Many moons ago, Air India decided to be the best in the co-branded credit cards business, and they made a headline offer to customers who couldn’t resist it. The offer was, tonnes of Air India Miles on your spend, an ability to straight up match your status to Air India (and hence Star Alliance) if you already had status with another airline, a free upgrade voucher, and Silver/Gold status with Air India if you spent a lot of money on the card.
And then, the shoe dropped. While SBI Cards handles the issue of having their partner GE sell out on them in India, Air India also went ahead and devalued by moving to a pseudo-revenue based accrual system (They intend to go revenue-based fully). The card features changed earlier this year, where they made it mandatory to spend at least INR 5 Lakhs on Air India (amongst a total spend of INR 10 Lakh per annum), to be able to get the Air India Gold Status.
They also made the earning of bonus points much more difficult, essentially devaluing the card to a large extent. I haven’t even use the card at all this year basically. Oh, and the status match option got killed. You of course know the rules where you could only transfer points in multiples of 5000 only.
It turns out now, Air India and SBI Cards have joined forces to remove the last feature of this card which was any good. You basically can’t earn any status on the airline at all, even if you are a high spender on the card. SBI Card will be withdrawing this feature as of 20th August 2016, from when, you’ll only be able to earn status if you earn enough miles on the airline.
So, if you are closing in on the requirements and would like to have the status, perhaps it is a good idea to move fast and make your spend count before 19 August 2016. Or else, I’d just ask for my fee back.
Personally, I haven’t put any of my money on this card and it has been sitting in my wallet unused all this year. I’m still wondering which other SBI Card even comes any close, so not moving my butt on getting it transitioned. But, now I guess I will.
This is another negative development for this card. How are you guys dealing with it?