Credit Cards

  • American Express Platinum Charge Card review – India

    I got this PREMIUM METAL card in January 2020 and since it has been 6 months, I thought of reviewing it.

    MUST HAVE PREMIUM CARD – AMERICAN EXPRESS PLATINUM CHARGE CARD

    Brief background

    Why this card?

    American Express Cards are the best cards in recent times, they have rolled so many offers in times where other premium cards have devalued their points or limited their offers. It is a must-have if you are good at handling plastic money. I always say this as the disclaimer – use credit cards only if you are savvy with your finances and pay all the dues in full. Even if you default once, then the benefits diminish. However, if you manage to pay that part, you cannot imagine the amount of savings the card can offer.

    Before telling that, I want to tell you that a charge card is different from credit card in many ways like you don’t get a predefined limit on your card, you have to pay the outstanding amount in full each month, usually has annual fees, etc.

    The annual fees of this card are Rs. 60000+GST which comes with the welcome gift of 1,00,000 membership reward points or Rs. 40,000 Taj vouchers. This card is for the higher-income bracket of the self-employed and salaried class.

    Since I had an American Express Platinum Travel card and they had rolled an offer for upgrade, which made me eligible for 1,25,000 sign up bonus points which accrued after the spend of Rs. 90000 in first 90 days. Now, because of the Covid-19 situation, they had extended this period by 3 more months, but I had already completed my eligible spending.

    Quick update: The spending criteria are Rs. 50,000 now. Best time to upgrade.

    I took 2 supplementary cards along with this card and extended the higher tier benefits to them too.

    The sign-up bonus could be used for my travel hacking to airline or hotel partners. Also It gives me flexibility to have greater spends and access to premium benefits.

    Exclusive Offers in last 6 months

    Insurance Offer

    Get 5000 bonus points on spends of insurance of above Rs. 50000

    Double the points. Double the value offer

    Double Rewards: 2X on eligible spends and 6X for international spends.

    Everyday Spend offer

    For everyday purchases, get 100% cashback upto Rs. 18000 of spends.

    Supplementary Card

    Amazon Gift Voucher worth ₹1500, for 4 cards

    Utilities Offer

    Pay your utilities bills and earn up to Rs.15,000 bonus points per month

    5X Rewards Multiplier Offer

    Earn on Fashion, Essentials, Electronics and Beauty & Wellness categories for select partners.

    Other offers

    Flat 5% instant discount* at Croma every Wednesday.

    Get 15%* off on celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar’s consultation

    Exclusive wellbeing and healthcare need related offers

    Exclusive discounts of up to ₹10,000 on OnePlus

    35000 Bonus points on booking at The Postcard Hotels in Goa

    Bonus points on purchase at Bestcollegeart.com

    25% discount while ordering Taj delicacies on QMIN

    Save ₹50,000 on the joining fee at The Quorum

    Get upto Rs 2.5 lacs off on Audi

    Get up to 15% off every time you fly Vistara

    Get up to 45% off on health check ups and consultations

    Complementary Unlimited Access To Lounges

    Like any premium card you get complimentary unlimited access to domestic Lounges, exclusive entry to Amex Lounges, Priority Pass Lounges (yourself and one supplementary cardholder), and Delta lounges.

    Complimentary Golf Course Access & Lessons

    Enjoy premium access to leading golf courses across multiple cities for open golf courses. You and your Supplementary Cardmembers can access professional golf lessons at various courses

    Get fast-tracked to the higher tiers of Marriott Bonvoy, Taj InnerCircle..

    I used this and got upgraded to

    • <strong>Taj InnerCirle Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Marriott Bonvoy Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Hilton Honours Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Radisson Rewards Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Shangri-la Golden Circle Jade Tier</strong>

    These benefits are applicable for supplementary card holders as well. Isn’t it awesome?

    Other Exclusive benefits

    Eligible for customized Term Life Insurance Solution Future Generali India Life Insurance and customized personal accident policy for self and family (which I purchased).

    Exclusive use of their concierge services which offers list of unique & exclusive services on Platinum Charge Card which caters to Lifestyle services, Home Services (India), Medical services (worldwide), and auto assistance (metro cities India). They have tie-ups with fine dining restaurants.

    Invitation for concert tickets to sporting events tickets and even meet and greet with celebrities.

    Complimentary EAZYDINER PRIME membership which entitles to 25% to 50% off at over 500+ Premium Restaurants.

    Zero lost Card liability internationally.

    Free for life, American Express Travel card as a companion card as long as I hold this card. 

    Recommendation

    To summarise this is a lifestyle card. It demands higher fees but the benefits can recover the fees maybe 2X or 3X times depending on your usage and from the value, you derive from the card. This is the only card that gives sign-up bonuses in India unlike aboard where they use it extensively for travel hacking. These points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners to avail of luxurious travel.

    Use this link to get additional 10,000 bonus points for your platinum charge card and unlock the world of luxurious lifestyle now.

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    Ms Wise (financial Coach)

    Ms Wise is a financial coach. She is a content writer for a personal finance blog. She is a chartered accountant with 15+ years of experience in the financial services industry. She loves to share her experiences with money management and personal finance. She shares great tips on saving, investing, and spending money wisely which would assist you in achieving financial freedom.

    Download her 30-Day Effective Money Management Challenge With A Daily Planner Template Freebie to elevate your financial health.

    You can reach her via email mswise@beingfinancialsavvy.com

  • American Express Travel Platinum Card Review

    As I love travelling and good hotel experience, I added this card in my portfolio of various credit cards.

    Product Features:

    Milestone:

    Spend Rs. 1,90,000 in a year and get Travel Vouchers worth more than Rs. 7,700
    Spend Rs. 4,00,000 in a year and additionally get Travel Vouchers worth more than Rs. 11,800. Get a Taj Experiences E-Gift Card worth Rs. 10,000 from the Taj, SeleQtions and Vivanta Hotels

    Annual Fee:

    First Year fee: Rs. 3,500 plus taxes NIL, if you apply using this link
    Second Year onwards : Rs. 5,000 plus taxes

    Key Benefits:

    2 Supplementary Cards at no additional cost
    24/7 Card Related Assistance
    Zero Lost Card Liability

    Highlights:

    • Enjoy 4 complimentary visits per year (limited to one complimentary visit per quarter) to airport lounges across India.
    • Enjoy complimentary membership to Priority Pass, with the US$ 99 annual membership fee waived off exclusively for you.

    Overall this card is excellent.

    Pro-tip: Use this card till the target of Rs. 4,00,000 is met.

    As per my experience, the points earned in this card cannot be merged with American express rewards card platinum charge card, as its a different category of card.

    American express gives a very good user experience and excellent customer support service and you should have this card if you love travelling.

    What are you waiting for.

    Apply here.

  • Credit Cards….A BIG YES

    Use it wisely

    Disclaimer – Only and only if your are financially disciplined then have credit cards, else it can be a debt trap and money losing instrument. 

    People believe that credit cards are bad for your finances. But to the contrary, it actually helps to earn money, save money and also to spend money wisely. There are so many benefits such as credit free period, building credit history or credit worthiness, discounts, cash backs, reward points, air-miles, etc.

    Decoding the credit cards basics

    • If you have your salary account with banks such ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank etc. you can get your first card easily for free. Get it in your first job itself to starting building the credit history.
    • Do not be wary of paying credit cards fees, sometimes the value from the card is much higher than the charges. Understand the fine print, before you apply one.
    • Get credit cards via appropriate channels such as online applications, referrals from friends and relatives, credit cards desks in banks, airports, etc. Do not take t from random sales executive on road to prevent your documents from misuse or identity theft.
    • Use the cards diligently as if you are using your debit card or cash. Don’t indulge in unnecessary expenses to get into negative cash flow situation.
    • Pay all the dues in full. Do not jump to make the minimum payment due and think its sorted. You will have pay hefty interest amount on outstanding, and that’s the start of debt trap.
    • Pay the bill at-least 3-4 days before the due date to avoid late fees and interest charges. Change the billing cycle to match the salary credit period. As soon as you receive a credit, pay all the credit card bills. This way you won’t forget the payment dates.
    • Do not set standing instructions for payment of credit cards and just forget about it. This could make you complacent and you might end up paying the extra charges and expenses which you might have not incurred.
    • Always read the statement, check the important details, each charge item, due date, rewards points, promotions, etc. to be on top of your finances. It will help you to identify the unnecessary or impulse expenses which you might not find out when paid in cash. This helps in budgeting too.
    • Have multiple credit cards of leading banks and institutions such as HDFC Bank, Citibank, SBI Bank, Axis Bank, American Express etc. to take advantage of the various promotions and cash backs.
    • Increase your credit limits or card upgrade as soon as you get that message/ email. This would help to decrease your credit utilization ratio and increase your credit score.
    • Once you use the card diligently for 6-9 months, ask for upgrade and limit enhancement by submitting income and tax returns proofs or credit card statement of another card to increase the chances of approval to maximize the value from the card.
    • Track the reward points monthly and redeem them well before expiry.
    • Explore all the possible redemption options and maximize the value. This comes more important while travel hacking by redemption of air-miles for a free business class ticket, first class or premium class upgrades, free hotel stays, etc.
    • Call the call center executives for limit enhancement, card upgradation, reward points reconciliation, etc.
    • Do not hesitate to ask or negotiate on reversal of fees or late charges, getting vouchers on renewal, interest rates on card, registration of promotion if not eligible.
    • Do not apply for multiple cards at the same time and be choosy on which card you want to take or keep. Map the features of the cards against your needs.
    • Every person has a different perspective, like I can manage with 15+ cards yet I don’t default. Manage multiple cards through spreadsheets to track important details such as spends, reward points, etc.
    • Do not close the first card or one with longest credit history as it impacts your credit score adversely.
    • Be on top of your credit score by checking it at least quarterly. Good score helps in getting home, personal loans, etc. at cheaper interest rates and you can save lacs of rupees on it. It increases your negotiation power.

    Decoding the credit cards reward points

    Points are alternate currency
    • Always ask for card upgrade and gradually move to the premium card category to maximize the accumulation of rewards points.
    • Put all the expenses on credit card, even petty ones on the premium card. Do not use your debit card or cash unless unavoidable. Earn reward points each time.
    • Put all the big ticket expenses on white goods such as new car, appliances and accessories to achieve the spend criteria faster or making the most of promotions and earn more rewards points.
    • Recharge your wallet with your credit card. Earn reward points there too.
    • Register for all promotions, offers, etc. Talk to call center executives, if you have any queries on promotions or eligibility. Sometimes you might assume certain things and lose out due to misinformation or confusion.
    • Transfer the reward points or air miles to the airline or hotel partners during promotions to get value multiplier.
    • Use CRED to pay the bills, and earn points there too. Don’t worry its safe. Register using the link if you haven’t. https://cred.onelink.me/spQx/b5f0c2a7

    Decoding other credit card benefits

    • Use cards that offer cash backs, discounts, zero interest EMI schemes to reduce your spend.
    • Avail domestic lounge benefits and enjoy the buffet meals and desserts on the airports.
    • Take priority passes for accessing international airport lounges, hotel memberships, and even golf lessons (if interested) to maximize the value.
    • Avail benefit of meet and greet facilities to meet your favorite celebrity when these card companies organizes such events.
    • Make use of the concierge services to book hotels, reservations, planning for travel, etc.

    Hope you could get some insights and unspoken rules of credit cards. Let me know the feedback in the comments section.