Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Demonetisation boosts credit card use in airlines

It is a season of plastic credit and debit cards, thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization of high value currency notes in the country. Cashing in on the situation, India’s domestic airlines and prominent banks have teamed up to issue co-branded credit cards for the convenience of passengers.

So you have  Air India - SBI Platinum; Axis Bank - Vistara; JetPrivilege - HDFC Bank World; Jet Airways - ICICI Bank Rubyx; Axis Bank - Vistara Signature; Air India- SBI Signature; Jet Airways - ICICI Bank Sapphiro; Axis Bank - Vistara Infinite, among others.

These cards are not free, of course. There is a joining fee ranging from Rs 1499 to Rs 10,000 and a matching amount of annual fee. The airlines offer a range of services, depending upon the card that the passenger owns. They include services like free access to fancy airport lounges, free refreshments and even a hot shower at places.

It is a win –win situation for both the airline and the banking industry. While the airlines get passengers hassle free, the banks get business. Additionally, it helps maintain overall airport and aircraft security as passenger data is permanently captured through encrypted cards.

In a jet setting age, more and more business travellers are taking to newly introduced credit cards. There are young executives ever on the move on office work. There are high-end leisure travellers who too opt for the new cards for the benefit they offer.

Frequent flyer programs offering goodies and miles were once the preserve of noted international airlines like the British Airways, American Airlines, the Emirates, Air France et al.

They enticed passengers through a host of benefits like accumulating miles to upgrading of seats. This situation is passé. Domestic carriers are competing with them now.
28/11/16 Devsagar Singh/The Echo Of India

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