I somehow do hate it when various companies do not give full disclosure on their products. The flavour of the season has been the Air India SBI Credit Card, where the issuing company took a lot of time to come out with the first set of cards. Check out my post a few weeks back, where I discussed the launch of the card, which is also now being used by SBICards as a customer problem resolution centre of sorts with stock replies!

Now a couple of things I could not find out on the website, or I was not informed about when I was signing up for the credit card.

First and foremost, when a credit card company states that it is awarding an x number of miles for Rs. 100 of spend, it means to say that miles are awarded on a pro-rated basis, unless it is like HDFC Bank, which clearly states all transactions under Rs. 150 on the JetPrivilege HDFC Bank CC will not be considered for award transactions. See a few snapshots from various banks:

Citibank: Pro-rata miles are awarded on all transactions, i.e., spend of Rs. 50 would get me 2 PremierMiles.


HDFC Bank: No miles for spend under Rs. 150, but pro-rata above that. However, they make it upfront.


But SBI Cards takes the cake, with rounding down every transaction to the Rs. 100 below it, without even declaring it openly.


On questioning why I got less miles as compared to my own computation, this is the email response I got from them.

We wish to inform you that the reward points are provided to  the customer only on the that part of the transaction amount which is in multiplier of Rs. 100 and there is no reward point facility available on the part of transaction amount which is less that Rs. 100.

Now, I don’t mind 1 or 2 or 5 miles lost in a month. But hey, when I make 50 transactions in a month and they will take down a few miles from each one of them, there is a problem of plenty of miles going missing.

Usually, on a co-branded credit card, the miles earned are automatically sweeped into the mileage program as per a pre-defined cycle. SBI Cards, however, wants to offer us a choice of partnerships apparently, and hence decided not to sweep the miles automatically. Which means, between the date of requesting a transfer to actually receiving it, you can wait for a few days. But more than that, they will charge you Rs. 99 plus taxes to activate the transaction for you. And this is hidden somewhere in the fineprint.

11.4.3 A fee of Rs 99/- plus GST will be debited to the card account per redemption request towards delivery and processing charges. The same will be charged to the Cardholder in his/her monthly statement.

Ah, well, the creative traps they come up with are surprising me at the moment. But maybe I should stop being surprised!

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

3 Responses to “The hidden traps of having the Air India SBI Credit Cards”

  1. Deo says:

    Wow, did not see this coming!
    Wonder who’s the creative brain behind this – AI’s own bean counters or GE cards.

  2. srikanth m says:

    These people are behind the curve and nothing shows that than by charging for transfer on a co-branded card. incompetence or moneygrab. either way, don’t care for them.

  3. AG says:

    Given my dad’s experience with SBI Cards, I’m not surprised even a wee bit! I’ll not be surprised if some new fine print on insurance also starts coming up! Or starts appearing in the statement (as Citibank used to do earlier for unsuspecting customers while filling the form! ) For all I know it may be good that I didn’t even get the card. Must be some silver lining in the cloud I guess.

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