ICICI Emeralde Credit Card 1 Year Hands-on Experience

By | July 3, 2020
ICICI Emeralde Credit Card (Amex)

If you’re looking for the fees, features and benefits of the ICICI Bank Emeralde Credit Card, do check out the actual review here: ICICI Emeralde Credit Card Review. This article covers my experiences since past 1 year of holding the card.

Upgrade Process

I showed interest for the Emeralde card as soon as it was launched. They called up in a week or so, took the request over call for Emeralde (Amex variant) and got the card delivered in another ~2 weeks.

This was initially given as a paid card but then I figured out that I was eligible for FYF (First year Free) and so I followed up with them again and got it converted to FYF.

For FYF offer, they did have a list of eligible users by then (likely based on previous year spends). You may request for one through ICICI Wealth Management RM.

Unboxing

ICICI Emeralde Credit Card cover box
ICICI Emeralde Credit Card box card housing
ICICI Emeralde Credit Card inside the box
ICICI Emeralde Credit Card with brochures
ICICI Emeralde Credit Card MITC
ICICI Emeralde Credit Card Design

Da Milano Voucher

Da Milano shopping
  • Voucher Value: Rs. 5,000 

I was sent the Da Milano voucher as a welcome benefit in about ~45 days post reaching the spend.

I redeemed the voucher at Da Milano outlet in Mumbai T2 terminal for a wallet and some accessories.

As expected they were new to this voucher and took nice ~30 mins of the precious time, which I initially panned to spend at Amex Lounge.

Trident Dining Voucher

Trident Dining Voucher
  • Voucher Value: Rs. 7,500 

As its a birthday benefit on only Amex Variant, I got the voucher ~1 month prior to my birthday (comes with ~6 month validity).

I redeemed the voucher at Trident Chennai to offset the dining bill accrued during my stay. It was a smooth process but its always safe to check with the property once before the intended usage.

Airport Lounge Usage

I recently visited Chennai airport (early 2020) and tried to access both the lounges at domestic terminal the same day with the same card. Interestingly the 2nd swipe was denied. 

It usually goes through with other cards but I think they were using copy of same registered terminals, making the system to treat as one. Though not exactly sure of the reason.

Spa Benefit

Complimentary Spa Access is one of the most important benefit of this card and I was dreaming of using the benefit with friends during trips and extract massive value out of it. 

But well, the reality is I did not use the benefit, not even once after getting Emeralde!

Part of the reason is I travelled less last year and also I’m done with the quality of service at Indian airports after exploring the spas like this one: Royal Orchid Spa at Bangkok Airport.

Boingo Wifi

I’ve tried to use this benefit at various airports including Chennai & Mumbai T2 but it never worked on my iPhone.

Sometimes I do get the coverage, but when I try to use it, it disappears. I have tried all methods but nothing worked. Got to find why!

Other Benefits

  • Bookmyshow benefit: I saved over Rs.3000 within first 2 months with Buy 1 Get 1 offer, but then never used after that.
  • Wellness Benefits: The website that deals with the other benefits like wellness/medical benefits are very poor and full of bugs when I explored. So gave up! They might have got improved by now, but generally nothing eye-catchy for me yet.

Renewal

My renewal happened during the Covid situation and I haven’t met the 15L spend required for the auto renewal fee waiver.

So I checked with the bank to see if they can waive off the fee. After the fee was charged to card, the a/c was reviewed and the charges were fortunately reversed.

ICICI Emeralde credit card fee reversal

If you’re wondering the criteria, this is what they said: “Valuing your relationship with ICICI Bank, we are coordinating with our team concerned with regard to the reversal of the annual fees along with Goods and Services Tax”. I think spends+account relationship helped.

If you find it tough to reach the regular support over call, you may reach out to them on social media.

Bottom line

So as you see, overall I saved well over ~Rs.15,000 in a year which excludes spa/lounge benefits & regular reward points.

That’s a good enough reason to have the card either as paid or free.

As this credit card makes sense only if you make use of Spa & Lounge benefit, post Covid-19 I don’t know what will be the fate of these benefits, especially the Spa benefit. I wish they replace it with something else to add value to the table.

So if its issued to you for free, you may indeed save some with Da Milano voucher (only 1st year) & Trident Dining Voucher. If not, its hard to extract the value out of it as it comes with a very low reward rate of 1% on regular spends.

Do you hold ICICI Emeralde Credit Card? Feel free to share your experiences 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.

29 thoughts on “ICICI Emeralde Credit Card 1 Year Hands-on Experience

  1. Amit G

    Hi Sid, you mentioned to use this card at Amex Lounge T2 Mumbai. Does These co-branded Amex cards allow you to access Amex lounge at Delhi / Mumbai ??

    Reply
  2. Vipul Aggarwal

    This card reward rate is very poor. How can anyone able to use this card for shopping? I have Infinia and Ultimate card, both provide 3.3% return. This card is only useful if you travel alot and use Spa.

    Reply
    1. Arnab Chaudhuri

      Do you know that you can get 3x points on various online merchants using this card ?

      Reply
  3. Rampy

    I took this card with monthly fee payment option as I could pay the same amount over 12 months. I used Spa benefits to the tune of almost ₹20K. I couldn’t use my birthday voucher benefit owing to COVID.

    I called these guys for cancelling my credit card as it isn’t used from past couple of months while simply paying the monthly fee. They agreed to cancel it (I can reapply whenever I want, in future) & on their own, reversed past 2 months’ monthly fee – that is, 2K (GST wasn’t reversed). Pretty impressed with their decision to reverse the amount, that too when I wasn’t asking.

    Have to see how things pan out in next one year (do not see COVID situation vanishing anytime before that) & then decide on reapplication of this card.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      20K Usage on Spa benefit – That’s Awesome!

      Reversal – That’s good to know and is indeed surprising to see this happen with ICICI. Thanks for sharing, Rampy.

      Reply
  4. Paras Dutta

    Thanks for all the amazing articles Siddharth and now this one.☺️
    Finally connected with icici customer care through email( been trying to connect with them since May 18,couldn’t reach any) they say my voucher was kept on hold and they will dispatch soon.
    I would like to know of your experience when traveling in india(airports) and international using this card for lounge access.unlimited lounge access through Dragon pass abroad and in india ? like you said they denied you your second visit ,we can use the Dragon pass there can’t we ?And where all can we use this ? Abroad and india.Any issues ? I’ve heard dragon pass issues where they deny sometimes abroad and in india.
    And Boingo usage abroad,in flight and in airports etc.
    Thank you once again for your amazing articles !

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Dreamfolks DragonPass card can be used only in foreign land and it should work well just like priority pass.

      My issue with domestic lounge is bit different and it wont happen at most other airports.

      Reply
    2. Vimal

      Have been a reader of your website. This is really very informative to know about the experience as we may not use many benefits that come with a card once we lay our hands on. A new type of article. Impressive

      Reply
      1. Siddharth Post author

        Very much glad to know. Will try to add more such content in future 🙂

        Reply
  5. Shubhendu Shekhar

    Hi everyone,
    I have an HDFC Infinia and SCB Ultimate card. Owing to the recent changes in rewards scheme of HDFC, I’m looking to get a new card.
    Any recommendations?

    Reply
    1. Prashant Gupta’s

      I have already shifted non 10x spends on sc ultimate. Its the next best card after infinia.

      Reply
  6. Amar

    It’s funny how ICICI works.
    Despite spending 17 Lacs+, I have been charged annual fees and customer care has no clue why?
    Request for reversal is pending for almost 10 days now.

    Reply
  7. Shiv Kumar Singh

    Hi Siddharth,
    Thanks for writing this article, this helped me to convert this card into another LTF Card for me…
    Once again thanks…

    Reply
      1. Shiv Kumar Singh

        I have Business Banking Relationship in ICICI Primarily, but this card is issued on my personal wealth account. So after reading this article I called upon the B.M, and said despite giving so much business banking value to your bank (Last Financial Year The Banking done was I guess in 9 digits,approx), not giving any fees waiver or something, and then he said he will call back me once this issue is resolved, then after two days, he said your card has been converted to L.T.F Emeralde.

        But on the other side they always refused for LTF for my ICICI Diamant Card…

        Reply
          1. Shiv Kumar Singh

            Never Mind…

            Just wanted a quick advise, should I surrender my ICICI Diamant Card or just wait, Last year when I asked about this card to their Regional Head, he said this card has gone for restructuring and said we will let you soon, and said you can expect a fresh version by last quarter of 2019, but that had not happened till now…

            What are your thoughts on this…

          2. Siddharth Post author

            Its an outdated product, better to cancel IMO as you anyway have the Emeralde.

  8. Shiv Kumar Singh

    Thanks for you views, I will consider it to cancel once I confirm from them, whether they are reviewing it or not…

    Thanks…

    Reply
  9. Akshat

    Thanks for sharing your experience Siddharth, informative as always

    Can i ask why this card makes sense for you, the only tangible benefit over other premium cards is the airport spa benefit which is only 30mins and valued around 750-1000 INR.
    Isnt the opportunity cost more compared to spends diverted on your Infinia for example.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      At times I value the new type of experiences more than the actual value of money. (Like Trident/Da Milano in this case)

      Its more of a personal choice I think.

      Reply
      1. Rampy

        This card comes with its own set of benefits. I took this even though I already had LTF ICICI Sapphiro CC.

        Without spending a dime (for reward points through shopping, bill payments, etc.), one would get Trident benefit, BMS, unlimited lounge & Spa at airports. I haven’t used this card for any other spends – Diners Black & SCB take all my load. Plus, since I made monthly fee payment, I had an option to discontinue this card now without paying the complete annual fee.

        Reply
  10. Karan Singh

    Sid,
    How do the rewards compare on this card to the rest of the premium segment,
    what is best use of Payback points

    Reply
  11. AAJ

    No FYF, although sb a/c since 2006 and demat since 2008 and held Sapphiro Jet earlier
    Not worth i feel to take with this fees and less rewards 🙁

    Reply
  12. Amit Handa

    Hey Siddharth,

    Would you mind telling if you have used “No cash withdrawal fee” and “No late payment charges” features on this card.

    Reply
  13. Mohan

    Hi Sid,

    I have a quick question, I have a cibil score of 791. I already have two cards. Can I apply for two or three more credit cards simultaneously?
    Are there chances that my credit card gets rejected and impact on cibil score?

    Reply

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