Air Vistara credit cards – Detailed comparison

SBI Club Vistara Prime

Air Vistara has recently launched two new co-branded credit cards in tie-up with SBI. The SBI Club Vistara Prime credit card and SBI Club Vistara credit card. Given that Air Vistara already has three credit cards in tie-up with Axis Bank. The Axis Bank Air Vistara Infinite credit card, Axis Bank Air Vistara Signature credit card and Axis Bank Air Vistara Platinum credit card. The launch of these new cards is an opportune time to compare and see which cards are best suited.

Comparison Methodology:

To compare the 5 cards, assumptions used are as follows,

  1. One is able to spend the amount required to get the maximum benefit from a particular card. i.e. 12L on Axis Bank Vistara Infinite, 8L on SBI Club Vistara Prime and so on.
  2. To arrive at a value of 1 CV point, I took the average of December (near-term) and February (far-term) fares on 4 international routes and compared with the number of CV points required to get a free flight ticket. Below is the table with all the details.

    Air Vistara - Value of 1 CV Point

    Air Vistara – Value of 1 CV Point

  3. To arrive at the value of free tickets offered under milestone benefits, I took the average of December (near-term) and February (far-term) fares on 2 domestic routes (Mumbai –Delhi and Delhi-Bangalore).
    Air Vistara Domestic Fares

    Air Vistara Domestic Fares

     

A detailed comparison of benefits earned on the  of the 5  Air Vistara credit cards is below:

Air Vistara credit cards reward comparison

Air Vistara credit cards reward comparison

 

1. Axis Bank Air Vistara Infinite Credit Card

Axis Bank Air Vistara Infinite

Eligibility and Fees:

  • An annual income of min. 600,000 per annum
  • Annual and joining fees of 10,000 + GST/ year

Rewards and Benefits:

  • 6 Club Vistara (CV) points for every 200 spent.
  • Welcome Benefits:
    • Complimentary one-way domestic Business Class ticket
    • Club Vistara Gold membership
    • 10,000 CV points on spend of 100,000 in the first 90 days of card issuance
  • Recurring Benefits:
    • Milestone benefits of 1 Business Class ticket on achieving spends of 2.5L, 5L, 7.5L and 12L in a year. i.e. 4 business class tickets on spending 12L in a year.
    • 2 complimentary domestic lounge access per quarter
    • 6 complimentary rounds of golf

Verdict:

Axis Bank Air Vistara Infinite is the most premium credit card of all Air Vistara credit cards. It offers up to 4 Business Class tickets in a year. No wonder it comes at the top with effective benefits of over 11%. While the spends required is high to get maximum benefits and not to forget the high annual fees too; nonetheless, one can get 2 Business Class tickets on spend of 500,000, which is very good. However, not sure how many people travel very often in Business Class especially in the domestic circuit. Therefore, for frequent flyers, Axis Bank Vistara Infinite credit card is a no brainer as one can get benefits of over 11% on annual spends of 1,200,000.

However, on the flip side, considering the income levels of target customers, the card doesn’t offer international lounge access which is a big downer.

2. SBI Club Vistara Prime Credit Card

SBI Club Vistara Prime

Eligibility and Fees:

  • Annual and joining fees of 2,999+ GST/ year

Rewards and Benefits:

  • 4 Club Vistara (CV) points for every 200 spent.
  • Welcome Benefits:
    • Complimentary one-way domestic Premium Economy ticket
    • Club Vistara Silver membership
    • 3,000 CV points on spend of 75,000 in the first 90 days of card issuance
  • Recurring Benefits:
    • Milestone benefits of 1 Premium Economy ticket on achieving spends of 1.5L, 3L, 4.5L and 8L in a year. i.e. 4 Premium Economy tickets on spending 8L in a year.
    • 1 Hotel E-voucher worth 10,000 from Yatra on spending 8L in a year
    • 2 complimentary domestic lounge access per quarter
    • Priority Pass membership + 4 complimentary lounge visits (max 2/quarter)

Verdict:

The second best card is the newly launched SBI Club Vistara Prime credit card. This card is a rip-off of Axis Bank Vistara Signature card with nearly all the features and benefits of these 2 cards are identical. However, for the 4th milestone benefit, SBI Club Vistara Prime card has a target which is 100,000 lower. Additionally, one gets at 10,000 hotel-voucher from Yatra. These benefits result in an earn rate of over 6.5%, which is excellent.

Further, SBI Club Vistara Prime card offers Priority Pass membership along with 4 complimentary visits in a year.

3. Axis Bank Air Vistara Signature Credit Card

Axis Bank Air Vistara Signature

Eligibility and Fees:

  • An annual income of min. 600,000 per annum
  • Annual and joining fees of 3,000 + GST/ year

Rewards and Benefits:

  • 4 Club Vistara (CV) points for every 200 spent.
  • Welcome Benefits:
    • Complimentary one-way domestic Premium Economy ticket
    • Club Vistara Silver membership
    • 3,000 CV points on spend of 75,000 in the first 90 days of card issuance
  • Recurring Benefits:
    • Milestone benefits of 1 Premium Economy ticket on achieving spends of 1.5L, 3L, 4.5L and 9L in a year. i.e. 4 Premium Economy tickets on spending 9L in a year.
    • 2 complimentary domestic lounge access per quarter
    • 3 complimentary rounds of golf

Verdict:

As mentioned above, SBI Club Vistara Prime is a rip-off of this card, but a better one. Thus with the launch of SBI Club Vistara Prime, it is difficult to imagine why would anyone opt for this card as one need to spend 100,000 more milestone benfits. In addition, one would miss out the 10,000 Yatra hotel voucher, which is like a 2-night stay in a decent hotel in India. Plus not to forget the Priority Pass and 4 complimentary visits.

Nonetheless, with all the drawbacks this card has it still gives very good earn rate of nearly 5%.

4. SBI Club Vistara Credit Card

SBI Club Vistara

Eligibility and Fees:

  • Annual and joining fees of 1,499 + GST/ year

Rewards and Benefits:

  • 2 Club Vistara (CV) points for every 200 spent.
  • Welcome Benefits:
    • Complimentary one way domestic Economy ticket
    • Club Vistara Base membership
    • 1,000 CV points on spend of 50,000 in the first 90 days of card issuance
  • Recurring Benefits:
    • Milestone benefits of 1 Economy ticket on achieving spends of 1.25L, 2.5L and 5L in a year. i.e. 3 Economy tickets on spending 5L in a year.
    • 1 Hotel E-voucher worth 5,000 from Yatra on spending 5L in a year
    • 1 complimentary domestic lounge access per quarter
    • Priority Pass membership. No complimentary visits

Verdict:

Like the SBI Club Vistara Prime, SBI Club Vistara credit card is a copy of Axis Bank Vistara Platinum credit card but offers more benefits than the latter. As was the case earlier, the last milestone benefit in SBI Club Vistara is lower by 100,000. Moreover, one gets a 5,000 Yatra hotel voucher on spending 500,000 every year. This results in earn rate of 4.7% on annual spends of 500,000.

5. Axis Bank Air Vistara Platinum Credit Card

Axis Bank Air Vistara Platinum

Eligibility and Fees:

  • An annual income of min. 600,000 per annum
  • Annual and joining fees of 1,500 + GST/ year

Rewards and Benefits:

  • 2 Club Vistara (CV) points for every 200 spent.
  • Welcome Benefits:
    • Complimentary one way domestic Economy ticket
    • Club Vistara Base membership
    • 1,000 CV points on spend of 50,000 in the first 90 days of card issuance
  • Recurring Benefits:
    • Milestone benefits of 1 Economy ticket on achieving spends of 1.25L, 2.5L and 6L in a year. i.e. 3 Economy tickets on spending 6L in a year.
    • 2 complimentary domestic lounge access per quarter

Verdict:

The value proposition of this card is greatly diminished and it does not make sense to apply for this card. The 2.9% reward rate on this card is average at the best.

Conclusion

SBI in its tie-up with Air Vistara has launched 2 very good credit cards for frequent flyers.  However, the few downsides that I see, as of now, is that Air Vistara’s network is still limited; it does not have many redemption partners apart from Singapore Airlines. Moreover, since Air Vistara is not part of Star Alliance yet redemption option of CV points is very limited. Nonetheless, for people who travel often within-country especially between the metros, these cards offer a compelling proposition.

My guess is SBI will come up with something very soon at the premium end too; to compete with Axis Bank Vistara Infinite. Moreover, I would bet that in the run-up to its IPO; SBI will launch more such interesting products in the months to come. The aim is clear, attract more high spending customers and bridge the gap with HDFC Bank. Thus, attracting higher valuations.

Air Vistara Credit Cards detailed snapshot

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