At the end of 2014, Citibank made a decision that they wanted to devalue their PremierMiles a bit. A whole lot actually. So, they are moving the 1 PremierMile = 1 Airmile equation to 2 PremierMiles = 1 Airmile, bringing it to the valuation that American Express offers (2 MR = 1 Airmile). All good things come to an end, and here are my thoughts on why this happened.

At this point of time, the moment of choice is here and there are four paths to take. You can do either of the following:

  • Continue as is with your PremierMiles card, earn 10 PM/INR 100 for airline purchases and 4 PM/INR 100 for everything else. You are essentially earning 5 airmiles/INR 100 on airlines and 2 airmiles/INR 100 for everything else.
  • You can use your PremierMiles at INR 0.50 for redemptions till January 31 and for cash value of INR 0.45 from then onwards.
  • You can transfer your miles to an air mileage program which participates with Citi PremierMiles at 1:1 before January 31, 2015 to get the most bang from your buck. However, your miles are now subject to the terms & conditions of the program transferring into.
  • You can upgrade your PremierMiles card to a Prestige card, get double mileage from what you have, all for a price of INR 20K.

I did do a short assessment of some of the programs which would make good options to convert your Premiermiles, and they are all here. There is also Delta SkyMiles which I wanted to cover as a program, but just no time to do that:

As for me, I chickened/panicked or whatever you want to call it, and I upgraded to Prestige, so I have two Prestige cards now. I don’t know how to justify it to myself, but I guess I’ll be able to justify it with the following: 10K stay vouchers, 10K miles, 6K Etihad bonus miles on 1 transaction, 5K Avios and of course the whole lot of golf games that will come along.

What are you doing about your PremierMiles Card and balances?

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 10 Comments

I slacked up a bit on the PremierMiles conversion series due to Vistara’s launch last week, and an otherwise busy calendar. But let’s get cracking once again.

One of the most interesting and useful points in the oneworld alliance are those of British Airways. A few years ago, they started calling them Avios, and this is the mileage currency used by British Airways as well as Iberia at the moment. Avios transfers frequently offer bonuses to credit card partners, at least once a year, but we haven’t seen any for 2015 at this point of time in India, yet.

British Airways operates flights on its own metal from 5 cities around India, but Avios can be used on just about any oneworld partner around the world. I enlist some of the uses of Avios that come to mind:

  • For booking tickets using Avios on British Airways or partners, you can search on the BA website and book tickets there itself. British Airways is notoriously famous for charging fuel surcharges (now carrier surcharges), and these will be tacked on to most tickets on the transatlantic routes. They do charge surcharges on carriers who don’t charge a fuel surcharge themselves as well on redemption tickets. I do find BA’s Club World and First product pretty reasonable, however, one needs to spend some more cash as the Air Passenger Duty payable to the UK exchequer. Do note, when booking on Air Lingus & Air Berlin, no fuel surcharges are payable.


  • For upgrading on British Airways. For instance, booking in British Airways Premium Economy and upgrading to Club World only costs 12,500 Avios from India to UK. Not a bad use of these points at all.
  • Use for short distance travel on oneworld partners. The British Airways award chart is distance based, and that makes it interesting from a perspective of using it for short distance travel. For instance, for flights less than 600 miles in distance, such as New York and Washington D.C., an economy ticket can be just 4,500 Avios + 5 US Dollar as taxes/fees.
  • Use for flying Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific has great award availability from India, and the premium cabins are nice. However, the carrier charges are more in the range of US Dollars 150 than US Dollars 300 that BA charges on most carriers.

Of course, there are many more uses, but these are some that I can figure as the most common uses of British Airways miles.

My rating for British Airways Avios as a transfer partner is 3.75/5. I take away 1 for tacking on fuel surcharges to almost all award partners, and another 0.25 for the time and effort required to ticket a booking with a partner which is not online for BA.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | One Comment

I’ve been on top of this PremierMiles situation since the day Citibank announced the upcoming devaluation. I can only thank my stars and yours that the devaluation is coming with a notice, and not unlike the time when Jet Airways and Citibank broke up relations overnight.

Citibank will put the new transfer rates into effect from February 1, 2015, where each airmile conversion will work from 1 PM = 1 airmile to 2 PM = 1 airmile. So far, no changes are envisaged to hotel conversions. This means, even when you effect a transfer on January 30, 2015 you will still get a 1:1 conversion when it lands up into your frequent flyer account.

I’ve seen loads of emails and comments from readers over the past few days, commenting about acting in a haste and junking the card. I’d say, hold on. Evaluate your options, see your circumstances and then jump.

Not everyone will have the same situation or the same travel goals. But I would broadly like to classify the actions of the holders of PremierMiles card into 4 buckets:

  • Those who travel internationally, should look at all the transfer options and see which ones will suit them best, then act.
  • Those who travel domestically around India, should look at Air India and Etihad, and then act.
  • Those who like to use it for cash at INR 0.5, will still continue to hold on to their PremierMiles.
  • Those who like to see an appreciation of their PremierMiles by converting into Prestige, I’d say, do it when you’re comfortable, because the conversion ratio stays the same to the best of what I know, at this point of time. Also, first be convinced about the 20,000 INR fee of the Prestige.

So, whichever bucket you are in, just think it through and don’t make the call to transfer all your PM just because your friends and other readers of this blog are doing so!

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 6 Comments

PremierMiles Devaluation w.e.f. February 1, 2015 PremierMiles to Etihad Guest conversion Since the devaluation of PremierMiles was announced last week, I am trying to post on all the options available for all of us to transfer into various frequent flyer programs, our hard earned PremierMiles. Yesterday, I wrote a post on Etihad Guest, and today, […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 18 Comments

The year started on a not so great note, with Citibank announcing the devaluation of the PremierMiles transfer options. Over the next few days I am hoping to write posts evaluating in brief the options for transferring your PremierMiles, in case you are not happy with the new redemption rates of (2:1). Let us go […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 19 Comments

Yesterday, I put out the sad news about PremierMiles conversion changing from 1:1 to 2:1 and also the relatively minor devaluation of using PremierMiles as cash for booking tickets. I have a feeling I should lay out an educated guess about why conversion options are being hit more than the use as cash. This, is […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 19 Comments

I hate to start the New Year with some sad news. In 2011, I’d called the Citibank PremierMiles the best travel credit card around in India, because you could earn 1 airmile across airline programs for every INR 25 spend, and then you could earn 1 airmile across airline programs for every INR 10 spend […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 42 Comments

It has been a rocky relationship for the past two years after Citibank and Jet Airways broke up. First, Jet Airways disallowed Citibank to offer redemptions on PremierMiles, which were significantly cheaper than Jet Airways’ own JP program. Then, overnight, JetPrivilege and Citibank cut ties on the transfer partnership for PremierMiles –> JetPrivilege Miles.  Endgame […]

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 […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 8 Comments

Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card was offering a 2x bonus on International Spends during the period May 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014. Here, for all your spends in International Currencies during this period, you got double the miles. So, for buying air tickets outside of India, you got 20 miles per INR 100 instead of […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

The days of American style sign up bonuses are finally coming into India. There is a new promotion that has been sent out to members of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program this morning, which gives you an extra 10,000 PremierMiles for spending at least INR 50,000 on the new card within 60 days of activation. While […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 22 Comments

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