Vistara Axis Bank Credit Cards launched. The most power packed now!

In November last year, Vistara and Axis Bank decided to partner for a co-branded credit card. Co-branded credit card partnerships are tricky, because both partners want to get business out of it, and keep costs not very high. It took the two partners a while to come out with the product, but they put out a teaser earlier this week about the impeding launch.

And now, just today I witnessed the launch of the credit card portfolio in the presence of all the biggies at the two partners: Axis Bank and Vistara. The call came just a while before launch, so I wish I was more informed to keep you up to speed with the specs on Twitter, but here we are with the details anyways.

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Vistara Axis Bank Credit Cards to have 3 variants: Platinum, Signature & Infinite

The partners will be issuing 3 variants of the cards, in line with the 3 propositions from the airline, bank and Visa, which is the issuing network. All three variants get you Club Vistara points, free tickets with the airline and more free tickets as you spend on the card.

  • Welcome benefits: The base variant (Platinum) will come with a free Economy class ticket, while Signature gets you a free Premium Economy ticket. The Infinite Card will get you a free Business Class ticket. All the tickets are base-fare waived.
  • Free tiers on Club Vistara: The base variant gets you a base tier membership, while Signature will get you an upgrade to the Silver Tier of the Club Vistara program. The Infinite Card will get you straight into Gold tier.
  • Activation benefits: On signing up for the card, you get 90 days to meet minimum spends, on which you get more benefits. For the Platinum Card, you get 1000 bonus CV points on INR 50K to be spent in 90 days. For Signature, you get 3000 bonus points on INR 75K to be spent in 90 days. For the Infinite version, you get 10,000 bonus CV points on INR 100K (INR 1 Lakh) spend within 90 days.
  • Ongoing benefits: The Platinum card gets you 2 CV points per INR 200 spent, the Signature card gets you 4 CV points for INR 200 spent and the Infinite Card gets you 6 points per INR 200 spent.
  • Milestone benefits: The Platinum Card gets you two more free Economy tickets, one at INR 1.25 Lakh spend within the year and one at INR 2.5 Lakh spend within the year. The Signature Card gets you the opportunity to get 3 Premium Economy tickets: at INR 1.5 Lakh, INR 3 Lakh and INR 4.5 Lakh spend levels per annum. The Infinite Card is the one most loaded. You get 3 business class tickets over and above the ones you get on signup, at INR 2.5 Lakh, INR 5 Lakh and INR 7.5 Lakh spend per annum.
  • Lounge Access: Lounge access comes complimentary via the Visa Lounge Access program. Of course, if you take the top-end version (Infinite) you get lounge access every time you fly Vistara!

While I am still to churn the numbers and get used to whats in store, I’m sure these cards are a steal if you can direct the spending on to them. The Platinum Card comes at an annual fee of INR 1500, while the Signature one comes at an annual fee of INR 3000. The Infinite one comes at an annual fee of INR 10000. Taxes are exclusive.

One thing I find amiss is the ability to earn more points when you spend on Vistara tickets on this card. But I hope that is a detail that was missed at the launch. Having said that, this is a pretty rich card, especially if you are willing to pay the fee on the top end, and your returns will be pretty nice.

Thank you Vistara, now I finally have a way to earn some points without flying. I’m looking forward to pick up mine soon!

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Comments

  1. Hi,
    anyone with a clue about the validity of the complementary tickets earned on spend criteria as well as joining / renewal gift. I would like to accumulate all 4 tickets in the year and then plan a return trip with my spouse. Would that be possible with the card?

  2. I applied for the Visa Signature (mid tier) card with fees of rs. 3000.The sales person confirmed that income criteria is Rs. 600000 for both mid and top tier. Also whether you are a member with Vistara or not, if you have flown atleast 2 flights with them, its very very easy to get an approval/issue of card. For Rs. 3000 i think the mid tier makes sense since you get one ticket free. That takes care of the joining cost. Rest is up to us.

  3. As with most things relating to Vistara, this seems to be a start rather than the fully built out end product. As you mentioned, I think some feature and benefits will be added in time, notably a higher earn rate for using the card to book a Vistara flight.

    Most premium cards seem to come down to a trade-off between perks and privileges versus payback as rewards points to the spender. The former is fairly subjective, depending on factors like how much someone values ‘lounge access’ or a round of golf for example, but the latter is easier to quantify. Jet Privilege miles for example seem to be worth roughly about 40-45 paise each typically. 8 miles/Rs. 150 spent therefore equate to 2.13-2.66% value back. Citibank premiermiles, which give 4 miles/Rs. 100, are worth 45 paise each, or a 1.8% value back, though they give you 4.5% back on airline spends, and the redemption opportunities are very versatile. Vistara points seem to be worth around 70-100 paise each when used on Vistara. The award chart for partner airline SQ is just absurd at this time. 6 miles/Rs. 200 works out to a 2.1-3.0% return, which is quite competitive, though business class redemptions are upto 4-5x economy awards, unlike 2x economy on most other airlines, making them poor value when using miles. On the whole, the CV program is still half-baked and has a long way to go, and that inherently impact the value of this card as well! Worth getting for the benefits of elite status if one is a regular flyer on Vistara, or to build up the miles balance for the future in the hope of them building out the program and making it more attractive in the future.

  4. Till it becomes clear if these cards earn significantly more on Vistara transactions, I’d give all of them a miss.
    I do not value CV points highly right now, due to:
    1) Their still limited frequencies on trunk routes
    2) Insane rates for SQ/MI redemptions
    3) Lack of any other partners

    All of above may change in due course, but till then these are not for me.

  5. How much are the CV points worth when compared with JPMiles?

    Free tickets are the only luring factor. FWIW, Vistara gives you silver tier membership for free for HDFC Regalia holders as well.

  6. On their website, they don’t say anything about the renewal benefits and have listed the free ticket(s) only under the joining benefits. Continued Gold membership will be a great benefit though.

  7. This is more on the lines of the AMEX Kingfisher card. Threshold spends gets you free tickets rather than bonus miles. While meeting such limits are easy the point earning is low. Plus you get stuck with Vistara.

    • @Ashutosh, yes, the point earning is low, but I’m guessing the free tickets make up for it. Also, I have a feeling that Vistara will quietly do away with the system of points linked to price of ticket and then it becomes more valuable as a program.

          • @PK2 I haven’t even crunched the numbers yet fully, but on a cash basis, I think we’ll get a lot of RoI on the tickets itself. And if you stay at a metro, you should be able to get decent value for those itself. Plus, I’d expect a rehash of the Vistara chart next month, it should be better then (hopefully!)

            • I think Vistara has offered a great deal considering the Free BZ class tickets on the top variant! Further, they have offered all three cabin class options to the customer basis the card variant.

              Even today, the face value of a CV point is much higher than the JP Mile thus overall thumbs up to Vistara!

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