One of the favourite features I have with my various MasterCard products in India is the ability to access lounges at various airports. Why would MasterCard do this? Well, to increase the spread of their cards with clients via Banks. Banks also look at this feature as a differentiation factor, and chip in for a few lounge trips as well.

I realise I last wrote about the ability to access lounges with MasterCard products way back in 2012. Since lounge contracts change all the time, I figured it is a good time to write a new post. Under the program, holders of premium MasterCard products (issued in India by select banks) are admitted to select lounges across India, if they are validated for the same by a Rs. 25 swipe on their credit/debit cards (this transaction is cancelled immediately so no monetary cost to you).

mclounge

Here is the list of lounges/restaurants that are participating in the MasterCard Lounge Access program in 2014:

  • Mumbai: Clipper Lounge (Terminal 2), Carnations Lounge (Terminal 1C)
  • Kolkata: Clipper Lounge (Terminal 2, before security hold)
  • Cochin: Clipper Lounge (Domestic, before security hold)
  • Chennai: Travel Food Service (International Terminal, First Floor)
  • Delhi: Masala Twist (Terminal 1D, Food Court), Good Times Bar (Terminal 3 Domestic), ITC Green Lounge (Terminal 3 International)
  • Bangalore: 380 Bar, Above Ground Level (Terminal 3 International)
  • Hyderabad: Plaza Premium Lounge (International Departures)

Now, in my past experience, I’ve also noticed that lounges turn away passengers who try to access lounges via credit cards to accommodate those who are invited by airlines, so you may have to factor in that holding a credit card is not a guarantee to access the lounge.

Here are the banks and their cards which can provide access under this program.

  • SBICards: SpiceJet SBI Card, Yatra SBI Card. (T&C)
  • Axis Bank: MyWings Credit Card (2 entries per quarter), Miles & More World Select Credit Card (8 entries per quarter), Miles & More World Credit Card (4 entries per quarter). (T&C)
  • HDFC Bank: JetPrivilege World Credit Card, JetPrivilege Platinum Credit Card, Infinia, Doctors Superia, Superia, JetPrivilege World Debit Card. (T&C)
  • ICICI Bank: Diamant, Sapphiro, Rubyx.
  • ING Vysya Bank: Galaxia Credit Card, MyWorld Debit Card, World Exclusive Debit Card (T&C)
  • Yes Bank: Yes First Debit Card (T&C)
  • Citibank: PremierMiles Credit Card only in Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai (6 visits per quarter), Citigold Private Client Debit Card, Citibank World Debit Card (T&C), Citibank Platinum Debit Card (T&C)
  • HSBC: HSBC Premier MasterCard (T&C)

If there are other cards which you know of, please leave a note in the comments below and I will add them to the list.

You get access to the F&B, internet (complimentary) and all facilities available to the regular visit of the lounge. At the international lounges, this also includes access to the bar if that counts as a benefit for you.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 11 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 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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