American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Review (India)

Over the past couple of years, one of the newest cards that have been getting a space in my pocket has been the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card. There have been more than one reasons to bring along this card on my wallet, and I thought after using it for about two years, I could now review this card for the benefit of our readers. Here is an American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Review India.

The American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is essentially the Credit Card version of the American Express Gold Charge Card. The Credit Card version comes with a pre-set spending limit and the charge card version does not have a published spending limit, although your payment capability continuously is assessed and Amex will give you a higher ability to pay on the card when you have some established patterns and history on the card.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Review India

The American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is an entry-level credit card, currently being offered free for the first year, which is where I started to look into getting around to add another card to my wallet. The Card offers 2 Membership Rewards points per INR 100 spent on the card, which when transferred to an airline partner converts into one mile usually.

Here are some features of the card:

  • American Express Offers: American Express has been offering bonus points and spend based offers for their members for many years now, but in 2019, American Express consolidated their offers and started to put them on the website. I see this card being frequently targetted for promotions such as X-Spend Y-Points and so on.
  • Membership Rewards earning: American Express Membership Rewards points are very popular as a currency for miles and points earners, given the ability to transfer to nine frequent flyer programmes and two hotel programmes. Just like many other base-level cards, American Express offers one MR for every INR 50 spent on the card, excluding spending on  Fuel, Insurance, Utilities and Cash Transactions.
  • 1000 Bonus Membership Rewards every month: The card offers you 1000 bonus Membership Rewards every month, simply for making at least 4 transactions worth INR 1,000 every month. That makes it 12,960 Membership Rewards in no time, assuming you only spent INR 1000 x 4 every month for 12 months.
  • 2 Supplementary Cards at no cost
  • Double points under Reward Multiplier: American Express in 2020, launched the Reward Multiplier website, where you can buy through this proprietary portal and earn even more Membership Reward Points. Some of the brands on this Reward Multiplier website include Amazon, Flipkart, Apple, Tanishq, Mark & Spencers and Croma.

Like I mentioned above, these MR then transfer to 9 partner airlines, two hotel programmes and one generic programme:

  1. Emirates: 2 MR=1 Skywards mile
  2. Etihad: 2 MR = 1 Etihad Guest Mile
  3. Vistara: 3 MR = 1 Club Vistara Point
  4. Virgin Atlantic: 2 MR = 1 Flying Club mile
  5. Cathay Pacific: 2 MR = 1 Asia Miles
  6. British Airways: 2 MR = 1 Avios
  7. Finnair: 2 MR = 1 Finnair Plus Mile
  8. Qatar Airways: 2 MR = 1 Privilege Club Mile
  9. Singapore Airlines: 2 MR = 1 KrisFlyer Mile

Apart from this, you can also transfer Membership Rewards points to two hotel programmes:

  1. Marriott: 1 MR = 1 Marriott Bonvoy Point
  2. Hilton: 1 MR = 0.9 Hilton Honors Point

You can also transfer your Membership Rewards to InterMiles at the rate of 2 MR = 1 InterMile.

The reason I’ve taken to using this card regularly has been the ease with I’ve been able to earn Membership Rewards points for very little effort. From my use of this card every month, I easily end up earning 1,000 Membership Rewards point, which gets consolidated in my Membership Rewards account at American Express, with all the other MR I earn from my other cards as well.

You can also use the Membership Rewards for redeeming from the 18 Karat and 24 Karat Gold Collections as well. The 24K Gold Collection offers Taj vouchers worth INR 14,000 for redeeming 24,000 points, making it a great value at INR 0.58 per MR redeemed.

For the moment, the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is being offered free of charge when you apply via this link. You also get 4,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for the first INR 5,000 spent within first 90 days of card membership. So, for a year, if you just swiped INR 1000 four times on this card, you can get 16,960 Membership Rewards (12,000 + 4,000 + 960).

 

Even on a standalone basis, these approximately 17,000 Membership Rewards points are good for at least two nights (3 in off-peak season) at many Marriott Hotels in India, in the following cities:

  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Belagavi
  3. Bengaluru
  4. Bhopal
  5. Bilaspur
  6. Chennai
  7. Mahabalipuram
  8. Coimbatore
  9. Hyderabad
  10. Indore
  11. Kochi
  12. Lucknow
  13. Madurai
  14. Pune
  15. Siliguri
  16. Srinagar
  17. Surat
  18. Vadodara
  19. Vishakhapatnam

Just by waiting for the right offers to come by, I was also able to maximise the utilisation of the Membership Rewards, however, transferring them to Marriott and Hilton late 2019 when a 50% transfer bonus offer was revealed. Another thing to note is Emirates, Marriott and Hilton are exclusive transfer partners with American Express in India, so you can’t earn these points by transferring any other currency to these programmes in India.

The other use of the Membership Rewards Points earned is for statement credit or for buying something from the catalogue of American Express. Here is how much the points are worth for statement credit:

  • 18,000 MR: INR 6,000 Statement Credit (INR 0.33/MR)
  • 24,000 MR: INR 9,000 Statement Credit (INR 0.37/MR)

The best part of using our link for the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is that the fee offered for the second year is just INR 1,500 which is 66% off on the usual annual fee of INR 4,500. If you spend INR 90K in any given year, 50% of the fee is taken off, and when you spend INR 1.5 Lakhs on the card, the complete fee is taken off the card.

Remember, American Express allows for one proprietory and one charge card in one go, so you can add on the American Express Gold Charge Card along and get another 1000 bonus MR every month on spending at least INR 6,000.

What is your take on the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card?

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Review India


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Pros

+ Free for the first year
+ 1,000 bonus MR for just INR 4,000 spend every month, including wallet reloads
+ MR points can be earned in common account with other Amex MR-earning cards

Rating

Comments

  1. Hi Ajay,
    I applied through your link and surprisingly got the card delivered within a week.
    But the credit limit is a paltry 50K though my Infinia limit is 15L, ICICI 8.15L, SBI 5.09 & 3.25. Any ways to enhance the limit?
    Also if I get the Add-on card, does 1000 MR points on 4*₹1000 spends PM applicable to it separately?
    Can I apply for Gold Charge card right now or need to wait for 6 months.
    Thanks

    • @Pranab, use it for a while and then ask for a raise on the limit. Perhaps they ask you for the documents and then can assign you an appropriate limit after. I am not aware if you need to wait 6 months for the Gold Charge Card, you can try right away. On the add-on bit, all add-on spends accrue to the base card holder only, so only 4×1000 apply.

    • @Mika, thanks. The 18K was already noted as per your comment and fixing the 24K as well. Surprising, I think I saw 10K just yesterday before posting.

  2. These MRs don’t seem to the same as MRs earned on a US Amex card.

    Those transfer at 1:1 rates for most airlines and typically accrue at 1 point/$1 spend, sometimes even more so better than 1/Rs 100.

    • Yes, Indian Amex earning structure is different than US. You tend to earn lesser than US card while the redemption is worse than US except for Hotels.
      As far as transfers to partners goes, I just move them to Marriott Bonvoy.

  3. Hi, any idea on getting Amex card for freelance consultants , ITR is above 6 lakhs and cibil is 800+, but Amex ppl are asking for company mail id if employed or office set up for self employed ..

    • Hello Srikkanth,
      I am self-employed (freelancer) working from home from the last 4 years. Amex asked me also for an office set up. What you can do is get a nameplate made for your firm name, your name and address and put it outside your flat door. The Amex person will take a photo of that when he comes for verification. This will be sufficient for issuing the card. I did the same thing and was issued the Platinum Travel card and thereafter issued MRCC as complimentary card on LTF basis.

      I hope this helps you to get the card.

  4. Hi Ajay, to your point on accumulation of MR from different Amex cards, is it only applicable upon applying through the link you have mentioned above ?

    I have a couple of Amex cards including the membership rewards and Amex said that you can’t accumulate MR as the rewards structure is different on both the cards!

    • @Aniket, there are 3-4 different type of Membership Rewards options. Most cards offer what is called the FTO (Frequent Traveller Option), including MRCC, Gold Charge, Plat Charge and so on. These can be clubbed in one account. IF you have a Plat Travel, it has a different kind of MR and hence can’t be combined.

  5. Given that I use DCB for my all other expenses, I use this card only for fuel from HPCL. Spending around ₹5,000 in a month through 4 transactions is an excellent return of 1000 points (~₹400) i.e. 8%

  6. If you apply through Amex Guys Representative, you will see multiple benefits over the years. I was given a Travel Card for Rs 3250 and Rewards Card is given as companion card for free. Now I am eligible for Insurance Spend Offer. Shift to Amex from Existing cards.

  7. Currently am keeping the Amex platinum reserve cc for the taj Membership. Most of my spend goes on the Membership Rewards cc and the Gold charge card. Getting 2000 bonus MR every month for my regular spending is great

    • If you are paying 10K+Tax for Plat Reserve to Maintain Taj membership you should rethink your strategy…we can directly get the Taj membership and get the one night free certificate which will not be part of Amex Taj Offer.

      Considering no Renewal Bonus MR Points on Amex Plat Reserve, it will not be worth at that price value.

      • It’s also my first amex cc so I don’t want to cancel it.
        Add in the Amex lounge access at BOM and DEL and its a winner for me. I only travel 3 or 4 times a year. The Amex lounge access helps me fly in comfort.

  8. I am holding Amex platinum card, platinum travel card and Jet airways card. Is it possible for me to apply for Amex mrcc after holding 3 Amex cards.

    • I spoke to them recently on this matter. They are allowing ONE charge card and any TWO credit cards per person. Totally 3 cards.

      • @Rohan, it seems with the co-brand cards out of the mix, they are now allowing two CCs and one Charge Card till the time they don’t get another co-brand partner (I am not implying they have another co-brand on the line right away).

  9. For Amex to Marriott transfer ,is it necessary that card holder and Marriott membership has to be in the same name.Further,can I book rooms for third parties against my Marriott membership points.

  10. Well, Emirates isn’t exactly exclusive, they have a proprietary card with SCB. Also, one can get Hilton points by transferring Citi Prestige points to Virgin Atlantic to Hilton. 2500 Prestige Points give 15000 Hilton points this way.

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