury Stay

-Bose Soundlink speakers

-Statement Credit worth ₹7,500

One of the highest point to INR conversion rates in the market:

Even if you convert your points to rupees, you enjoy one of the highest conversion rates. While most cards offer a conversion rate of 25 paise per point, with this card you could enjoy a conversion rate as high as 42 paise. This way you can gain a lot more cash by redeeming your collected points. 

Dining benefits:

You can enjoy up to 20% off every time you dine at select restaurant partners. The list of restaurants is extensive and covers major cities across the globe.

Privileges on Travelling:

For all the globetrotters this card can offer amazing travel benefits, especially if you book through MakeMyTrip. Say, for a domestic flight, you can save up to ₹500 on a round trip easily. For international flights, the cashback can be as high as ₹6000. For hotel bookings, the exclusive discounts can be as high as 70%.

Easy EMIs:

Without any hassle, you can convert your bigger spends to easy EMIs. So you no longer have to limit your dreams and you can make bigger purchases and spends easily. 

Zero Lost Card Liability:

If you ever lose your card, you do not have to worry about paying for any fraudulent transactions. Just report your card missing and you no longer have to worry about it. Also, an emergency replacement for your lost card would be readily available.

Excellent Customer Service:

American Express provides 24*7 support facility to its members if they have some queries related to the card. This goes a long way to enhance the experience of the users.

Where The Card Falls Short?

Like any other card on the planet, the American Express Membership Rewards credit card also falls short on some aspects. You can find them here:

  1. Even though the card awards 1 point for every ₹50 spent, reward points are not awarded for spends on Fuel, Insurance, Utilities and Cash Transactions.
  2. The card also fails to offer any additional benefits on fuel purchases.
  3. The interest rate on the card can be as high as 42% annually, or 3.5% monthly. This could be discouraging for those who make purchases on EMIs.
  4. Unlike most other high-end cards, this fails to provide complimentary access to airport lounges in the country. This can be a big drawback for someone who takes flights often and likes to have some premium benefits.
  5. The renewal fee for the card is ₹4500 which can feel slightly high to some users.

Points to Consider:

  1. Default/Missed Payment Charges:
    These are the charges you need to pay in case you are not able to pay your full credit card bill. The interest charges can go as high as 3.50% per month. So, if you are missed a payment of ₹10,000, you can expect to pay anywhere around ₹350 in interest for the month, and up to ₹4,200 for the year.
  2. Transactions in foreign currency:
    If you make an overseas transaction, or one in foreign currency, you will be charged a foreign currency fee for the same at the rate of 3.5%. Say you charge $100 on the card. You will be charged 3.5% of the INR equivalent of a $100, i.e. 3.5% of ₹6,500 (as per a ₹65 conversion rate). This will be ₹195. So, for someone who makes overseas transactions, or transactions on foreign currency often, this can start to feel costly. However, remember that most cards levy such charges at the rate or 2 to 4%.
  3. Cash Advance Fee:
    Making cash advances on the credit card is never a good idea. This is because the interest starts accruing on that amount as soon as you make the withdrawal. For this card, the cash advance fee is set at a minimum of ₹250, or 3.5% of the amount, whichever is higher. However, remember that most other cards would charge you the same or higher for a cash transaction.

Features and Details Summary

Annual fee ₹1000
Primary Feature 1 reward point for every ₹50 spent, except on select spends.
Interest Rate for missed/ default payment Up to 3.50% per month, i.e. (42.00% annually)
Cash Advance fee 2.5% (minimum of ₹500)

Yay or Nay?

This card is a definite yay! The strongest feature of this card is the rewards program of the card. Not only do you earn manifold bonus points, you also earn more points on smaller transactions. In addition to that, the card comes with an array of good features that can help you save thousands of rupees. The card certainly makes you feel the privileges of having an American Express card.

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