Air India is now in the hands of the famed Tata Group. It has been through its days of ups and downs. But, one fact remains. To date, it remains the biggest for direct international flights from Indian cities. I have been exploring airline cards that offer miles as rewards for some time now. After the acquisition, Air India’s miles and credit cards might go for a complete overhaul. But for now, the only option we have is the SBI co-branded cards. In this article, we review the higher variant Air India SBI Signature credit card.
Fees & Charges
The welcome gift of 20000 AirMiles is definitely worth more than the joining fee. The renewal benefit should be increased a bit to maybe 10000 RP to make it more lucrative.
|Joining/Annual Fee||Rs 4999 plus taxes|
|Welcome Gift||20000 Reward Points ~20000 Air India AirMiles|
|Renewal Benefit||5000 Reward Points ~5000 Air India AirMiles|
Air India SBI Signature Card Rewards
- All Spends: 4 RP per Rs 100 ~ 2.4% Return
- Air India Website and Mobile App Spends (for cardholder): 30 RP per Rs 100 ~18% Return
- Air India Website and Mobile App Spends (for others): 10 RP per Rs 100 ~6% Return
- Milestone 1: 20000 Bonus RP on Rs 5 Lakhs annual spend
- Milestone 2: 30000 Bonus RP on Rs 10 Lakhs annual spend
- Milestone 3: 50000 Bonus RP on Rs 20 Lakhs annual spend
- 1 RP = 1 Air India AirMile
I have valued each RP/AirMile at 60 paise for redemption. But, it is possible to get a Rs 1 or higher value for international flights or sale season bookings. We get a minimum of 1.8L Airmiles on Rs 20 Lakhs spend.
If we value 1 Airmiles at 60 paise, the Air India SBI Signature credit card has a return of 5.4% on Rs 20 Lakhs spend. If we are able to get a value of 1 Airmile=Rs 1, then it is an even better return of 9%. It all depends on how well we can identify the lucrative sector with the best value.
Complimentary Domestic Airport Lounge Access
The Air India SBI Signature card gets 8 complimentary visits per year to domestic airport lounges. The access is through Visa and is limited to 2 visits per quarter.
The Air India SBI Signature credit card is a good travel credit card but it needs high spending to get the rewards. Considering the milestone, we would need to spend at least Rs 5 Lakh on this card to get the bonus miles. Without that, the reward rate is ok but not that great. It would have been good to have an additional milestone at Rs 2.5 Lakhs for some bonus RP.
If you are interested in playing the miles game on Air India, this is one of the cards you can explore. Another option is the Axis Atlas card, which has Turkish Airlines as a transfer partner. It is one of the Star Alliance partners and we can book Air India flights through that as well.