Axis Bank earlier this year launched the Axis Atlas credit card targeting frequent flyers. Now silently it has done an Axis Magnus to the Axis Atlas i.e. a revaluation to improve the base reward rate. This move has significantly increased the card’s proposition.
Axis Atlas credit card revolves around airmiles and focuses on travel benefits. The card has a tiered benefit structure. i.e the more you spend more benefits you get. Further, Axis Bank has significantly expanded its list of transfer partners and is undoubtedly the best in the country at the moment.
So does this card score well and should you apply for one? Read to find out.
Axis Atlas Credit Card
Fees and Eligibility:
- Joining fees and annual fees INR5000 + GST. No fee waiver based on spends
Rewards and Benefits:
- Joining Benefit:
- 5000 EdgeMiles on completing 3 transactions within 60 days.
- Recurring Benefits:
- Up to 10000 EdgeMiles depending on tier achieved. Tier is linked to annual spending.
- Reward Points:
- Standard Reward Rate:
12 EdgeMile on every INR100 spent. 1 EdgeMile= INR 1(2% reward rate). This is the change made recently and has improved the card’s proposition.
- Accelerated Reward Rate:
- 5 EdgeMiles on every INR100 spent on travel (airline/hotel website or TravelEdge Portal). Not applicable on websites such as MMT, GoIbibo etc.
- Lounge Access:
- Domestic: 8-18 domestic lounge access depending on Tier.
- International: 4-12 international lounge access depending on Tier.
- Airport Concierge Service: 2-4 complimentary end-to-end VIP services at airports within India.
- Airport pickup Service: 2 complimentary airport pickup services for the Platinum Tier.
- EdgeMiles can be converted into airmiles of various airlines.
- Transfer Partners: Long list of transfer partners is shared below. However, the Marriott transfer ratio is odd at 2:1 i.e for 2 EdgeMiles only 1 Marriott point. For Air Vistara it’s at a 1:1 ratio (sad).
- EdgeMiles can be redeemed at 1 point = INR 1 on the Axis TravelEdge portal for flight and hotel bookings. EdgeMiles can only be redeemed on the TravelEdge portal nowhere else.
- Standard Reward Rate:
What is a Tier in Axis Atlas credit card?
Axis Atlas has 3 tiers: Silver (Base level), Gold and Platinum tier. This is similar to many airline and hotel loyalty programs, where the holder in the higher tier gets more benefits. Similarly, in the Axis Atlas credit card, the tier depends on your spending level. Silver Tier is the base tier you start with; whereas on spending 7.5lk in a year, you get into Gold Tier. Similarly, on spending 15lk a year, you get into the top tier- Platinum tier. Below is a snapshot of the tiers and the benefits. In the Platinum tier, apart from the benefits mentioned below, you also get 2 airport pickup services.
Another thing about this tiered structure is; say you applied for the card in Feb-2022 and spend 15lk by September 2022. You will be in Platinum Tier until Feb-2024. This is because in the second year i.e. Feb-2023 your tier will be decided based on your last year’s spend and will continue till Feb-2024.
How does Axis Atlas compare with other cards?
I tried comparing the Axis Atlas credit card with a few other credit cards that offer points transfer to airlines. Below is the calculator for you to play around with the numbers.
For spends of up to ~2.4lk Amex MRCC(Apply Now) will give the best benefits on conversion to airmiles. Similarly, for spends of up to ~4.8lk Amex Platinum Travel(Apply Now) is the best for airmiles. It’s only for spends of ~7lk and above Axis Atlas starts becoming a solid credit card for airmiles accumulation. Please note, I am not comparing the Axis Atlas with the Axis Magnus, since Axis Magnus will beat Axis Atlas hands down.
A few things that stand out for Axis Atlas credit card are
- With 2 EdgeMiles per 100 spent, the base reward rate is at 2%. Which is very good indeed.
- Reward rate below 7.5lakh annual spend is very mediocre even for airmiles transfer. It improves as you get into the Gold and Platinum tier.
- To get the maximum benefit from this card, one has to spend on airline tickets or hotel bookings. Thus, if you don’t travel frequently but want to convert points into airmiles for a vacation, there are other better cards than Axis Atlas.
Where does Axis Atlas credit card scores?
Base reward rate of 2%
When I wrote about the Axis Atlas credit card, one of the grouse I had was a low reward rate on non-travel spending. However, with recent changes (2 EdgeMiles per 100 spent) Axis has taken care of that grouse. Now, even the worse case reward rate on this card is at 2%, which is very good.
Multiple airlines/hotel transfer partners with a good conversion ratio
Axis Atlas transfer partners are listed below. This kind of long list of transfer partners is generally seen only with Amex and Citi cards. The transfer partner list is undoubtedly the best in the country at the moment.
The good thing with the multiple transfer option is that the cardholders are in control of their points and can actually plan their travel and stay the way they like.
Accelerated miles on travel spends
Given the nature of the credit card, it was obvious that it gives accelerated reward points on travel spending. You get 5 EdgeMiles for spending done on the airline’s website and Axis’s TravelEdge portal. The best part is there is no upper cap on the accelerated reward points like the way HDFC has on Infinia and DCB.
Free lounge access is also applicable to guests
The domestic and international lounge access is applicable for the primary cardholder as well as accompanying guests. This is a godsend especially when the other person doesn’t have lounge access. Further, since the number of lounge access is based on your tier, Axis Bank is making sure that people don’t take this credit card just for the lounge access. This is a good thing for genuine users and ensures the product feature remains for a long time.
Tier achieved this year stays for next year too
As explained above, say you applied for the card in Feb-2022 and spend 15lk by September 2022. You will be in Platinum Tier until Feb-2024. This is because in the second year i.e. Feb-2023 your tier will be decided based on your last year’s spend and will continue till Feb-2024.This is thoughtful of Axis Bank as once you get into a higher tier; you remain in that tier for 12 months, at the least, to enjoy the benefits.
Where does Axis Atlas lag?
No multiplier reward points on Axis Edge portal
Given that the Axis Atlas credit card gives you EdgeMiles and not EdgeRewards. You don’t get accelerated reward points for spending on Graddeals and GiftEdge. Nonetheless, you can still opt for cashback in place of accelerated reward points.
Insurance spend above 5k won’t earn EdgeMiles
Axis Atlas credit card won’t earn EdgeMiles on insurance spend of 5k or more. Axis has explicitly mentioned this in T&Cs. This is a downer on an otherwise good card as insurance spends are sizable chunks. However, one can circumvent this by using Amazon vouchers to make insurance payments. Nonetheless, this is a drawback of the card.
No annual fee waiver
Given that the Gold and Platinum tier spending levels are quite high at 7.5lakhs and 15lakhs respectively, the bank could have offered an annual fee waiver at least for these customers.
The recent revaluation of the base reward rate Axis Bank has made Axis Atlas a very solid travel credit card. It now has a solid 2% reward rate (worst case), the highest number of airline transfer partners and a tiered structure where the more you spend, the more benefits you get.
Someone who travels frequently and spends upward of 10lakh per annum mostly on travel will be able to extract the most from this card. If you have mediocre spending spread across categories but want to transfer points to airmiles I recommend Amex credit cards such as Amex MRCC (Apply Now) , Amex Platinum Travel(Apply Now) or even Diners Black.
Further, if you value cashbacks or statement credit more than airmiles then don’t even think about this card when you can apply for an SBI Cashback card (Apply Now). The EdgeMiles can only be redeemed against travel spending on Axis portal nothing else.
What are your thoughts on Axis Atlas credit card? Which transfer partner you find the most exciting one? You think this can be the number 1 travel credit card in India? Do share in the comment section below
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