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American Express Gold Charge Card Review


It has been more than 3 years of me never missing the monthly bonus of 1000 MR on my MRCC. Most of the MRCC credit card users must relate with me when they have wondered about taking the American Express Gold Charge Card too. After all both cards are quite similar. This article will discuss the minute details of both the cards, and will help you understand if this card is really an opportunity you have been missing.


Charge Vs Credit card

It is a Charge card, which means you can’t just pay the minimum due (like on a credit card). In case of missed payments, your credit score will be hit.

My advice is always use credit cards like a Charge card.

Charge cards have no specified spend limit. Rather, you swipe you card and hope for the best. They do have an internal spend limit based on your past usage pattern. This is a rather unrequired and cumbersome suspense.


Eligibility & Card fee

  • Minimum income required: ₹ 6Lacs per annum.

  • First Year fee: ₹1,000 plus applicable taxes (Total ₹1180).

  • Second Year onwards: ₹4,500 plus applicable taxes (Total ₹5310).


Welcome Bonus

You get healthy welcome bonus for the 1st year

  • Welcome gift of 4000 MR worth at least ₹1555

  • Referral Bonus of 2000 MR worth at least ₹778


­­The total profit = Bonus – Fees

= 1555 + 778 - 1180 = ₹1153



Airport Lounge Access

Considering this card comes with such hefty fees, lounge access should have been obvious. But no, you will have to do with their awesome customer care.


Membership Rewards (MR) Points

· Earn 1 Membership Rewards Point for every ₹50 spent.

· The base value: 1 MR = ₹0.25.

Applicable for “pay with points” on your transactions

· Gives you access to 24/18 Karat Gold Collection. This allows you to get a much higher value for your MR points. You need to spend the points in sets of 18000 MR or 24000 MR. Hence, the name.

The ones in Bold are the vouchers I generally go for.

Henceforth in this article, value of 1MR=₹0.389 is assumed. The Amazon Voucher is the most convenient redemption option.

Surprisingly, the Amazon/Flipkart vouchers are better in the 18Karat collection compared to the 24 Karat.

MRCC is the only other card with access to this Gold Collection.


Key Benefits

· Earn 1,000 bonus points on 6 transactions of ₹1,000 each every calendar month.

This is what makes this card special. Savings of 7.25% on spending ₹6000 will never allow you miss this bonus in any month.

· 100% Cashback upto ₹500 per month during offer period at Lakme Salon.

I tell my wife I like long hair, and I save much more. Not everything is cardgyan; common sense always takes precedence!

· You also earn MR on utilities which is excluded on MRCC.

However, it is better to buy Amazon vouchers in multiples of ₹1000 and pay from Amazon.



Fuel

  • 0% surcharge for fuel purchases on HPCL petrol pumps for transactions less that ₹5000.

Even though this is not a fuel card, you get savings of 0.78% with a monthly fuel cap of ₹2.5Lacs. I am not kidding.

  • All other petrol pumps incur high surcharges. So do not use.


Amex Offers

It has been about 2 years and no good offer have been seen here. Infact, the section (on the Amex website) itself has been taken down.

I still think it will make a comeback, now that Amex has started issuing cards again.

Old users of Amex, know how good the offers can sometimes be.


Reward Multiplier

This is Amex’s portal similar to HDFC’s Smartbuy or Axis Grab Deals.

If you buy via this you get upto 5X reward points. That translates to 3.9% savings for shopping via this portal. Smartbuy or Axis Grab Deals generally give higher savings of 5%.

Note: Gift cards are excluded from the reward multiplier bonuses!


Acceptability Issues

Most local shops and restaurants will not accept this card. The reason is that this card charges higher commission from the merchant.

  • This makes it difficult to use American Express as our Primary credit card.

However, all super markets as well as most online websites do accept Amex cards.

Additionally, you can buy Amazon vouchers at 1% discount via Reward Multiplier portal (5x not applicable) and complete the 6 transactions.

Supposing you purely buy ₹1000x6 Amazon vouchers.

The net savings are = 1+ 7.25 = 8.25%.


Comparison with MRCC

Amex Gold Charge card and MRCC are very similar cards. In fact, they both come in shades of yellow. The below table gives their comparison.


Is the Gold Charge card worth 2nd year onwards?

Monthly Spends

Bonus Points

Regular Points

Monthly Total

₹1000X6

1000MR

120MR

1120MR

Yearly total points

13,440 MR ₹5225

Annual Fees

₹5310

You Lose

₹85

This makes no sense. You need another motive to hold this card.

I am still wondering how this works out.

You may request a fee waiver but that is not guaranteed. And your chances will be slim if you have only spent ₹72,000 in the past year!

Its cousin, the MRCC (with the exact same annual fees) has a defined spend threshold of ₹ 1.5 Lacs to get the fee waiver.

You will need to spend at least ₹3 Lacs annually to have good chances of getting your request approved for a Fee Waiver.


Conclusion

The American Express Gold Charge is bested by its own brother, Membership Rewards Credit card.

Unless a pre-defined criterion for Annual Fee waiver becomes available, better skip this card.

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