ICICI Bank Emeralde Private Metal Credit Card Review

By | April 25, 2024
ICICI Bank Emeralde Private Metal Credit Card

For the first time in the history of ICICI Bank Credit Cards, the bank has introduced a rewarding super premium credit card named Emeralde Private Metal Credit Card. Essentially, ICICI Bank has taken feedback on the previously launched regular Emeralde Credit Card and addressed those shortcomings, such as the reward rate, by making a few changes and launching a new product.

Here’s a detailed review of the newly launched ICICI Emeralde Private Metal Credit Card, which is currently being offered on an invite-only basis.

Overview

TypeSuper Premium Credit Card
Reward Rate3%
Annual Fee12,499 INR + GST
Best forWelcome Benefits
USPTaj Epicure Membership with 1 Night Stay

ICICI Bank Emeralde Credit Card is a wonderful credit card not only for it’s welcome benefits but also for it’s attractive reward rate.

Joining Fees

Joining / Annual FeeRs.12,499+GST
Welcome Benefit– 12,500 Points (12,500 INR value)
– Taj Epicure Membership with 1 Night Stay
Renewal FeeRs.12,499+GST
Renewal Benefit12,500 Points (12,500 INR value)
Renewal Fee WaiverSpend Rs.10L in the card anniversary year

As you can see, all of a sudden ICICI Bank has become quite generous. I’ve never seen any other Credit Card Issuer being this generous on the welcome benefit. It’s almost 2X the value of what we pay.

Taj Epicure is heavily loaded as you might know and if you use all those benefits you might even get 3X of what you’ve paid.

And fortunately there is also a renewal fee waiver condition of 10 Lakhs p.a. which is very much feasible for most in this segment.

Note: I didn’t receive the welcome points automatically despite receiving an email alert. However, raising a request with wealth support got the points added the same day.

Design

ICICI Emeralde Private Metal Credit Card

The design is beautiful just like the regular Emeralde Credit Card and it is being issued only on Mastercard network as of now.

While the design looks elegant, I wish they increase the brightness of Mastercard logo a bit as it looks dull now, as you can see above.

It’s a metal card and so don’t forget that the card comes with a 3,500 INR card replacement fee just incase you missed it.

Reward Points

SPEND TYPEREWARDSREWARD RATE
(FLIGHTS/HOTELS)
Max. Cap
( Per Stmt Cycle)
Regular Spends6 RP / 200 INR3%Nil
Grocery6 RP / 200 INR3%1000 RP
(Max: 33K INR spend)
Utilities6 RP / 200 INR3%1000 RP
(Max: 33K INR spend)
Education6 RP / 200 INR3%1000 RP
(Max: 33K INR spend)
Insurance Spends6 RP / 200 INR3%5000 RP
(Max: 1.67L spend)
  • Redemption Fee: Nil
  • Tax, Fuel & Rent payments are excluded for Reward Points
  • 1% fee on Rent Payments
  • All Capping are set as per Statement Cycle

You get to enjoy 3% reward rate on most of the spends and those that have limits are quite sensible. Note that Grocery, Utilities & Education Spends will have SEPARATE 1000 RP cap for EACH category.

We’ll have to thank the one who designed this reward system limits because this is probably one of the few cards in the industry that follows the common sense on max caps. Though, I feel Education could have had better limits.

It’s sheer stupidity of some banks to just keep on adding MCC’s every other quarter to exclusion list, instead, setting such decent caps is a good move as most regular spenders wont be affected this way. Well done ICICI Bank!

Redemption

Redemption Options

Just like most other super premium credit cards, ICICI Emeralde Private Credit Card is also focused on Flight & Hotel redemptions to extract higher value of 1RP = 1 INR.

So if you’re not interested in travel redemptions, your reward rate will go for a toss. Though, it is to be noted that some branded vouchers like US Polo, Allen Solly, etc are still at 1:1 if redeemed for a higher amount like 10K INR.

Milestone Rewards

SPEND REQUIREMENTMILESTONE BENEFIT
(EaseMYTrip Voucher)
REWARD RATE 
(AS POINTS)
4 Lakhs3,000 INR0.75%
8 Lakhs3,000 INR0.75%
  • EaseMYTrip Voucher can be used for Flights Only as per t&c

The milestone benefit is well-designed to provide an additional boost to the reward rate. When combined with regular rewards, it amounts to an impressive 3.75%, which is unheard of in ICICI Bank’s Proprietary Credit Cards portfolio.

EaseMYtrip flight voucher by ICICI

The Milestone Voucher was triggered for my account within about a week of completing the transaction. So the milestone fulfillments are pretty quick too.

Points Transfer Partners

  • Air India: 1:1

ICICI Bank has started coming up with an option to transfer your points to Air India. You can find the option on the home page of rewards portal.

This is good news, and I hope it leads to partnerships with many other international partners in the future. However, the transfer ratio is not exciting for Air India, as I rarely value Air India Miles at 1 Rs/mile.

Airport Lounge Access

ACCESS TYPEVIALIMITGUEST ACCESS
Domestic Lounge AccessMasterCardUnlimited
International Lounge AccessPriority PassUnlimited

The Domestic & International airport Lounge access benefit is not only for the primary cardholder but also extends to all Add-on cardmembers as well. Upto 3 Add-on Cards are complimentary with ICICI Bank Emeralde Private Credit Card.

Golf Benefit

  • Complimentary Games/Lessons: Unlimited
  • Coverage: 20 Domestic Golf Courses & 90 International Golf Courses

It’s rare to find Credit Cards with access to international golf courses, so it’s good to see that with a coverage of 90 International Golf Courses.

However, remember that only 1 booking can be held at any point in time. So, practically it’s not unlimited, that’s fine though.

Forex Markup Fee

  • Foreign Currency Markup Fee: 2%+GST = 2.36%
  • Rewards: 3% (3.7% if you hit milestone)
  • Net Gain: 3% – 2.36% = 0.4% (minimum gain)

Similar to most other super-premium credit cards, the ICICI Emeralde Private Metal Credit Card also offers a discounted forex markup fee of 2%, resulting in a net gain of close to 0.5%, leaving a lot of room for improvement.

Other benefits

  • Cash Advance Fee: Nil
  • Late payment Fee: Nil
  • Over-limit Fee: Nil
  • Bookmyshow: Buy one ticket and get up to 750 off on the second ticket on movies/sport events/theatre/concert tickets, twice per month
  • EazyDiner Prime Membership

My Experience

ICICI Emeralde Private Credit Card Experience

I asked my new ICICI Wealth RM to inform me about the steps to upgrade as soon as the card goes live. Once it went live, the RM patiently followed up with me almost every week for over a month, which was a bit surprising from ICICI RM’s.

One day, I decided to go for it.

The RM connected me to the representative who handles credit cards at the branch. She took the request for an upgrade from my recently issued ICICI Sapphiro Credit Card, which previously replaced my Intermiles Sapphiro card.

The service request was approved within 3 days and I was able to see the card on my app. I received the physical card in the next few days. All of this happened within a week, and it was super smooth.

Tip: For those who’re stuck with an upgrade, all you need is to find the person who can take the request. Surprisingly it can as well be done by the phone banking officers but maybe not all are aware of it.

I did use the same route to apply for an upgrade for some of my clients and most of them went through successfully, except for one, which we’ll discuss below.

Eligibility

  • For Fresh Applications: Invite Only as per Bank
  • For Upgrade, Credit Limit on Existing ICICI Bank Credit Card: ~10 Lakhs

Ideally, such invite-only cards are issued to existing customers with a good relationship with the bank. However, the bank may change its requirements from time to time.

For fresh applications, ICICI Bank may not issue the card easily. However, if you have other bank cards with a credit limit of over 10 lakhs, you may give it a try.

For existing ICICI Bank credit card customers, the expected credit limit on the existing card for an upgrade is in the range of 10 lakhs. However, one might need to hold premium cards like Rubyx/Sapphiro to increase the probability of an upgrade, as I’ve seen 1 case getting declined with a 15 lakh limit on the Coral Card.

If you already have the Emeralde Card, you might as well see the upgrade option on the app.

If you couldn’t get the card for any reason, you should first try to get the regular ICICI Emeralde Credit Card and then go for the upgrade, which will be lot easier.

Devaluation Meter

  • Devaluation meter reading: Low

Except for the lucrative welcome benefit, all other benefits are well capped, so I’m not expecting any major devaluation. However, since they’re new to a high-rewards card, they might keep optimizing the redemption value for vouchers.

Also, as of now, the bank isn’t issuing the card easily for everyone, which is a good sign. If that continues, it may take well over 2-3 years for any major devaluation to happen.

Bottom line

  • Cardexpert Rating: 4.8/5

With the Emeralde Private Credit Card, ICICI Bank has finally introduced a rewarding super premium credit card for those who have been waiting for it. Part of the reason for this achievement is likely because ICICI Bank has exited Payback Rewards and launched its own rewards program.

With pretty good rewards and wonderful joining benefits, it’s certainly one of the best credit card in India for 2024.

While this is a good start, I hope the bank soon brings in more airline/hotel transfer partners and an accelerated reward system like HDFC Smartbuy’s 5X/10X rewards in the future to compete well with the King of Super Premium Credit Cards.

Author: Siddharth

Helping Indians to choose right credit cards, pick right offers and enjoy luxury vacations for less. Day & night exploring the spiritual reality of our human existence.

42 thoughts on “ICICI Bank Emeralde Private Metal Credit Card Review

  1. Dev

    Wow. Good to know about this card.

    I’ve been seeing upgrade option to the normal Emeralde in the app for a while now. I’d assume if I reach out to my RM they’ll check the possibility for this card as well?

    Reply
  2. Amitabh Maheshwari

    I have got a limit of INR 20.90 L on my ICICI Sapphiro. In my iMobile app I can see the offer to upgrade to the normal emeralde. But I am not interested in that.

    Reply
    1. Anshul

      Same here. Did you try checking for upgrade through customer care?

      Reply
  3. SSP

    How are you giving such high rating to this card?

    It is way behind Infinia or even DCB metal. 3.3% vs 3%. No accelerated rewards, no Airline transfer partners

    Things like unlimited lounge access and all is common for a super premium card. Even Yes Marquee has it. There is no guest access on this as well

    Some how this card does not standout to be honest. Only differentiator is exclusivity factor as it is little hard to get. Thats all

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      – Upto 3.75% Reward Rate
      – 2X-3X Welcome benefit
      – Rewards on most type of spends for regular users
      – Can be treated as good as 100% redemption

      Nevertheless, I keep adjusting the rating from time to time based on updates/devaluations/feedbacks etc. Thanks for your feedback.

      Reply
      1. Sk

        I must say i agree with the above comment. This card has 2x welcome benefit (which no doubt is great), but beyond that, there is absolutely nothing. Over multiple months, my spend on it is easy. I see no good reason to spend on this over Infinia.

        Reply
  4. Basant

    Hi,
    Will add on cards for emeralde metal also comes along with primary card if we upgrade from plastic emeralde ( i have 3 addon with plastic).
    Or we have to apply again for addon

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Most upgrades with ICICI are usually separate requests even though they call it as an upgrade, so I doubt about that.

      Reply
      1. Basant Motlani

        It means , old cards will remain active with upgraded card. Both card will be charged.

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          Yes, ICICI doesn’t close old cards on upgrade unless you request to close.

          Reply
  5. Shreyas Singh

    I don’t have any relationship with ICICI.
    Is there a way I can directly apply for this card ?
    monthly salary ~2.5L pm

    Hold HDFC diners black metal with ~9.25L credit limit, and few other cards

    Reply
  6. Sandeep

    You may want to correct that 2% plus taxes would be 2.36% not 2.2%.

    Reply
  7. Sam

    I have the LTF Emeralde card with 10L limit. Has anyone got the metal card as a free upgrade or LTF Emeralde Metal card? Looks like a long shot. Emeralde has 4 BMS p.m. offer as opposed to 2 BMS p.m offer on Emeralde Metal.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      They’re not giving it as FYF or LTF as of now.

      Reply
    2. Aman Khandelwal

      It’s effectively free with those renewal and joint benefits, of course youll have to pay for the gst part

      Reply
  8. VIPUL AGGARWAL

    How to apply for this card? can we apply C2C basis? Got a wealth account but its in dormant condition

    Reply
  9. AAJ

    They gave rewards on wallet spends (short lived) and removed it during Feb 2024. If they would have continued, it would have been go to card

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      If they have continued, they might have to follow Axis like devaluations. 🙂

      So i’m glad they found and fixed early.

      Reply
      1. AAJ

        🙂 Agree. But devaluing too early gives less confidence on bank for someone getting the card. Nevertheless my usage was prior period and covered!

        Reply
  10. Anshul

    Hi, in eligibility you’ve mentioned “For Upgrade, Credit Limit on Existing ICICI Bank Credit Card: ~10 Lakhs”. Is this from the bank? I don’t think this is true. If it is an invite-only card, how does this make sense?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      It means they’ll invite you if you’ve above 10L CL with other banks. 🙂

      In a way, no card is pure invite only.

      Reply
  11. Abhi

    New transfer partner, Air India, 1:1 .
    For other Icici cards having transfer feature, it’s 6:1 .
    Big question : will AI revamp it’s FR miles program to the level of CV!

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yeah I did notice it on the rewards portal. Updated, thanks.

      Reply
  12. vadakkus

    The thing is that all these super premium cards are insanely gatekeeped by the banks. All the Infinia, Emeralde, M4B etc. get all offered to the same very narrow set of customers. They aren’t accessible even for people who will regularly do high spends on them and more than have the capability to pay back in full what they spend. Even if they are willing to pay annual fees.

    In fact, many people who get these high premium cards don’t even use them as they don’t see the need to and keep them as trophies. Indian banks should mature in their approach to credit cards as a business vertical and stop being so scared of offering cards to high spending customers who otherwise don’t see the value of uselessly parking high amounts of money in their FDs and ULIPs.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      I disagree with that approach.
      Deep Devaluation of Axis Magnus & Reserve are the proof of giving super premium cards to anyone easily.

      That said, it’s not that tough to get these super premium cards in 2024 as long as there are good spends with decent relationship with the bank.

      Reply
      1. Mohit Tater

        Agree 100% with you Siddharth. Just because of a select few people, all the other genuine users of Axis Cards had to let go of such good benefits. Indians will find out a way to exploit and game the system no matter what and the genuine users will be left stranded.

        So I think it’s not a good idea to give these premium cards to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Just my 2 cents.

        Reply
        1. vadakkus

          I was one of the honest users of Magnus. Never gamed the system or did rotation or manufactured spends. Reached the milestone every month through genuine spends only. And I got the axe too.
          All was saying was that banks should be able to identify genuine customers and offer them services, while punishing frauds. Or is that banks should be inherently exclusionist, offering all premium cards to the same set of privileged folks who think they are the arbiters of the Indian credit card scene as opposed to every “Tom, Dick and Harry”?

          Reply
      2. vadakkus

        Sorry but it still isn’t easy to get super premium cards. I have a 16 year relationship with ICICI Bank and a 18 year relationship with HDFC Bank (current salary account). I spend around a lakh on credit cards every month. Still either won’t entertain a request for Emeralde Private or Infinia (been trying for over two years) unless I make some hefty deposit with them or subscribe to ULIPs.

        Reply
  13. Bhavin Shah

    I checked with RM and I was told you need 2 cr FD or equivalent relationship with bank. I have 49 lac limit on sapphiro and salary account still denied card upgrade to metal emaralde

    Reply
    1. AAJ

      I first saw invite in Netbanking and then on mobile after I got it approved, pls. check in net banking once, if you have an upgrade.

      Reply
  14. Nandh

    Hi,

    I have 15L CL with LTF Sapphiro. 30L in FD and salary account with ICICI. Still ain’t getting an upgrade. RM is outright useless. Doesn’t even bother to push the case.

    Call Center tells me, only the RM has to make a case around this.

    Any workaround?

    Thanks
    Nandh

    Reply
  15. Abhi

    If they giving an emeradle pvt upgrade at 10L CL, I have to see how to get my rubyx CL increased from 8.8 to 10L, have a wealth relationship with icici. Rubyx was a very good card with reward in the range of 2.8% but ever since it moved from handpicked rewards to icici rewards, the reward rate has plunged to 0.87% . Right now app is only showing upgrade to one dual network MC/Amex Sapphiro LTF, and Makemytrip visa signature at 2.5K +gst joining free and no annual fee. There’s very little info on the dual network Sapphiro, seems it’s reward rate is 0.5 to 0.75% . Emeralde pvt seems to be the only serious card from icici, besides amazon.

    Reply
  16. Vipul Aggarwal

    Hello Sid, I think this card got unlimited Spa offer as well? If it’s not available any reason to hold his card when I got Infinia, Biz Black All 4 Amex cards, Axis Reserve etc?

    Reply
  17. Dr.Simon David

    I am using Emerald Metal card for past 4 months. I am not getting any rewards for any spends and the portal for rewards shows 4:1 conversion for all the category. Customer care took request for rewards conversion and changed the portal I think(UI was different) but still shows the same. Can suggestions on want can I do?

    Reply
  18. Aman Khandelwal

    Got it in December through “upgrade your credit card” on imobile app, thanks to branch team for notifying, to check if I got this offer. They offered a fresh application for this credit card as well. Have been using ever since and no complaints. Only time i didn’t use it was for travel booking and expenses as forex rate is still on the higher side when compared to other cards in the segment.

    Reply

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