For a very long time ICICI Bank never had a compelling product in the lifestyle premium credit card segment. Finally ICICI woke up to reality with good innovation and decent reward rate on their newly launched premium credit card offering: Emerald Credit Card. Here’s a detailed review of the same.
Table of Contents
- Monthly membership Fee: Pay a monthly membership fee of Rs. 1,000+GST from the date of joining – waived off if spends on card is more than Rs. 1,00,000 in the previous month
- Joining Fee & Annual Fee: Joining fee Rs.12,000+GST – reversed if spends on card is more than Rs. 15,00,000 in the card anniversary year. Annual Fee from second year onwards waived off if spends on card is more than Rs. 15,00,000 in the card anniversary year
I don’t see any point in the monthly plan as its not something a premium credit card user would prefer, at-least not me. So Annual plan is the best in my opinion. Yet, monthly plan would still fit in if you are not sure of spending 15L.
- 4 PAYBACK Points on every ₹100 spent, except fuel (1% Value)
- 1 PAYBACK Point on every ₹100 spent on utilities and insurance categories (0.25% Value)
This is the most disappointing part of this card – POOR reward Rate on regular spends. So high spenders >15L might need to switch to other cards.
But the good thing about Payback rewards is that you can convert the points to cash credit on statement.
Moreover, you can expect decent spend based offers on the Amex variants occasionally that will raise the overall reward rate a bit.
- Spend 2L to get Rs.5k worth of Da Milano voucher. Only on Amex Cards.
Well, may that’s the type of vouchers credit card holders of this range use. Can’t complain, yet not in my likes.
- Dining voucher worth ₹7,500 from Trident Hotels. Only on Amex Cards.
Nice value again. Yet, I wish they had given Marriott Dining voucher or maybe Dineout voucher instead.
- Domestic: Unlimited via Amex/MC
- International: Unlimited via Dreamfolks Dragonpass Card
They haven’t mentioned anything about add-on cards but chances are you may be able to access atleast domestic lounges with add-on cards.
- Unlimited Spa Access via Dreamfolks
This is the most lucrative benefit of this card. If you’re flying frequently within India, this will get you unbelievable value.
For Ex, if you fly once every month for an year, that’s 2*12 = 24 Spa visits. Even if you assume cost at just Rs.1k per visit, this alone gives you 24k value.
The surprise is, this is not the first card in India to get unlimited spa benefit. ICICI silently has been already issuing unlimited spa access to Diamant card holders.
- Buy one ticket and get up to Rs.750 off on the second ticket, up to four times every month through BookMyShow
That’s technically 750*4=Rs.3000 value per month. But a typical person living in non-metro can’t get that much value.
Yet, this is an AMAZING benefit as it includes non-movie tickets too. Good to see ICICI (or BMS) being so generous here. If you’re a movie buff, well, i don’t need to speak any further 😀
- Unlimited complimentary access to Boingo Wi-Fi across the globe. Amex benefit.
This is again a wonderful benefit if you travel often internationally as every airport shows like 10 wifi hotspots around and you never who which is legit one to connect to. Problem solved!
This is first of its kind in India and we must truly appreciate ICICI for bringing this benefit to us. This could be a game changer.
- Credit Shield: 50k (!)
- 1.5% Markup Fee on Intl Txns
- No late payment fee, no overlimit fee
- Discounts on Gym/salon & health clubs across India
- 15% off on all services at O2 Spa
- 20% off on gold making charges at Joyalukkas across India
- American Express “Live the World” Privileges
- Golf access based on spends
- Salary: Rs. 3L/m
- Annual Income: Rs. 30L
- For Upgrade: Existing ICICI Card Limit of 6 Lakhs
Now this is the most challenging part for many and we never know how strict ICICI is planning to handle it. Only time will tell.
Except the poor regular reward rate on spends, everything else has been perfectly crafted to position it in the super premium credit card segment. If you put a value to the benefits like Spa/BMS/Wifi among others, you’ll find the overall return to be reasonably good.
- Cardexpert Rating: 4/5
Note: If you donot avail airport spa benefits, the rating will go as low as 3/5.
Yet, if you’re a very high spender, you may simply use this card as a Spa/BMS card and continue with other super premium credit cards for regular spends.
What’s your take on ICICI bank’s Emerald Credit Card? Anyone planning to apply anytime soon?