If you have been in the market for a lifestyle card, Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige are the ones which usually compete for the front row in the wallet. Until of course, you have the Centurion or the Citi Ultima. A significant part of the high fee you pay for these cards comes from the value that comes from the perks that come along with all these cards.
The American Express Platinum Card, which is one of the top-of-the-line cards from American Express, and now comes in a Metal form factor, has a massive focus on Dining as a part of their lifestyle offering. So, apart from offering the American Express Dining Programme, Amex Platinum offers three memberships to various dining programmes:
- EazyDiner Prime for pan India dining
- ITC Club Culinaire
- Taj Epicure
ITC Club Culinaire, which is the dining programme for ITC Hotels, out of these is one of my favourites. Back in the day, ITC Club Culinaire used to be a Diner Dines Free programme, which meant a 50% discount when two people dined, 33% people when three people ate, 25% discount when four dined and 20% when five people or above dined.
I remember being thin as a stick and using this programme many a time then, hanging almost every week at the ITC Grand Central in Mumbai or Delhi even at ITC’s famous Bukhara restaurant. After all, dining at the same place as Heads of State is a different motivation altogether. Then, weight caught up with me!
However, the Club Culinaire programme underwent a revamp sometime recently, maybe about three years ago, and then it became a flat 25% cashback programme. You get more perks as you dine or stay more, but mostly, you get 25% back as points back every time you eat. When you buy the programme directly from ITC, you need to pay INR 12,000 + 18% GST for it. You can access over 150 ITC restaurants for the privileges.
However, American Express offers the same product as a part of the perks for the American Express Platinum Charge Card holders. You also get a Spouse membership, so basically both the partners can share one membership.
Amex is pulling this perk, with effect from June 22, 2019. We don’t know yet what will replace it or when will it be replaced. So, if you are an American Express Platinum Card holder, you are advised to enrol before June 22, 2019, to reserve the privilege for yourself for another year. You need to download a form and send it across to American Express to get the application processed. You can access the form from your Platinum privileges page.
If you are not a card member, remember, you can sign up for the American Express Platinum Card here, and get the card with 110,000 Membership Rewards points for sign up.
What do you think American Express will replace the ITC Club Culinaire with as a part of the Amex Dining Program India?