An honest review of Membership Rewards Amex credit card India

The fact that you’re reading it makes it clear that you’re interested in knowing about an Amex credit card. But, before we jump to that, let us know some basics about credit cards and why having one makes sense in today’s digital world.

Amex credit card logo taken from their official website for illustration purposes
Source – American Express Website

Credit Cards – boon or bane?

A credit card is a revolving line of credit extended to a customer by a bank. This line can be used by a customer whenever needed and then repaid either in full or in parts each month.

There is no fixed EMI that a person needs to pay after using a credit card, but they are required to make a minimum payment (typically 5% of total outstanding) every month in order to not be classified as a defaulting customer.

Credit cards are a fantastic way to do some binge shopping when your bank account doesn’t agree. Furthermore, credit cards can act like an emergency line of credit, helping you in dire need.

However, many people advise against using credit cards. They even call such cards as debt trap. While there might be substance to this claim, it is not entirely true.

Credit cards, if used judiciously, can act as a great medium of spending. These cards come loaded with rewards and privileges that help you gain access to some really cool stuff. Thus, a credit card can be both a bane or a boon, depending on how you are using it.

I personally use credit cards for all my monthly expenses, especially online. I currently own 3 credit cards and always ensure to pay the entire amount within the statement cycle. This way, I ensure that I do not end up paying interest on my purchases. Also, I make the most of the offers and rewards being given on all my cards.

Amex credit cards – A class apart

The world of credit cards would be incomplete without American Express. American Express is one of the world’s leading credit cards company.

Founded in 1850, the company started with transporting goods and services across the US. Then, it diversified into banking and finally becoming a mainstream banking and credit cards company.

As of 2019 end, there were a total of 114 million Amex credit cards in circulation across the globe.

Amex entered India in 1921 when they set up an office in Kolkata. However, their credit card business has gained traction in the last decade with the Indian economy and consumers becoming more aware of digital transactions and credit cards.

Coming back to the real question now, let me give you a taste of what it is like to own an American Express card in India.

The Membership Rewards Amex Credit Card – The most “Indian” credit card from American Express

American Express does not have too many products when it comes to India. They have a portfolio of exclusive & elite credit cards which might not be suitable for most.

However, there is one credit card which fits amazingly well into the “Indian” consumer mindset.

The Membership Rewards Credit Card (MRCC) is a card aimed at rewarding the consumer for his / her spends. With an amazing 18/24-karat gold rewards collection, this card can be a real money saver if used well.

The MRCC is best for people who are looking for a blend of both offline and online spends. The rewards are quite “rewarding” and the 18/24 karat collection is sure to raise your eyebrows.

Below I am providing a summary of everything you need to know about the MRCC Amex credit card –

  • Fees* – INR 1000/- for the first year and INR 4500/- for second year onwards + GST as applicable
  • Rewards – 1 reward point** for a spend of INR 50
  • Exclusive offers – 18/24 karat rewards collection which includes the following
  • 1000 extra rewards points if you make 4 transactions of INR 1500 or above in a month / 1000 extra reward points for spending more than INR 20,000/- in a calendar month (this is an enrollment based benefit so the card holder needs to go to the Amex website and register his / her card for the offer).

* Fees is waived 100% if you spend INR 150,000/- in a membership year. 50% waiver is offered for spends between INR 90,000/- to 149,999/-

** Reward points are not accrued for spends in Utilities, Fuel, Insurance, Cash Transactions & POS EMIs

My point of view

While the fees might seem to be on the higher side, I never had to pay it. This is because I have met the fee waiver condition for the 3 years that I have used the card.

Additionally, I have redeemed both the 18-karat and 24 karat milestones once. The rewards totaled up to INR 16,000 /- worth of statement credit (the 18-karat milestone used to give INR 7,000/- statement credit before).

Hence, my personal point of view for this card is as follows – The MRCC by American Express is a great card if your annual card spending are in the range of 1.5 lacs and you live in a big city (preferably a metro).

This is because the fees is on the higher side and Amex has low penetration in the tier 2-3 cities of India. Also, Amex credit card can be sourced to customers residing in the following locations only – Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Pune, Jaipur, Indore, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Nagpur, Nashik, Trivandrum, Surat, Vadodara and Mysore.

So, if you want to make the most of this card, then you must be willing to spend at least the amount stated for fee waiver in a year. Anything less than that will make your card holding experience less rewarding.

A new alternative – The SmartEarn Card

However, if you feel your spends will be lower than that, then I suggest you check out their American Express SmartEarn Credit Card. This was launched recently keeping in mind the growing digital transactions in the country and is aimed at the millennials who are tech-savvy and do most of the transactions online.

I was offered the SmartEarn card as an add-on card to my existing MRCC card and I’ve been using it for a couple of months now. The features are standard but the accelerated rewards are helpful. All points earned using this card are clubbed with my MRCC card which is amazing since it will help me reach the 18/24 karat milestone.

If you like what you read, then apply for the Amex credit card today. You will get 4,000 membership reward points on spending INR 5,000/- or above in the first 90 days of your membership. This offer is at the discretion of American Express and may change from time to time. Please visit their site for the latest update on the same.

IMPORTANT UPDATE – American Express is currently not accepting any new applications due to RBI ban. You can read more about the ban on their official website.

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