I recently went back to adding credit cards to my wallet after a long hiatus. I’ve had most of the top-of-line lifestyle and travel cards for years. However, Axis Bank recently (re) entered the market with renewed vigour, so it was time to add more cards. In September 2022, I added the Axis Magnus to my wallet. You can read my full review of the Magnus. However, I added another card from Axis Bank’s Credit Card stable to my wallet recently, the Atlas Credit Card.
The Axis Bank Atlas Credit Card
While travel was returning to normalcy in early 2022, Axis Bank launched the Atlas Credit Card. The card was the second airline-agnostic travel credit card in India, with Citibank PremierMiles being the first, launched in 2012. Whether the fact that Axis was duplicating the Citi CC portfolio, not confident of winning the bid to acquire their assets or Axis was betting on a significant resurgence of travel, we will never know. But it was on my watchlist for a while.
Here are some unique features of the Atlas Credit Card which drew me to it:
- Atlas does not reward you EDGE points, but rather EDGE Miles. While each EDGE Reward point can be used for an INR 0.2 redemption, an EDGE Mile can be utilised for INR 1 redemption.
- Atlas EDGE Reward points can be transferred at a 5:4 ratio (those from Magnus). EDGE Miles can, however, be transferred at a 1:2 ratio (except for Marriott, which is inflated)
- I earn 5 EDGE Miles on Hotel and Airline spending (directly at the hotel/airline/via Travel EDGE) and 2 EDGE Miles for all other spends. That means, on an ongoing basis, I earn ten airmiles/INR 100 spent at a hotel or airline, compared to 4.8 airmiles/INR 100 paid via Magnus. For instance, here are the points I earned on a ticket worth INR 15000 I booked on IndiGo last week.
- Even on everyday spending, I earn four airmiles/INR 100 spent on Atlas, which is marginally lower than the Magnus.
- Atlas grants you miles in multiples of INR 100, compared to other cards in the Axis Bank ecosystem, which use INR 200 as the usual multiple, so fewer miles are lost in the process.
- For the fee I paid (INR 5000+18% GST), I already received 5,000 Atlas Miles (10,000 Airmiles, or 20,000 if I look at this Turkish transfer promotion)
- There is a gamified angle to this card as well, where I unlock the following extra miles along the way:
- 2,500 Bonus Atlas Miles on spending INR 300K on this card within a membership year
- 5,000 Bonus Atlas Miles on spending INR 750K on this card within a membership year
- 10,000 Bonus Atlas Miles on spending INR 1500K on this card within a membership year
- Not just that, in year two of the card, the renewal benefit also comes across as follows
- 2,500 Renewal Atlas Miles on spending INR 300K on this card within the first membership year
- 5,000 Renewal Atlas Miles on spending INR 750K on this card within the first membership year
- 10,000 Renewal Atlas Miles on spending INR 1500K on this card within the first membership year
- Finally, once you hit INR 15 Lakhs in spend on this card, you start getting 2X on Forex spending for a year after.
When I noticed that I was clocking far more spending on Magnus than was needed to clock the INR 100K spent per month, I also wanted another card. And that is where the Atlas fit in.
Comparison with HDFC Bank’s transfer programmes
After my application, HDFC Bank added transfer partners to Infinia and Diners Club Black. HDFC Bank gets up to 7,500 bonus points monthly when I book tickets via Smartbuy on the DCB and 15,000 bonus points monthly on Infinia. While the 16.67% points are great, they eventually transfer into 8.3 Miles/INR 100 spent on many transfer partners I like. And on Atlas, spending on air tickets (and hotels directly booked with Marriott/Hyatt/any other brand) and postpaid gets you 10% airmiles/INR 100 spent.
Atlas is an airline-agnostic travel credit card, which offers 10 miles/INR 100 spent at Hotels and Airlines, and 4 Miles/INR 100 spent at other places, apart from bonuses at INR 3 Lakh, 7.5 Lakh, and 15 Lakh spends. Once you’ve clocked INR 15 Lakhs, you also get a 1X bonus on Forex spends, apart from 6 Airport Concierge Services and 2 Airport pickup services.
What do you make of the Axis Bank Atlas Credit Card and my approach towards spending on travel? Am I missing something? Do share in the comments.
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