Early January 2023, IndusInd Bank, along with Qatar Airways and British Airways, joined hands to announce a new credit card which was going to be multi-brand. How so, you ask? It would offer benefits to Qatar Airways and British Airways via their common currency, Avios. While the card was promised to be delivered in the April – June 2023 quarter, they missed their deadline by at least a week, putting it out in the public domain on July 7, 2023. Part of this delay could be a key member of the team steering the project moving on, but that is just me putting two plus two together.
The IndusInd Avios Visa Infinite Credit Card is clearly the baby of Qatar Airways, which seems to be now in the driver’s seat at Avios, the global multi-brand loyalty currency established by the International Airlines Group (IAG), of which British Airways was the first major user in 2011, and also has been the anchor. Qatar Airways moved to the Avios currency in 2022, and ever since, one has been able to move around Avios between Qatar Airways and British Airways (and other Avios airlines) in a 1:1 ratio.
The IndusInd Avios Visa Infinite Credit Card
The IndusInd Avios Visa Infinite Credit Card is one of the premium offerings from the Bank and is priced accordingly. However, it tries to match up with the Emirates ICICI Bank Emeralde Credit Card, given Emirates is a close competition for Qatar Airways. Also, since British Airways was already with ICICI Bank, but the card was closed for new issuances, maybe the bridge with ICICI Bank was burned or… there was an exclusivity clause of some sort inserted by Emirates there.
Signup and Renewal Bonuses
Here are the essential bonuses you should know about when considering the card:
- Signup Bonus: From the word go, this card allows you to select between Qatar Airways and British Airways in terms of how your benefits and your Avios will be banked. However, it would be best to look at it more from the perspective of which airline you fly often or what you need more than anything else. Is it the status, or is it the miles?
- Qatar Airways: On choosing Qatar Airways as your brand choice, you will be awarded 20,000 Avios and the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold Status for one year on payment of the fee.
- British Airways: On choosing British Airways as your brand choice, you will be awarded 55,000 Avios on payment of the fee—however, no status enhancement on the airline.
- Milestone Bonus: The card offers a bonus of 25,000 Avios twice in a membership year on spending INR 800K (Rupees Eight Lakh) and another INR 800K (Rupees Sixteen Lakh) on the card. The maximum milestone benefits on the card are capped at a 50,000 Avios bonus in a membership year.
- Renewal Benefits: Qatar Airways and British Airways have different benefits yet again. One offers renewal of status, and the other does not.
- Qatar Airways: On spending at least 14,000 Qatari Rials (equivalent to INR 3,17,000 on the day of writing) via QatarAirways.com or the app, you will get a renewal of the Gold Status bestowed upon you in the first year. However, you must be a part of the passenger list and the first passenger to be listed when the booking is made. Plus, either way, if you meet the watermark to retain Gold Tier or not, you will get 5,000 Avios on renewal on payment of the fees.
- British Airways: You get 10,000 Avios on renewal on payment of the fees.
Ongoing Spend Rewards
On an ongoing basis, you get 1 Avios for every INR 200 spent. However, when you spend on the British Airways or Qatar Airways website, you will get 2 Avios for every INR 200 spent, as most co-brand cards in the airline industry should usually offer. However, there are quirks. You are only going to get 2X points on your preferred airline and not the other one.
- With Qatar Airways being your preferred airline choice, you will get 1X points on statement closure and the second round of points when you travel. Yes, the booker whose card is used needs to be travelling to earn the 2X points.
- With British Airways, you get 1X points on statement closure and the second round of points within 45 days—no need for the booker to be a part of the travelling party.
But an interesting kicker is involved if you are interested in earning more points. When you sign up for the card, you will be able to pick one zone as your preferred destination, where you will make five times the usual Avios earned on spending on the offline terminals (swipe/tap/PIN) in that zone. You could be there one day a year or the whole year, but you get 5X the points (5 Avios per INR 200 spent). On top of that, in the preferred zone, you also get a 1.5% forex charge (the usual is 3.5%). The zones are as follows:
- Americas (North and South America)
- Europe and North Asia
- Middle East and South Asia (excludes India)
- Australia, New Zealand, the Far East and others
With the exorbitant sign-up fee, the card has added two international Meet and Assist services, which can be availed during the year. These are available at stations outside India only, at thirty major airports. Additionally, two trips per quarter are offered to an airport lounge via Priority Pass, which comes with the card and two domestic lounge trips in India per quarter by swiping the card itself.
Additionally, choose Qatar Airways as your airline of choice. You will also get a 10% discount on booking tickets with Qatar Airways in Economy and Business Class cabins. There is also a 25,000 USD overseas medical insurance on offer.
The card is offered at a first-year fee of INR 40,000 plus taxes and an annual fee of INR 10,000 plus taxes after that. Currently, the card is open only for existing IndusInd Bank Credit Card customers.
My Opinion about this card
From the looks of it, there was no need to do a multi-brand card because it became a confusing concept. The only value I see here for a frequent traveller is from the perspective of if he or she is a Qatar Airways frequent traveller because they will be able to milk this card to the most, while if you are a BA frequent flyer, you just get more Avios. They could have just launched two cards rather than offering them as a package.
Assuming you sign up, for that price, you get Qatar Airways Gold status (equivalent to oneworld Sapphire), and you get access to some unique perks on Qatar Airways, such as:
- 75% tier bonus on flights marketed and operated by Qatar Airways that are eligible for earning Avios
- 100% mileage per family member on flights eligible for earning Avios.
- Receive 40 Qcredits that you can redeem for upgrades, extra baggage on Qatar Airways flights and more.
- Select your preferred seats free of charge. Available for all passengers on your booking.
- Check-in at Business Class counters, irrespective of cabin of travel.
- Receive four guest passes per year to invite additional friends to join you in the lounge at Hamad International Airport.
- Enjoy the meet-and-greet service when you arrive, depart, or transfer through Hamad International Airport, along with a +1.
- Enjoy 5% off on all online redemptions.
- Change or cancel your booking free of charge.
- Better availability for award seat redemptions.
Apart from that, you get 20,000 Avios as well. On the other hand, with BA as your preferred carrier, you only get a big lump of miles. It seems no one at BA was interested in fleshing out the product, or they thought they already had a decent market in India to not bother with this.
Regarding ongoing spending earnings, the card is not as lucrative as some domestic options. But that is also because perhaps neither IndusInd Bank nor Qatar Airways/Avios wanted to pick and subsidise the tab. The international miles are typically expensive on the B2B market in India, and looking at their direct competition in the co-brand space, perhaps both partners decided they’d do okay if they did this much for their customers.
However, since I’ve been invested in the oneworld ecosystem for over a decade, I will look at this card in the coming months purely for the status boost.
Avios, the company that issues miles for BA, Qatar Airways and other airlines, tied up with IndusInd Bank in January 2023, and finally, the card they promised is out now. It is nothing breathtaking on the BA end, but if you are a Qatar Airways regular, it might be helpful for the status boost it provides and the product construct which benefits you. When you get that Gold status on Qatar Airways, you get perks via oneworld on BA as well.
What are your thoughts about the IndusInd Avios Visa Infinite Credit Card?
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