Axis Bank had launched the Axis Magnus credit card sometime in 2019 and it remained a mediocre card back then. However, recent changes that Axis has done with the Magnus credit card’s benefits and simultaneous devaluation of the HDFC Infinia and DCB has made Axis Magnus a very good card to hold. In this article, I will list down my views on the Axis Magnus credit card and a comparison with HDFC Infinia and DCB, to see if Magnus is really better than Infinia/DCB.
Axis Bank added various transfer partners (airlines and hotel chains) to Magnus credit cards in August 2022. This one step has made Magnus probably the best credit card in India at the moment.
Axis Magnus Credit Card
Fees and Eligibility:
- Joining fees and annual fees are INR10,000 + GST. Fee waived at annual spends of 15lakhs
Rewards and Benefit:
- Joining Benefit:
- Joining benefit of 10K Tata Cliq voucher or 10k worth domestic flight ticket.
- This is applicable on renewal too, provided the annual fee is paid.
- Recurring Benefits:
- BOGO on BMS up to Rs. 500 off on the second ticket for a maximum of 5 movie/non-movie bookings in a month.
- Reward Points:
- Standard Reward Rate: 12 reward points on every INR200 spent. 1 Reward point = 0.20 paisa (1.2% reward rate).
- Accelerated Reward Rate: 5x reward points (i.e. 60 RPs) on every INR200 spent on travel spending via Travel Edge (6% reward rate). A monthly cap of 10K points.
- Milestone Reward Rate: 25,000 RPs worth INR5,000 on monthly spends of INR1Lakh (i.e. 5% reward rate)
- Lounge Access:
- Domestic: Unlimited complimentary domestic lounge access to primary and add-on card members.
- International: Unlimited complimentary lounge access to the primary cardholder. 8 guest visits are allowed in a year.
- Airport Concierge Service: 8 complimentary end-to-end VIP services at the airports within India.
My views on Axis Magnus credit card
The Axis Magnus credit card has been in existence since 2019. However, given the low reward rate of 1.2%, high annual fee (10K) and very high fee waiver threshold (15Lakhs) the card remained very mediocre. However, Axis Bank has made some changes in the reward program making the card quite interesting. The changes are
- Monthly Milestone Benefits: 25,000 RPs worth INR5,000 on monthly spending of INR1Lakh (i.e. 5% reward rate). This one change alone increases the reward rate on the card from 1.2% to 6.2%. Only wallet spends are excluded in the calculations.
- Accelerated Reward Rate: 5x reward points (i.e. 60 RPs) on every INR200 spent on travel spending via Travel Edge (6% reward rate). Thru its Travel Edge portal, travel bookings will earn a 6% reward rate
- International lounge access: Unlimited international lounge access via Priority Pass for the primary cardholder.
- Airlines and Hotels loyalty program as transfer partners: Axis has introduced a range of transfer partners at a very lucrative conversion ratio (5:4). At this conversion ratio, one can easily score up to 8 business class tickets to Singapore.
The introduction of a monthly milestone benefit equivalent to INR5K significantly changes the reward rate of the card to 6%+. Further, since all spending is included, except wallet load, one can seriously think of using this card as a primary card as long as monthly spending is above 1lakh. This can be a boon for people running high utility (read electricity) and fuel bills every month.
Another feature of this card, the airport concierge service in Indian airports can be useful for people who travel frequently with heavy luggage or in large groups. For normal travel, I don’t think this service makes any difference.
One another feature that is unique to Axis Magnus is BOGO on BMS for up to 500 for a maximum of 5 movie/non-movie bookings in a month. This is saying that you can literally go to movies every week at 50% off. This feature sounds great on paper, but I feel is impractical in practice, as very few cardholders will tend to watch movies/theatre every week religiously.
Miles transfer can give 8 business class tickets to Singapore: Recently, Axis Magnus announced many transfer partners for most of its card range including Axis Magnus. The outcome of this change is Axis Magnus can potentially give you 8 business class tickets to Singapore on Singapore Airlines. A business class ticket to Singapore in Singapore Airlines starts from 43k miles.
The details of transfer partners and conversion ratio is given below:
The magnitude of this change is such that even if you don’t use Axis Magnus for its 5x rewards and run a monthly bill of just 50k, you will get more airmiles than HDFC Infinia/DCB on similar spends. Below is the table that gives approx. miles you earn on Axis Magnus vs HDFC Infinia/DCB at various spend levels.
Axis Magnus vs HDFC Infinia vs HDFC Diners Black
Since the devaluation of HDFC cards and the tweaking of benefits on Axis Magnus happened at the same time, it’s quite obvious for everyone to compare these cards.
I also compared these cards, since I own a DCB and the devaluation has been quite sharp on DCB. If one goes by the monetary value of reward points, then Axis Magnus is a notch below HDFC Infinia and DCB.
However, if one takes into account the miles conversion (assumed transfer to Krisflyer in the calculator) Axis Magnus stands heads and shoulders above HDFC Infinia/DCB.
If you only consider the monetary value of points then HDFC twins are still a notch better than Magnus. However, the moment you bring into the picture the miles conversion, Axis Magnus beats nearly every other credit card by a big margin. In the calculator above, I have incorporated both- monetary value and miles conversion.
In addition, since the conversion ratio is too good to be true. Even if you consider that Axis Magnus’s eventual devaluation to 5:1 from a 5:4 ratio; Magnus’s conversion ratio still will very be similar to that of HDFC Infinia/DCB.
Not to mention the highlight of Axis Magnus credit card – its clean reward structure. You spend, you get a 1.2% base reward rate and if you spend more than a lakh in a month, you get an additional 5% reward rate. The challenge with HDFC cards is that the 5x/10x program has now become 2x/3x/5x/10x, making it difficult to remember the reward rate you will eventually get.
Strategy for transferring points on Axis Magnus
Axis TravelEdge platform is not yet stable. It shows very weird conversion ratios. For someone, it shows a 10:1 ratio and for a few, it shows a 5:1 ratio. Thus let Axis Bank iron out these glitches before transferring the points.
My fear is that the conversion ratio is too good to be true. Thus, keep transferring your points at regular intervals and don’t really wait for some bonus transfer offer. Enjoy till the party lasts.
Expect some sort of devaluation soon. A-la RBL Zomato Edition credit card types. It may be in the form of a change in conversion ratio, exclusion of certain spends (rent, insurance, fuel etc) towards monthly bonus points or simply in form of a reduction of bonus points (say from 25k to 10k).
Features where Axis Magnus outscores HDFC Cards
There are a few features that make Axis Magnus stand out in comparison to HDFC twins. Have listed them below
- No 70% rule: HDFC cards has this rule that allows only 70% of the booking amount can be set off against points. Axis Magnus as of now has a clean structure. The entire reward balance can be taken as a statement credit at a 20paise rate.
- Airport concierge service: While this is nothing more than a glorified porter service at airports, the probability that I will use this is higher than the complimentary golf rounds that HDFC cards offer.
- 5×500 BOGO on BMS: This is a useful offer that will be used at least once a month for sure if not more. Especially now given that Covid is nearing an end 🤞. Maybe adding INR 6000 in Magnus’s annual reward rate. DCB does give monthly 500 BMS vouchers on milestone spends but nothing such is available on Infinia.
- Number of transfer partners: Axis Bank now has 12 transfer partners against 3 for HDFC Infinia/DCB.
Should you apply for Axis Magnus?
When I first wrote about this card in February, I said that I won’t apply for Axis Magnus as yet. The reason being I was chasing HDFC to upgrade my DCB to Infinia. I was very hopeful of scoring that upgrade. However, HDFC gave neither the upgrade nor any limit increase. Thus, I ended up taking Axis Magnus in May 2022. The logic was since my spending cross 1lk+ a month 2-3 times a year my reward rate on DCB and Magnus will be more or less the same (6-8%). So better, take Magnus and keep DCB until renewal.
With the introduction of new transfer partners on Axis Magnus, the dynamics have changed completely and Axis Magnus is sure to become the most sort after credit card in India. Sort of vindicating my decision.
Should you apply too? If you are in the airmiles game, the answer is straight yes. No second thoughts about it. If you are after the monetary value of points then only apply if you run a monthly bill of 1lk+. If you are not in these 2 camps, use the dynamic calculator and see where you get better returns.
Axis Magnus with its revised benefits and transfer partners is now probably the best credit in India for frequent travellers.
What do you think of Axis Magnus given the recent changes? Will you apply for it? Do you think Axis Bank is replacing HDFC Bank as the best credit card issuer in India? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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