One of the key ways of earning miles, apart from the travel, is mileage-earning Credit Cards. If you look at my 2015 Mileage Haul, a quarter of the miles were earned via Credit Cards, and this excludes all the miles I transferred out from my credit card accounts, which makes it another quarter. Hence, there is a total of 50% of my miles and points earned in 2015 from Credit Cards and conversions.
It is hence, very essential to have a credit card or credit cards which will help you earn all the miles which you require towards your goal of earning trips of a lifetime, such as my #redcarpettrip. For the past three years, I have been detailing all the cards I look at favorably for my spends. I’d advise you to look at my 2013, 2014 and 2015 thoughts before you go forward to read this year. I’d like you to do that to realise that credit-card churning is not the name of the game in India, and since I anyways don’t have the kind of time to kill and get new cards, I don’t churn. My credit cards remain the same, until and unless there is a massive shift in the card proposition which beckons an addition or deletion from my collection.
Also, there are cards I use on a daily basis, and cards I use infrequently. So, the ones I use all the time are in my money clip, while the others are in my wallet, which I reach out for when I need these cards in specific. With that context, lets see what I am keeping, acquiring or cancelling this year.
In my Money Clip
- Citi Prestige x 2 (Keep): I got my first Citi Prestige Credit Card in July 2014, and the second in early 2015. These are my go to cards for most of my spending. I used to have two PremierMiles Cards, however, I found it better to move to Prestige because of my frequent travel, which makes Prestige a better fit for my requirements (8 airmiles/INR 100 instead of 4 for international travel). Why do I have two of these? It is just because I don’t want to combine two of my existing credit lines I have with Citi into one. Additionally, I easily recover my INR 20,000 fees with the INR 10,000 Taj/ITC vouchers and the 2500 miles provided on renewal every year. Also, Priority Passes for everyone in the family!
- HDFC Diners Club Black (Keep): HDFC Diners Club has one of the most generous 10x Partner program, and they also have an assortment of transfer partners not available on any other card platform in India such as Hyatt, Marriott and American Airlines. Also, they frequently keep doing promotions for putting more points in your pocket. However, they have horrible redemption formalities.
- Amex Gold (Wondering): American Express Gold Card came to me free for the first year last year, and offered 4000 points for sign up. I prefer to keep at least one charge card in my pocket, since it is easier to work with this at hotels. There is no pre-defined credit limit, hence there is no limit blocked per se. The card offers 1000 MR points every time I use it for at least 4 times a month for INR 1,000 which is a gimme. However, the card will come up for renewal this year and I’m wondering if it is worth the fees or not.
- HDFC Bank JetPrivilege World Debit Card (Keep): I need to keep a debit card to withdraw cash from my bank account, period! However, I get it free for being a Jet Airways Platinum customer and you can have it for INR 500. I hardly use it for regular purchases, but I do make it a point to get my renewal benefits every year. Also, this is the least you can do to get your JP miles validity extended for 2 years.
In my Wallet
- ICICI Jet Airways Sapphiro (Visa & Amex) (Keep): I’ve held this card for a while now, and it comes to me free of cost as long as I am a JetPrivilege Platinum member. I don’t use the card much except for buy-one-get-one free movie offers every month, and the free Jet Airways tickets and renewal miles which come every year. I do use it off and on to book Jet Airways tickets however.
- Jet Airways American Express Platinum (Keep): Ever since I gave up on my Amex Platinum, the only way to get in the Amex Lounges in Delhi and Mumbai was this card. Since they only allow for access for one person, I also got Shipra to sign up for this card during a higher signup bonus offer in the end of 2014. Now we both head up to the Amex Lounge in Delhi whenever we are transiting there. With all full-service carriers now at Terminal 2 in Mumbai however, I don’t use the Mumbai lounge much anymore.
- IndusInd Jet Airways Odyssey cars (Visa & Amex) (Keep): I initially got the card since there were JPMiles on the table for a minimum spend. However, this card is now in my wallet for the free Jet Airways tickets, since they devalued their earning potential just a few days ago.
- AI SBI Signature Card (Cancel): I’ve mulled on this subject a lot, and looking at my spend patterns, the new features of this SBI Card do not fit into my scheme of things. Additionally, with the whole AI devaluation, I’m sitting on tonnes of AI miles which value lesser than when I earned them. I don’t want many more AI miles at the moment. However, I will move to another credit card from SBI instead of cancelling my credit line with them for the time being.
On my wishlist
- Axis Vistara co-branded card: This is a yet-to-be launched card and I’m waiting to see what they come up with. Hence, await this card.
I do have many different pockets of spends. I’m forever travelling, eating out or entertaining people. So I put almost all my expenses on my cards, depending on the category where I can earn the maximum miles for those categories. I don’t scout for tier points really. For travel and e-com spends I am currently driving it to HDFC Diners at the moment, and every thing else to Citi Prestige.
Do you guys have a similar or different view than mine about the credit cards discussed above? I know these are all top-end credit cards, but they do make sense since the fee is more than recovered with the mileage amounts we earn on these cards.