I just cancelled my Amex Platinum!

Yeah! And it feels liberating!

American Express charges INR 50,000 per annum + taxes to provide you their Platinum Charge Card. They promise the world with it, including a luxurious do anything concierge service and access to the Platinum Travel Desk. However, unlike their home market, the USA, the fees is more than double that market, and the privileges are 1/2 or so of that market. There are no mileage or Membership Rewards points to get you started as well, unlike the 100K MR offer in the USA last year. With this insight, this card was never a competitor in my pocket since it was not worthy of the fee in my opinion.

Now, earlier this year, American Express India brought out an amazing offer, where they offered INR 40,000 worth of Taj Vouchers for signing up for the card. I thought it was a great time to get on the Amex bandwagon, because I was essentially going to get the card for a fees of about INR 16,000 after adjusting the vouchers, which I believe, get sold to Amex at a much lower price.

I signed up in February 2014, and this set a chain of events which were not very good. American Express took a very long time to start me up with the benefits. In spite of paying the fee within the stipulated time frame, these vouchers never arrived for more than 3 months after subscription to the card. Also, adding up add-on cards took a much longer timeframe in spite of initial confirmations coming in quickly.

The American Express concierge & lifestyle services, and the travel services, turned out to be plain dumb. They could also not extend the Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits to me on a properties I wanted. When I wanted certain tickets, they sent me quotations from third party vendors and not from the source.

If a customer of a high-end product such as this one does not like it within a few weeks, I thought it was unfair for me to carry on with the product and avail the vouchers, which were ready after I escalated a complaint to the Amex Executive Office in India. So, I reached out to Amex to cancel the card. They asked me to keep it on for a little longer and see if I liked their services. Unfortunately, this did not work out. I got long and wrong emails from the services division. For instance, I asked to be sent a pricing on a British Airways premium economy itinerary, but I got one back for Economy.

Heck, there is a whole thread on FlyerTalk which is full of such experiences which I wished I’d read up on before. Trouble is, American Express did not think the provision of sub-par services were problems from their end, and they did not even take the bait to improve their standards. Every problem I listed, they slammed me a T&C in my face to get out of it. Not just that, their leadership team displayed a similar attitude.

In the end, I decided to cut my losses, and fortunately for me, they decided to refund the full fee for the year to me as well. Like I described it to the Amex reps, “It was an expensive date gone all wrong…” I was paying for Champagne and they tried pouring me cheap local sparkling wine instead!

How has been your experience with the American Express Platinum Card in India? Good or bad? Write it here…

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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. So this is year 2017 and Amex is offering 50K worth of Taj Vouchers with Amex Plat Charge card for selected customers along with Platinum Reserve credit card(no fee till you are holding Platinum charge card).
    Can anybody shed some light if things have changed for good in terms of better service with respect to hefty 50K fee?
    Can’t go for Citibank Prestige as their income requirement is 40L (check with cc).

    • Prashant, most of their privileges are now available on much cheaper cards. Taj Epicure/ITC thing is available of various cards, so are movie offers. Amex now uses Aspire, so does Citi for Prestige. But Prestige is only 20K with 10 times more reward rate.

      The only way you’d make sense of this card is if you visit US/Hong Kong a lot, so you can use Centurion lounges and it does carry a status symbol there, although that’s quickly being lost to Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can also use 24 golf lessons a year, around 24K value. If you don’t already have ITC/Taj dining memberships, that’s one way to recover fees. If you have a trip coming up where you intend to stay at Taj, this card may make sense. Apart from that, you probably already have all privileges they offer on other cards.

      If this card came with at least 50K reward points annual benefit, which is 25K air miles, it would come off as a very good card.

  2. I have SBI card and HDFC card with the good credit limit and good credit history. I have applied AMEX Jet card. Today I have received the card with one lakh credit limit. I could not believe my eyes because I can not book JFK return ticket with this card in Jet Airways. Totally waste of money and time. I think Amex is fooling our Indian customers for their revenue.

    • @Moses, it totally depends on what your credit report sent back. Amex is usually liberal with credit limits, and anyways, Jet Airways does not go to JFK anymore 😉

  3. Can’t blame Amex … It’s the CHEAP CLASS call center system in India and this shot system has been taken globally for cost cutting … It’s the same shit service and dumb people in all call centers of ALL large companies.

  4. Hi AJ, can you pls send me a referal for the JET AMEX card as well? BTW, i applied for the CITI Premiermiles card last week and they declined it stating “it does not fulfill our internal policy criteria”. My income is high and credit score more than 850, can’t believe it.

    • @anirban send me an email from the address you want the referral at and I’ll send you one. I’m sorry you did not make it to Citi’s premiermiles. Try AI SBI?

  5. I am with AMEX since 2001. Started off with Green Credit Card, now I hold Amex Plat Charge Card. Yes, I did the same after having the Card for few months. Cancelled it. Definitely, Rs. 50000++ is a substantially overcharged fee for people who are not using their travel benefits. I am one of them. After a Year, I reapplied and got it back.

    Recently, AMEX is India is concentrating more on expanding their base and increasing their revenues. They are definitely now over ambitious with their revenues in terms of Annual Fees, and have not reinvented in terms of reward points at all. Guess they will realise this and work on it soon.

    I believe HDFC is giving almost 2% Value on Regalia, Citi Prestige comes very close to 1% if Points are converted into Miles. AMEX continues to be around 0.20-0.35%.

    I have currently shifted all my transactions to CITI Prestige for much higher value, but would always stick to AMEX PLAT cause they are the Best where it matters most. Their Customer Services is Outstanding and I can always rely on them for almost anything. There are things that you can do with their Travel Services which is unimaginable otherwise.

    Anything else that was close to AMEX PLAT was Deutsche Bank Credit Card, before they sold it off to IndusInd.

    • @Mayank, I am happy to pay them, but they are not being able to extend the travel benefits to me when I need them, where I need them. I feel they are stuck in the world where they think they are the best but they are not keeping up with the times. Plus I hear Citi Prestige has a kick ass concierge service now a days.

      • Yes! You are correct. They can only sell Products that are predesigned. Thats where they differ from AMEX USA. They do not understand or try to understand you or me if the subject do not relate to their guide book. Their Eco Fares are also much higher than what is available with the Airline Site. I therefore do not use their Services much.
        Hotel Booking for Goa & Udaipur that I have done recently with them is available nowhere.
        Being with AMEX since 2001 and knowing them for all these years, I do believe that they need to reboot and reinvent themselves. In time sense, they are already a year late.
        As of now, I am glued to Citi Prestige for the Miles Conversion Equation that they have in comparison to AMEX. Haven’t used their Concierge Services yet, however their Customer Services sounded polished, though a bit dramatic when i called them once.

  6. With this cancellation, are you able to keep your complimentary Cathay Pacific gold status you received as a benefit with the card ?

    • @GuestC no. I told them not to send them to me. I’d already spent a lot of money with the Taj without the vouchers.

  7. @Vineet, I am very happy with my Jet Airways Amex card. You see, with that card I am only expecting a ticket code, earning miles and access to the lounge for 1 pax. Concierge & Travel services disappointed me totally! So, go for it. If you want I can send you a referral too so that you get some extra miles on signup 😉

  8. Sad to know that.

    On an unrelated note, they called me today to get their Jet Airways AMEX card. Now, reading this post I am a bit jittery. If a prime card holder doesn’t get a decent service, you can’t expect good service with a lower ranked card one and even so now that they have reduce entry barriers for the card.

  9. Good on you! Reading up that FT thread, there are some amazing experiences as well. Too bad Amex could only provide robotic answers here in India.

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