AI SBI Card to place limit on mileage conversion

Air India SBI Co-branded credit cards are perhaps the best in the Indian space to earn miles (AI only). I’ve had immense success meeting the INR 10,00,000 target every year and retaining my Air India Gold Status, as well as earning 90,000 bonus points.

Points earned on the AI-SBI card do not auto-sweep into your Air India Flying Returns Account. The card is designed in such a manner, perhaps to take a swipe on the breakage, i.e., people forgetting to transfer their points and hence SBI Cards getting to extinguish them at some point of time.

Now, usually, I would transfer these miles to my Air India account pretty quickly, but I’ve become a little hesitant these days because when I am transferring to AI, the maximum life of my miles is 3 years. SBI Card can keep the points live for 2 years till they lie with them.

A new condition has been introduced (footnote here) by AI-SBI card with effect from September 1, 2015 whereby you need to have at least 10,000 points in your points account if you hold an Air India SBI Signature Card, or 5,000 points if you hold an Air India SBI Platinum Card.Also, conversions will now only happen in multiples of 5,000 points.

I would imagine SBI Card is either trying to get customers to use their cards more often with this announcement.

What’s your best approach? Accumulate your points in your SBI Cards account, and transfer them to your Air India account when you want to make a redemption there.

Readers, do you think there is a better way out, please do comment

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Can someone please let me know how to transfer the points from the card to the FF account? Is it online or via a call to someplace?


  2. Toady SBI revised Bonus reward points goal…
    Annual Retail Spends Bonus Reward Points
    5 lac 20,000
    10 lac 30,000
    20 lac 50,000

    This will come in effect wef 15 th April 2016. I have spent Rs 5 Lacs so far in last 6 months and would have spent another 5 lakhs in next 6 months to meet the earlier criteria of Rs 10L in a year to be eligible for bonus 50000 points. Now suddenly these guys have moved the goal post. Incredible SBI..!

  3. AJ,
    I transferred my points yesterday. Now you can transfer in multiples of 10000 only (and not 5000). Out of 47000 points, I was allowed to transfer 40000 only.

  4. @Ajay, with the recent devaluation of Air India FFP, does it make sense to hold on to this card? The only benefit I see worth holding on to is if you hit 10 lacs spend, you get *G.

  5. @ Lov @ Manish,

    Thanks guys. Hope SBI continues with Insurance and Utility! In fact last year I got 2X from Diners Card for a limited period for my Insurance payments.Cheers!

  6. @Krishnakumar my experience is same as of Manish.
    In my last bill I noticed that I have got points for my insurance expenses and not on my fuel expenses.

  7. Fuel charges count towards spending targets (3 lacs, 5 lacs, 10 lacs) but do not earn you any reward points. Insurance premium and utility bill payments still earn you reward points with SBI.

  8. @ Lov Agarwal,

    I hope SBI card earns points on Utility and Insurance payment. AMEX cards dont earn points on Fuel, Utility and Insurance. Whats your experience?

  9. Ajay,
    I think cap of minimum 10000 points will help them make people laps their points.
    After reading your blog I got 2 SBI AI signature. In my last bill I noticed that there were no points earned on my fuel spend. Is this some hidden condition? Since it is not mentioned anywhere, I called up their call centre & they said that you don’t earn any point on fuel spend.
    I am surprised why can’t they specify this in T&C.

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