A few days ago, I reported that the promised tier upgrades and status matches for Air India, which are available via their co-branded card with SBI were not going through. There was either a technology problem, or there was a snap of relationships between both parties. We don’t know.

However, I’ve been hearing since yesterday days, that people have started to get their upgrade confirmations via email, for status earned via spend on Air India. This looks like it is sorted now. However, for me personally, something seems to be off, as my account is locked out. Which definitely points towards a technology upgrade of some sorts that may have happened at the back end.

For those of you who qualified, I hope you receive your status credentials for Air India Silver or Gold shortly.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 5 Comments

One of the differentiating features of Air India’s co-branded card with SBI Cards is the tier upgrades you get on Air India Flying Returns every time you spent another INR 5,00,000 in the membership year. You get Silver Status for the first INR 5,00,000 and Gold Status for the next INR 5,00,000. This is now equivalent to Star Alliance Gold status, with Air India having joined the Star Alliance.

SBI Cards in fact also launched a status match program for the holders of other airlines status in the meanwhile, I am assuming with Air India’s approval.

Everyone who hits the INR 5,00,000 mark receives a kit automatically, because these were processed straight through back in the day. But recently, a friend who hit the mark did not receive anything after a few weeks as well. So, we queried SBI Cards, who said

Tier Upgrades are on hold till September 15, 2014. We are working with Air India to sort this out at the earliest, however you are requested to contact us after this date to proceed further.

I’ve also been hearing Air India is having rethink on status upgrades now that they are in Star Alliance, and they’d have to extend all Star Alliance benefits to their members as well, however, I am sure they don’t care about these costs like they’ve not in the past.

Any one of my readers face the stalling from SBI Cards on their AI status upgrades as well? Do write in the comments section.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 15 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 | 7 Comments

Jet Airways has existing co-branded credit cards with HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, American Express and a co-branded debit card with HDFC Bank. And now, they have launched the fifth product in the market, which is in collaboration with IndusInd Bank, called the Jet Airways IndusInd Odyssey Credit Card. There is also a lower product called […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 14 Comments

Axis Bank took over the the Miles & More co-branded credit cards portfolio in Q1 2013, and had been offering an accelerated bonus of up to 20000 miles on signing up the card before March 15, 2014 and spending at certain benchmarks. The promotion has now returned for a brief while, for card applications received […]

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Last week, I had written about the opportunity that existed to get Gold and Silver Status with Air India, depending on your Air India SBI Credit Card and your status with certain other competing airlines. While I had sent in my request for a status match a few days before I wrote about this post, […]

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SBI credit cards started to issue Air India co-branded credit cards last year, and they are maybe one of the best airline credit cards out there from an Indian perspective. Take an example, if you get the Signature version of the card, you get: 20,000 Air India miles to start-up on payment of first year […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 8 Comments

One of the less widely covered American Express Credit Card on my blog is the American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card. Originally meant to be the credit card version of the American Express Charge Card, the Credit Card comes with some limited but still useful benefits. While a full review of this product will have […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 7 Comments

One of the query I receive frequently from readers has been about the renewal for their Jet Airways co-branded credit cards issued by HDFC Bank, American Express and ICICI Bank. Most readers find it attractive to receive the card in the first year with 15,000 to 30,000 JP Miles as sign-up bonus, and want to […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 10 Comments

Last week, I wrote about my 2013 Mileage Credit Card strategy, where I told you guys I managed to get something about 264,000 miles basis credit cards issued in India for the full calendar year. For 2014, here are the credit cards I am looking at having in my wallet. Take note that while I […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 19 Comments

I know it is a little late in the day to put out a round up for 2013, but I thought I’d do it anyways. I did not get the time to put a post earlier than this, but all I can tell you is we are lucky to be living in times when the […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 8 Comments

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