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SBI Card and Etihad Guest Launch Premium Visa Credit Card for International Travel

In Business
January 31, 2019

SBI Card, one of India’s largest credit card issuers, and Etihad Guest, the loyalty programme of Etihad Airways, today launched a unique travel specific Visa credit card for members and savvy Indian travellers.

The card, which will be available in two variants, Etihad Guest SBI Card and Etihad Guest SBI Premier Card, will offer more rewarding experiences and bring an unmatched value proposition to Etihad Guest members and international travellers from India.

The card has been launched against the backdrop of increasing international travel in the country; the Indian traveller is looking for unique experiences with an increasing demand for premium brands and products in India, and the world over. Aviation passenger traffic in India has grown 12.7% annually for the past five years and IATA forecasts project India to become the third largest aviation market by FY25. Travel is a key spend category for Indian consumers, with 33% of overall card spends in the SBI Card portfolio made within the travel industry.

India is a key strategic market for Etihad Airways, currently offering 147 weekly flights across 10 gateway cities in the country. The airline provides Indian travellers greater choice, more convenience and increased connectivity via its home, Abu Dhabi. IATA’s 2018 India Aviation report shows about 41% of India’s direct international connectivity is to the Middle East, with much of it directly to the UAE.

Etihad Guest SBI Card and Etihad Guest SBI Premier Card offer complimentary Etihad Guest Silver Tier Status along with 2,500 Etihad Guest Miles, and Gold Tier Status with 5,000 Etihad Guest Miles respectively, upon first card swipe so cardholders can start collecting rewards straight away.

The new co-brand cards offer an accelerated rewards programme which allows guests to earn up to six Etihad Guest Miles per INR 100 spent on Etihad.com. Cardholders also earn up to four Etihad Guest Miles on every INR 100 of international spends and up to two Etihad Guest Miles on every INR 100 of domestic spends. In addition, guests earn two Tier Miles per INR 100 spent on all transactions. Etihad Guest Miles can be redeemed to travel to destinations worldwide with Etihad Airways and over 20 partner airlines. Members can also choose to use their Etihad Guest Miles to stay at over 300,000 hotels worldwide rent the best of car hire brands with Travel Rewards or purchase thousands of products at the Etihad Guest Reward Shop.

Additional benefits include additional excess baggage allowance of 10kgs and 15kgs respectively and priority boarding, 3-10% discount on direct Etihad Airways bookings as well as the new Guest +1 voucher, allowing cardholders to take a companion along with them on a reward flight in any cabin or destination.

Etihad Airways Vice President Commercial Partnerships, Yasser Al Yousuf, said: “India is a key strategic market for Etihad Airways and we are delighted to launch our first India-specific credit card for our members with one of the country’s most revered institutions, SBI Card. This card enables members to earn Etihad Guest Miles every time they spend, empowering them to make choices about how they collect and spend their miles. With increased travel from our guests to USA, we believe this card also strengthens our existing travel benefits including US pre-clearance.”

Hardayal Prasad, MD & CEO, SBI Card, said: “At SBI Card, it is our constant endeavour to build associations and create products that bring enhanced value to consumers. With Etihad Guest, we are pleased to initiate our first international co-brand partnership. Through this tie up with Etihad Guest, we seek to offer a powerful product which will complement the lifestyles of affluent and urban Indians who frequently travel overseas.

Etihad Guest SBI Card and Etihad Guest SBI Premier Card will bring Indians travelling to and via the Middle East an exceptional travel experience along with maximum value in its segment. At SBI Card, we have observed that travel constitutes an important consumption category for our cardholders and with increasing disposable incomes and greater global exposure we expect this segment to continue growing rapidly.

The Middle East commands an important share of the Indian outbound travel market and UAE has emerged as one of the top two international destinations for Indian travellers. We have observed a CAGR of 66% in spends on our cards between FY14 and FY18 in the region. As one of the top two international airlines for outbound international passenger traffic from India, with a strong share in Middle East, Etihad Guest is the right partner.”

TR Ramachandran, Visa’s Group Country Manager for India & South Asia, said: “We are delighted to be partnering SBI Card and Etihad Airways in launching this unique card for the affluent Indian traveller. As the Visa Global Travel Intention study indicates, Indians are traveling more frequently than their APAC and global counterparts. often combining business with leisure. They are also open to exploring destinations further afield, including Europe & Americas and often end up visiting multiple countries on a single trip. With cash being the least preferred option for Indians on the move, we anticipate this new card to appeal to the global Indian traveller.”

These cards offer the maximum value compared to others in their segment. On an annual spend of INR 10 lakh, the Etihad Guest SBI Premier Card offers a value back of upto INR 234,000, which is the highest of any travel cobrand card in India.