5 Best Travel Credit Cards in India for 2024

Travel credit cards are specifically designed for frequent travelers, offering perks such as complimentary airport lounge access, 24/7 concierge service, and insurance benefits. These cards enhance the travel experience by providing smoother and more comfortable travel, along with higher rewards on travel-related expenses like flight and hotel bookings. Rewards are often in the form of AirMiles, which can be redeemed for air tickets, free flights, or class upgrades with partner airlines. This article will analyze multiple travel credit cards to determine the best option for travelers, focusing on how these cards can help save on travel expenses and provide additional benefits through partnerships with airlines and other travel entities.

Benefits of Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards offer numerous benefits specifically designed to enhance the travel experience for frequent travellers. Here are the key points regarding the advantages of using travel credit cards:

  • Welcome Gift: Many travel credit cards offer a significant number of reward points or air miles as a sign-up bonus, which can be redeemed for flights on both international and domestic airlines. 
  • Complimentary Airport Lounge Access: Cardholders may enjoy complimentary access to airport lounges at both domestic and international airports, providing a comfortable space during flight delays. Access may extend to friends and family.
  • Travel Insurance: These cards often include comprehensive travel insurance covering unexpected expenses related to air accidents, medical emergencies, and loss of baggage, passport, or tickets.
  • Zero Liability on Lost Card: Reporting a lost card immediately can protect cardholders from being responsible for fraudulent transactions made thereafter.
  • Annual Fee Waiver: Some travel credit cards offer no annual fee, which can be a significant financial benefit.
  • Earn Points on Purchases: Cardholders earn points for every transaction, which can be redeemed later for discounts on bookings.
  • Zero Foreign Transaction Fees: Ideal travel credit cards do not charge extra for transactions made in a foreign currency, saving on costs that might otherwise accrue rapidly.
  • Fraud Protection: These cards typically offer protection against the risks of theft and phishing, reducing the liability for unauthorized transactions.
  • Insurance for Lost Luggage and Accidents: Travel credit cards can offer compensation for lost luggage and accidents, ensuring financial support in such events.

These benefits not only make travel more efficient and secure but also offer financial savings and rewards, making travel credit cards a valuable tool for frequent travellers.

List of Best Travel Credit Cards

1. Club Vistara IDFC FIRST Credit Card

The Club Vistara IDFC First Credit Card, co-branded by IDFC First Bank and Vistara Airlines, is tailored for frequent travelers, particularly those who fly with Vistara. It charges a joining fee of Rs. 4999 and offers significant benefits such as a complimentary premium economy ticket, a class upgrade voucher, and Club Vistara Silver tier membership. Cardholders enjoy rewards like CV Points on every spend, bonus points, and complimentary tickets on meeting spending milestones, along with exclusive perks in golf, dining, and more, enhancing the overall travel experience.

Features and Benefits:

Category Details
Welcome Privileges   – 1 Complimentary Premium Economy ticket voucher*
– Complimentary Club Vistara Silver Membership
– 1 One-Class Upgrade e-Voucher
CV Points on all other spends – 6 CV Points on every INR 200 spent up to INR 1 Lakh/Month
– 4 CV Points on every INR 200 spent above INR 1 Lakh/Month
CV Points on Fuel, Insurance, Utility, Rent and Wallet Load – 1 CV Point for every INR 200 spent
Birthday Rewards – 10 CV Points on every INR 200 spent on dining on your birthday

2. Axis Bank Vistara Signature Credit Card:

The Axis Bank Vistara Signature Credit Card, co-branded with Vistara Airlines, is designed for frequent flyers who value premium benefits. Key features include a joining fee and annual fee of Rs. 3,000 each, an interest rate of 41.75% per annum, and exclusive travel perks like 3,000 Vistara points upon activation, milestone benefits redeemable for flight tickets, and dining offers. This card is ideal for those who regularly fly with Vistara and enjoy additional luxuries and conveniences while traveling.

Features and Benefits:

Category Details
Welcome Privileges – Complimentary Vistara Premium Economy Class ticket (first year and upon renewal)
– Complimentary Club Vistara Silver Membership
Reward Points – Earn 4 Club Vistara (CV) points per Rs. 200 spent across all categories
– Points redeemable for award flights or ticket upgrades
– Excludes Government Services, Rental, Fuel, Wallet Load, Utility, Insurance, Gold/Jewellery
Milestone Benefits – 1st ticket: Spend Rs. 1.50 Lakh
– 2nd ticket: Spend Rs. 3 Lakh
– 3rd ticket: Spend Rs. 4.5 Lakh
– 4th ticket: Spend Rs. 9 Lakh
Lounge Access Benefits – 2 complimentary lounge visits per quarter (requires min. Rs. 50,000 spend in previous 3 months)

3. IRCTC SBI Platinum Credit Card

The IRCTC SBI Platinum Credit Card is a budget-friendly, entry-level travel card co-branded with IRCTC, ideal for frequent train travelers. It features a Rs. 300 annual membership fee after a first-year joining fee of Rs. 500. Cardholders benefit from 10% back as Reward Points on rail ticket bookings via IRCTC, a surcharge waiver for these bookings, and additional perks on categories like fuel. This card enhances savings on train travel and other expenditures, making it practical for regular commuters.

Features and Benefits:

Category Details
Welcome Privileges – Receive 350 activation points after a single transaction of Rs.500 within 45 days of card activation.
Travel Benefits – 10% value back as reward points on AC1, AC2, AC3, and AC CC ticket bookings through IRCTC
– 1% off on railway ticket bookings through IRCTC website.
Reward Points – Earn one reward point for every Rs.125 spent.
Railway Lounge Benefits – Up to four complimentary railway lounge accesses per year (one per quarter).
Fuel Benefits – 1% fuel surcharge waiver on transactions between Rs.500 and Rs.3,000 at all petrol pumps.
Additional Features – Waived transaction charges on railway bookings, contactless payments, balance transfer service, Flexipay option, worldwide acceptance, easy cash withdrawal, add-on card facility, and Visa offers on dining, golf, travel, and entertainment.

4. Air India SBI Signature Credit Card

The Air India SBI Signature Credit Card, tailored for frequent flyers of Air India, combines luxury travel benefits with substantial rewards. It includes a first-year and annual fee of Rs.4,999, and offers privileges like complimentary lounge access, generous rewards on Air India bookings, and bonus reward points based on annual spending thresholds. The card also has an interest rate of up to 3.35% per month (40.2% p.a.) on outstanding balances. This card is particularly beneficial for loyal Air India customers seeking to enhance their travel experience.

Features and Benefits:

Category Details
Welcome Benefits 20,000 reward points as a welcome gift; Membership to Flying Returns program.
Travel Benefits Complimentary access to over 600 airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass; 2 domestic lounge visits per quarter with Visa Lounge Access.
Reward Points Up to 30 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on Air India tickets; 1 point = 1 Air India air mile.
Milestone Benefits Bonus reward points on annual spends (20,000 for Rs. 5 lakh, 30,000 for Rs. 10 lakh, 50,000 for Rs. 20 lakh).
Fuel Surcharge Waiver 1% waiver for transactions between Rs. 500 and Rs. 4,000, up to Rs. 250 per month.

5. MakeMyTrip ICICI Bank Platinum Credit Card

The MakeMyTrip ICICI Bank Platinum Credit Card, in partnership with ICICI Bank and MakeMyTrip, offers lifetime free membership with a one-time joining fee of Rs. 500. It is especially beneficial for frequent users of MakeMyTrip, providing accelerated rewards as MakeMyTrip My Cash on all spends, complimentary airport lounge access, and a welcome holiday voucher from MakeMyTrip. Additional perks include discounts on movie tickets and fuel transaction benefits, making it a versatile choice for travelers and entertainment enthusiasts alike.

Features and Benefits:

Category Details
Welcome Benefits – Rs. 500 My Cash redeemable on MakeMyTrip
– MakeMyTrip holiday voucher worth Rs. 3,000
My Cash Rewards – 1 My Cash per Rs. 200 on domestic non-MMT spends
– 1.25 My Cash per Rs. 200 on international non-MMT spends
– 2 My Cash per Rs. 200 spent on MMT flight bookings
– 3 My Cash per Rs. 200 spent on MMT hotel/holiday bookings
Milestone Benefits – 1,000 My Cash points for Rs. 2.5 lakh spend in an anniversary year
– Additional 1,000 My Cash points for Rs. 50,000 spend on MMT in an anniversary year
Complimentary Lounge Access – 1 domestic airport lounge access per quarter on Rs. 35,000 spend in a quarter
– 1 railway lounge access per quarter (primary cardholders only)
Other Benefits – Up to 25% discount on BookMyShow and INOX, max Rs. 100, twice per month
– 1% fuel surcharge waiver on transactions up to Rs. 4,000 at HPCL pumps

How to apply for a Travel Credit Card?

Applying for a Travel Credit Card through ICICI Bank is a simple process. Here are the summarized steps:

  • Check Eligibility: Confirm you meet the requirements like age, income, employment status, and credit score for the desired credit card.

  • Select the Card: Choose a travel credit card from ICICI Bank that fits your travel preferences and financial needs.

  • Online Application: Visit the ICICI Bank website, navigate to the travel credit card section, select your card, and click ‘Apply Now’ or ‘Get Started’. Fill in the online application form with required personal and financial details.

  • Submit Documents: Provide necessary documents such as identity proof, address proof, income proof, and photographs.

  • Application Review: The bank will review your application and may contact you for further verification.

  • Approval: Upon successful verification, your application will be approved.

  • Card Delivery: The credit card will be mailed to your registered address.

This process ensures a smooth application experience for obtaining a Travel Credit Card from ICICI Bank.

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Travel credit cards are indispensable tools for frequent travelers, combining practical benefits with opportunities to earn travel rewards. Offering features like airline miles, hotel points, and exclusive access to airport lounges, these cards enhance travel convenience and affordability. With providers like ICICI Bank, travelers can choose from various card options that cater to different travel needs and spending habits. By ensuring eligibility, selecting the appropriate card, and effectively managing their accounts, cardholders can maximize benefits such as travel insurance, fuel surcharge waivers, and significant rewards on bookings. Ultimately, when used wisely, travel credit cards can substantially reduce travel costs and elevate the overall travel experience, making them a smart choice for savvy travelers.


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