Jet Airways Citibank Credit Cards devalue upgrade benefits with effect from September 2011

The Jet Airways Citibank co-branded Platinum Card was one of the more popular and advantageous airline credit cards in India. It looks like it had enough of the high table so it decided to jump off right away. I first heard of the devaluation on this flyertalk thread.

I have been holding this card for quite a few years, and was in fact the only credit card I used for a very long time and pay a fee for. When I read this new scheme of things, I could not believe my eyes, and since I am travelling I haven’t received my letter from Citi yet. I checked up on Citibank’s India website, and it confirmed the horror story to come.

Close on the heels of the reorganisation of benefits on American Express Kingfisher Credit Card, it looks like Citi/Jet also decided to tinker with their product. The key changes are two:

  • The upgrade vouchers will no longer be issued on card approval or renewal every year. Earlier, one voucher used to be issued on the annual upgrade cycle.
  • Instead of spending INR 2,00,000 (USD 4450 approx.) to earn an upgrade voucher, the benchmark has been moved almost double, to INR 3,50,000 (USD 7800 approx.).

As per the OP on FT, Citibank blames the upward cost in prices of Airline Turbine Fuel to knock off this benefit. Here is a quote from the letter I will get to read in a few days:

As you would be aware, in the recent past there has been consistent increase in the ATF prices and a shift in competitive factors affecting airlines operating in India .. Impact on J and F fares, making them dearer

I fail to understand the connection between upgrades and ATF prices. Do they seriously mean that they will fly an empty plane in the front but would prefer not to give upgrades to passengers??

The changes are in effect from September 2011. And by September 2011, I will have my options ready to switch card loyalty, or I will hit Platinum on 9W to ensure I don’t have to pay a fee. Also, noteably, Jet/Citi have left the Gold card out of the purview of this change.

 

About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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  1. What a disaster the end of JACC (Jet-Citi card)is! At the end Jet Privilege refused to honor their triple points for every spend until July 15 (the end of the program), and worse – offered a high fee card from HDFC bank!

    The replacement card has a high joining fee, a high renewal fee and offers none of the JACC value. Instead Citi PremierMiles quickly stepped in, waived the fee on request and offers miles across airlines.

    Poorly done by Jet Airways and HDFC Bank in the end.

    I still don’t understand.
    Why would I or anyone go for high fee replacment card program like this, when I have several other cards that offer similar value for no fee?

    This is supposed to be a replacement card for the JACC (Jet-Citibank card) that offered great value, and I never had to pay any joining or annual fee.

    Not just that, hi-spending customers with a great repayment record such as I, always are retained by banks with great incentives. Instead, they are starting with a annual fee!

  2. Dear AJ,The upgrade vouchers came with each change in slab ie from blue to plus to silver ,gold and platinum.The best part was when I reached Platinum tier,the fare restrictions on upgrade vanished,so I have used all the upgrades on low basic fares.I must confess that since the airfare comes from my pocket,and though I am very consious of what I spend on Air Fares ,thanks to this Citibank Card I did use the Jet airways option even if cheaper options were available.SO MY ORIGINAL APPEAL TO BOTH JET AND CITI TO SORT IT OUT AMONGST URSELVES !!!!

  3. I will miss the end of the CITIBANK JETAIRWAYS PLATINUM CARD.
    As I moved from Blue to platinum in the matter of a few months ,due to extensive travel to the northeast,the large no of Upgrade Vouchers and also free tickets were great.The Best was upgrading my self and my wife from ‘O’ class economy to Premiere on a Holiday to DXB,both ways.
    SUGGEST TO BOTH JET AND CITI to figure out a way to keep it going.

    • @Devendra, I don’t think the unlimited upgrade vouchers will come back with any new partnership JP will work out. But you can pick up the Premier Miles card for unlimited free miles…

  4. This is very disturbing indeed. I have been using the citibank-jetairways Platinum card for 8 months now. Card has come to me without any fees for first year. Therefore, I had gladly accepted it and already got 7000 JPmiles by virtue of expenditure on this card. Tell me one thing. Is there any pratcice at citibank to waive offthe anual charges for the second year onwards, keeping in view the expenditure & paymet pattrem of the card holders. OPtherwise, with these reduced benefits, I see no point in maintaining a paid Credit card. Hitting JP PLatinum is really tight. I will definitely hit “GOLD” before my credit card becomes due for renewal.

    • The 9W card comes at a cost with benefits. I am not too sure with the free version you got the miles credit and your companion vouchers and your free ticket and your upgrade voucher till a while back. Only the Plats get the card for free with discount but you could call Citi and try it out.

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