Travellers have a variety of credit cards to choose from – because travel credit cards offer not only extra air miles and tie-ups with specific airlines, but also discounts on hotel stays, dining and easy transactions in foreign countries.
Travel credit cards offer a wide range of benefits that can be availed by the credit cardholders while enjoying their holiday abroad. From offering welcome gifts to providing complimentary airport lounge access and fee waivers, travel credit cards offer a wide variety of features and benefits catering the needs of frequent travellers.
Let’s look at the common benefits offered by most credit cards in detail.
Let us take a look at the top 10 travel credit cards in India along with their features and benefits.
HDFC bank offers a host of travel credit cards in collaboration with Jet Airways.
JetPrivilege HDFC Bank World Credit Card: This travel credit card offers a complimentary Jet Airways Ticket as welcome benefit – under which the base fee of the first domestic ticket bought with your credit card will be waived. The welcome benefits on JetPrivilege HDFC Bank World Credit Card also include 5,000 Bonus JPMiles when you use your card for the first time and another 5,000 Bonus JPMiles when you spend Rs.75,000 or more on retail bills within 90 days of buying the card. The JPMiles can be used to travel with Jet Airways as well as its 25-odd international airline partners. You can also upgrade your ticket using JPMiles.
Every time you spend Rs.150 on retail expenses, you get 6 JPMiles. And every time you book a flight ticket through the Jet Airways website using the HDFC Bank World travel credit card, you get 18 JPMiles per Rs.150. You also get premier check-in for all domestic flights and will be allowed to carry 10kg more baggage on all domestic Jet Airways flights as well as lounge access through MasterCard Lounge Access Programme and avail discounts on Priority Pass membership.
JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card: The first use of the travel credit card is that within 90 days of buying the card, you will get 15 JetPrivilege Tier Points. You also get 15,000 JPMiles when you first use your card within 90 days, and another 15,000 JPMiles on retail transactions totalling Rs.1,50,000 or more. You can also buy a ticket without paying the base fare on the Jet Airways website.
With JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card, you earn 8 JPMiles on every Rs.150 you spend on retail transactions and 24 JPMiles on every Rs.150 spent on ticket-bookings through the Jet Airways website. If you are a golf enthusiast, you can also avail Green Fee waiver on golf games at 20 golf courses in the country and over 40 in other parts of the world. Other benefits of the travel credit card include anytime concierge services, airport lounge access, premier check-in on domestic flights, additional 10kg baggage allowance and over 15% discount on restaurants across the country.
JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Platinum Credit Card: This travel credit card offers you a complimentary Jet Airways domestic flight ticket with base fare waived and 4,000 Bonus JPMiles divided equally between retail transactions and ticket booking on the Jet Airways website, within 90 days of setting up the card. Retail spends in the multiples of Rs.150 give you 5 JPMiles, while ticket bookings on the airline website can give you thrice higher JPMiles as well as a 5% concession on the domestic tickets purchased. MasterCard airport lounge access benefits are also available to JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Platinum Credit Card holders.
JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Titanium Credit Card: The titanium travel credit card offers 2,000 Bonus JPMiles – 1,000 on first swipe and 1,000 on retail swipes worth Rs.25,000 or more. You accumulate 4 JPMiles for every Rs.150 spent on retail and 12 JPMiles for each Rs.150 spent on ticket bookings on JetAirways website. The HDFC Bank travel Credit Card also offers the MasterCard lounge access benefits like the other cards.
HDFC Bank also has 2 other travel credit cards focused on providing more travel benefits to the cardholders.
HDFC Bank AllMiles Credit Card: The travel credit card, along with offering a welcome benefit of 1,000 reward points, also offers a membership in AllMiles Club, through which cardholders can accrue double reward points when using the credit card on the HDFC All Miles website. With every Rs.150 you spend using HDFC Bank AllMiles Credit Card, you earn 3 reward points, which can be collected and converted into air miles. The conversion rate is 100 reward points = 75 air miles or Rs.75 air voucher. The reward points can also be used to buy products on discount from the bank’s catalogue. You also get Priority Pass membership and access to airport lounges.
HDFC Bank Superia Credit Card: The Superia travel credit card offers a welcome benefit of 1,000 reward points and redemption of these points on international airlines through KrisFlyer and domestic airlines on tickets of Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Air India. The reward points that can be earned are similar to the AllMiles credit card. The reward point-to-air mile conversion ratio is 100 to 70 in the case of the Superia Credit Card. You also accumulate 50% more reward points than normal when dining in restaurants. Priority Pass membership and access to special discounts on products in the bank’s catalogues are the additional benefits of the HDFC Bank Superia Credit Card.
ICICI Bank also has a tie-up with Jet Airways to provide its customers with special travel and airline benefits. These travel credit cards are available in both Visa and American Express card iterations.
Jet Airways ICICI Bank Coral Credit Card: As on-boarding privileges, a Jet Airways ICICI Bank Coral Credit Card offers membership to the JetPrivilege programme and 3,000 JPMiles. JPMiles can be earned through retail spends and on ticket bookings through Jet Airways. While American Express card holders get 3 JPMiles for every Rs.100 spent on domestic and international retail swipes, Visa card users get 2 JPMiles. Similarly, American Express card owners get 6 JPMiles for every Rs.100 spent on booking ticket through the airline website and Visa card holders earn 4 JPMiles for the same transaction. You can earn a maximum of 40,000 JPMiles annually. Both the American Express and Visa cards offer airport lounge access, while only Visa cards give you special rates on services from Hertz and Avis car rentals.
Jet Airways ICICI Bank Rubyx Credit Card: Rubyx travel credit cards offer 6,250 bonus JPMiles on joining along with a free (base-fare waived) Jet Airways domestic flight ticket. You can also avail 5% off the base fare for domestic/international flight tickets booked through Jet Airways website. With a Jet Airways ICICI Bank Rubyx American Express Credit Card, you get 4 JPMiles for every Rs.100 spent inside India and 5 JPMiles for every Rs.100 spent abroad, and 8 JPMiles on spends on the airline website. Jet Airways ICICI Bank Rubyx Visa travel Credit Card, on the other hand, gives you 3 JPMiles per Rs.100 of domestic expenses, 4 JPMiles per Rs.100 of international expenses and 6 JPMiles on the website. The maximum air miles that can be accumulated is the same as the Coral credit card, and airport lounge access and car rental benefits are also available.
Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card: With the Sapphiro travel credit card, you earn 12,500 JPMiles as on-boarding benefit along with a base-fee waived domestic flight ticket and 5% rebate on domestic ticket fares. You also get dedicated check-in for domestic flights and an additional baggage allowance of 10kg on domestic flights. Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro American Express Credit Card gives you 5 JPMiles for every Rs.100 spent in India and 7 JPMiles when that Rs.100 is spent outside India. Purchases through Jet Airways web portal is eligible for 10 JPMiles per Rs.100. The Visa variant offers 4 JPMiles on domestic expenses, 5 JPMiles on international purchases and 8 JPMiles on website bills. The maximum JPMiles you can collect is 60,000 with this card. Airport lounge and car rental access remains the same as the other travel cards.
British Airways Premium Credit Card Account: In this travel credit card, ICICI pairs up with British Airways to offer the cardholder a welcome bonus of 8,000 Avios the first time you swipe the card. If you book a return ticket on a British Airways flight from India to London within 3 months of getting the credit card, you can avail 25,000 Avios. You can get both ICICI Bank British Airways American Express Credit Card and its MasterCard variant to earn optimum benefits. You also get the British Airways Executive Club membership.
Avios can be earned in the following ways through the American Express card: 4 Avios per Rs.100 on retail expenses, 6 Avios per Rs.100 when using the card on the British Airways website, and if your annual credit card expenditure is Rs.2.25 lakh or more, the Avios earned on retail and website transactions will be 25% higher. Similarly, with credit card bills of Rs.5 lakh per year or more, you can get a 50% hike in the number of Avios collectable for every Rs.100. However, with the MasterCard variant, you only have the option to earn 1 Avios for any transaction in the multiples of Rs.100.
Axis Bank Travel Credit Cards
Axis Bank offers a co-branded travel credit card and a travel-focused credit card to its customers. Let us take a look at their benefits
Miles & More Axis Bank Credit Card: The Axis Bank Miles & More travel credit card comes in 2 versions - World Select and World. With a Miles & More credit card, you can get privileges on 9 airlines including Lufthansa, Austrian and Swiss. The World travel Card gives you a welcome bonus of 5,000 miles and an annual bonus of 3,000 miles, while the World Select Card gives you 15,000 miles when on-boarding and 4,000 miles as annual bonus. For every Rs.200 spent on retail – except movie bookings – a World Select cardholder is eligible for 6 miles and a World card member can avail 4 miles. On movie bookings, expenses in the multiples of Rs.200 earn both the World and World Select card user 20 miles each.
If you are a Miles & More member for at least 3 months and make at least one miles-related purchase in a month, the miles you accumulate will never expire. These miles can be used not only for flight bookings and ticket upgrades, but also on accommodation, shopping, car rentals and in supporting social causes. MasterCard airport lounge access and Priority Pass benefits are also available to a Miles & More member. The card also offers insurance benefits such as Lost Card Liability cover of Rs.1.5 lakh for World cardholders and Rs.3 lakh for World Select customers, and personal accident cover (air only) of Rs.2.5 crore for World card users and Rs.4.5 crore for World Select cardholders.
Titanium Smart Traveller Credit Card: Travel expenses made on the Titanium Smart Traveller Credit Card gets you extra eDGE Loyalty Rewards Points. You are eligible for 8 eDGE points for every Rs.200 spent abroad, and 4 eDGE points on credit card payments for bookings of holiday packages, hotels, airlines, train and bus in India. Other domestic retail expenses gives you 2 eDGE points. These points can be converted to air miles, or discounts on products specified by the bank.
The State Bank of India, one of the largest banks of India, also has co-branded and travel-specific credit cards.
Air India SBI Signature Credit Card: This co-branded travel credit card offers you 20,000 reward points as a welcome gift and a free membership of Flying Returns, the Air India Frequent Flyer programme. Bonus reward points offered are: 20,000 for spending Rs.5 lakh annually, 30,000 (plus 20,000) if you spend Rs.10 lakh every year, and 50,000 (plus 30,000 and 20,000) if your yearly credit card expense is Rs.20 lakh. You also earn tier upgrades in the Air India Flying Returns programme.
Every Rs.100 spent using this credit card will give you 4 reward points. When you buy Air India tickets using your credit card, you become eligible for 20 reward points per Rs.100. When converting your reward points to air miles, you get 1 Air India mile per reward point. You also get airport lounge access and Priority Pass membership.
SBI Yatra Credit Card: With the Yatra travel credit card, you will get vouchers worth Rs.8,250 that can be used on the Yatra.com website as joining benefit. You can avail 6X Reward Points and an extra 6x points on base fare when you use your credit card on Yatra.com. Departmental and grocery store purchases get you 6X Reward Points and 1 point for every Rs.100 spent in other retail shops. The reward points can be converted into Yatra.com vouchers, with 1 reward point equalling Rs.0.25. Additionally, you also get a Yatra.com discount voucher worth Rs.500 for every Rs.30,000 spent on the website. SBI Yatra Credit Card holders also get MasterCard airport lounge access as well.
Citibank Citi PremierMiles Credit Card
Citibank’s travel credit card allows you to use the services of around 100 airlines. With a Citi PremierMiles Credit Card, you can avail 10 miles for every Rs.100 spent on airline transactions, through services on the Premier Miles website and on spending with online partners such as MakeMyTrip and Flipkart. You can redeem your miles with airline as well as hotel bookings. The bonus welcome of 10,000 miles can be availed on your first purchase of more than Rs.1,000 within 60 days of activating the card. The miles do not have an expiry date and you can book tickets for any date on the calendar. You also get access airport lounges.
There are multiple ways to apply for a travel credit card online. Discussed below are two online channels through which you can apply for a credit card.
Apply directly from bank’s website: Travel credit cards can be applied directly from respective bank websites.
Once the bank receives the application and if your profile is eligible for the applied card, you will get a call back in 3-4 working days from the respective phone banking officer who will take you through the next steps of application process. He/she will let you know the documents required to process your application and schedule an appointment for document collection.
Once the documents are submitted along with the signed in application form, your credit card will be processed in next 7-10 working days. Make a note of the application number which can be used to track your application online.
Apply through BankBazaar website: Another authoritative way to apply for a travel credit card is through BankBazaar website. BankBazaar is an online marketplace where one can find all sorts of financial products. Being an unbiased service provider, the company’s online platform offers its visitors an opportunity to search for different credit cards, compare cards and finally apply for the same. By partnering with more than 50 banks operating in India, BankBazaar offers an easy and convenient way to apply and track your online application.
The eligibility to apply for travel credit cards vary from one bank to another and from one card to other. Listed below is the minimum eligibility criteria set by many banks.
Again, different credit card issuers require different set of documents to process a travel credit card application. Sometimes, the required documents also vary based on the applicant type. Some of the common documents required for a travel credit card application are listed below.
With so many options available, you can pick a travel credit card that suits you the best. While privileges are all fine, ensure that you check the interest rates offered on the cards. A higher interest rate will mean that you end up paying more for the privileges, thus nullifying the benefits.