5 Best Travel Credit Cards in India

All of us love traveling. We look forward to any holidays and plan trips to places all over the globe. With flights to all the major cities in India and abroad, you can travel to any place in the world. However, the only thing that stops us from traveling is the hefty costs associated with flight tickets and hotel bookings. Fortunately, we don’t have to pay all the money up front. We can use credit cards and not worry about arranging a large sum of money for the vacation we have been planning for so long.

Don’t worry! I am not talking about any credit card. Our team has researched all travel credit cards available in the market at present. And we have come up with the 5 best travel credit cards in India. 
Scared of using credit cards? Don’t be!

Some people refrain from using credit cards. They feel credit cards drain your money through high-interest payments and a bunch of other fees and charges. If you are one of these people, let me tell you, credit cards can be a boon for you if used correctly.

In this case, travel credit cards can help you plan your desired vacation without worrying about making any hefty payment up front. Some cards even give you the option of turning your payments into EMIs. The main thing to remember while using your credit card is that you need to make sure you pay the outstanding balance in full every billing cycle. If you do so, you will never have to make any interest payments or pay any late fee.

Let’s look at the 5 Best Travel Credit Cards in India.

Citi PremierMiles Credit Card

Air India SBI Signature Credit Card

JetPrivilege HDFC Bank World Credit Card

American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card

Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Cards


Citi PremierMiles Credit Card: Best for travel

Citi PremierMiles Credit Card is the best travel credit card. We like this the most as you can use this card to buy tickets on any airlines and earn miles for the same. You are not stuck to any one airlines to earn rewards.

Card Information

Annual FeeRs. 3000
Welcome gift10000 bonus points
Rewards/Miles10 miles for every Rs. 100 spent on all airline transactions
10 miles for every Rs. 100 spent with partner merchants
4 miles for every Rs. 100 spent on all other transactions
Other benefits Airport lounge access
Air accident insurance
Fuel surcharge waiver
Default payment chargesUp to 3.50% per month, i.e. (42.00% annually)
Late payment chargesRs. 100 per month
Cash Advance fee2.00% (minimum Rs. 300) and US $7.5 at international ATMs.
Overseas transaction3.50%

Benefits

The card offers 10 miles for every Rs. 100 spent on all airline transactions. You also earn 10 miles for every Rs. 150 spent with partner merchants and 4 miles for every Rs. 100 spent on all other transactions. The best part is you can use this card for any airline.

After earning the points, you can redeem 100 miles for Rs. 45 at preferred partners, viz. goibibo.com, yatra.com, goindigo.com. You can also redeem 100 miles for Rs. 15 worth of vouchers from Amazon.

Along with rewards, you get complimentary access to airport lounges at select locations in India. All card holders also get air accident cover up to Rs. 1 crore in the event of loss of life due to air accident.

To learn more about the card, read our Citi PremierMiles Credit Card Full Review.

Drawbacks

This card gives you the freedom to choose any airline and earn miles. However, this comes at a price. The annual fee of the card is Rs. 3000, which is high, if compared to some other travel cards. The only lifestyle privilege not offered by the card is complimentary golf games.

Final Word

We strongly recommend you to consider Citi PremierMiles Credit Card as your first travel credit card choice.

Air India SBI Signature Credit Card: For loyal Air India customers

Air India SBI Signature Credit Card offers one of the best rewards program associated with an airline. Although, you need to pay a high annual fee you can accumulate a lot of points using this card which in turn can be used for flight tickets, upgrades, and other gifts.

Card Information

Annual FeeRs. 4999
Welcome Gift20000 bonus points
Rewards30 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on Air India tickets
4 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on other categories
Reward Redemption1 reward point = 1 Air India air mile
Default payment chargesUp to 3.35% per month, accounting to 40.2% per annum
Late payment chargesRs. 0-200: Nil
Rs. 201-500: Rs. 100
Rs. 501-1000: Rs. 400
Rs. 1001- 10000: Rs. 500
Rs. 10001 and more: Rs. 750
Cash Advance feesSBI or other ATMs: 2.5% of transaction amount, subject to a minimum of Rs. 300
International ATM: 3% of transaction amount, subject to a minimum of Rs. 300

Benefits

If you are a loyal Air India customer, look no further. Air India SBI Signature Credit Card is the real deal. The card offers the best rewards program, wherein you earn 30 rewards points for every Rs. 100 spent on Air India tickets. Also, you earn 4 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on other categories.

The best part is that 1 reward point can be redeemed for 1 Air India air mile.

To learn more about the card, read our Air India SBI Signature Credit Card Full Review.

Drawbacks

Great rewards come with great costs. You need to pay an annual fee of Rs. 4999 to avail all the benefits of the card. Since this card is built in partnership with Air India, flying other airlines won’t fetch you much of the benefits.

Final Word

If you’re a die-hard Air India, the Air India SBI Signature Credit Card should be your first choice.

JetPrivilege HDFC Bank World Credit Card: Jet Airways all the way

JetPrivilege HDFC Bank World Credit Card gives you the feel of a premium travel credit card at a nominal cost.

Card Information

Annual FeeRs. 2500
Welcome GiftUp to 10000 bonus points
Rewards/miles18 JP Miles for every Rs. 150 spent on jetairways.com
Other benefitsAirport lounge access
Default payment chargesUp to 3.50% per month, i.e. 42.00% annually
Late payment chargesLess than Rs. 100: Nil
Rs. 100-500 : Rs. 100
Rs. 501 - 5000: Rs. 400
Rs. 5001 - 10000: Rs. 500
Rs. 10001 and above: Rs. 700
Cash advance fee2.5% of amount withdrawn or Rs. 300 whichever is higher
Overseas transaction 2.00%

Benefits

A welcome gift of up to 10000 bonus miles upon joining is a great incentive offered by the card. You earn 18 JP Miles for every Rs. 150 spent on jetairways.com. You get access to over 600 airport lounges all over the globe.

The card gives you exclusive Jet Airways deals and privileges such as 5% cashback on one-way or return revenue tickets on Jet Airways domestic and international flights, excess check-in baggage allowance, and premier check-in for all domestic Jet Airways flights at 6 metro cities.

To learn more about the card, read our JetPrivilege HDFC Bank World Credit Card Full Review.

Drawbacks

The default payment charges on the card are on the higher end when compared to other travel cards. The card does not offer lifestyle privileges such as golf and dining discounts. All the benefits are associated with Jet Airways.

Final Word

You can get a lot of benefits and privileges if Jet Airways is your preferred airline. Apply for this card, if you’re a loyal Jet Airways customer.

American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card: Benefits of Travel Vouchers

American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card gives you exclusive American Express offers and deals.

Card Information

Particulars 
Joining FeeRs.3500
Annual FeeRs.5000 from 2nd year onwards
Default Charge3.5% p.m to 3.75% p.m
Rewards1 points every Rs. 50 on any purchase except for spend at Fuel, Insurance, Utilities and Cash Transactions.
Milestone RewardsRs. 6,000 worth Travel Vouchers on reaching Rs.1.9 lacs spend and Rs.10,000 worth Travel Voucher on reaching Rs.4 lacs spends.
Joining Bonus5,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points or Travel Vouchers worth Rs.4000
OtherExciting offers from MakeMyTrip
Priority Pass Membership (4 Lounge access/year)

Benefits

You earn 1 membership reward point for every Rs. 50 spent on any purchase except for fuel, insurance, utilities and cash transactions. You can further accelerate your Regular Membership Rewards Points and earn up to 20 (typically between 5 to 20) Bonus Membership Rewards Points for every Rs. 100 charged to your Card at EXTRA Membership Rewards Program Partners.

You earn Rs.6000 worth of Travel Vouchers when you reach the milestone of Rs.1.9 lacs and Rs. 10,000 worth of Travel Vouchers when you have reached Rs.4 lacs milestone on your card.

You can enjoy upto 20% discount on restaurants, multiple cuisines & more (American Express Selects Dining Programme).

You get 3% cashback for each transaction at the eligible HPCL, IOCL, SHELL and BPCL fuel outlets, which just about covers all the petrol pumps. You must register to avail this offer.

To learn more about the card, read our American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card Full Review.

Drawbacks

Travel vouchers expire 6 months from the date of issuance. These vouchers are for single use only and they are applicable only for booking domestic hotels and domestic air travel. You will avail maximum benefits if you fly Indigo Airlines.

Final Word

American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card gives you the opportunity to earn points and redeem these points for travel vouchers. These vouchers are associated with Indigo Airlines. If you fly Indigo you should definitely consider applying for this card.

Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card: For domestic travel with Jet Airways

Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Cards come in two variants: One is affiliated with American Express while the other is affiliated with Visa. While both the cards have similar benefits, American Express offers slightly better reward rates than Visa.

Card Information

Particulars 
Annual FeeRs.5000 (Rs.2500 for 1st year)
Default Charges3.5% per month
Cash Advance Charges2.5% or minimum Rs. 300
Foreign Currency Transaction Fee3.5% of the mark up
RewardsUpto 10 JP Miles per Rs. 100
Joining Bonus10000 JP Miles
Complimentary Jet Airways Ticket

Benefits

Upon joining, you can get up to 20000 JP Miles within the first 90 days. After 45 days of paying the joining fee you get 10000 bonus JP Miles. You can earn another 10000 bonus JP Miles if you spend Rs. 1 lacs within 90 days.

On American Express variant card, you get 5 JP Miles per Rs. 100 for domestic spends, 7 JP Miles per Rs. 100 for international spends and 10 JP Miles per Rs. 100 when you book a ticket through www.jetairways.com.

On Visa affiliated card, you get 4 JP Miles per Rs. 100 for domestic spends, 5 JP Miles per Rs. 100 for international spends and 8 JP Miles per Rs. 100 when you book a ticket through www.jetairways.com.

The card gives you exclusive Jet Airways deals and privileges such as 5% cashback on one-way or return revenue tickets on Jet Airways domestic and international flights, excess check-in baggage allowance, and premier check-in for all domestic Jet Airways flights at 6 metro cities.

To learn more about the card, read our Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Cards Full Review.

Drawbacks

In order to avail the benefits and privileges, you need to pay a high annual fee of Rs. 5000 per year. There is a cap of 40000 JP Miles on Visa affiliated card and 60000 JP Miles on American Express affiliated card in one year. All rewards and miles are associated with Jet Airways only.

Final Word

If Jet Airways is your preferred airlines, and you are willing to pay a high annual fee, you should definitely consider applying for this card. If want to get an ICICI Bank credit card with a lower annual fee you can apply for ICICI Bank Rubyx card or ICICI Bank Coral card. The Rubyx and Coral card also have an association with Jet Airways. The major difference is that you earn less JP miles on every purchase as compared to the Sapphiro card.

Author: Himank Mishra

Himank is a highly motivated and dedicated person. He graduated from Ball State University, United States with an MBA in Finance. Himank has a passion for Financial Markets. He wants to help everyone achieve Financial Freedom!

  • John Doe

    Hi Himank. Thanks for the excellent blog post.

    I am a first-time credit card holder in India, as I am a foreigner. I have a bank account with another MNC bank, but they only have debit card. I have read your blog posts and the two best – as of Aug 3, 2017 – seem to be HDFC Regalia and citi PremierMiles.

    I am looking for the best all around credit card with a good signing up bonus and good customer support that I can use to link to my MNC Bank account (based in India). Please let me know your thoughts.

    • Himank Mishra

      Hi John,

      The two cards that you have mentioned (HDFC Regalia and Citi PremierMiles) are great credit cards and are very popular in India. Both the cards offer excellent features and benefits.

      If you’re looking for a great travel credit card, you can go for Citi PremierMiles as it offers a welcome bonus of 10000 miles. On top of this, Citibank provides exceptional customer service as well.

      Note: HDFC Bank Regalia Credit card has been devalued and now has a reward rate of 1.6% (it had a reward rate of 2% when it was launched).

      Hope this helps!

      Please let me know if you have any further queries.

  • nathan anand

    hi himank ,

    i am an owner of two schools and my itr is 30 L per annum . no dependants and no loans .
    i travel domestic and abroad very often .

    which card is most suitable to collect miles for international and domestic flights as well as access to lounges at airports . my bank is icici and they are pushing me for the jet airways saphhiro credit card .what are your suggestions

    • Himank Mishra

      Hi Nathan,

      Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro is a good card but there are other cards which are better than it. On this card you get less miles for every purchase and most of the benefits are linked to Jet Airways. It is more suited for domestic travel.

      I would suggest you have a look at Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card.

      Citibank PremierMiles is one of the best travel credit cards if you’re looking to earn miles for multiple airlines (Air India, British Airways, Etihad, Qatar, Jet Airways etc.). You can redeem miles across 100+ airlines. On this card, you earn miles as follows:
      1. Earn 10 miles for every Rs. 100 spent on all airline transactions
      2. Earn 10 miles for every Rs. 100 spent at makemytrip.com.
      3. Earn 4 miles for every Rs. 100 spent on all other transactions

      Airport Lounge access on the Citi PremierMiles: Mastercard World cardholders get access to 24 complimentary visits per year (6 per quarter). Visa Signature cardmembers get access to 32 complimentary visits per year (8 per quarter). The airport lounge access is limited to India.

      Note: You get unlimited airport lounge access with Super Premium credit cards (HDFC Bank Diners Club Black, HDFC Bank Infinia, CIti Prestige, American Express Platinum Charge, Yes First Exclusive, JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club, Axis Bank Reserve). But for these cards you will have to pay an annual fee of at least Rs. 10000.

      For a list of credit cards that offer the best airport lounge access, you can read the article titled ‘Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access in India’ on our website.