I think getting into tourist season, coupled with the high prices of oil is forcing the hand of Citibank on the PremierMiles card. Citibank has revised redemption rates on some routes which are short-haul and have seen decreasing capacity from airlines (read increasing airfares), w.e.f. 1st October 2012.
I notice that some of the routes are seeing a 30% increase in miles needed for redemption, such as Mumbai – Goa which goes up from 4000 Miles to 5200 on a low-cost carrier. Take note, that unlike an airline reward ticket, Citibank PremierMiles redemptions mean you redeem your points for a PAID ticket that is issued to you, so you can actually earn miles on these tickets as well if you are flying a carrier such as AI.
However, for redemptions, Citi had set the reward chart to undercut the JPMiles award chart by about 5-7% at least on each route. However, looks like the economics of the Indian aviation sector has changed that for the time being. In such a situation, if you do have some JP Miles, you’ll be better off redeeming those for the time being, now that the 20% off on redemptions offer continues till March 2013. However, to be fair to Citibank PM, the cash component (fees & taxes and surcharges) on the Citibank card are lesser than the JP Miles redemption. For instance, on BOM-GOI mentioned above, Citi PM charges about Rs. 530- 550 in cash, while Jet on the same redemption looks for Rs. 700 or more. So, in the context of this information, I won’t exactly call it a devaluation, but an adjustment.
Overall, still a superior product to other ‘travel’ cards in the Indian market but like I keep saying all the time, the best use of this card is to transfer mileage balances 1:1 to various partner airlines who participate in the transfer program and use for redemptions on those airlines.
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