Long long time ago, I remember having recommended the Air India SBI Credit Card as one of the best in the market. And why not? You could earn 4 AI miles for normal spends and 20 AI miles for spending on Air India. Not just that, on spending of INR 5 lakhs, you would get Gold Status on Air India which is usable across Star Alliance airlines. Heck you could even status match from a competing airline.
Cut to 2015 & 2016, and multiple changes were made, which made this not a good card to hold but a bad one. First, they limited the process of conversion of miles to AI. Hey, shouldn’t there have been an auto sweep in the first place? Then, they doubled the requirement to get the status & bonus points to INR 10 Lakhs. Then, they devalued it further by removing the opportunity to earn status with the card spend. I cancelled my card earlier this year because it was no longer worth my wallet.
How do you add further insult to the injury? This is the newest email they sent everyone, which will devalue earning with Air India itself as well:
Dear Air India SBI Signature Cardholder,
We are pleased to add more miles to your Air India SBI Signature Card – Reward Program. Currently, you earn 20 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on Air India tickets booked through airindia.in, Air India booking offices, Air India mobile app and Air India call centres.
Effective 10th May 2017, the accelerated reward program on purchase of Air India tickets will be upgraded as under:
You can now earn 30 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 spent on Air India tickets booked through airindia.in, Air India mobile app, when ticket is booked for self; 10 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 spent when ticket is booked for others.
You continue to earn:
- 4 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 spent on regular spends.
- Upto 1 lakh bonus Reward Points ever year on achieving annual retail spend milestones.
- 5000 Reward Points as anniversary gift every year.
- Convert your Reward Points into Air India Air Miles. 1 Reward Point = 1 Air India Air Mile
- Redeem your Reward Points for exciting gifts and vouchers from SBI Card Rewards Catalogue.
Note: You will earn 10 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 spent on Air India tickets for self or others, booked through Air India booking offices or Air India call centres.
This communication will supersede the Air India SBI Signature Card – Reward Program benefits mentioned in all previous communications, including card application, card welcome kit, website and any other printed or digital media. T&C Apply.
Alright then. Air India just added employment for their people. Henceforth this is how it works:
- Book tickets for self on digital channels, get 30 AI Miles/INR 100 spent.
- Book tickets for others on digital channels, get 10 AI Miles/INR 100 spent.
- Book tickets on human channels such as office and call centre, get 10 AI Miles/INR 100 Spent.
I am not a frequent Air India traveller, so I did not have a hard time cancelling this card. However I knew of others who still saw value with Air India given their travel patterns and used this card often. I don’t see how this card stays relevant to them anymore, given other cards such as HDFC Bank Diners Black give 33% points value, and Jet HDFC Diners Black gives 24% JPMiles.
Would you continue to hold the SBI AI Signature Card still? Do I miss something in the equation about how it continues to be useful? Do share your thoughts below.