SBI Card Miles Elite Review

SBI Card Miles Elite


Joining Fee: Rs 4999+GST
Annual Fee: Rs 4999+GST




1% - 3%



Payment Network

Mastercard, Rupay


Milestone Rewards, Domestic Airport Lounge Access, International Airport Lounge Access, Fuel Surcharge Waiver

Pure-play airmiles credit cards have been limited to a very selective list so far. From the erstwhile Citibank Premier Miles to the popular Axis Atlas, the airmiles game in India has been gaining traction. The latest entrant to this segment is SBI Card. SBI Card has launched its miles focused credit cards in three variants – SBI Card Miles, SBI Card Miles Prime and SBI Card Miles Elite. SBI Card Miles Elite is the top variant with an annual fee of Rs 4999 and earns 1% to 3% travel credits(airmiles/hotel points) on spends. It also gets a milestone benefit of 20,000 bonus travel credits on meeting the target spends. The benefits of the SBI Card Miles Elite variant include complimentary domestic airport lounge access, international airport lounge access and a fuel surcharge waiver.


Joining FeeRs 4999+GST ~Rs 5899
Welcome Benefit5000 Travel Credits on Rs 1 Lakh spends within 60 days
Annual FeeRs 4999+GST ~Rs 5899
Annual Fee WaiverOn Rs 15 Lakh spends
Renewal BenefitNone
SBI Card Miles Elite Review: Fees

The joining fee is well compensated by the welcome benefit. But, there should be been a renewal benefit on the same lines.

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Spends CategoryReward Rate
Travel Spends6 Travel Credits/Rs 200
Other Spends2 Travel Credit/Rs 200
Fuel, Wallets, Rent, Education, Utilities and InsuranceNo Rewards
SBI Card Miles Elite Review: Rewards

This puts the airmiles/hotel points earn rate at just 1% to 3%! That too with a very high annual fee of Rs 4999. Even at that earn rate, we have so many categories that are excluded from rewards. There should have been a higher earn rate on this card or may be better milestone benefits to boost the reward rate.

Milestone Benefits

  • 20,000 bonus travel credits on Rs 12 Lakh annual spends

The milestone benefit adds another 1.6% bonus reward rate if you can hit that target spend. At the moment, there are no spends excluded for milestone benefits.

Points Transfer Partners

SBI Card becomes the latest credit card issuer to tie up with a huge number of airlines and hotels for points transfer. We get access to many of the existing partners that we have for Axis Bank and HDFC Bank credit cards. This will make point pooling a lot easier.

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Interesting misses in this list are Marriott Bonvoy and KrisFlyer. Both are quite popular in India. The interesting addition in the list is Shangri-La group but at a rather low conversion rate of 6:1.

Transfer Partner and ProgramConversion Rate
Travel Credits: Partner Miles
Air Arabia: AA Rewards2:1
Air India: Flying Returns1:1
Accor: ALL2:1
Air Asia: airasia rewards1:1
Air Canada: Aeroplan1:1
Air France – KLM: Flying Blue1:1
Air Vistara: Club Vistara1:1
Ethiopian Airlines: ShebaMiles2:1
Etihad Airways: Etihad Guest1:1
IHG Hotels & Resorts: IHG One Rewards1:1
ITC: Club ITC2:1
Japan Airlines: JAL Mileage Bank2:1
Orchid Hotels: Orchid Rewards1:1
Qantas Airways: Qantas Frequent Flyer1:1
Saudia: AlFursan2:1
SpiceJet: SpiceClub1:1
Shangri-La Group6:1
Turkish Airlines: Miles&Smiles2:1
Thai Airways: Royal Orchid Plus1:1
United Airlines: United MileagePlus2:1
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts: Wyndham Rewards1:1
SBI Card Miles Elite Review: Transfer Partners

Other Redemption Options

Points transfer redemptions will give you the best value for the SBI Card Miles Prime credit card. But, we do have other options too:

  • 1 Travel Credit = 50 paise for travel bookings
  • 1 Travel Credit = 25 paise for Shop and Smile product catalogue

Complimentary Airport Lounge Access

  • Domestic Airport Lounges: 8 visits/quarter to airport lounges in India
  • International Airport Lounges: 6 visits/year to airport lounges outside India

There is no minimum spends criteria for the complimentary airport lounge access on the SBI Card Miles Elite credit card.

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Get Extra Domestic Airport Lounge Visits

We also get extra complimentary visits to domestic airport lounges based on our spends. We get one additional domestic lounge visit with every Rs 1 Lakh spend and this is capped at 15 extra visits per membership year.

These additional domestic airport lounge visits are available to both the primary cardholder and a guest. The vouchers can be redeemed on LoungeKey.

Other Key Benefits & Charges

  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: 1% waiver for transactions from Rs 500 to Rs 4000. Maximum waiver of Rs 250 per statement cycle.
  • Foreign Currency Markup: 1.99%+GST ~2.35%

Final Thoughts

While it is good to have new travel focused credit cards, SBI Card Miles Elite variant is not a great option for its annual fee. We get a low reward rate which makes it difficult to accumulate a significant amount of airmiles. There are no options to earn accelerated airmiles either. Interestingly, SBI Card has not added that many extra rewards or benefits to the Miles Elite variant when we compare it with the Miles Prime variant that comes at a lower fee point.

The SBI Miles Elite credit card has an annual fee that is pretty much the same as what Atlas offers. For that fee, the Atlas gives you a much better reward rate. If you are looking for an airmiles credit card, the Axis Atlas continues to be a great option with a higher earn rate along with better milestone and renewal benefits.

SBI Card Miles Elite

Card Maven

Axis Bank My Zone Credit Card LTF
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