American Express India adds Taj Vouchers under 18K & 24K Gold Collection & other changes

By | January 28, 2020

American Express Membership Rewards catalog usually gives poor value unless you maximize your Amex MR Points by redeeming for Marriott Points or the most popular Gold Collection (18K & 24K) which comes with select cards like Amex Gold Charge & Amex MRCC.

While American Express India was making small changes to the partners, they didn’t change the value much in past few years but this is about to change from 1st Feb 2020.

The good news is now we can get better value with the introduction of Taj vouchers. But there is a bad news as well. Here’s everything you need to know:

Amex Gold Collection – Redemption Options

18K Redemption Options

Voucher BrandVoucher ValueValue per MR Point
Taj VoucherRs. 90000.50 INR
Amex Travel VoucherRs. 70000.39 INR
Amazon VoucherRs. 70000.39 INR
Statement CreditRs. 60000.33 INR

24K Redemption Options

Voucher BrandVoucher ValueValue per MR Point
Taj VoucherRs. 14,0000.58 INR
Tanishq VoucherRs. 10,0000.42 INR
Statement CreditRs. 9,0000.37 INR

Note that we used to get 10k stmt. credit on 24K and 8K amazon voucher on 18K as per previous options.

So going forward basically Amex doesn’t want you to redeem points for statement credit or Amazon vouchers rather want you to go for Taj vouchers.

Along with that it also “seems” 12K redemption option for Rs.5310 is also going away, not sure though as customer care requests to check about that later.

Bottomline

Adding Taj vouchers to Gold collection is definitely an amazing idea and giving 58Ps value per MR point on 24K redemption is just mind blowing.

As a fan of Taj Hotels, I see this as a great move as it helped me stay at wonderful properties across India including the iconic Taj Mahal Palace recently.

However, if you’re into Amazon vouchers or Statement credit, you may of-course wont like the changes happening to the Gold collection. So its indeed a devaluation for many as even those who love travel may still prefer stmt. credit at times.

Remember that this change is happening from 1st Feb 2020. So if you’ve any plans to redeem your points for the old redemption options (like stmt. credit & amazon voucher), you may do so as soon as possible as you hardly have few days left.

That aside, we should now note that even the Gold cards can now be considered as a travel card in a way with its redemption ability for Taj vouchers at an attractive value.

What’s your take on the new changes coming to the Amex Gold Collection? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Author: Siddharth

I love credit cards, enjoy travelling for free using reward points & airmiles. Obsessed with business class cabins, airport lounges and luxury hotels.

50 thoughts on “American Express India adds Taj Vouchers under 18K & 24K Gold Collection & other changes

  1. Mouli

    Indeed a great news for me ,blindly will go with Taj vouchers.
    If we combine Amex platinum travel card 10k Taj voucher along with this then a free Taj holiday on the way!

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      No. But feel free to call them and mention this “We need better value for points for Taj Vouchers with Platinum Travel card too, like the one with gold collection”. They may consider the feedback 🙂

      Reply
  2. SH

    My wife also got this mail. The Taj voucher of 14K against 24K MRs is definitely a positive development.

    Aside from that on your point that Gold card now becomes a travel card. Well internally Amex has always classified the Gold Charge and MRCC as a travel card as they are both have as ‘Frequent Traveller Option (FTO)’. What is interesting is that Plat Travel card is tagged as ‘General Traveller Option (GTO)’. The FTO rewards never expire, while that for GTO expire after three Enrollment years.

    Here are the links for details:

    americanexpress.com/content/dam/amex/in/legal/mitc/Lending_MITC_English.pdf
    americanexpress.com/content/dam/amex/in/legal/mitc/charge-english-mitc.pdf

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      And you’re just a call away just incase you want those expired points back to account 🙂

      Reply
      1. Aman Gupta

        How does Taj vouchers rank against Mariott Bonvoy credit on a normal 1:1 redemption i.e. when they are not giving away the bonus points?
        I think even that will be around 0.5 conversion ratio for category 4/5 hotels. Your views please?

        Reply
        1. Neo

          @Aman,
          I value Marriott points at 50p. The taj redemption looks absolutely fantastic esp when combined with Plat Travel.
          Looks like Amex is aggressively pushing its cards be it Platinum or otherwise.

          Reply
  3. Kiran

    Hello

    I have never been to Taj or used vouchers. Hence statement credit was the sole reason for using this card.

    In case, if I decide to use Taj vouchers, please can someone share some links or material to analyze the benefits, offers total cost and geographical presence and reach for using these vouchers.

    Apologies, but I am not quite comfortable with vouchers hence need a fresh approach and little help on this forum.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Follow the links in article to explore some of the Taj stays I’ve done. For the list of hotels you’ve Taj site always.

      Reply
      1. Siddharth Post author

        Taj Vouchers redeemed via MR points: 3 months
        Taj Voucher via Platinum Travel Card Milestone: 6 months

        So we will have to wait and see. But it shouldn’t matter as you can redeem when you want it.

        Reply
        1. Shiv G

          Hi Sid, we can get the 10K Taj Voucher revalidated for another 6 months by calling them. That makes it valid for 1 year. I confirmed that with CC.

          Reply
        2. Mouli

          Sid,
          Once You can extend the validity after the expiry. I have extended validity once after 6 months of expiry

          Reply
          1. Rakesh

            Yes… plat cust care confirmed the same ..one time revalidation can be done for Taj Amex vouchers … They suggest us to just give a call back just 2 days before using them, even old or more than 6 months old vouchers can be revalidated 🙂 Amex jist dont care how old they are…we just need to call and ask for revalidation ..but only once they do 😉

        3. Shivam

          My vouchers have been expired twice till now as I was never been able to use them. My mistake I think. now I’ve discontinued my Amex travel and been using Rewards companion card. Might discontinue this too if they charge Annual fee on this.

          Have been using HDFC Diners Blck and SC Ultimate as primary card for their benefits.
          But it seems Amex is giving the best offers on premium hotel stays. Seems like I’ve missed some good benefits till now.

          Reply
  4. Tejas

    I mostly redeem by getting statement credits and I am not much interested in Taj vouchers. I have been using this card mainly because of Paytm recharges (as this one gives the best rewards in that use) and one of the backup cards for diners black. Reducing credit from 7500/- to 6000/- was major move. (reducing the reward rate by 20%) I have to think about this card as it is not LTF for me (2250/- + GST). I also have Yes preferred but this still gives better reward rate than Yes Preferred. Amazon vouchers are anyways useless because of diners black use. Having some offers on accelerated rewards boosts the accumulation. I think I will still stick to this.

    Reply
  5. Prashant Gupta

    Indeed a good and bad change. Just redeemed 12K points few days back. Thinking of redeeming 18k more for statement credit. I had collected loads of points waiting for vouchers under hot rewards, as i have redeemed a lot of point for vouchers last time. But for last many months there is nothing to redeem under hot rewards.

    Reply
  6. Aman

    What is the validity of taj vouchers and will this be a single 9000 rs voucher or we get e.g 1000*9 or some thing like this because may be we have to redeem it in one go or can we paritially redeem them

    Reply
  7. Curious

    This is bad news for me as I am into statement credit.

    Anyways, how is the Taj voucher redeemed? I mean which website are we supposed to use to book the hotel and how competitive are the prices on that website? If for ex. their website charges 2-3k more than some other website then ideally the effective value of the voucher is 2-3k less. Hence, statement credit would have been better.

    Reply
    1. Mouli

      Curious

      Taj hotel tariffs would be same across all platforms most of the times
      You can call to Taj reservation and book the room then during checkout you can use the voucher
      you cant directly use in the website

      Reply
    1. Manpal

      This a voucher that you can redeem for the room rent and/or activities. It is a voucher.
      eg if your room costs you 13500(inc taxes) and the voucher is for 10000. you just have to pay 3500 and be done with it.

      Reply
  8. Abhi

    10.25% to 8-9% is definitely not a good news. However, from bank’s perspective it is very expensive. 8-9% itself is really good (best?) But 12K redemption option going away is something bad. This means you can’t really redeem 1 year’s points. I just managed to convince my friends that they can get this since after 1 yr they can always redeem & close if they don’t want to continue.

    Reply
  9. VK

    Can we use the Taj Voucher for dining or is it only applicable on hotel stay?

    Reply
  10. Shivi

    Can Somebody suggest an application hack to get Amex @ tier 2 cities!? Gawd! h8 this so much!

    Reply
  11. MAA-traveler

    I hold the Amex trifecta – Plat Travel, MRCC and Gold Charge card plus Citi Prestige. So in a year Rs 34,000 Taj vouchers along with Taj Innercircle Silver (with Citi Prestige) which gives room upgrades and late checkout, subject to availability. 😀

    Reply
  12. Ayush Agrawal

    The platinum travel voucher is only for stay, not for dining. Dining, spa etc during a stay is covered. I’m guessing this Taj voucher would be similar.

    But honestly, this new Taj voucher isn’t a great option if you have DCB. The smart buy website (powered by Yatra) will be 5-10% cheaper than standard Taj website, and you get 10x points of additional 33% value. Therefore this Taj voucher isn’t really 58%, but effectively only 25-30%. Statement credit at 37% is still a better option IMO.

    Reply
    1. Abhi

      Ayush, you did not really use it and are just guessing, right ? 😀
      Smartbuy is NOT powered by Yatra. Though it is almost an aggregator, but hotel results are almost always by Cleartrip. (Usually, I’ve heard everyone say Cleartrip is costliest in all hotel booking site. But that could be simply because CT gives honest pricing other sites add tax once you start booking.)
      I tried doing a simple search for hotels on CT, Yatra & Taj website. Most of the hotels did NOT show up on any site except for Taj’s own. One of Taj Rishikesh I found on all 3. The pricing was exactly same 22K per night. (Again CT showed 25960 including tax) On Taj’s site you can get it cheaper (19K) if you avail member’s rate. So NO, Yatra is NOT cheaper than Taj website.
      For 10x, Smartbuy turned out to be dud. No Taj hotel turned up on Smartbuy…
      Not saying I didn’t love statement credits, as I never stayed in Taj (out of my budget/reach) but maybe can use CC returns for a little indulgence which is otherwise out of reach.
      Another point is technically, statement credits are taxable. You must show those in ITR as income from other sources. Gifts upto certain amount are exempted. (Not that I put these in my ITR, but I am always worried of taxman love-letter for these.)

      Reply
      1. Ayush Agrawal

        Thanks for the response! Yatra vs Cleartrip was clearly a brainfade, and the assumption that aggregators show cheaper rates turns out to be untrue.
        I used the Amex travel portal to make a booking last year to The Machan. Paid 16k through vouchers, and another 5-6k out of pocket. The same room was available for 18k on MakeMyTrip, so the effective value of vouchers was only 12k for me. I assumed the Taj vouchers would be a similar story. I’ve used the Platinum Travel 10k Taj vouchers for 1 night getaways, but even that 1 night ends up costing 10-12k out of pocket.

        Reply
        1. Abhi

          If you found 18K on MMT search page, you are not in any loss with Amex. MMT would have put in taxes (@18% if it is a luxury resort) approximating to 21K. Depending on ur luck (and demand/supply ratio) you may have gotten some discount on this amount. So wouldn’t have been too much of a different. Thought I too find AmEx travel portal to be a bit expensive than others mostly (I read somewhere in Sid’s blog that it is powered by Cleartrip only?)
          I do see Taj voucher to be expensive option so I am not sure I’d also spend it or not… Though I was planning to use it to book Taj Dubai for a friend of mine but it is valid ONLY in India 🙁

          Reply
  13. MAA-traveler

    Some Taj Voucher FAQs for benefit of folks here:

    1. Is this exclusive stay voucher or we can use it for dining, spa etc?
    You can use it for any purpose. I’ve used even for taxi ride to railway station.

    2. Is Taj voucher covers only room rent or GST as well?
    It covers GST, travel booked at travel desk, activities, dining, SPA, etc.

    3. Do we have to redeem it in one go or can we partially redeem them?
    You can partially redeem them. We can use as many as vouchers in a bill.

    4. Do we get TIC points for stays using vouchers?
    No. Maybe in the past but not any longer.

    5. What is a good way to use the vouchers?
    Look for offers, packages and then book. Payment can be made using vouchers during checkout. We do get 30% discount, Monsoon packages, etc.

    Reply
    1. Anirban

      Just going thru this comment…are you saying that we can use thia voucher specifically for dinner or spa even if you dont stay at a taj property?

      Reply
  14. SH

    I have a question. This change is only for the Gold Charge, or does it extent MRCC as well.

    Reply
  15. Nikhil Goel

    Hey can anyone recommend the best card(s) for complimentary TIC membership?

    Reply
    1. MAA-traveler

      @Nikhil Goel,
      You mean Silver Tier or above right? Base tier for TIC is complimentary.

      As far as I know you can’t get complimentary Silver/Gold unless it is through other status you may have like Shangri-La Golden Circle – Jade membership.

      For paid cards:
      Silver Tier:
      Citi Prestige – Rs 23,600 per year
      Amex Platinum Reserve – Rs 11,800 per year

      Gold Tier:
      Amex Platinum Charge – Rs 70,800 per year (through Shangri-La Golden Circle – Jade membership)

      Reply
      1. Nikhil Goel

        Isn’t there any card which would provide silver /gold tier Shangri-La Golden Circle – Jade membership which would have spend based annual fee reversal?

        Reply
  16. Ankit Jain

    Again , you saved 1K for me. redeemed 8k amazon voucher in lieu of 18K gold.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  17. nitin

    Do we get TIC points for stays using vouchers?
    No. Maybe in the past but not any longer.

    yes you get TIC points. TIC points are for booking nights by members, voucher is the method of payment. I got my TIC points on last stay, even when i paid thru voucher.

    you cannot redeem partial voucher( got from plat travel milestone)..you have to use it one time.

    Reply
    1. Mouli

      nitin,
      Thats strange,I haven’t received TIC points when I used vouchers
      May be your lucky,how many times have you received like this ?

      Reply
        1. Sreehari

          Nitin & MT,
          I checked regarding the same with TIC and below is the email I received from them. Hope this clarifies. They have unequivocally communicated no TIC points for payment using vouchers.
          *****************************************************************************************
          Thank you for writing to the Taj InnerCircle Member Services.

          On checking your account, we have noticed that you had settled your bill amount of through Qwiksilver Gift card on your below mentioned stay transaction at Taj Malabar Resort & Spa, Cochin, therefore, no points are credited to your account.

          Hence, I would like to inform you that the two benefits cannot be clubbed together, but only can redeem Taj InnerCircle points at the Taj hotels to settle your incidentals (food and beverages, Spa, Business centre, Internet and Upgrades).

          Since Taj InnerCircle program are not applicable in conjunction with other prevailing offers or discounts.

          However, as per the terms of Taj InnerCircle point credits will not be awarded when redeeming any Taj InnerCircle or Epicure Rewards, frequent-flyer awards, awards of travel partners, or other promotional offerings using discounts or free certificates.

          Hence, we regret to inform you that we are unable to credit points for the above mentioned stay transaction.

          Reply
  18. Anish Gupta

    I took the card mainly to get Amex Travel vouchers. Sad to loose the 11k INR option at 24k as the points were an emergency bank for me for any sudden travel that come up

    Reply
  19. Abhi

    Seems Amex has brought down the annual fee on MRCC from 4500+gst to a more justified 1500+gst. First yr is free. And for fee waiver the requirement still remains 1.5Lpa spends. So for those who have to take fee paid versions, this card is all the more worthwhile now.

    Reply

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