Credit Cards for Travel

Overview

Being a frequent traveler, a travel credit card is the best choice a card holder can get. Although, there are various travel credit cards available today, from low annual fee to elite and premium travel cards. The low annual fee cards comes with average reward value and benefits, where the elite and premium credit card comes with high reward value and exclusive privileges but has to pay high annual charges as well.

One of the primary benefit of these credit card is that most of the travel credit card comes with complimentary airport lounge access and even some of these also offers accidental insurance cover and travel protection cover, which can be a crucial benefit for a frequent traveler at some point of time. However, the applicable annual percentage rate and eligibility criteria is always the best deciding factor to narrow down your choices to one card as per your suitability.

Benefits of Travel Credit Cards


High Rewards on Travel Transactions

These credit cards usually offers great reward value against travel related transactions such as incremental reward points and monthly milestone rewards.

Airport Lounge Access

Most of the travel credit cards offered by different banks/FIs, comes with free access to airport lounges. This complimentary access can be a regular or exclusive access depending upon the credit card one is carrying. Some travel credit card offers complimentary access to domestic airport lounges, whereas few of them comes with complimentary VIP access to domestic as well as international lounges.

Redemption against Travel Benefits

One of the best thing about these credit cards is that the cardholder can redeem the reward points accumulated in his/her credit card account against travel benefits such as air miles and travel packages from travel partners.

Zero Lost Card Liability Cover

Being a travel credit cardholder, you are also given the benefit of lost card liability cover. In case you lost your credit card during travel, then you can simply report to the credit card customer about the incident and they’ll not only block the card immediately but will also offer you liability cover against the transactions made post the reporting of the incident. This cover can be equal to as high as Rs. 9 Lacs depending upon the credit card you are carrying.

Complimentary Airline Memberships

Some of these credit cards are being offered under a tie-up of the bank and an airline such as Jet Airways and Air Vistara and offers complimentary airline membership such as the membership of Jet Privileges, Club Vistara and Frequent Flyer Program.

Travel Insurance

Being a travel credit cardholder, you are given travel insurance cover by the banks/FIs. These insurance cover might include death or permanent disability due to air travel, baggage protection cover, medical insurance during travel and credit shield cover. However, the cardholder must have purchased the travel ticket on the credit card to avail these benefits.

Drawbacks of Travel Credit Cards


Foreign Currency Markup

Since all of these credit cards are international cards and can be swiped for the transaction anywhere across the globe, a foreign currency conversion fee is charged to the credit card account against each international transactions. This fee is applicable if the transaction is made within any other currency than Indian Rupees. Banks/FIs charges a fee equal to 3.5% of the transaction amount in Indian rupees if the transaction is made within US Dollar. However, if the transaction is made within any other foreign currency than US Dollar, then the amount will be converted to the US Dollar first and foreign markup of 3.5% will be levied on this amount, and then the converted amount will be converted into Indian rupees and a markup fee of 3.5% will be levied again. Hence, the cardholder end up paying markup fee two times if the transaction is made in any other currency than US Dollar.

ID Verification for Big Purchases

If the cardholder has made a big purchase on the card during the travel, then the merchant may ask for ID verification to confirm the transaction. Hence, the cardholder will be asked to represent his/her passport, which increases the chance of passport theft due to carrying it all the time while shopping.

Benefits Limited to Travel Partners

The exclusive benefits like incremental reward points, travel vouchers and complimentary lounge access is only beneficial if you redeem it against the respective travel partners. Otherwise, if you are not a frequent travel, you might struggle a lot to earn benefits on the card.

Travel Credit Card Offers


HDFC Diners Club Black Card

The diners club black card is one of the premium travel credit card offered by HDFC Bank. The card offers some exclusive unparalleled benefits like upto 50 incremental rewards points on international and travel expenses, low foreign currency markup, free golf games at popular golf courses and unlimited complimentary access to diners club airport lounges. Moreover, the card comes with low APR of 23.88% and offers 5,000 bonus reward points on each anniversary year.

HDFC Diners ClubMiles Card

The Diners ClubMiles card offers great reward value and benefits with low annual charges. The card comes with Rs. 1000 annual fee and offers upto 40 incremental reward points on international as well as travel related transactions. Moreover, you get free airport lounge access along with 1% savings on foreign currency conversion. Although, the annual percentage rate applicable on the card transactions is pretty high, equal to 41.88%.

HDFC Diners Club Premium Card

Diners Club Premium Credit Card is another co-branded travel credit card offered by HDFC Bank. This credit card is slightly higher than Diners ClubMiles card in term of annual charges, with Rs. 2500 annual fee and comes with the same annual interest rate of 41.88%. Although, this card is quite better in terms of rewards with 1.5% savings on international transactions, upto 40 incremental reward points, complimentary golf lessons and free airport lounge access.

HDFC Diners Club Rewardz Card

The diners club rewardz credit card is similar to diners clubmiles card and comes with low annual fee of Rs. 1000. The cardholder can earn upto 60 incremental reward points against bill payments, international and travel expenses. Moreover, the cardholder get 15% discount on dining and saves 0.50% on foreign currency markup. Although, the card falls short against diners clubmiles credit card at some points like international travel protection cover and air accident death insurance.

HDFC AllMiles Card

The AllMiles credit card by HDFC Bank comes with annual cost of Rs. 1000 and offers 3 to 6 reward points on every Rs. 150 spent on the card. Apart from it, you save 1% on fuel surcharge and receive conditional annual fee waiver. As compared to other travel credit cards, the AllMiles card is pretty average in terms of benefits and have high annual interest rate of 41.88%.

American Express Platinum Travel Card

Although the AMEX platinum travel credit card comes with a high annual fee of Rs. 5,000, you earn Rs. 4,000 travel benefit as welcome bonus reward. You earn reward points worth upto Rs. 1.25 on every Rs. 100 spent on the card and get travel benefits of upto Rs.5,000 if you made booking at Makemytrip.com. Apart from it, you get complimentary priority pass membership and upto 20% discount at selected premium restaurants along with 1% savings on fuel transactions.

Jet Airways American Express Platinum Card

Being one of the best travel credit card American Express has to offer, the Jet Airways Amex platinum card comes with an annual fee of Rs. 10,000 which is pretty high for a travel credit card. However, you earn JPMiles worth Rs. 2500 along with one-way base fare waived airline ticket every year on renewal. Apart from it, you earn upto 16 JPMiles on every Rs.150 spent on the card whereas you can earn upto 20 JPMiles on every Rs. 150 spent at EXTRA JPMiles partners. This credit card is most relevant for a frequent Jet Airways traveler or if you usually make purchase from EXTRA JPMiles partner brands. However, the applicable interest rate is equal to 40.2%.

Axis Bank Vistara Card

The Vistara credit card by Axis Bank is a co-branded travel credit card which comes with an annual fee of Rs. 1500 and offers complimentary club vistara base tier membership along with one-way base fare waived Economy Class ticket on joining. Moreover, you earn 2 CV points for every Rs. 200 spent on the card and complimentary access to club vistara airport lounges along with a minimum 15% discount on dining at partner restaurants. This credit card is most suitable for you only if you frequently travel through Air Vistara flights, so you can make a good use of the card and earn good benefits.

Axis Bank Vistara Signature Card

The Vistara Signature credit card by Axis Bank is an exclusive travel credit card which comes with an annual fee of Rs. 3000 and offers complimentary Club Vistara Silver Membership along with one-way base fare waived Premium Economy class air vistara ticket. The cardholder earn 4 CV points for every Rs. 200 spent on the card along with free access to club vistara domestic airport lounges, travel insurance cover and 15% discount on dining at partner restaurants. Moreover, you can earn 10,000 bonus CV points along with 3 one-way base fare waived Premium Economy class tickets if you annual spend reaches as high Rs. 4.5 Lacs.

Axis Bank Vistara Infinite Card

The Vistara Infinite credit card by Axis Bank is a premium elite card, comes with an annual fee of Rs. 10,000 and offers complimentary club vistara gold tier membership along with one-way base fare waived Business Class ticket. The cardholder earns 6 CV points against every Rs. 200 spend made on the card along with complimentary club vistara airport lounge access, free golf at premium domestic golf courses, travel insurance protection cover, fuel surcharge waiver and discount on dining at partner restaurants. Additionally, you can earn 10,000 bonus CV points along with 3 one-way base fare waived Business Class air vistara flight tickets if your annual spend reaches Rs. 7.5 Lacs.

Axis Bank Privilege Card

The Privilege card is an exclusive travel credit card offered by Axis Bank. The card comes with annual fee of Rs. 1500, whereas if you are an Axis Bank Priority Customer, then you get the card for free. The cardholder earns 10 eDGe Loyalty points against every Rs. 200 purchase made on the card. Moreover, you get travel privileges like complimentary access to Mastercard airport lounges, air accident death cover of upto Rs. 2.5 Crores, travel protection cover along with 15% discount on dining and 1% fuel surcharge waiver. Apart from it, you get the chance to earn Yatra travel vouchers worth Rs. 5,000 if you spend Rs.2.5 Lacs in a card membership year.

Axis Bank Miles & More Cards

The Miles & More cards offered by Axis Bank, comes in two variant – Miles & More World and the Miles & More World Select. The Miles & More world card comes with annual fee of Rs. 3500 whereas the SELECT variant comes with an annual fee of Rs. 4500.

The cardholder earns upto 20 eDGE Loyalty points on every Rs. 200 spent on the card. The cardholder gets complimentary access to Mastercard domestic airport lounge access along with free complimentary priority pass membership, air accident death cover and travel protection cover. The cardholder carrying SELECT variant can also avail home loan from axis bank with low processing charges of only Rs. 5,000 as compared to minimum Rs. 10,000 usually.

Standard Chartered Emirates World Card

The Emirates World Credit Card offered by Standard Chartered Bank is an elite co-branded travel credit card. The card comes with an annual fee of Rs. 3000 and offers 4000 Skyward Miles on joining alone. Moreover, the cardholder earns 4 Skyward Miles on domestic transactions and 6 Skyward Miles on international transactions, and double the miles against Emirates Airlines bookings. Apart from it, the cardholder gets upto 20% discount on shopping at shopping partners, upto 15% discount on dining at partner restaurants and upto 12% discount at travel partners.

The cardholder also earn complimentary access to domestic and international airport lounge access along with priority pass membership, 50% discount on each golf game along with 5% discount at duty-free shops.

Standard Chartered Yatra Platinum Card

The Yatra Platinum Credit Card by Standard Chartered Bank is a low annual fee credit card which comes with an annual fee of Rs. 499 only. The cardholder earn 4 reward points on spend at Yatra.com and 2 points on regular purchases. Moreover, the cardholder also save 10% on bookings made through Yatra.com and upto 20% on UBER rides.

Citi PremierMiles Card

The CITI PremierMiles card is the only travel credit card Citibank has to offer. The card comes with an annual fee of Rs. 3000 and earns you 10 Miles on travel transactions as well as flipkart purchases. Apart from it, you earns 4 Miles on every other purchase and save 20% on dining at partner restaurants. The cardholder get personal accidental insurance cover of upto Rs. 1 crore along with lost card liability cover of upto Rs. 2 Lacs and complimentary access to VISA / Mastercard airport lounges. The card comes with annual percentage rate of 37.2% which is quite low as compared travel credit cards offered by American Express, Axis Bank and Standard Chartered.

Yatra SBI Card

Yatra Card by SBI is a low annual fee co-branded credit card which offers great value if you’re a frequent traveler making purchasing most of your travel deals at Yatra.com. You get travel vouchers worth above Rs. 8,000 as a welcome bonus along with discount of upto Rs. 4000 on domestic and international flight bookings and flat 20% discount at select domestic hotel bookings. You earn reward value worth upto Rs. 1.5 on expenses made on the card. Moreover, you get complimentary access to Mastercard domestic airport lounges along with air accidental insurance cover of upto Rs. 50 Lacs.

Air India SBI Signature Card

The Air India Signature credit card by SBI is a co-branded credit card, which comes with a high annual fee of Rs. 4,999 and most suitable if the cardholder frequently travels through Air India flights. The card comes with a complimentary Air India Frequent Flyer membership and gives welcome reward points worth Rs. 5000 as joining. Moreover, the cardholder can earn upto 30 reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on Air India flight bookings and 4 reward points elsewhere. Apart from it, the cardholder also get access to VIP international lounges with complimentary priority pass membership as well as Mastercard domestic airport lounge access.

Air India SBI Platinum Card

The Air India Platinum card by SBI bank comes with an annual fee of Rs. 1499 and offers upto 15 reward points on transactions made against Air India flight bookings. The card offers bonus reward points worth Rs.1250 on joining along with complimentary Air India Frequent Flyer Program membership. In terms of regular reward benefits, the cardholder earns 2 reward points on each Rs. 100 spent on retail transactions other than expenses made on Air India flight bookings. Apart from it, the cardholder also get complimentary access to domestic VISA airport lounges.

IRCTC SBI Platinum Card

The IRCTC SBI credit card is co-branded sbi credit card which offers great value against railway bookings through IRCTC website. It is a low annual fee credit card which offers welcome bonus reward points worth Rs. 350 on joining and saves you 1.8% railway booking surcharge everytime you book a ticket on irctc.co.in. Alongside, you earn reward value worth Rs. 0.25 on every Rs. 125 spent on the card on transactions other than railway ticket bookings as well as save upto Rs. 1200 on fuel transactions annually.

IDBI Bank Euphoria World Card

The Euphoria credit card is the only travel credit card IDBI Bank has to offer. The card comes with an annual fee of Rs.1499 and brings Rs. 1000 benefit on joining. You earn reward value worth Rs. 0.75 on regular expenses made on the card and double the reward value on all of your travel related expenses. The cardholder also get reward points worth Rs. 500 every year on renewal of card membership and get complimentary access to domestic Mastercard airport lounges as well as travel insurance protection cover of upto Rs. 25 Lacs.

BOB PREMIER Card

The Premier credit card offered by Bank of Baroda is the only credit card suitable for travellers. The card comes with annual fee of Rs. 1000 and offers incremental reward value worth Rs. 2.5 against travel expenses, dining and international transactions. Moreover, the cardholder gets complimentary access to domestic VISA airport lounges as well as complimentary personal accidental death cover. Although, the annual percentage rate applicable on the card is quite high at 39%.

Kotak Royale Signature Card

The Royal signature credit card is the only card offered by Kotak Mahindra Bank which is suitable for a frequent traveler. The comes in two variants – Variant 1 with zero annual fee and Variant 2 with joining fee of Rs. 1499, whereas the annual fee for the 2nd and consecutive card membership year is Rs.999. With variant 2, the cardholder gets welcome bonus benefits worth Rs. 2000 whereas no welcome reward available on variant 1.

The cardholder earns double reward value against travel related expenses and can save upto Rs. 3500 on fuel purchases alone.

Eligibility Criteria for Credit Card Balance Transfer


  • Card holder should be at least 18 years old.
  • Card holder should not be more than 65 years old.
  • Card holder must have a good credit score along with good repayment history.