Jet Airways and American Express have been together for roughly two years now, and American Express has decided it needs to freshen up the product. So, in this spirit, multiple efforts have happened in the past few months. The new changes come into effect from October 20, 2014.

Firstly, American Express dropped the 1st year pricing on this card to INR 5000 along with 10000 JP Miles for sign up, with 2nd year pricing continuing to be INR 10,000. You could add another 2,000 JP Miles by taking your card via a referral. They also added 7 lounges earlier this year, although for JP co-branded cards, these were paid lounges and not free.

Some good and some bad changes coming up to the card.

Mileage Earning is being devalued:

Till so far, you earned 6 JP Miles/INR 100 spent for every spend, and 12 JP Miles/INR 100 spent for Jet Airways website. Now, you will earn 8 JPMiles/INR 150 spent and 16 JP Miles/INR 100 spent for Jet Airways (website). This is a 12% devaluation in the number of JP Miles you can earn for your spend.

The bigger change is the removal of following categories from earning any JP Miles at all:

  • Insurance payments
  • Fuel, including petrol, diesel, CNG from oil marketing companies
  • Utilities, including electricity, water and gas.

Lounge access is being enhanced:

Earlier this year, Jet Airways notified a list of lounges which you could use for INR 500 per visit with your Jet Airways co-branded credit card. This apart from the Mumbai and Delhi Amex lounges. Now, you can use the following lounges free of cost across India (only to primary cardmembers).

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Here is a review of some of these lounges: Mumbai Amex Lounge & Bengaluru Plaza Premium Lounge.

Membership to Trident’s Privilege Program at the Gold Tier

Complimentary membership for the Trident Hotel’s loyalty program is being added. You will get the Gold Tier to start for 2 years, along with 2 room upgrade vouchers. If you stay at the Trident Hotels, which is the business hotel brand for the Oberoi Hotels, you should be happy about this move. Benefits include:

  • Express check in and check out
  • Early check in (Subject to availability)
  • Late check out till 3 p.m. (subject to availability)
  • Double Occupancy at no extra charges
  • 50% savings on rack rate of suites on weekends (Friday to Sunday)

Complimentary night’s stay for at Oberoi properties

For some of the Oberoi properties, you get to stay one night extra with all benefits for 3 nights/2 nights paid stays. The details are here.

Essentially, no ground breaking enhancements unless you use this as your sole travel credit card, and personally I’d continue to keep my JP Amex in my pocket, but allocate only the relevant spend to this card.

How do you feel about these changes to the JP Amex card?

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

Citibank offering up to INR 9999 for member referrals in India

Citibank ran a pretty lucrative member-get-member promotion earlier in the year, where they offered the originating member (who made a referral INR 2,500) per card referral which was successful.

Citibank is now back with a new promotion, where you get INR 2,000 per card referral which is successful, up to 5 cards for INR 9999. I think the INR 9,999 limit comes into play because at INR 10,000 or more, they’d have to start doing Tax Deductions and issue TDS certificates as well.

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You need to have an existing Citibank Credit Card or Citibank Savings Account to be able to make a referral. The person you refer to, should receive a customised email from you, and apply for a card using the link in that email. Within 30 days of the card application being successful, you get a cashback in your credit card account, or credit to your savings account for the amount promised. Referral is valid for the following cards:

The person referred of course also gets their standard benefits. For example, with Citibank PremierMiles, the new joinee gets 10000 PremierMiles as startup miles for signing on.

Here are all the Terms & Conditions. The promotion is valid for referrals made till 19 September 2014 at the moment. There is also another publicly available offer at the moment, which gets extra bonus miles, for applications made till August 31, 2014. If you would like me to send you a referral for a Citibank card, please send me an email to ajay @ livefromalounge .com.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

In the beginning of the year, I wrote my credit card strategy for 2014. I’ve been meaning to give a mid-year update, but not been able to do so far. Anyhow, lets take a look now at how things are going, and what may be the plan ahead.

Here are the credit cards I already have, and my view on them.

  • Citibank PremierMiles Visa (Keep): This is my favourite credit card all around, and if you’ve poked around this blog, you would have noticed I love this product. I intend to keep it and use it as my primary card to book airline tickets and make use of all the special Citibank promotions that come 3-4 times a year, such as the International Spend promotion that concluded recently. In fact, I’ve gone out and recommended this card in the current edition of the Conde Nast Traveller as well.
  • Citibank Prestige (Keep): Like I wrote earlier, I’ve recently swapped my 2011 signed up Citibank PremierMiles MasterCard for the new Citibank Prestige. I intend to keep this card and use it as my primary card for all day to day expenses, and put all my international travel expenses on this card as well, since I can get about 8 airmiles for international spend that ways on an on-going basis. Also, Priority Pass for everyone in the family, that too unlimited use and various other perks.
  • ICICI Bank / Jet Airways co-branded Sapphiro cards (Keep): I have the card for a while now, and as a Jet Platinum member it comes to me free of cost. I intend to keep this card, specially since it also gives me access to the Altitude Lounges in Mumbai and Delhi airports. Also, I get to buy movie tickets as Buy One Get One free every month.
  • HDFC Bank/ JetPrivilege co-branded credit cards (?): I am still thinking about this one. Although the credit card comes free to me, the bank took 4 months to deliver my replacement credit card. Bad customer care experience, and they still haven’t posted my annual renewal miles. I might just replace it by the end of the year with the HDFC Diners Club Black.
  • American Express/ JetPrivilege co-branded credit card (Keep): In 2012, I paid INR 10,000 to sign-up for this card, in spite of the fact that , it would have come free to me as a Jet Platinum, or under the Wheel of Fortune contest. The reason was that only paid card holders would have gotten the mileage offered on sign-up (30000 miles under a special launch offer). I find it one of the best amongst the Jet Airways mileage earning lot, and I keep it also because of the access to the Amex lounges in Mumbai and Delhi. However, I don’t pay a fee anymore (as a JP Platinum), and hence I did not get the renewal miles this year.
  • SBI Card/Air India co-branded credit card (Keep): This is my first year with this credit card, and I’ve already paid up the fees. I got a status match to Air India Gold, and I am now a Star Alliance Gold by virtue of this. I’ve also hit all the milestones on this card very recently, and would only use this card to book Air India tickets for the rest of the year.
  • American Express Platinum Charge Card (Cancel): Like I’ve written earlier, I signed up for this card when American Express offered INR 40,000 worth of vouchers with Taj Hotels for signup. However, the vouchers never came, the services were bad, and I’ve cancelled the card ever since. They also gave me grief while letting me go, having taken over two weeks to refund my card fees.

New Cards I might look at during the rest of this year:

  • Jet Airways IndusInd Bank Odyssey Credit Card (applied): I’ve already applied for the new Jet Airways co-branded card with IndusInd Bank. Apart from the usual sign-on JP Miles bonus and free Jet Airways ticket, I also get another 20000 JPMiles if I manage to spend INR 1,25,000 within the first 100 days of getting the card. Also, it offers access to the Altitude Lounges in Mumbai and Delhi. Then, there is also the factor of earning more miles over the weekend, and every fifth transaction getting a bonus of 300 JP Miles.
  • HDFC Diners Club Black: I’ve been pondering on this card for a while now. I love earning some American Airline Miles or some Hyatt Points while being in India, and Diners Club seems to be the only card offering those. Fees is INR 20,000 per annum, but if you spend INR 40,000 on the card it is reversed. Comes with a signup bonus of 20,000 points which can be converted to Hyatt/Marriott points or airline miles with AA, DL, Virgin Atlantic and many others.

Cards that I am still not looking to book:

  • Lufthansa Miles & More Axis Bank Credit Card: Nah. I don’t find accumulating Lufthansa Miles as a great proposition for the money I spend, and I guess only people who are very well entrenched with Lufthansa must be taking this card, given the reduced award availability on LH in the past months.

I’d love to hear your reactions and strategies in the comments section as well. So, do drop me a line around here.

Cheers!

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 8 Comments

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