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 till April 15, 2014. In summary, there are two Axis Bank Miles & More credit cards on offer:

  • M&M Axis Bank MasterCard World: This is the lower version of the credit cards, and comes with 5000 miles after first transaction, and 4 miles for every INR 200 of eligible spend.  The joining fee is INR 3,500 and the annual fee from the second year is the same. Axis Bank is offering another 5000 miles as a signup bonus if you sign on before April 15, 2014. Additionally, if you spend about INR 3 Lakhs on the card in the first 3 months, you get a bonus of another 10000 award miles.
  • M&M Axis Bank MasterCard World Select: This is the higher version of the two, and comes with 15,000 miles after the first transaction, and 6 miles for every INR 200 of eligible spend. The joining fees for the first year is INR 10,000 and the annual fee from the second year is INR 4,500. Here, again, Axis Bank is offering another 5000 miles as a signup bonus of your sign on before April 15, 2014. If you spend about INR 5 Lakhs on the card in the first 3 months, you get a bonus of another 20000 award miles. If you are a HON Circle member with Lufthansa, you get the added benefit of another 10,000 bonus M&M miles as well for signing up.

The good part is, that for Lufthansa frequent flyers (i.e., Miles & More members), there is a rebate on the joining fee as well. HON Circle & Senator members get the card for free, while Frequent Traveller members get 50% off on the card fee during the offer period. Here are the complete T&C of this promotion.

More details are there in my earlier post for the same offer in Q1 2014.

Like readers know, I won’t be signing up for this offer at the moment. There is only so much card fees I’d like to pay in a year and I don’t see much value in collecting Miles & More miles at this moment because I am concentrating on accumulating Air India, Jet Airways and PremierMiles.

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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, I expected to do a follow-up or few with SBI Cards and/or Air India before getting this Gold Status, and I wasn’t even sure if I was going to get it or not. It did not matter much because at the moment I am a sporadic Air India flyer with most of my business with Jet Airways.

Anyhow, there was radio silence from the other side and I thought if nothing happened within another week or so, I would start to chase up. But last evening, after 14 days of writing to SBI with my Jet Airways Platinum details, I logged into my AI Flying Returns account and saw that my account had been converted to a Golden Edge Club account.

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While the most interesting benefit for me is the lounge access (no clear policy on the website) and small cancellation fees on tickets, I expect that Air India will join the Star Alliance this year and then my benefits will also be applicable at the Star Alliance Gold level.

So, if you picked up an Air India SBI Credit Card and have status with a competing airline, you don’t need to wait to spend INR 10 Lakhs to be able to get Gold Status anymore. Just ask for this status match.

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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 annual fees
  • 1 Air India upgrade voucher on sign-up
  • 20,000 Air India miles bonus on spending INR 3 lakhs in the year
  • 20,000 Air India miles bonus and Air India Silver Club status on spending INR 5 lakhs in the year
  • 50,000 Air India miles bonus and Air India Gold Club status on spending INR 10 lakhs in the year

Air India / SBI Cards seems to have recently added one more benefit for customers with the Signature Air India card. This one is a straight up status match if you have status with some other airlines.

The status match is applicable on Jet Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Etihad, Qatar, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and American Airlines as per this chart . Essentially these are airlines whose hubs Air India flies to and see’s major competition for business.

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Once you’ve logged into your account, you’ll see instructions for getting a status match on the sidebar.

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The instructions are very simple. You have to send your status card scan, along with a statement of activities for the past one month and your Air India membership number. Of course, since SBI Card is facilitating this status match, you are not going to be able to get status matched before having an Air India Signature credit card.

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There is also information out there which states that tier-upgrades depend on acceptance of Air India. So, if you are an Air India Signature card holder, maybe you want to look into this status while Air India gets ready to join the Star Alliance. Report back your experiences here.

(H.T. : Parag Mehta)

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