Just returned to Pune after a great time at Goa, and found a thick envelope from American Express waiting for me. Opening it presented an invite from them offering a “pre-approved” membership of the American Express Kingfisher First Credit Card, which is basically a Platinum card. This was actually a bit of a surprise, considering I was considering returning both my existing American Express credit card as well as the American Express charge card.
Reason: These are the only cards I have where an annual fee is levied, and though I didn’t mind it initially, it is an issue now, especially when all other cards are free, regardless of whether they are Gold, Platinum, Titanium etc!
My other grouse was that I didn’t see the point in paying annual fees just to keep the card in my wallet. American Express cards probably have the lowest rate of acceptance in India, thanks to the stiff charges they claim from their member establishments.
As a result, whenever I offer my American Express card on making a purchase, the person manning the swipe machine gives a sheepish grin and asks if I have a MasterCard or Visa and if I can provide that instead. Ironically, the establishment will have those stickers on their glass doors saying “American Express cards welcome” :p
However, I did get a call from their customer care team who assured me that things were going to improve, and they offered to waive off the annual fee for this year 🙂
To get back to the American Express Kingfisher First credit card, the offer does seem good. On signup, one becomes eligible for free round-trip tickets from Kingfisher Airlines and vouchers to upgrade from Economy to Business class. There are also some vouchers from clothing stores along with an offer to get points by paying your Airtel bills through this card, however, that option is not there for residents of Pune 🙁 (and I’m not an Airtel customer)
The other feature is a list of Platinum partners, so a customer earns points and thereby free tickets faster by using the card to shop at these locations. The card also offers complimentary membership of the Kingfisher Airlines King Club Gold Tier.
This American Express Kingfisher First credit card replaces my existing Amex credit card of course, though the charge card stays. Here’s looking to forward to the good times!
Update June 2012: Given all the troubles that Kingfisher Airlines is in, and the fact that King Club miles are worthless, I’d called American Express to express my concerns on the usefulness of this card any more. They agreed, and have confirmed they will replace this card with the American Express Platinum Travel credit card instead – at no cost to me, and no annual fees either.