American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card: Changes Coming April 2021

The American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is a personal favourite of mine, and I’ve held this card for many years. As I wrote in the review of this card, one of the best reasons to get the Amex Membership Rewards Credit Card (free via this link) is to earn 1,000 Membership Rewards Points Free for the first year.

a credit card with a picture of a man

Now, some changes are coming to this credit card from April 1.

  1. Minimum Spend for 1000 MR monthly bonus: The Amex MRCC Credit Card offers a 1,000 monthly Membership Rewards points bonus for a monthly spend of at least INR 1,000 at least four times during a month, apart from the Membership Rewards points earned at the rate of 1 point/INR 50 spent. Come April 1, 2021, and this feature will change. Hereon, you will receive 1,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you use your Card 4 times on transactions of INR 1,500 each or above every calendar month, instead of 4 transactions of INR 1,000 each.
  2. New bonus for spending at least INR 20,000 on the MRCC: Amex has introduced a new tier of extras as well. Hereon, you will earn an additional 1,000 Membership Rewards points upon spending INR 20,000 in a month. This feature will be activated come April 1, 2021, but will need to be opted in rather than activated automatically. You can opt-in for this feature right away using this link. The bonuses will be credited the next month for this.
  3. Minimum spend for receiving signup bonus going up: If you apply for the American Express MRCC via this link till March 2021, you will receive a welcome 4,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points for INR 5,000 spent within 90 days. Amex will be taking up the minimum spend for the MRCC welcome benefit to INR 15,000 within 90 days to receive 4,000 MR points. The change will be effective for cards onboarded from April 1 only.

The obvious question on your mind would be, is it a good change or a bad change? I see this as an overall positive change for the Amex MRCC and all changes on a cosmetic level rather than affecting the features of the card.

  • While the minimum spends for getting the 1000 points bonus goes up, I don’t see it as a hindrance, given even wallet loads etc., count for this to bring you the bonus. For many small-ticket transactions, I prefer using wallets over UPI, so I end up storing a lot of money on my e-wallets anyways.
  • The second bonus is an additional benefit for those who tend to spend more than just the minimums on this card and should be looked at positively rather than negatively.
  • The third change is for potential cardmembers and not those who already hold the card. These people can avoid the steep hike in minimum spending for the signup bonus by signing up for the card in the next month, rather than waiting for April 2021 for the card (and getting it free). Sign up here.

What do you make of the new changes to the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Doing the math another way, thats 2400 MR points (1k for min + 1k for 20k + 400 for 1MR/Rs50) for 20k spends/month. Thats about 12pts/100 spend, which even at 50p/point is a decent 6% back on spends.

  2. While 1000 points for 20000 spends (~2.5% extra returns) is a positive but an additional 50% spend requirement for the same 1000 points is a huge negative particularly when:
    1. PayTM now charges for wallet load and generally offline merchant particularly fuel stations prefer UPI (most don’t even accept wallet payments).
    2. MRCC points was already devalued in the recent past (less valuation for statement credit/Amazon vouchers)
    3. Lesser small/medium merchants accepting Amex cards off late. Even those who were accepting previously now don’t and some add extra charges to the bill if being paid by Amex.

  3. the enrolment tnc state it as spends between “calendar month”, so can it be in 2 different statement periods ?

  4. This move is more likely to push the MRCC card holders to switch to Plat Travel card! Instead of aiming to get the bonus 1K MR from 20K spends – doesn’t it make sense to get a Plat Travel and get better benifits?

    Now that I got a Diners recently, my spends on MRCC are bare minimum (4-5K).

    • We both are sailing in a same boat, I have also got Diners Black recently so my high ticket spends have shifted there. I am though migrating from Amex Plat Travel to MRCC because
      1. I foresee using Amex only for Wallet Loads. The only petrol pump in neighbourhood which was accepting Amex have stopped accepting it now. Merchants straight away deny it.
      2. Renewal fees cannot be waived on Amex Plat and that is huge 5900( with GST) or 10k points.
      3. The reason(Taj Vouchers) I applied for Amex Plat Travel 2 years back is now available on MRCC as well under 18k and 24k redemption which can be achieved at lower spends.

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