Which Loyalty Programmes should you move your Axis Bank EDGE Rewards before September 2023?

As we wrote earlier, Axis Bank will significantly change their Credit Cards Reward redemptions effective September 1, 2023. The three fundamental changes are: 1) No more will there be a 25,000 milestone benefit for Axis Magnus Cardmembers, effective September 1, 2023; 2) The Transfer Ratio of EDGE Rewards for HNI Cards will change from 5:4 to 5:2; 3) Other cards will be affected even more, with EDGE Rewards for them being also depreciated big time.

I’ve received many messages and requests to ask what people should do with their already accrued points. They should transfer their current EDGE Rewards balances to one of the 19 transfer partners and drain their accounts. Usually, I would transfer your points when needed and extend the validity of those miles to fit exact goals. But, in this case, if the value goes down by half and you have a notice already, then why would you hold on to them? You can initiate a transfer via traveledge.axisbank.co.in.

How this works is, I intend this to be a dialogue, so I will put out my opinion on each programme. Not as a ranking or rating, but purely as an opinion to see the useful cases for as many of these programmes as possible. I would love it if you shared your views and opinions in the comments as well. So let’s go.

Airline Programmes

Axis Bank partners with the following airlines to provide conversion of their EDGE Rewards to miles in these programmes: AirAsia, Air Canada, Air France – KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Spicejet, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Vistara.

  1. AirAsia: AirAsia Rewards is the loyalty programme of AirAsia, separate from AirAsia India, which will change brand in a few months and be merged fully with Air India Express. You will be able to use AirAsia Rewards to redeem on flights throughout the AirAsia network which includes about 130 destinations. Other use cases include hotels, car hire, and even paying for restaurants in Malaysia. If you are a budget traveller, consider looking into this programme. I’ve never used it, so I don’t claim to have expertise on this.
    • Alliance: None
    • Airline Partners: None
    • Expiry:24 months when no activity
  2. Air Canada: Aeroplan is the loyalty programme of Air Canada. You can redeem flights across the Star Alliance member carriers using the programme. But there are other interesting carriers, such as Emirates, Air Mauritius, Vistara, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Australia and others. Very useful for those who want to fly on Emirates or one of the other partner programmes. The catch, however, is that you will need to struggle with the Canadian phone line of Air Canada for a few hours to book a redemption out of India, given these do not show up online.
    • Alliance: Star Alliance
    • Airline Partners: Emirates, Air Mauritius, Vistara, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Australia
    • Expiry:18 months when no activity
    • Pooling: Upto 8 family members
  3. Air France – KLM: Air France – KLM operates a combined loyalty programme called Flying Blue. The programme gives you access to redemptions across the entire SkyTeam airlines spectrum. The programme went dynamic many years ago, which means the number of miles asked for redemption can become eye-watering high sometimes. Plus, if you like First Class, you won’t have access to it unless you have some high status on the airline (earned by flying). I use it occasionally to find flights inside Europe for short-haul flying.
    • Alliance: SkyTeam
    • Airline Partners: Air Mauritius, airBaltic, Bangkok Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas
    • Expiry: 24 months when no activity
    • Pooling: Upto two adults and six children in a family members
  4. Ethiopian Airlines: ShebaMiles is the programme for Ethiopian Airlines and offers you access to Star Alliance redemptions. Honestly, I’ve never used it, so I do not have an opinion.
    • Alliance: Star Alliance
    • Expiry: Three years at the end of the year (December 31) if not used
  5. Etihad Airways: Etihad Guest is the programme for Etihad Airways. The airline does not currently participate in any alliance but has some very interesting airline partners over the years. The airline recently common-sized its frequent flyer partnerships to offer a common award chart. They used to have some great redemption opportunities back in the day with individual award charts.
    •  Airline Partners: American Airlines, Air Canada, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, El Al, Brussels Airlines, Gulf Air, Saudia, Oman Air, Malaysia Airlines, Korean Air, and Royal Air Maroc, amongst others
    • Expiry: 18 months when no activity
    • Pooling: Upto 9 Family Members.
  6. Japan Airlines: Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is an attractive way to secure seats between India and Japan for some very sweet requirements (40K + INR 16K for business class one way or 35K for economy class round trip). It is a oneworld member airline too. You must be a member for at least 60 days before you can start redeeming with them. Also, Mileage Bank determines the number of miles you need to use for redemption on the back of the region where you live.
    • Alliance: oneworld
    • Airline Partners: Emirates, Vistara, Bangkok Airways, Hawaiian Airlines
    • Expiry: 36 months
    • Pooling: Available for family members.
  7. Qantas: Qantas runs the Frequent Flyer programme and offers redemptions on their own metal between India and Australia and partner carriers such as Emirates and all the oneworld airlines. The redemption levels start at 95K miles for a one-way business class ticket between India and Australia (Sydney) for a Classic Award. It has some good availability accessible for Emirates as well. Qantas operates based on a distance-based award chart for its redemptions and partner redemptions.
    • Alliance: oneworld
    • Airline Partners: Emirates, Air France, Bangkok Airways, El Al, Fiji Airways, KLM, and WestJet, amongst others.
    • Expiry:18 months when no activity
    • Pooling: You can transfer points to family members
  8. Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways runs the Privilege Club Programme. Offers redemptions on Qatar Airways, including the famous Q Suites, and you can transfer points out to British Airways or Iberia also when needed because transfers happen 1:1 and on an immediate basis. Qatar Airways offers the QSuite between India and the US for 80K points one way. Remember, though, that there is a ticketing fee for awards based on the number of segments and cabins used. For instance, India-Doha-USA would be 70 USD x 2 for the redemption fee, apart from minimal other charges.
    • Alliance: oneworld
    • Airline Partners: JetBlue, LATAM, MEA
    • Expiry: 36 months when no activity
    • Pooling: Available for up to 9 family members.
  9. Singapore Airlines: KrisFlyer, Singapore Airlines programme is perhaps one of India’s most well-known and popular programmes. You can transfer points to KF if you’d like to experience the First Class of Singapore Airlines, which is mostly only available to Singapore Airlines loyalty members. I’ve experienced many fabulous redemptions with Singapore Airlines using the KrisFlyer Programme over the years. Also, very low charges now as no fuel surcharge is passed on.
    • Alliance: Star Alliance
    • Airline Partners: JetBlue, Alaska Air, Vistara, Virgin Australia
    • Expiry: 36 months from the issuing month
    • Pooling: Only for kids with parents.
  10. Thai Airways: I know next to nothing about this one, so you are on your own about this.
    • Alliance: Star Alliance
  11. Turkish Airlines: Turkish Airlines became popular for some excellent domestic redemptions around India with Star Alliance partner Air India. However, do not bank on Air India to have an open tap on availability forever. Plus, when you try and redeem for international flights, you will run into significant fuel surcharges.
    • Alliance: Star Alliance
    • Airline Partners: IndiGo, Olympic, GOL, Azul
    • Expiry: End of Third Calendar Year
    • Pooling: Only for parents and their unmarried kids.
  12. United Airlines: While United Mileage Plus is dynamic, it also is a programme that has a no-miles-expire policy. Plus, straightforward redemption process, and you can cancel redemptions if you no longer need them, free of cost. That enables optimisation. Many use cases for United miles, including inside the US, and travel around Asia. I’ve used the programme to redeem flights in many different parts of the world.
    • Alliance: Star Alliance
    • Airline Partners: Aer Lingus, Aeromar, Air Dolomiti, Airlink, Azul, Boutique Air, Cape Air, Edelweiss, Emirates, Eurowings, Hawaiian Airlines, JSX, Olympic Air, Silver Airways, Virgin Australia, Vistara
    • Expiry: Miles never expire
    • Pooling: N/A
  13. SpiceJet: Just No, okay?
  14. Vistara: Club Vistara is a good place to park miles for domestic travel in India. However, availability is shrinking nowadays since too many people have gone after the same limited set of tickets. International redemptions are very expensive as well. Additionally, limited connectivity inside India beyond Mumbai and Delhi.
    • Airline Partners: Lufthansa, British Airways, Japan Airlines, amongst others
    • Expiry: 36 Months
    • Pooling: N/A

Hotel Programmes

Axis Bank partners with the following hotel chains to provide conversion of their EDGE Rewards to miles in these programmes: Accor, ITC, IHG Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International & Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

  1. Accor: Accor’s ALL programme is pretty popular for redemptions in India since people have discovered that they can get great value out of the points. It is a simple programme, 2000 ALL points = 40 Euro (INR 3650 at today’s rates). So, you get INR 1.8 value for redeeming your points against a hotel stay. You can redeem 2000 points multiples in India or anywhere across the globe in a hotel which participates in Accor ALL, and you can also redeem your points online when you book or later after your stay. Given the direct link with fares, you could go to the Sofitel Mumbai for as low as 5000 points (that is the basis of the INR 9,000 rate I stayed at back in the day). You can also use your points against meals and other incidentals at hotels, but different policies at different hotels.
    • Hotels in India: 58 (Including 22 Ibis properties)
    • Total Hotels: 5,445
    • Great Presence: Europe, South East Asia
    • Expiry: 12 Months without activity
  2. ITC: Club ITC has some fantastic hotels in its fold in India, with the programme enabling access to all sorts of ITC Hotels, including the luxury ones (ITC Grand) and other WelcomeGroup and Storii properties, amongst others as well. Also, there is the opportunity to transfer points to Marriott Bonvoy if needed, but up to 60K points per year only. With the 1 Green Point = 1 INR value, one can travel to all sorts of properties or even pay with points for Gourmet Couch dining etc. Remember, there is an additional offer to get a 10% transfer bonus on initiating transfers at the moment, as well as a discount on redeeming for Club ITC Culinaire.
    • Hotels in India: 115
    • Expiry: 12 Months without activity
  3. IHG Hotels & Resorts: IHG is my go-to programme for hotels near European airports. But beyond that, they also have some excellent luxury properties in their InterContinental brand. In India, Marine InterContinental was my go-to hotel for a long time in Mumbai, and there are other hotels around the globe I appreciate too in their chain. They recently brought in the Six Senses brand as well. However, I haven’t stayed at one since they moved into IHG.
    • Hotels in India: 41
    • Total Hotels: 6,179
    • Great Presence: Europe, US, South East Asia, Middle-East
    • Expiry: 12 Months without activity
  4. Marriott International: Bonvoy is the biggest hotel loyalty programme globally and has some of the best properties and the most number of properties in India and around the globe from a hotel chain. I’ve stayed across their brands in India, from the low-end Fairfields to the top-end St Regis and Ritz Carlton, and Bonvoy points allow me to stay at some pretty amazing properties around the globe for next to nothing in terms of cash. Also, their global partnerships allow for transfer to airlines that one cannot access with an Indian card. Also, there are some fantastic aspirational properties in the Marriott Bonvoy umbrella. The programme follows a slightly dynamic approach right now but is expected to go fully dynamic in months in terms of redemption pricing.
    • Hotels in India: 150+
    • Total Hotels: 8,500+
    • Great Presence: Global
    • Expiry: 24 Months without activity
  5. Wyndham: Wyndham currently has 40+ hotels in India and has the opportunity to offer you redemptions at 7.5K/15K and 30K points. The hotel chain is not aggressive now in India, so perhaps, not very useful. Still, if you are a frequent international traveller, you can use the programme to stay at some pretty expensive US and European locations.
    • Hotels in India: 150+
    • Total Hotels: 9,000+
    • Great Presence: USA, Europe
    • Expiry: 18 Months without activity


There are some fantastic opportunities to redeem your points, but eventually, each depends on your plans. Yet, if you just had to park points without a plan, Avios, KrisFlyer, United and Marriott would be safe bets for a catch-all.

If you think you need private advice on how to use your miles, feel free to reach out to me.

I’d love to hear what you folks think and how you plan to move your points over. Let’s learn from each other. 

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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. TravelEdge portal’s points transfer section has been malfunctioning since the 29th evening. Perfectly timed to steal from customers surreptitiously. Customer care says it is a technical glitch and they are working to fix it.
    I won’t be surprised if they fix it just after midnight on 31 August.

    • @Mahadevan TS, I see it as well (cannot see the transfer options on my EDGE Miles altogether). While I don’t think this is ill-intentioned, but who rolls out a half baked website to production?

      • It does seem to be unintentional. The portal was fixed around 7 PM on 31 August and I was able to add the transfer partner (United MileagePlus) and submit the transfer request around 7.30 PM. The transfer was successful and points were credited to the United MileagePlus account at the 5:4 ratio by 11.30 PM on 1 Sep.

  2. Hi Ajay. Thanks for this exhaustive post. The Accor program looks really good with ~1.8x conversion. Does it make sense to convert all Edge Reward points into ALL points for future use (I have about 1.5L ER points).

    Don’t have any international travel plans right now though but can park here from a future perspective and use it over time in India as well as abroad. And each year I can keep extending the validity by further adding some minimum points.

    Does this make sense or is there some catch that I’m missing?

    • @Karan, only hitch with your plan, you are giving too much credit to Accor. Indian properties are not usually too great apart from a few. Send a few their way but not like lakhs of them.

      • @Ajay
        I have transferred 80k points to accor as i plan to go to france and there are some nice redemptions. More so , while checking mariott where i have another lakh parked ( courtesy amex ), i found that the value is not too great..still will decide when exact dates are finalised..

        ITC could have been good ( infact been to 2 of them in last 6 months cause of Axis) but normally domestic luxury properties are taken care off by taj vouchers ( amex) and i do like the flexibility of booking any hotels through HDFC points ( though sometimes they are overpriced but lately after MMT induction they are competitive)

        I didn’t explore Wyndham & IHG was returning a value of 50 ps !

        I did explore krisflyer but found most of the time it is returning a value of 75 paise plus since already been to the region thrice , it didn’t represent the aspirational value which it might have for others !
        For people who want/need to go to Japan , the japan airlines is a good choice.

        I didn’t see Qatar/Iberia or Qantas , otherwise may be have stumped for them over United.

        Have another 30k points..any advice /opinion where to park them or should i go for vistara?

  3. What is the capping if I transfer my points to Marriott, Accor, Vistara? I read somewhere, for ITC it is 15k edge points per quarter.

      • @ajay

        Would transfer of points from CC like amex and others constitute an activity for accor and marriott for extending the validity of our points ?

        Doesn’t IHG normally return value of 50 paise per point? was asking as you said it was your go to option for near airport hotels in Europe…am I missing something ?

        • @aka, I don’t have a clue on the value of IHG points. They are generally not my first choice, but if I need them, I have them and I use them. For your first question, validity is extended for Accor at least.

  4. Marriott had some good redemption options till a few days back. Since they now have the dynamic model in place, the redemption rate has gone up quite a lot. I would rather compare other options too.

  5. Avios isn’t listed as a transfer partner. How can I convert my travel edge rewards to Avios points?

  6. Normally, ITC or Accor would represent good value but 12 month validity is a bit too less…do they allow dining as an activity ?
    Further krisflyer and flying blue was showing astronomical mile requirement for booking for singapore/KL /Hong Kong when I checked for this year !

    Also, isn’t Turkish a better bet for redeeming domestic instead of vistara cause of limited seats and routes?
    Please advise 🙂

  7. Hi Ajay. My dad has some points in his Magnus. Can I transfer that to my krisflyer or united airlines account ?

  8. Hi Ajay – What do you mean by pooling in Airline FFP? This means that multiple family members can pool their miles into single bucket? OR my individual bucket can be used to book for my family member’s travel?

  9. For Europe/US flights: avios/United
    Krisflyer for SE Asia.

    Hotels: accor for Europe/se asia is excellent value
    ITC/Marriott for India local + US.

  10. In an international context, most US/North America based airlines and hotels are easier to deal with.

    From an availability, reach, flexibility and ease of use perspective amongst airlines, United’s Mileage Plus, Air Canada’s Aeroplan and Singapore’s Kris Flyer seem good. Whereas, amongst hotels, from a value proposition IHG, and from a luxury perspective Marriott have been good options for me.

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