My botched up experience applying for the SBI AI Card

After launching a good product, it seems like SBI Cards is running their SBI Air India card just the same way like ICICI Bank did with the Jet ICICI Cards last year.

I placed a request for an appointment for the card in the first couple of days it launched. I never heard back from the SBI Card team for an appointment till the first 10 days or so. And then, I started getting all sorts of calls, emails and messages on my own post, with SBI Cards asking me for information. I replied to them on email, on FlyerTalk as well. No one bothered to respond.

And then, I messaged a friend who worked for their company. I was promised a quick callback. However, only earlier this week I got a call from the company. They said they’d set up an appointment later in the week to get my documents collected. I said Friday would be a good day (today), since I was travelling most of the week. My expectation is that people call up at least a day in advance to fix an appointment. I usually don’t dish them out on tap.

Just this morning, I got a call from SBI Card to set up a time for today or tomorrow according to my convenience. Anyhow, I accommodated them and told them to send someone today. The guy sent in just got here a while back, and he was ahead of time by 2 hours. Pity, he did not have a form which was the right now, and the information given to him was that I had to apply for another SBI product and not this one.

Now I am gone all next week, and I am hearing so many stories about SBI Card botching up this one. I’d advise everyone to stay off this card for 2-3 months till these guys can fix up their internal machinery.

As for my application, this is a developing story… I have a feeling this will work like the way Air India itself works! 😉

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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. @Ashutosh, Thx.

    I understand FR miles have an expiry period of 3 years but what about sbi points?

    Moreover can I combine these 2 to get extended expiry? Say sbi points expire after 2 yrs so at that time I ll convert them to FR miles to get 3 yrs extension ie in total keep my points valid for 5 yrs? Is that possible?

  2. @Sagar Validity is 3 years (can be extended for one year at 0.10 Rs/Mile), you can check the amount of miles and expiry date when you log in to Flying Returns.

  3. Applied the card today & was surprised that I instantly got an email & sms mentioning in-principal approval (mentioning credit limit too!). Lets see what do I need to go through to get the card.

    @ AJ,others – a question – is there a validity for the points accrued or for that matters AI miles after point conversion?


  4. Applied for SBI AI Signature card on 1 St Jan 2015 online. Got a message that the card is approved and someone will contact me soon to get the required documents. Even after 25 days , no one has contacted me, When I checked the status online, I get a message that “we have received your application.. “And that’s it!

    Also wrote to SBI cards using the email published on this blog 3days ago. But no revert from them.

    After getting used to Citibank Prestige, HSBC premier etc. it feels a little odd that in today’s competitive market SBI is not bothered to even revert back to the customers. I was quite enthusiastic last week to go for this card because I need gold status on Star Alliance but having second thoughts now.

    Did anyone experience something similar ?

  5. Told the guys that I already have a AI FF account and requested them to link it to the one that I already have. They refused and told that’s not possible since the card application is new.
    Linking to existing AI is possible ?

    • @PAG yes it is possible and there is a section on your application where you need to fill up the existing account details

  6. AJ, 1 question that no one has asked. Do we also continue to earn points on Air India frequent flier card that would make this deal doubly rewarding as in Citi PM card?

  7. After almost a month of applying and signing off on a form which said “annual fees Rs 3999” I got a call yesterday saying the annual fees are actually Rs 4999 and we need to take your signatures on the relevant section of the form again. Trust SBI to come up with such stuff. The good thing is that their rep came over promptly and took my signature. Wonder if and when my card application will be approved !

  8. Hi AJ, had applied/expressed interest via sms. Got a call from them a couple of days ago, a guy came next day to pick up the form and docs, got a call the following day verifying if i had applied. So far so good, lets see what happens now.

    Interesting thing though, the form i filled mentioned the fee as Rs 3999 plus tax (the sbi site mentions Rs 4999 plus tax). The call back also clarified the fee, and they quoted the amount as Rs 3999. Curios case.

  9. Hi AJ,

    Thanks for updates 🙂
    Its sound great!!!! its tempting 🙂

    Will keep you posted in case applying 🙂



  10. Dear AJ
    My experience with SBI Cards has been good till now. I got a call and a person came promptly at the appointed time and took the documents and my signature on the form.
    Later I got a confirmatory call from their call centre and was asked if I was a Frequent Flyer with AIRINDIA and my membership no /Tier.
    This was something ICICI goofed up on and gave new numbers to existing JP members. A put off which till today inhibits me from using their Cards.

  11. Thanks a lot AJ. Well that list is mostly limited to flights originating from Indian airports, but if True for Partner Airlines, seems quite valuable.

  12. AJ,
    Can you point me to how much AIR INDIA miles, are worth when redeeming on Partner Airlines (Singapore Air for e.g.) Their website just says REDEEMABLE @ Air India offices. Many Thanks..

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