Axis Bank has launched the Axis Atlas credit card targeting frequent flyers. Axis Bank appears to have gotten serious about its credit card portfolio and is either launching new cards or tweaking the existing cards. For eg. It revamped Axis Magnus recently.
Axis Atlas credit card revolves around airmiles and focuses on travel benefits. Thus the highlight of the card is multiple redemption partners with the possibility of new partners being added in future. Further, the card has a tiered benefit structure. i.e the more you spend more benefit you get.
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 Benefit:
- 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: 1 EdgeMile on every INR100 spent. 1 EdgeMile= INR 1(1% reward rate).
- Accelerated Reward Rate:
- 5 EdgeMiles on every INR100 spent on travel (Airlines website or TravelEdge Portal).
- 2 EdgeMiles on every INR100 spent in foreign currency. (Applicable only if you are Platinum Tier)
- 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 the 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: AirAsia, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Miles&Smiles, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, ITC in the ratio 1:2
- Air Vistara in the ratio of 1:1.
- EdgeMiles can be redeemed at 1point = INR 1 on the Axis TravelEdge portal for flight and hotel bookings.
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 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 and 2x EdgeMiles on forex transactions.
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.
A few things that stand out for Axis Atlas credit card are
- The reward rate is decent only for airmiles transfer and not for cash redemption.
- 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 booking (thru Axis portal). So, 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?
Multiple airlines/hotel transfer partners with a good conversion ratio
Axis Atlas credit card has multiple transfer partners. A few of them are AirAsia, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Miles&Smiles, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, ITC and Air Vistara. The transfer ratio of 1EdgeMiles = 2 partner miles (except Air Vistara -1:1 in that case) is also very good. This kind of long list of transfer partners is seen only with Amex and Citi cards. Further, what I could gather is that the transfer partners will be expanded soon.
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. Another good thing is there is no daily or monthly cap on the accelerated reward points like the way HDFC has on Infinia and DCB.
Free lounge access is applicable for guests also
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 lounge access. This is a good thing for genuine users of the card 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?
The regular reward rate is low
My sense is regular reward rate of 1EdgeMile per 100 spent is too low. Should have been around 2 per 100 spent or 1.5 per 100 at the least.
No multiplier reward points on Axis Edge portal
Given that the Axis Atlas credit card gives you EdgeMiles and not EdgeRewards. My sense is you won’t get the benefit of the AxisEdge portal where one can buy Amazon/Flipkart vouchers at a discount. This is my understanding. Someone who has this card or access to the AxisEdge portal, kindly confirm.
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 highlight of Axis Atlas credit card is multiple transfer partners across hotels & airlines and a tiered structure. Given the way the bank has described the offering, I assume that more partners will be added in the due course and that will be interesting. Further, probably Axis Bank may increase the value proposition of the Gold and Platinum tier in future the way it did with Axis Magnus.
Overall Axis Atlas credit card is a decent card targeted towards people in the airmiles game. 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 spends spread across categories but want to transfer points to airmiles I recommend Amex credit cards such as Amex MRCC, Plat Travel or even Diners Black.
Further, if you value cashbacks or statement credit more than airmiles then don’t even bring this card into your consideration. The EdgeMiles can only be redeemed against travel spending on Axis portal and 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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