Axis Reserve credit card is a super-premium credit card that offers some unique lifestyle benefits along with a decent reward structure. Let’s deep dive into the Axis Reserve credit card to see if it can justify the hefty annual fee of 59,000.
Axis Reserve Credit Card
Fees and Eligibility:
- Joining fees and annual fees are INR50,000 + GST i.e. 59,000. Fee waived at annual spends of 25lakhs
Rewards and Benefits:
- Joining Benefit:
- Joining and renewal benefit of 50,000 Edge Reward points. Equivalent to 10,000 in monetary terms or 40,000 airmiles for most partners.
- You get 50,000 Edge Reward points even if you achieve the spending milestone of 25 lakhs.
- Recurring Benefits:
- Airport Transfers: 4 complimentary airport pick-ups/drops every year. The USP is you get a Merc/BMW/Audi if you are in one of these cities (Delhi, NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata).
- Meet and Greet: 8 complimentary meet and greet services per year.
- Accorplus Membership: It offers 1 night complimentary stay at participating hotels in the APAC region. In addition, a complimentary lunch buffet for 2 at an Accor hotel in India.
- BOGO on BMS up to Rs. 500 off on the second ticket for a maximum of 5 movie/non-movie bookings in a month. Additionally, BOGO on a non-movie ticket of up to 1000/ticket up to 5 times a month.
- Reward Points:
- Standard Reward Rate: 15 reward points for every INR200 spent. 1 Reward point = 0.20 paisa (1.5% reward rate).
- Forex Spends: 2x reward points on all forex spends i.e. 3% reward rate. Further, the forex markup is only 1.5% +GST, so effectively one gets a new reward rate of 1%+.
- Accelerated Reward Rate: You get accelerated reward points on Grab Deals and Axis Gfytr. No accelerated points on Travel Edge though.
- No monthly/quarterly/annual spend based milestone bonus.
- Lounge Access:
- Domestic: Unlimited complimentary domestic lounge access to primary and add-on card members. You also get 12 complimentary guest visits.
- International: Unlimited complimentary lounge access to the primary cardholder and add-on cardholders. Another, 12 complimentary guest visits for non-cardholders.
Thoughts on Axis Reserve Credit Card
Axis Reserve Lifestyle Benefits:
Axis Reserve is marketed as a super-premium credit card. Thus, fair to focus on lifestyle benefits first.
Among the lifestyle benefits, I believe only the Accorplus membership is something genuinely tangible. The website states that it offers a 1-night complimentary stay, however, what I have read on social media and various other forums is that you actually get 2 complimentary nights. Moreover, there is a complimentary lunch buffet for two too. Thus, this can easily save say 15-20k when travelling. Another way to look at this is the offering is very similar to the Accor Explorer membership, which retails for 14k+.
One interesting benefit that Axis Reserve offers is – 4 airport pickups and drops in a luxury vehicle. Putting a monetary value to this is very subjective. You may rate this service at say 10k/drop or maybe just even few hundred bucks (equivalent to a taxi fare from your place to the airport). Nonetheless, this is a unique service offered by the Axis Reserve credit card. The point to note here is even if you are 4 people travelling, it will be counted as 1 trip.
Another interesting benefit is the airport meet and greet service. This includes assistance across airport processes, such as check-in, security check, immigration processes and porter services. While for most of us, this may not be worth it, this can be a boon when travelling with infants, senior citizens or heavy luggage. However, do keep in mind that, unlike the airport pick and drop, here anyone above 2 years is counted as 1 service. Thus, if you are 3 people travelling together, Axis will consider this as 3 services availed.
Further, do not forget the BookMyShow’s BOGO offers that the Axis Reserve credit card offers.
In conclusion, the lifestyle benefits here are a mix of tangibles and intangibles. Putting a value on tangibles is easy say 15k for an Accor membership and around 6k for a BMS offer. Rest for the intangibles it is completely up to you.
Axis Reserve Reward Points
Axis Reserve as such has a mediocre reward structure with only 1.5% as the base reward rate. However, depending on how you value airmiles, the base reward rate can be at 3% (50p value)-6% (Rs. 1 value) or maybe even more.
Nonetheless, the Axis Reserve credit card really shines in the forex spend category. It gives 2x reward points on all forex spends without any upper cap. Further, the currency markup is at 1.5%, which is quite competitive. Thus, for forex spending, you get 3% as the base reward rate or 1%+ after adjusting for the markup. In terms of airmiles, you get anywhere between 5%-10%, adjusted for markup.
In addition, Axis Reserve offers multiplier benefits on Axis GrabDeals and Axis Gfytr portals. Thus, one can look to maximise the reward points thru these means too.
Moreover, the airmiles transfer ratio for Axis Reserve is the same as that of Axis Magnus. Thus, since the base reward of Axis Reserve is at 1.5% vs 1.2% for Axis Magnus, you get ~20% more miles with Axis Reserve.
Axis Reserve Comparison
Below is the dynamic reward calculator for Axis Reserve to see how it stacks against Axis Magnus, HDFC Infinia and HDFC Diners Club.
When you play with the numbers for Axis Reserve, you realise that if your spending is under 1lk per month, then Axis Reserve does not make sense at all. It’s Axis Magnus all the way till then. It only makes sense, if your spending is consistently over 1lk per month. Here again, the strategy should be to spend the first 1lk on Magnus and then move to Axis Reserve.
Another way to look at this card it broadly breaks even (in terms of miles transfer at 50p value) at 5lks of forex spends per annum. Thus if you have forex spending substantially above 5lks, take the card. Else don’t.
Recent changes in the Axis reward structure
Starting 5th March (link), Axis Bank will charge a 1% surcharge, capped at 1500 for each rent payment. Further, the rent payments won’t be counted towards the annual spend threshold of 25lk needed for a fee waiver. Do make a note of these things.
In conclusion, Axis Reserve is a unique credit card with a mediocre base reward rate. However, it does give good reward rates on forex spending. So if you have forex spending of over 5 lakhs every year, you can consider taking this card. When it comes to lifestyle benefits, it has benefits that will be valued differently by different people. Thus in summation, whether this card justifies its annual fees of 59000 is very subjective and the response will vary from person to person.
As for me, I won’t apply for Axis Reserve. Reason? I don’t have enough spending to justify a 50k annual fee credit card. Most of my spending is on Axis Magnus and I struggle to cross 1lk every month. With the reward structure changes from 5th March, I will find it even more difficult to achieve monthly milestones and thus no sense in taking an Axis Reserve credit card. Plus, I have HDFC Diners Black, Amex Platinum Travel(Apply Now) and Amex MRCC (Apply Now) to take care of.
What is your view on Axis Reserve? How do you value this card?
Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash
In the interest of full disclosure, Credit Cardz may earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the links in this post. However, opinions and views expressed here are of the author's alone and not those of the bank, credit card issuer, or anyone else and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.