American Express in India, as we know it, is not just a credit card issuer but also a travel company that can issue tickets and organise hotels for customers of its various card products. American Express Travel is indeed one of the finest corporate travel agents out there, and I’ve worked with them in the past at one of the companies I used to work at, where Amex was the travel agent.
Amex Travel provides Amex unmatched access compared to some of the other lifestyle cards in the market, with the travel fraternity negotiating discounts and upgrades for their customers. American Express uses this to enhance the features of their card products especially the American Express Platinum Card. From time to time, new offers for travel keep turning up, often for six months to a year.
In 2020, American Express had tied up with Vistara for a unique promotional fare, which offers a 15% Discount on Premium Economy and Business Class of Vistara when booked via American Express Travel Services. The promotion was initially launched for a very limited period but has now been extended through 2021.
Vistara’s Amex offer provides the following discounts when you call and book via the American Express Travel line for American Express Platinum Cardmembers.
The promotional offer works ex-India for domestic and international routes operated by Vistara. For domestic routes, Business class will be discounted by 15% until December 2021 and Premium Economy until March 2022. For international travel, both domestic and international routes will be discounted by 15% until March 2022. The discount is only valid on Standard and Flexi fares and not on Lite fare families.
Not just that, you get free changes per the following policies.
- Domestic: One complimentary change permitted up to 2 hours before departure for J and 3 hours before departure for PEY. (Usual PEY Standard rules are no changes for free)
- International: One complimentary change permitted until 24 hours before departure.
My Experience booking this offer
I am a big fan of booking tickets direct where my travel plans are not firm and have a slight chance of change. So, when I started to travel last year, I primarily stuck with booking direct tickets when flying Vistara, as it also gave me the ability to change tickets (a perk of my Platinum status at Club Vistara). I wanted to use this offer on an off-day, but when I called, they were overloaded, and my number in the queue was pretty far out, so I did not wait and just booked up the fare directly as there was only one seat remaining.
This past week, I was looking at tickets to fly to Delhi at short notice. I noticed a specific flight I wanted to book, and the fares looked the same for Economy and Premium Economy. This flight also fitted the timings and gave me enough time to plan for any contingencies if my quick turn around from Delhi would not be so fast.
Since the price of Economy (first two columns) and Premium Economy (last two columns) was in the same range, I decided to fly Premium Economy in this case. I called American Express to get a quote on the flight, and they came back to me with a Premium Economy quotation for INR 5,732 for the same flight.
It took me about 15 minutes to get this ticket, and while this was not a full 15% discount on the face of it when I deciphered the fare line item by line item, it came to approximately the exact amount. Further, the Amex agent then went on and helped me with a seat selection as well. The ticket arrived in my inbox within 15 minutes after I authorised the payment. What the agent spent a lot of time on was verifying the GST Number that was to be applied on the ticket. However, it turned out he was one character off and hence we were going around in a loop.
It is important to note that while I received an itinerary, I did not receive an e-ticket with the fare details. I had to request Vistara to generate this for me and email it over to me instead. Also, I found an invoice missing, which should have been sent automatically. The ticket was booked at the exact price quoted, and the same showed up on the ticket once Vistara sent it to me, so no separate booking charges were applicable for this ticket.
The Vistara Amex offer is a good one to check out if you are a Vistara flyer and an American Express Platinum Cardmember. A 15% discount on Premium Economy is a good one for domestic flights, and this is not a tactical offer, but a long term one. So, it does no harm to check out what is on offer, and even if it shaves off a few hundred rupees, it is a save.
Have you used the Vistara Amex offer? Any thoughts or experiences do share.
(Get 1,20,000 Membership Rewards points when you sign up for an American Express Platinum Card Here)
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