Travel & Living

Fuel Your Wanderlust With The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards In India

Travel may not be on your cards for 2020 – but that doesn’t mean you should stop planning your future journeys. With a travel credit card, you can get a headstart on accumulating reward points now and redeem it for your future travels – when the borders open, and travel restrictions are lifted.

Loaded with complimentary air miles, free domestic and international lounge access, discounts on hotel reservations, dining, tourist activities, and shopping across the globe, travel cards are a must-have perk for frequent travellers and the wanderlusts. Besides travel benefits, these credit cards also offer other perks like savings on fuel, accelerated loyalty points, and more.

Top Benefits offered by Travel Credit Cards

  • Complimentary airport lounge access for the cardholder (as well as family members) depending on the card you hold
  • Membership to frequent flyer programs of airlines
  • Convert loyalty points accrued on the card to air miles
  • Redeem loyalty points for hotel bookings, flight tickets, car rentals, dining, and other travel-related expenses
  • Low Forex conversion charges, helping you save money while using the card overseas
  • Co-branded benefits with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), Airlines, Hotel Chains, etc.

Now that we’ve enticed you with the benefits of a travel credit card, let’s help you pick the best travel credit card in India for 2020.

  1. Air India SBI Signature Card

One of the best travel credit cards on the Indian market, the Air India SBI Signature credit card, is an Air India co-branded card from SBI, India’s largest bank. You can convert reward points into Air India miles.

1 reward point = 1 Air India mile

Features at a Glance:

The biggest perk of this card is the array of bonus reward points. Cardholders get a welcome gift of a bonus of 20,000 reward points on joining, 5000-anniversary reward points every year, 20,000+ bonus reward points when you spend more than Rs. 5 lakh on the card annually. The card offers complimentary membership to the Air India rewards programme. If you’re already a member of this programme, you can link your existing membership number to the card.

Besides the reward points, the other benefits offered on the card include: complimentary access to over 600 international airport lounges under the Priority Pass programme, complimentary domestic lounge access under the Visa Lounge Access programme, accelerated rewards on Air India ticket bookings for self and family, railway ticket booking and fuel surcharge waiver at all petrol pumps.

Fees:

  • Annual fee (one-time) – Rs. 4,999 + taxes
  • Renewal fee (every year) – Rs. 4,999 + taxes

Why opt for this card?

If you’re a frequent traveller on Air India, this card is a great way to enjoy huge discounts on your flight tickets. Loaded with travel perks like bonus air miles, lounge access, and lost card protection, this card makes travel hassle-free and convenient.

  1. Axis Vistara Signature Credit Card

Vistara – an airline in partnership with Tata and Singapore Airlines – is one of India’s promising airline launches in recent years. The Axis Vistara Signature co-branded credit card provides exclusive travel benefits and privileges for cardholders.

Features at a Glance:

Cardholders receive a complimentary premium economy ticket and complimentary silver membership to Club Vistara on joining. Cardholders can earn 4 Club Vistara Points for every Rs. 200 spent on the card. Other milestone benefits include up to 3000 bonus Club Vistara points and up to 4 free premium economy tickets in a year.

The other lifestyle privileges on the card include complimentary lounge access at select domestic airports, minimum 15% discount at over 5000 restaurants across the country under Axis Bank Dining Delights, 3 free golf sessions at premium golf clubs, complimentary travel insurance, and more.

Fees:

  • Annual fee (one-time) – Rs. 3,000 + taxes
  • Renewal fee (every year) – Rs. 3,000 + taxes

Why opt for this card?

If you prefer luxurious travel on the premium airline Vistara, this card is a perfect choice. Besides Club Vistara points, the card offers an array of premium lifestyle benefits.

  1. InterMiles ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card

Formerly known as Jet Privilege, InterMiles is an independent airline rewards and loyalty programme. You can use your InterMiles to redeem flight tickets, book hotels, and other travel benefits across an array of brands. The InterMiles ICICI Sapphiro credit card is a co-branded card offered by ICICI bank.

Features at a Glance:

Earn 10,000 welcome InterMiles points, flight discount vouchers worth Rs. 750 and hotel discount vouchers worth Rs. 1,500 on joining. Earn 5000 bonus points on annual renewal. Earn up to 12.5 InterMiles for every Rs. 100 spent on the card.

Besides the reward points on InterMiles, the card also offers other lifestyle benefits like complimentary airport lounge access, dining discounts, free golf rounds, and more.

Fees:

  • Annual fee (one-time) – Rs. 5,000 + taxes
  • Renewal fee (every year) – Rs. 5,000 + taxes

*Note that the joining and renewal fee is waived off for InterMiles Platinum Tier members.

Why opt for this card?

The most significant benefit of this card is that your reward miles are not tied to any airline. Instead, you can redeem your InterMiles on multiple domestic and international airlines. Not just flight tickets, you can also redeem InterMiles on hotel bookings, dining, shopping, and more.

  1. American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card

This is one of the best travel credit cards with accelerated rewards, especially for frequent Indigo flyers. Besides the bonuses, the card also offers cashback promos and other discounts on MakeMyTrip, making it a rewarding experience for frequent travellers.

Features at a Glance:

Welcome gift of 5000 bonus Milestone points on card activation. Earn travel vouchers worth Rs. 6360 on spending over Rs. 1.90 lakhs in a year. Enjoy 4 complimentary airport lounge visits in a year. Get a premium Taj Experiences E-gift card worth Rs. 10,000, which can be redeemed at the Taj Group of hotels across the country. Get complimentary Priority Pass membership that gives you access to 600+ lounges across the world.

Besides the rewards and bonus points, the card also offers fuel surcharge waivers and dining discounts at select restaurants across the country.

Fees:

  • Annual fee (one-time) – Rs. 3,500 + taxes
  • Renewal fee (every year) – Rs. 5,000 + taxes

Why opt for this card?

The American Express membership program is highly rewarding. When used the right way, you can accelerate your rewards points, which can then be redeemed for flight tickets, hotel bookings, and more.

  1. SBI IRCTC Credit Card

India is home to one of the largest railway networks in the world. With railways connecting every nook and corner of the country, the SBI IRCTC credit card makes rail travel more rewarding.

Features at a Glance:

Earn cash back as reward points for train tickets booked using the credit card. Earn 350 bonus reward points as a welcome gift when you spend a minimum of Rs. 500 within 45 days of receiving the card. Other benefits include fuel surcharge waivers, exclusive offers for cardholders on tickets booked on IRCTC.

Fees:

  • Annual fee (one-time) – Rs. 500
  • Renewal fee (every year) – Rs. 300

Why opt for this card?

If you’re a frequent traveller on trains, then this is an excellent card to have. Additionally, the low annual and renewal fees make it easy on the pocket.

Bottom Line

Besides the five travel credit cards listed here, dozens of other travel credit cards are available on the market. Zeroing in on the right one can feel overwhelming. So, here are a few quick tips to help you out: start by analysing your spending habits. Then, identify the single benefit that you expect out of the card and look for cards that offer this benefit. Based on your answer, you can shortlist a few cards.

Then compare cards using the following factors – annual fee, ease of earning reward miles, welcome bonus, and other perks.

Once you have identified the best travel credit card for you, check your eligibility, apply online, and start earning rewards for your dream vacation.

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