ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card: Great for Airport Lounge Access

ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card: Great for Airport Lounge Access

Offers Competitive Travel Benefits and Overseas Spending with a Relatively Low-Fee

Good for

  • Families
  • Frequent travellers
  • Movie buffs

Bad for

  • Individuals that do not travel
  • Consumers not interested in lounge access

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

The ICICI Bank American Express Sapphiro Card is a great relatively low-fee option for frequent travellers interested in airport lounge access. For instance, through the the DreamFolks DragonPass Lounge Access Programme, the cardholder is eligible for 4 domestic lounge visits per quarter along with 2 annual domestic airport spa visits. Further, the card offers 2 international airport lounge visits per year. Although these perks are not the best in the market, they are competitive for consumers looking for a solid overall card.

Additionally, the ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card has a rewards rate of 1.5% (6 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) on overseas spending, 0.75% (3 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) on general spending and a lower 0.25% (1 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) on utility bill and insurance spending. These are solid rates, but are not the best available. This is a great card for any frequent traveller looking for a decent card with good overseas spending and airport lounge access.

ProsCons
  • 1.5% rewards rate on overseas spending
  • 4 domestic lounge visits per quarter
  • 2 international airport lounge visits per year
  • 2 domestic airport spa visits per year
  • Buy 1 movie ticket and get up to Rs. 500 the second ticket booked on BookMyShow
  • 0.25% rewards rate on utility bill and insurance spending
  • Joining fee: 6,500
Promotions:
  • Sign-up Bonus: Shopping and travel vouchers woth Rs. 10,000 after paying joining fee
  • Anniversary Bonus: 4,000 PAYBACK points on spending ₹ 400,000 on your card and 2,000 PAYBACK points each time you cross ₹ 100,000 spend thereafter in an anniversary year; maximum of 20,000 PAYBACK points per year
  • Anniversary Bonus: 20,000 PAYBACK points
Card Overview
Pros:
  • 1.5% rewards rate on overseas spending
  • 4 domestic lounge visits per quarter
  • 2 international airport lounge visits per year
  • 2 domestic airport spa visits per year
  • Buy 1 movie ticket and get up to Rs. 500 the second ticket booked on BookMyShow
Cons:
  • 0.25% rewards rate on utility bill and insurance spending
  • Joining fee: 6,500
  • Annual fee: 3,500
Promotions:
  • Sign-up Bonus: Shopping and travel vouchers woth Rs. 10,000 after paying joining fee
  • Anniversary Bonus: 4,000 PAYBACK points on spending ₹ 400,000 on your card and 2,000 PAYBACK points each time you cross ₹ 100,000 spend thereafter in an anniversary year; maximum of 20,000 PAYBACK points per year
  • Anniversary Bonus: 20,000 PAYBACK points

What Makes The ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Card Stand Out?

The ICICI Bank American Express Sapphiro Card is a great option for frequent travellers interested in airport lounge access. For instance, the cardholder is eligible for 4 domestic lounge visits per quarter along with 2 annual domestic airport spa visits. Further, the card offers 2 international airport lounge visits per year.

Additionally, the ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card has a rewards rate of 1.5% (6 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) on overseas spending, 0.75% (3 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) on general spending and 0.25% (1 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) on utility bill and insurance spending. In terms of movie benefits, with the purchase of one movie ticket the cardholder can get up to Rs. 500 off of a second ticket on BookMyShow, twice per month. It is also worth noting that the ICICI Sapphiro Amex card offers a 50% higher general rewards rate than the ICICI Sapphiro MasterCard version. In sum, this is a great card for any frequent traveller looking for a decent card with good overseas spending and airport lounge access.

How Does the ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card’s Rewards Program Work?

The Sapphiro Amex Card’s reward program is called ICICI PAYBACK. Through this system cardholders earn points based on their spending. For instance, the card earns 3 points per Rs. 100 of general spending, 6 points per Rs. 100 of overseas spending and 1 point per Rs. 100 of utilities or insurance spending. All of these rates are applied with a redemption rate of 1 point = Rs. 0.25. The ICICI Bank rewards do not expire and have no limit to how much a cardholder can accumulate.

  • 6 points per Rs. 100 on overseas spending
  • 3 points per Rs. 100 on general spending
  • 1 point per Rs. 100 on utilities and insurance spending
  • Reward redemption rate of 1 point = Rs. 0.25
  • No maximum rewards points
  • No expiration date for points

ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card's Features and Benefits:

Card Overview
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 6,500
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 3,500
  • Income Requirement: None listed by issuer
  • Age Requirement: None listed by issuer
Rewards Rate Details
  • 6 points per Rs. 100 on overseas spending
  • 3 points per Rs. 100 on general spending
  • 1 point per Rs. 100 on utilities and insurance spending
  • Reward redemption rate of 1 point = Rs. 0.25
Benefits & Perks
  • 4 domestic lounge visits per quarter
  • 2 international airport lounge visits per year
  • 2 domestic airport spa visits per year
Promotions:
  • Sign-up Bonus: Shopping and travel vouchers woth Rs. 10,000 after paying joining fee
  • Anniversary Bonus: 4,000 PAYBACK points on spending ₹ 400,000 on your card and 2,000 PAYBACK points each time you cross ₹ 100,000 spend thereafter in an anniversary year; maximum of 20,000 PAYBACK points per year
  • Anniversary Bonus: 20,000 PAYBACK points

ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card Rewards Exclusions

The following credit card expenditures are ineligible for rewards:

Cash Advances or cash withdrawals at ATMsAnnual fees charged for the cards
Interest or finance charges levied on card outstandingLate payment and collection charges
Fees and charges levied and reversed from card accountsCharges incurred but not yet submitted by the merchant or posted to your credit card account
EMI transactionsCharges for dishonored cheques
Financial chargesDelinquency charges
Late payment chargesService charge and any other fee/charge that may be levied by the ICICI Bank from time to time

How Does ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card Compare Against Other Cards?

Read our comparisons of the ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card:

ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Card vs. HDFC Bank Diners Club Black Card

Consider this if you want great airport lounge access and overall rewards

Age Requirement 21-65
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer

The HDFC Bank Diners Black Card is the best option for high spenders that are looking for airport lounge access and high rewards. The credit card offers the best rate of any points card in the market at 3.33% (5 points per Rs. 150; 1 point = Rs. 1 in travel rewards). This is significantly higher than the general spending rewards rate of 0.75% (3 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) the ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Card. Additionally, the HDFC Black Card offers unlimited lounge access to over 800 lounges, which is superior to 4 domestic and 2 international visits offered by the Sapphiro Card. Further, compared to the Black Card, the elevated overseas spending rewards rate offered by the Sapphiro Card of 1.5% (6 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) is still no match. Additionally, the HDFC Black Card has a 2% foreign transaction fee, lower than the Sapphiro Card’s 3.5%, resulting in an even less reduction in net value back than the already lower rewards rate for the category. However, the HDFC Black Card charges an annual fee of Rs. 10,000, over double the annual fee of the Sapphiro Card. As a result, the HDFC Bank Diners Club Black Card is better for those that can afford the hefty fee.

ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Card vs. JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Card

Consider this if you are interested in a primary card to also use for travelling rewards

Age Requirement 21-60 (65 if self-employed)
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer

The JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card is the best InterMiles travel card. The card earns cardholders a rewards rate of 4.8% (16 InterMiles per Rs. 150, 1 point = 1 InterMile = Rs. 0.45) when booking on the platform. On general spending, the card earned cardholders 2.4% (8 InterMiles per Rs. 150, 1 point = 1 InterMile = Rs. 0.45), which is much better than the 0.75% (3 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) offered by the ICICI Sapphiro Amex Card. This rate also remains higher than the Sapphiro's elevated 1.5% from overseas spending (6 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25), making it more attractive for consumers who travel abroad often. In terms of airport lounge visits, the JetPrivilege Card offers unlimited access through the Diners Club, whereas the Sapphiro Card offers just 4 domestic and 2 international airport lounges. On the other hand,the JetPrivilege Card charges a joining fee of Rs. 10,000 and annual fee of Rs. 5,000, while the Sapphiro Card charges a joining fee of Rs. 6,500 and an annual fee of Rs. 3,500. As a result, we would recommend the JetPrivilege Card over the Sapphiro Card if you can afford the fee.

ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Card vs. Standard Chartered Ultimate Card

Consider this if you are interested in receiving excellent cashback across all categories

Age Requirement 21-65
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer

The Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card is a great option for consumers interested in an excellent cashback card. The Ultimate Card offers cardholders a 3.33% cashback rate (5 points per Rs. 150 spent; 1 point = Rs. 1) on all spending categories, which is much higher than the 0.75% rewards rate (3 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25) offered by the Sapphiro Amex Card. Even the elevated rate of 1.5% offered by the Sapphiro Amex Card for overseas spending is lower than the SC Ultimate Card's cashback rate.Additionally, the Sapphiro Card has a higher foreign exchange fee (2% vs 3.5%), making the rate less attractive. On the other hand, the Sapphiro Amex Card offers better domestic and international lounge perks and also has a lower annual fee. Therefore, we would recommend the Standard Chartered Ultimate Card to those seeking out a great cashback card; however, if you are looking for airport lounge perks on a relatively low-fee card, the Sapphiro Amex Card might be best for you.

ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Card vs. Standard Chartered Yatra Platinum Travel Card

Consider this if you are a frequent flyer and prefer to book through Yatra

Age Requirement 21-65
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer

The The Standard Chartered Yatra Platinum Card is the best option for consumers who prefer to book their travels through the Yatra platform. The card offers 10% cashback on Yatra bookings, the highest travel cashback rate available in India. Additionally, the card offers a 0.95% rewards rate (4 points per Rs. 100, 1 reward point = 0.53 InterMiles) on all Yatra travel bookings. This cashback rate is much higher than the rewards rates offered by the Sapphiro Amex Card (0.75%; 3 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25 on general spending and 1.5%; 6 points per Rs. 100, 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25 on overseas spending). In terms of travel perks, the SC Yatra Platinum Travel Card stands out due to it's free flight cancellation waiver, while the Sapphiro Amex Card offers cardholders better lounge access (4 domestic and 2 international per year). As a result, we would recommend the SC Yatra Platinum Card if you are interested in booking flights exclusively through Yatra. However, if that is not the case and you are interested in a card with great airport lounge access, the Sapphiro Amex Card may be a better fit.

Sahmi Chowdhury

Sahmi is a Junior Research Analyst specialising in credit cards and insurance in India. He previously worked in the financial services sector at Brown Brothers Harriman and True Capital Management.